A week in the Metal Shop with Dave Beck

A week or so ago I was lucky enough to spend a week working in the in house metal shop they have on site here at Longwood.  I learnt an incredible amount  in such a short space of time.  Most useful had to be Dave Becks ‘Tips and tricks’

My first job was making some what we called pig tails (for obvious reasons) there were made using stainless steel rods.  Using this material they last a lot longer out in the garden where they are used for plant labels.


Once the rods were cut to size, it was onto the sanding belt to smooth over any rough edges.


Dave likes to always keep some in stock for gardeners who stop by needing labelling pigtails. I managed to make 100.

The most effiecent way to work on these pigtails was to do them in numbers, so they were all cut to length, smoothed with the sanding belt and bent using a ‘Jig’ that Dave had fabricated himself.  The end product was quite impressive and perfect for its use.

DSCN5733 DSCN5741

Next it was onto the fun stuff, I started off MIG welding on some scraps pieces of metal, once I felt comfortable enough and Dave was happy enough with my work we moved onto making metal arbours using re-bar or reinforcing bar, often used in construction for re- enforcing concrete.  A very versatile material, that is fairly lightweight and easy to work with.


First we made a mock up frame using only tack welds.  We then took this on site to make sure the dimensions were correct and the size would work in the desired location.  We wanted to check with just one to make sure just in case there were any tweaks that needed to be made.


We were to make four in total, once we were happy and had our work station set up it was a lot easier to tack weld the joints to hold the main structure together, and then I went around all the joints to as dave would say ‘weld them up good’


As you can probably tell from this photo I was quite proud of the results.



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