The Bigger the Blob, the Better the Job

Found outside the local Kohl’s department store:

Welded hand rail joint

Welded hand rail joint

In all fairness, I don’t know how you’d weld a decent joint in a situation like that, without far more prep work than seems appropriate. There’s not much metal in those tubes for proper grinding and fishmouthing.

The handrail may not be long for this world: the bottom few inches of many posts have corroded to the vanishing point due all the salt applied to the pavement…


  1. #1 by smellsofbikes on 2015-01-13 - 14:29

    That looks to me like the fishmouthing attempt consisted of hammering on the intersecting tube until the two sort of conformed. That’s awful.
    Granted, I have more time and better equipment, but I weld sub-mm-wall-thickness steel tubing together and it comes out without either blobs or huge deformations in the rail.
    (I wonder what the expected lifetime is. If they’d made this out of stainless it’d last roughly forever, and even with aluminum it would have lasted probably ten times as long. How much will it cost to have to make a new one? Then again, the people making those decisions probably don’t pay for the replacement cost so they don’t care.)

    • #2 by Ed on 2015-01-13 - 15:13

      It was almost certainly a field repair, not the original weld, but … still.

      Maybe the next railing, the one they install after these uprights finally corrode into nothingness, will be stainless. That we insist on embedding steel in concrete, then sprinkle salt on the joint, continues to amaze me…

      • #3 by smellsofbikes on 2015-01-14 - 18:40

        I’ve thought about installing stainless plugs in the concrete, onto which the mild steel risers for the rest of the railing fit… (I’m needing a bunch of railing/fence right now and have been thinking about a couple different ideas, including id/od sleeves made of less rust-prone materials.)