We are proud to host a wide variety of creators at the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace. One such member is journeyman ironworker Jeff Spoor. Jeff started off learning the basics of metalwork in his high school shop class, which led to him enrolling in a work-study program. From there we worked as a welder for the military before attending a technical school. These days, Jeff does industrial metalworking for a living and ornamental metalworking as a hobby.
In our interview, Jeff talked about bringing home pieces of scrap metal that would have otherwise been thrown out and using them to make something beautiful - such as his metallic flowers. “It’s reusing something,” he said, “repurposing and recycling.” That’s an idea we can really get behind at the Firelabs. Jeff also talked about how useful welding can be for more practical needs - such as repairs around the house or in creating pieces to be combined with other projects. Hairpin legs are a simple, quick way to give furniture a more modern look - if you know what you’re doing.
Arc welding is defined as a technique in which metals are welded using the heat generated by an electric arc. There are quite a few types of arc welding, but the three we talked about most were: stick or shielded metal arc welding, MIG welding, and TIG or heliarc welding. Each of these types could be broken down into even more categories, but we stuck with the basics. Stick welding utilizes a fixed-length electrode and an electric power source. MIG welding is when an electric arc forms between a consumable MIG wire electrode and the workpiece metal. TIG welding, however, uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld.
Did all of that sound like Greek to you? We felt the same way, but Jeff is more than just an experienced welder; he’s an experienced teacher. He was introduced to teaching by a friend who worked for a school nearby and began conducting classes for the students there. As word of the classes - and how much the students enjoyed them - spread, Jeff was asked to teach more classes for other schools. He loved getting to see the transitions that the students would make - from timid and shy at the start of the classes, to empowered as they saw their ideas come to life.
Now, Jeff is interested in sharing his knowledge and expertise with the Firelabs, too. Though COVID-19 has kept us from bringing classes back quite yet, Jeff has been brainstorming ideas for what he’d like to teach when we do. He shared some of those ideas with us and they sound pretty cool. So, if you’re interested in learning about welding and metalwork, keep an eye on our event calendar. It’s only a matter of time!