What Have You Welded Lately?

Distinctive Birdhouse Custom-made for "Snow Birds"

Jay Cluck's parents are full-time RVers, spending their summers at home in Kansas and the rest of the year traveling to warmer climates. When home, the Clucks often camp along the Missouri River. It's there that Jay's mom enjoys watching her favorite wild bird – the Purple Martin. Purple Martins are known for their beauty and friendliness. These special birds, part of the Swallow family, are also incredibly industrious, known to eat tens of thousands of mosquitoes in a single day, providing natural mosquito control.

Purple Martins are unable to excavate their own nesting holes, so they rely on man-made housing for nesting and reproduction. To attract Purple Martins, it takes a special birdhouse – featuring small entry holes where baby birds can be safely bred and raised.

This past winter, Jay decided he would surprise his mom by custom building an RV-style Purple Martin birdhouse – unlike any birdhouse she's ever owned. Jay operates his own auto body shop where he relies on ESAB welding equipment every day. Jay put his ESAB Migmaster to work in fabricating the birdhouse. He purchased the Migmaster seven years ago because he needed a heavy-duty machine with a duty cycle that could handle larger fab jobs.

"I rely on the dependability of my ESAB welder," said Jay.

This compact MIG unit is designed to deliver outstanding weld performance with solid wires of steel, stainless steel or aluminum, as well as cored-wires with or without shielding gas. Migmaster's wide current and voltage range allows easy optimization for a variety of filler metals and gases.

The Migmaster's flexibility helps Jay tackle a range of projects, including the birdhouse.

"I wanted to build my mom a special bird house that would be unique and that could withstand the weather," said Jay. "It seemed relatively easy at first just cutting out the sides and making dividers for all the rooms, but then came making the roof, floor front and back – all made from one continuous sheet of hand formed 14g steel 100% welded to the sides."

Following this came the challenge of trying to find just the right wheels, which he pulled from a child's old sidewalk racer he found in a junk pile. The rest, says Jay, was "researching hole sizes for birds and doors for clean out, and a lot of prep and paint work."

More than 60 hours later and with the fabrication of a custom pole made from 3" square tubing, the birdhouse was complete.

Jay's mom was thrilled. And, as Jay says, "Winter hours in the shop don't count when they're spent for your mom."

Since then, Jay's gone on to build a mailbox converted from a boat motor and is currently working on another special project (stay tuned for a follow up story on this) using his ESAB equipment.

Tell us about the metal masterpieces you've created with ESAB or Victor products. If we publish your story, you'll receive an ESAB/Victor prize package with an ESAB FR welding jacket, safety glasses, and more. Plus, you'll be included in our Fabrication Hall of Fame. Send your story and details along with photos to publicrelations@esab.com.

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