Some of you may have noticed by now that when it comes to welding at ye ol' Wentz garage you'll see me workin' away with a torch in hand. Yep, when it comes time to fuse metal together in my garage you can catch me with an old hand-me-down torch and a set of bottles I got for Christmas years back. Now for me, it's just normal to weld with a torch. It's what I learned on, and it's still what I use. As for others, shock and awe is an understatement. Because I can tell ya, one phrase I often hear is, "Why are you using a torch." It's as if I'm practicing witchcraft to many.

Well for starters, I weld with a torch because it's versatile. With a torch I can weld, braze, cut, heat, shrink, stretch, bend ... basically the list goes on ... just about any type of metal out there, or at least anything I ever work with. Another reason is when working with sheetmetal a gas weld is a much softer weld than a MIG weld, which makes it easier to work with, and much easier to grind. Along with that it's just easy for me to use, plain and simple. However, one of the biggest reasons I use a torch is because of my situation.

Now when I say situation, I'm not talking about my own skills, because I can weld with both a MIG and TIG welder. Instead, what I'm talking about is my working situation. At this point in my life I rent a condo. In my garage the only outlet's we have are 110-volt, and I don't want to ask my landlord to hook up a 220-volt outlet for two reasons. One, is my landlord doesn't exactly know about what goes on in my garage. The last thing I want to do is give up my position on "what he doesn't know won't hurt him." My second reason is that he pays the electric bill for the outdoor lights and such, which includes the garage electricity. I don't think he is gonna be to keen on the idea of increasing his expenses to please me.

Now sure, they make both MIG and TIG welders that run on 110-volt, but I've never really had the desire, or extra loot at that, to purchase a 110-volt MIG. As for a TIG welder, I've never come across a 110-volt machine that I would fork over the dough for. Now don't get me wrong, I have seen machines that run on 110-volt that are high-quality welders, however, my philosophy is if you're gonna go for a long-term investment get something you won't outgrow in the near future. And for that reason I've never been able to outweigh the benefits over the costs. Which means I'll continue to kick old school with my torch until a new situation arises.

Well, a few months back the gods of fate threw me a bone. While visiting my grandpa in Oklahoma, I noticed a plastic container in the storage room of the shop. I asked him what it was, and he said that it was a TIG welder he got for going on Monster Garage a few years back. He then told me he had no use for it, since he already has a TIG, and that I could have it if I wanted. As I looked into it I noticed it was a 110-volt machine, and would support 90 percent of what I'm doing. It was perfect.

Once back in California I purchased an argon bottle and a few accessories to hook up the machine. By the time I got home and hooked it up, I didn't have but 20 minutes to play around with it, but the initial test run was a success. When I got home the next day, I headed out to mess around with my newly acquired toy. For the first five minutes things went great. Then I went to turn up the heat, and when I came back to weld the machine wouldn't work. Long story short, it's now on its way to the manufacturer to see what went south. (The local welding store couldn't figure it out.) Well, so much for out with the old and in with the new. I guess all of this is another reason to keep that old torch around; because the bottle won't let ya down! -Dakota Wentz