The Gadsden Technical Institute welding program is building an all-welded aluminum fishing boat.
Welding instructor Mike Clark said his class built an aluminum boat about 15 years ago.
This year’s class, he stated, had enough good welders to build another one. The boat, he explained, is being built by the whole class, but the welds are done by specific welders who have learned and practiced using TIG and MIG welding methods.
The boat will be a cross between a fishing boat and a duck boat.
Aluminum welding is more complicated than regular steel welding.
Clark said there are two major types of welds for aluminum.
TIG welding uses tungsten-electrode and inert gas together and is a method of welding in which the arc is maintained by a tungsten electrode and shielded from the access of air by an inert gas.
MIG welding is a method of welding in which a filler metal wire supplies the electric current to maintain the arc, which is shielded from the access of air by an inert gas, usually argon.
These forms of welding are common in the aerospace, automotive repair and art fields.
“This is a great opportunity for these students to learn another form of welding,” Clark said.
The boat is being sponsored by a local resident who drew up the original specs and Clark and his students have drawn out the blueprints for the actual construction of the
boat which is 16 feet long with a five-and-a-half-foot width (across the rear of the boat).
Clark explained that students have been a part of the process from cutting the aluminum from patterns to grinding and welding.
The boat will be completed over the next couple of months and at that point turned over to the sponsor who will rig it out with seats and carpet.