Much as I hate to equivocate, here is the place to do it. The lawyers say I should.
Please don’t take offense at anything I write. My intentions are good, sometimes my phrasing is awkward or unfortunate.
When I write about processes, I can’t guarantee that you will get the same results that I did.
What I succeeded in doing may not translate to you. The patina I got in July may not look like what you will get in December – they often don’t for me either.
Instructions can be hard to follow. They are also hard to write. It’s easy to leave out a intermediate step or some critical detail which is so obvious to me that I forgot to mention it. That happens all the time with cookbooks & recipes.
My lawnmower mechanic rebuilt the lawnmower engine but forgot to hook up the voltage regulator, so the battery died. Then, when he fixed that, he screwed the top down in such a way that the gas line was pinched. It’s easy to make mistakes.
As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, “It’s always something.”
Welding – can’t say that I’m an expert but I am learning more every day, am much better than I was, and much better than most of the local graduates of various welding schools. You may know more than me, or you may have learned a different approach.
Career advice – take it with a grain of salt. In fact, take everything with a grain of salt. These are all my opinions and observations, nothing more. I often find a year later that I need to revise what I have written because my observational powers have improved, or some new idea has given me a new insight.
If I can stress one thing I’ve learned, you have to test everything carefully, changing only variable at a time. Keep careful notes. Then later, try and redo the test.
Keep a shop journal. Write down everything you do, and every new idea you try out. If you don’t, and it turns out right, you won’t know how to duplicate your endeavor. If it turns out wrong, you won’t be able to learn from your mistake.
Never forget – memory is fallible. You are in this for the long haul. Someone may ask you to recreate a design you did ten years ago. If you don’t have notes, you may be lost at sea before you begin.