Today we did some additional welding on the structure for support and added a side 'ribbon'. I was relieved that the 'bench' felt strong and knew that this would help us in attaching the 15" of 16 gauge stainless that acted like a ribbon encircling the entire 29 feet of the alligator. But first we had to weld together two of the 10' long sections for the long, nearly 13' outside curve on one side. Stainless is a bitch (yes, I said it again) and warps like crazy when you weld, cut or even grind on it. So, you have to work slow and give it lots of time, never over-working any one area at a time. James did the painstaking tack welding along the 15" seam, until the whole thing was welded and then of course it needed to be ground out so we could put it through the roller to give the steal a bit of a curve to it. After all of that we then started to weld the side to the bench frame. This was hard and two of us had to work in unison to get it done. Part of the curve has a pretty tight radius and it was work to force the steel to go where it did not want to in order for us to weld it. James is a great welder (I am notorious for putting holes in sheet metal) and he is patient and easy to work with. Together we got it done and done well. It went together fairly easy and all our planning worked to our advantage. Now even with just one side attached to it the bench feels strong and stable. After a bit of extra tack welding we called it a day.
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