Welding rods by Mistake?
When I was at Los Pinos (the orphanage campus) last November, I was with my friend Henry Lazaro, the maintenance man. I noticed a large old cement mixer outside the shop. Henry made signs and spoke words to make me know that it was dead. Looking closer, I noticed it had a two cylinder Lister diesel engine. Lister diesels are nearly bullet-proof and can operate for decades without needing repair. Henry let me know that the motor was good but pointed out the problem. The sprocket for the chain drive on the engine side had cracks through 3 of the five spokes of the sprocket, and on the mixer side, the pinion that drove the ring gear on the barrel of the mixer had about ½ of the teeth stripped off. I could tell these parts were made of cast iron.
That evening I spoke with Roy Brown, a volunteer who is a retired master mechanic from Wamic, Oregon. Roy came and looked it over. He believed that he could rebuild the teeth on the pinion gear with weld and repair the sprocket if we could find the special rod that is required for welding cast iron. Roy explained that cast iron is a tough but brittle form of iron with high carbon content. It requires a special nickel-type welding rod. We needed about 6 rods. I set Henry to work getting the parts off and I went to town with Berny to see if we could find some of the special nickel-type welding rods.
Berny and I went to the better of the two hardware stores and he inquired about the special rods. The clerk disappeared into the back and soon emerged with 10 rods in a pack. He explained that this was all that he had of some that had been delivered by mistake a long time ago. They were still sealed and appeared to be in good condition. I paid the $10.00 US for the rods in a heartbeat.
Roy took the rods, welded the sprocket spokes, built up the stripped teeth on the pinion with weld, then ground down the weld and machined back the teeth. The pinion gear looked perfect. The mixer was reassembled and was ready for service.
The rods were not delivered by mistake. They were delivered by God’s providence.