Metal Nipple


Joined June 2010

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Artist's Description

Part of the Tollefson Repair Series.

          My Dad and I were driving through Viroqua and I was getting sleepy. I had tried one of those energy drinks with ginseng and taurine but I think I was overloaded with caffeine. You know how it can make you sleepy if your system’s been getting too much of it? In any case, I saw a thrift store and thought it would be a good idea to stop and look around for a while. As I drove around the block to park, I saw a mechanics shop with much metal stacked outside.
          “Let’s go take a look and see if they’ll let us take pictures,” I said to my Dad.
          Now, he had just come from a 48 hour train ride from Sacramento so I was impressed when he was willing to wander around with me.
          “I’m fine,” Dad said, “I’ve been resting on the train. Sure, I’ll walk with you.”
          My Dad’s incredibly healthy at eighty years old. He walks one to three miles a day, and talks to whomever he meets, usually beginning and ending the conversation with “God bless you.”
          We walked over to the mechanics shop, named Tollefson Repair .
          “Hello,” I called out.
          “Hi, can I help you with anything?” said a tall man with gold-blonde hair pulled back into a long ponytail. His name is John, as it turns out.
          “I was just wondering if it would be possible to take some pictures of the metal you’ve got stacked out here,” I said.
          “Sure, take all the photos you want,” he smiled and continued talking to a customer in the shop.
          I happily snapped away, my Dad pointing out good shapes or angles for close-ups. This was my pocket camera I was using, the one I always carried in my… purse. It is an Olympus fe 4010 , 12 Megapixel. It takes excellent close-ups with the super macro setting.
          “Here, Dad, you take a few.” I handed the camera to my father.
          “Oh, well ok.” he said, and took the camera. “Is this the button?” he asked.
          “No, this one, right here,” I pointed out the shutter button.
          He took some pictures and then John came over to say hi and see what we were so enamored with.
          “See?” I said. I showed him a close-up of the L shapes of the cut steel.
          “And look at this one,” the cross-section of the 3 inch diameter rod.
          “Yeah, these are pretty cool,” he said. “See the difference between the end there, and this cut over here? That one was cut by a plasma torch, it’s much cleaner and makes this wavy pattern.” I could see that he could see that what we were seeing was, well, cool.
          Dad asked John some questions about the plasma cuts versus the torch and the welding. John described the process and the differences and you could tell he really knew what he was talking about, and loved what he did.
          As it turns out, John has worked on train cars, boats damaged by Hurricane Katrina, windmills, vintage cars, and a multitude of other interesting things.
          “Is there anything you wouldn’t work on?” I asked him.
          “Engines,” he said. “Small motors and things like that, servos, primarily because they come back.”
          So if you have anything that needs fixing or welding that’s not an engine, bring it to Tollefson Repair for expert work, good conversation, and some great photos.

Artwork Comments

  • Robin King
  • FeeBeeDee
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