Adventures in Welding

To survive down here requires a good deal self reliance and multiple plans for every aspect of ones life.  The newest learning experience involved the tractor and a tooth bar.  Recently, the owner of the Painted Pony Resort generously replaced the old tractor with a new one.  Unfortunately, the sales representative at the dealer gave the owner the wrong size for the front loading bucket and the tooth bar shipped was to long.  Sending back over a hundred pounds of metal was not in the works, so alternate planning started.  Plan A involved grinding and fitting the tooth bar on the outside of the bucket instead of the inside, as designed, but after a days grinding it was clear that Plan A was not viable, so on to Plan BPlan B involved cutting the tooth bar and removing a section so it would fit inside the bucket as designed, but this plan required not only cutting and grinding, but welding.  Like backhoes, welders seem to be standard issue in the Boot Heel of New Mexico and I had purchased a used Miller Thunderbolt locally awhile back in anticipation of its need at some point in time.  Clearly a good decision, but only one problem, experience welding was required and this was lacking.  So off to the internet for some research.  After a couple of days of reading and watching videos the welder was turned on and a weld attempted on scrap metal.  Well, as you can imagine, the initial attempts produced miserable results.  It was impossible to start a bead, the rod kept sticking to the base plate, the amperage was not adjusted correctly, the wrong drag angle, on and on.  But persistence payed off and after researching each problem in turn it was possible to complete a weld on scrap metal.  Emboldened, a broken tine on the tractor rake was successfully welded, so it was on to the tooth bar.  After cutting, shortening, and beveling the new seam, 3 passes on each side with the arc welder and there was a new custom fitted tooth bar on the tractor.  A little splatter but no worm holes and of course the mistake of moving to fast but the job was finished.  While the job took days to complete and which would have taken an experienced metal worker about 30 minutes to finish, the blame for the excessive time took on this job may be laid at the foot of the bubble.  Now the tractor is ready for grubbing mesquites in the seed reservoir as part of the grassland restoration.

Incorrectly sized tooth bar in the tractor bucket.

Cut and welded tooth bar installed in the new tractor.


  1. With persistence it looks like a job well done!

  2. Persistence does pay off and it looks good from a distance but I made the mistake of moving to fast. Need to slow down more.

  3. Willis has known some great welders in his work days; he says a good welder is worth his weight in gold. Hmmmm, never knew a female welder. Guess SHE would be worth HER weight in gold if she is out there.

    I myself would have sent it back or delivered it back for a road trip. Good for you!

  4. Thank you. I can believe Willis' statement. Although not a good welder I got the job done and learned something new in the process.