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2013-Mar-2 - Wooroloo - Steelworks #67
We were out on site by 7.00 am and left for home at 7.00 pm

Tim was with us before back in July 2012 and was back Wwoofing again.

He did a lot of useful work - mainly the next stage of the work that Carole started two weeks ago.

After raking away leaves and excavating sand, he washed off the rust converter on 7 columns and bases and painted them with primer.

I had been concerned about the very front corner of the veranda - the outside was primed and enamelled but the inside still needed treatment.

We took the air compressor and blew out any debris.

Tim then rust converted the raw metal surface and several hours later he washed out the rust converter and any dust, then painted with primer.

Next stage is to coat with 'Mission Brown' enamel.

I then ran through all the steps with Tim showing him how to install a purlin.

Tim then had a try under my supervision and then eventually installed a third purlin completely on his own.

I spent the whole day working on welding the cross arms to the columns I prepared last week.

I spent several hours just to set up the cut off saw as accurately as possible.

I made multiple cuts in to the spare metal of one of the columns checking for squareness each time and adjusting the positioning of the beam.

I very carefully positioned and clamped the cross arm on to the column using a large set square and clamps.

After 4 tack welds I was disappointed to discover some curvature on both arms.

I went to see Ross and begged for some advice.

It turns out that this a common occurrence and is usually remedied by professional welders by 'tuning' (ie a few wacks with a 5 pound hammer).

Alternatively I could clamp the cross arm on to a substantial piece of steel while welding - I decided to follow this advice on the second column.

It worked very well.

I had planned to go to my steel pile, pick up some of my 160 mm flat bar and start working on the diagonal bars.

It turns out that Ross had just relocated my steel pile and unfortunately the flat bar was at the bottom and not accessible.

Ross will sort it out for me during the week - so I concentrated on just welding on the cross arms and will work on the bracing next week.


I dropped in to site for the afternoon.

I ground the tack welds on the second cross arm down flat (so it would sit correctly on the floor while adding other welds) and started work on the third arm.

This is a very slow process. There is quite a lot of preliminary bevel grinding on both surfaces.

For each side of the column I need to clamp the cross arm to a large piece of steel to avoid distortion.

I also need to carefully align the angle to 90 degrees using a large set square and in fact I clamp this in position to keep the joint true.

After each weld I need to wait about 15 minutes for it to cool down before I can safely unclamp from the large piece of steel.

Plus, at this stage, I need to grind the tack welds down flat to keep the assembly flat on the floor when it is turned over.

While I was waiting for the welds to cool I thought I might as well tackle the random pile of steel and see if I could retrieve the flat bar.

Some of the pieces must have weighed 50 Kg and even though I was only lifting one end at a time, and mostly sliding the piece across the gluts, I was still working at my safety limit.

No injuries or strained back - but I felt pretty buggered by the time I had finished.

The good news is I managed to retrieve my flat bar and that I have just enough to create six diagonal reinforcements for the cross arms.

It was dark by the time I left for home - so I don't know where all the time went.


At the end of the working day I headed out to site.

I wanted to attempt to finish the tack welding of the columns, cross arms and braces by the end of the week.

When hammering the cross arm welds previously I cracked a few of the tack welds because I had ground them down flat leaving very little weld in the joints.

I touched up a few of these joints so that the assemblies would stay in position during transport.

By the time Ross does his professional welding it will all be very strong and dependable.

For now I just need to get the column assemblies back home.

I also brought the flat bar and all the tools I need to work during the week.

Hopefully I can pass these to Ross on Saturday and get stuck in to measuring out the PFC 180 beam to go across the top arms and cutting out the two mounting plates to be welded inside the webbing.


During the course of the day I cut out the 6 diagonal braces needed for the cross arms.

This is using 160 mm x 10 mm flat bar.

I am also trying the 125 x 1 mm cut off disks in my angle grinder.

I am using one disk for every two cuts.

At a little bit less that $5 a disk this is pretty expensive but it gets the job done quickly without a lot of noise, heat and fuss and gives a very clean result.

On a cut off saw this would be a very time consuming job - particularly seeing I would need to make a 230 mm cut in to a flat 10mm surface at 45 degrees.

Welding on the cross arms

Tim installing purlins

Knee braces cut from flat bar