s Every Day is Different | Blog

Every Day is Different

An article by John Rodden

I’ve had a catch up with Gary Huston this month, who reviewed our gas in mid-March. If you haven’t seen the video yet it’s well worth a watch - Hobbyweld 5 Gas Review.

Today, Gary is a farrier, blacksmith and general fabricator - but I wanted to find out where his story began:

As a 10 year old Gary had started working weekends on a farm with pigs and arable. The farmer’s wife had a couple of horses for her children and taught Gary to ride when he wasn’t mucking out the pigs.

Some years went by and money simply couldn’t be made from pigs, so the bays in the pigsty became empty. That is until a newly qualified Farrier asked the farmer if he could build a forge in one of the empty bays - he agreed and Gary was asked to help build it.

One thing led to another and Gary was soon asked if he would like to train as a farrier, after completing his last year in school, Gary started as an apprentice and continued for another 5 years after the training had finished.

Gary's first days working as a farrier

One of Gary's first days of work as a farrier in 1978

Gary said that the blacksmithing side of his work had started out of necessity as he didn’t have enough work as a Farrier in the early years.

“I blagged my way in, telling the local blacksmith I knew more than I did. If I had a job I didn’t know how to do I would say, “I know how I would do this but how would you like it done”.”

Eventually Gary’s farrier business took off, the blacksmithing went by the way for many years, with Gary only doing the odd job for friends.

“I love the mixture of farriery, blacksmithing and fabrication work. Every day is different; you never quite know what will be asked of you next.”

In the mid 80's at Quarley village fete in Hampshire

In the mid 80's at Quarley village fete in Hampshire
"I am making horseshoes before the fete started, for a horse I was to shoe as a demonstration. In front of me are some of my blacksmithing wares and specimen shoes I had made at college. Don’t think I sold a thing that day but did get an order for a weather vane!”

The need for welding arrived shortly after Gary set up shop as an independent farrier.

“My very first welder was a cheap 200amp Sealey arc welder from a local supplier, I was starting out on my own and some of the horseshoes needed hard facing so I had to have a welder of some sort. It was OK but kept knocking the power out running at high amps on a domestic socket! My first MIG welder was a very old 200amp BOC 3 phase item bought from a local fabrication shop that was upgrading its equipment. I paid a mere £75 for it and it lasted me for many years. I found out some time later that the company regretted selling it as the new welders just weren’t up to the job.”

I asked Gary a few questions about the Hobbyweld video review;

J: “What is the make and model of welder you used in the video?”
G: “My current welder is an ARC TEC 300amp three phase machine, again quite old, I have never bought a new machine. One, because they are very expensive new and secondly unless you spend huge money on a really good make they have aluminium windings rather than the good old bomb proof copper… Having said that, I did buy a second hand, quite modern, Kemppi inverter arc welder which is the absolute business for site work, it will run all day from a 13amp socket on a 50 meter extension cable!”

J: “Could you give us a run-down of the settings used during the video shoot?”
G: “No! Not because I want to keep any secrets but because I don’t know! As stated earlier the welder is quite old and the amp meter is broken so I have no idea what it is running at. I tend to set it up roughly then try a quick weld on a piece of scrap the thickness I want to weld and adjust it accordingly. I don’t run a flow meter on my gas either, I just open the regulator enough to barely hear the gas flow, and if it goes porous I open it a bit more! Not very scientific but it works for me. I guess I could work out the wire speed easily enough by pulling the trigger, counting six, measuring the resulting wire and times it by ten, but again, I just adjust to my needs!”

J: “Since the video, have you used the cylinder in any of your other projects?”
G: “Yes, lots, it has been used continuously since that review video on lots of jobs and has lasted much longer than I expected it to. “

J: “You mentioned you were welding for a company doing road markings - do you often get jobs like this?”
G: “I got the job as I have worked for the company at their workshop, one day a week as a welder for the last 25 years or so, they are now so busy that I have been asked to do more work which is what I now do at my shop on quite a regular basis with free issue materials.”

J: “Are there any other gases you could see yourself using in the Hobbyweld range and do you think you would benefit from using Hobbyweld?”
G: “Yes, definitely, I occasionally weld aluminium and some time ago I bought a bottle of pure argon from the internet, it was a one off payment job but in the following years the company had disappeared so when it finally runs out I will certainly call on Hobbyweld for a replacement.”

J: “Roughly how long do you think a cylinder of this size would last and would you personally benefit from the lack of rental?
G: “Although this bottle lasted longer than I thought, I think I still need a bigger bottle for the amount of welding I do. The nearest supplier is quite some miles away and would be a bit of a pain doing an hour and a half round trip too regularly. I would consider the bigger Ultra bottle; I think that would last long enough to make it worth my while as I currently pay around £127.00 a year per bottle just for rental, without the gas!”

J: “Any shout outs?”
G: “Firstly my Dad who gave me my desire to know how things work, I spent my childhood taking stuff apart to find out how it worked. Next my ex-boss Martin Lewis who trained me well as a farrier and gave me a great work ethic. Finally, a couple of you tubers that I simply love to watch, Jimmy Diresta and Jody Collier.”

Jimmy Diresta and Woody Jody Collier

Jimmy Diresta on YouTube

Jody Collier on YouTube

Don't forget to send your stories to info@hobbyweld.co.uk

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