Friday, July 02, 2010

tempering steel

I don't know if other men grew up not knowing the worth of their fathers but I never realized the worth of my father until it was way to late.  I never try to put into another's mind what flows through mine.  This is a story about me and my dad.  If it hits home in your world, all the better.

When I look at some of the fathers that other people were stuck with, it puts tears in my eyes.  The tears flow for two reasons.

First, it is heart breaking to find out that children are abused by their parents.  I will never understand how a person can do harm to another person let alone their own children.

Second, when I think about how I never really appreciated my father, I am ashamed.  He was everything a boy could want or need in a dad.  But more than that he was a teacher of men.  He didn't teach school.  He didn't preach sermons.  He just live a life of honor.  He helped others.  He would spend hours showing others what he knew and there was never a thought of money.  People are not like that today.  Everybody wants to get paid for every thing they do.

My dad, Cec (pronounced ceese, short for Cecil) as he was called by his friends was a welder by trade.

If you needed a tailer hitch, drop by and see Cec.  Bring the metal and he would weld it on your truck free of charge.  If you wanted to learn to temper steel, see Cec, he was an accomplished blacksmith.  In fact all the words above are really leading up to my dad's class in tempering steel.

His favorite hobby was rock hunting.  Rock hunters use a little hammer with a sharp point for chipping a rocks.  If the points are not hard then they won't break the rock.  When you buy the rock hammers they are never really tempered correctly so my dad always tempered his.

 Tempering is a treatment used on metals, usually alloys such as steel, in which the metal is heated at high levels and then cooled to improve the properties of the metal. The main goal of tempering steel is to make the steel stronger. Thus high-tempered steel is stronger than steel that has not been tempered.

When the other hunters wanted to know why his worked better he explained about tempering the steel.  Of course they all wanted him to temper there rock hammers. 

No he replied, " I will not do it for you but I will teach anyone that is interested how to temper their own hammer."

So he held a class in our back yard on a Saturday.  He was expecting five or six and he ended up with thirty five or six.  The only thing that would have made him happier was more people showing up.  He began showing how it was done and then making each person (men and women) do it themselves.

He set up his acetyline torch and a big tub of water on our back patio.  Hy taught them how to strike the torch.  Turn on the oxygen and then the acetylene tanks.
 Next open each valve on the torch just a little and put the tip of the torch next to the striker which is a wire spring hand held divice that scrapes a piece of flint across a piece of gnaled metal causing a spark.  The spark ignites the torch and pop there is a flame coming from the tip of the torch.  Then you adjust the torch so that the flame has is a blue cone inside a red flame.  The hottest part of the fkame is right at the tip of the blue cone.

Next temper the rock hammer by heating the pick point until the entire point is red hot.
Immediately put just the tip of the pick point in the water.  Hold it there until the point turns blue because of cooling and then submerse the entire pick point into the water and hold it there until it is cool.

The neat thing about my dad was that he helped and he taught.  His friends always left with more that they came in with.

There is a lot more to the acetylene than using it to temper rock hammers.  It is used for cutting and welding metals.  My dad had one his entire life and I can smell the aroma of burning metal as I write this article.  That aroma is the aroma of my dad.

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