Young welder creates his own Hammer of Thor

Par Raymond Berthiaume
Young welder creates his own Hammer of Thor
student welder

“I’m pretty happy about it,” said Dillin Sauvé, 17, a Grade 11 student at Vankleek Collegiate Institute (VCI), regarding his silver-medal accomplishment in the applied welding category of the Skillz Ontario regional competition at St. Lawrence College in Kingston last month.

Sauvé and a hundred other industrial arts students were challenged to create their own version of Mjöllnir, the legendary hammer of Thor, the Norse god of thunder and hero of Asgard. The challenge was to do so in less than three hours.

“They gave us three pieces of ‘stamped’ steel,” Sauvé said, adding that the steel pieces were each one-eighth of an inch thick, and plasma-cut into different sizes.

“You had to bend it (the steel) into shape, weld it, and fill it,” he said.

Each competitor also received a short length of one-inch-diameter gasline pipe to serve as the hammer shaft. Then they were left to their own devices.

Sauvé followed the old carpenter’s rule of “measure twice, cut once” and spent the first 20 minutes of his time in the challenge rummaging through the scrap metal bin in the college’s industrial arts workshop. He collected a few pieces of scrap and used them to test and set the welder settings to what he thought would be appropriate for the task. Then he got to work.

“I finished in about 45 or 50 minutes,” he said, calculating that making his Thor’s hammer took about a half hour of actual welding time.

About 10 per cent of the students in the challenge finished within the same amount of time or less as Sauvé. The rest completed their hammers within about an hour-and-a-half’s time. The competitors were divided into morning and afternoon groups to accommodate the space available in the college industrial arts workshop. Sauvé was in the afternoon and he’d heard that someone in the morning group had earned the gold medal in the competition. He admitted to surprise that he had made the top three, even though he was confident about his welding skills.

“I was a bit nervous, because I figured it (the challenge) would be something out of my reach, based on what I knew about welding,” he said. “In the end, though, it was something that I was very comfortable with.”

Sauvé has been learning the fine points of welding for the past year as part of his applied practices for trades curriculum at VCI.

“I find myself at home in the shop,” he said. “I enjoy doing sheet metal work, auto body work, and welding. I find I have a natural talent for it.”

A talent that comes in handy at his St-Eugène farm home.

“I usually do welding repairs on machinery at the farm, fixing hitches or other broken parts,” he said. “My plan is to become a boilermaker, doing welding on pressurized pipe and other things at refineries, hydro projects, and such.”

He has also given thought to working on a skyscraper project, being part of a “high steel” construction gang. What he wants is use his skills on whatever project is available and offers something interesting and challenging for him.

“I want to be able to work on something different every day,” he said.

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