That Explains A Lot

where did all the gas go?

Andy Bolig - December 27, 2012 10:00 AM

ImagePhoto: Andy Bolig

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Old Man Winter has secured his grip over most of the nation, which has driven many enthusiasts deep into their workshops and garages.

Many of those oppressed by single (and some VERY low double) digit temps are scurrying around in preparation for the dawn of another show summer. Amid the flurry of work deep within their workshops, you can rest assured, there will be some welding or cutting of something along the way.

When it’s time to bring out the big guns and really get something done with authority, nothing gets the point across like the securing arc from a welder or the shimmering, pin-point flame directly from the bane of many a rusty fastener, the torch.

When it’s beyond making a decision as to whether something stays or goes, nothing says “So let it be done!” as throwing a switch or the flicker of flint. We’re beyond talking at this point, it’s time for action! That is, until you figure out that you can twist those knobs on the gas cylinder(s) all you want, but all the compressed “git-er-done” contained within, has assumed room pressure.

The potential encased in any one of those valve-laden enablers is incredible. Cities have reached for the sky by the glow of a properly-wielded arc and in many cases, shielding gases have provided each weld with the durability to last the ages. When everything goes right, the end result is more than just durable, it can be a thing of beauty. A flowing puddle of molten metal can somehow go beyond being work, it can be a statement of workmanship. The end result is making smaller pieces out of larger ones, or vice versa, but deep within those cooling molecules is a fingerprint, foretelling of the years and experience that resides behind that darkly-tinted visor. They are truly tools of craftsmen.

Many of us have toolboxes where we religiously keep all of our equipment and if we are diligent, we can rest assured that each one of our time-tested tools will be at hand when we need them most. That’s what is so amazing about the gasses that reside within those cylinders. They truly are vaporous; we conclude using them one time, but the next time we try to render their services, we find out that they’ve moved on to other atmospheres. This knowledge usually occurs when we need them most.

Sometimes, the clues are there as to what happened. Be it a carelessly left-open valve or possibly, a note from a friend, thanking us for the use of our equipment. Other times, Sherlock Holmes himself wouldn’t be able to decipher the flow of events that caused the great escape. Either way, we’re the ones usually twisting connections and caps in preparation for the long drive to the supply store to get more gas.

It allows us to complete the task, but it doesn’t help to answer the question that arises with eerie regularity, “Where did all the gas GO?!”