Wire Figures

All I Want For Christmas… is a MIG Welding Machine

By December 6, 2020 December 9th, 2020 No Comments

What? Why?

What? Welding?

In simple terms Arc Welding is a welding process used to join metal to metal. It’s achieved by electrifying both the metal to be welded and a flux coated welding rod, held at a precise distance from the joint to be welded. It causes a short (intense sparks) across the gap, “an arc” and this melts the rod into the gap. When the melted metals cool, you have your binded joint.


Maybe not, but even so, it’s easier said than done!

Crushed By The Wheels of Industry

The machine required to get started is relatively cheap but lots of practice is essential to achieve strong joints. I’ve been using this method for over a year, creating the mild steel frames for my wire figures. The results have been mixed at best though, punctuated by bouts of swearing. The frustrations of weak joints are all too frequent. It’s also difficult to use the basic machine to weld stainless steel.

MIG stands for “Metal Inert Gas” (in case you were wondering) and is a form of gas metal arc welding (GMAW). I know… yawn… now you’re really bored.

Basically, it’s easier to get a better weld and to weld different metals. Special welding wire is fed automatically through a welding gun. The wire is then melted by the electric arc in an atmosphere of shielding gas which is also fed from the gun.

If you’re still reading, you’re possibly thinking “so what?” and more likely “…and this is important? Why?”.


I have three urgent art projects to complete before Christmas.

Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer

The first, and most pressing… I must complete a group of Christmas reindeer for the front garden for my wife. If I fail or I’m slow, she assures me she will go out and buy a twee, but very expensive, version from the garden centre! And I’ve already expressed my feelings about garden centre models/ wire figures in earlier blogs…

I’ve done several sketches and am working on the best open frame sculpture that my welding skills will permit. The new welding machine will arrive early next week. I’ve only had one short session on MIG welding so my fingers are crossed. In the meantime I’ve ordered the steel as an outward sign of commitment to placate “she who must be obeyed” as Rumpole of the Bailey often said.

An Artful Gardener - An Artful Blog - Reindeer illustrations

Noggin the Nog

Second, I am working on a Noggin the Nog design for the treasure chest I’ve been restoring for my new grandson George. Again I’ve had to fight for my artistic choice.

Noggin the Nog was one of my favourite TV programmes as a child. Written by Oliver Postgate and illustrated by Peter Firmin, it tells the saga of Noggin, King of the Nogs and his wicked uncle Nogbad the Bad. Each episode begins with the epic introduction:

“In the Lands of the North, where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, the men of the Northlands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale…”

The books and the television episodes, all brilliant, are still available from The Dragons Friendly Society .

What has this got to do with welding you ask? Nothing save that I’m short of time. Though I’m always better working to a deadline.

An Artful Gardener - An Artful Blog - Noggin The Nog illustration

Female Figure with Movement

Finally I must complete Amanda’s “female figure with movement” which I began earlier this year. I then ran into a creative block when trying to create the gossamer-like fabric she’s throwing into the air with a flourish! My first attempt meant she’d have to be an Olympic weight lifter to get it airborne.
Her neck was also too short, so she’s headless right now and looks like she’s impersonating Mary Queen of Scots. Never mind… we shall overcome!

Wish me luck.

Neil Kinsella

Author Neil Kinsella

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