On Course

Easy to learn and par­tic­u­larly use­ful — what small­holder can af­ford to be with­out weld­ing skills?

Country Smallholding - - Inside This Month -


PART of the fun of small­hold­ing life is the op­por­tu­nity it af­fords peo­ple to try out lots of new skills and prac­tices. From rear­ing some, or most, of your own food, to plenty of mak­ing, mend­ing and all-round do­ing be­sides. Weld­ing is a hugely valu­able skill which can be trans­ferred to any num­ber of money-sav­ing re­pairs around the home, car or, in­deed, workshop. I was taught how to weld a few years ago by a neigh­bour — in my case to fix a bro­ken spade. As well as find­ing it a lot eas­ier — and less scary — than I might have imag­ined, the fixed gar­den­ing tool is still go­ing strong.

Yet not as many peo­ple as you might imag­ine ac­tu­ally know how to weld. But tu­tor Rob Buck­ley is try­ing to change all that at the Dorset Cen­tre for Ru­ral Skills in Bland­ford, where he demon­strates how you can arc, mig and gas weld safely and ef­fec­tively at home.

The cen­tre runs plenty of great days and ex­pe­ri­ences through­out the year and its weld­ing course is ideal for ev­ery­one, from car en­thu­si­asts to wannabe sculp­tors and any­one gen­er­ally in­ter­ested in learn­ing this most use­ful DIY skill.

Over the course of a day, wannabe welders are taught in the fully-equipped workshop the cor­rect way to go about things by ex­pe­ri­enced tu­tor Rob. The day in­cludes a health and safety brief­ing and in­tro­duc­tion to the equip­ment and sci­ence be­hind it be­fore it is time to get down to the prac­ti­cal busi­ness of learn­ing how. Most of the day is then spent un­der Rob’s su­per­vi­sion mak­ing good, strong welds and get­ting to grips with judg­ing the heat of the metal by its colour, dress­ing welds and hon­ing your skills so that you can leave con­fi­dent in your abil­ity to use this new skill safely and ef­fec­tively as and when re­quired at home.

Groups are kept de­lib­er­ately small (there are no more than four places on each day) to en­able stu­dents to ob­tain hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence with Rob’s care­ful and ex­pe­ri­enced guid­ance. The cen­tre runs sched­uled dates through­out the year and com­pa­nies, groups and or­gan­i­sa­tions are also able to ar­range be­spoke days upon pri­vate re­quest. Ad­vance book­ing is rec­om­mended to avoid dis­ap­point­ment as the cen­tre has been run­ning weld­ing days for more than 10 years now and they are ex­tremely pop­u­lar. Places sell out fast.

All equip­ment is pro­vided on the day, although course at­ten­dees are wel­come to use their own if they pre­fer. While most of the course in­volves prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence mak­ing test welds, if you have a par­tic­u­lar project in mind, Rob is happy to dis­cuss this on the day and of­fer ad­vice. Any which way, weld­ing is a very use­ful and widely trans­fer­able skill to have un­der your handy small­holder belt, and this course comes highly rec­om­mended all round.

Dur­ing the day wannabe welders are taught in the fully-equipped workshop by Rob Buck­ley

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