Snow, television, and fabricating

February 8, 2008
By: Dan Davis

When more than a foot of snow is expected to fall, you should probably go out and shovel a couple of times during
the day instead of waiting until the end of the snowfall to do it. That was the case yesterday as I battled the white stuff in my driveway and sidewalks. The office was closed, so I spent the day making a soup, doing some household chores, and watching some television. I didn"t bother to shovel periodically during the day, and now my back is reminding me why that wasn"t such a good idea.

I did take in some television and learned that metal fabricating skills can come in handy when you are blowing apart movie myths or planning to assassinate a world leader.

I caught Part 2 of the James Bond Special on Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel. In general, Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, and the team do a great job whipping up all kinds of fabrications to prove and bust beliefs that people hold as true. This episode was particularly fun as they targeted one of cinema"s largest charactersJames Bond.

My favorite two myths targeted for investigation were the metal teeth belonging to The Spy Who Loved Me villain Jaws and the famous bowler hat of death belonging to Goldfinger henchman Oddjob.

To replicate Jaws" chompers, Savage bent steel slabs as the base and welded teeth to the horseshoe-shape gums. He then applied a hardfacing alloy coating to the steel teeth. Once done, he put the teeth in a fake human skull to see if the jaws could snap a 1.5-inch cable, just as Jaws did in the Bond flick. Unfortunately, as weight was applied to increase the biting strength of the skull, the bone structure collapsed, leaving the metal jaws unscathed,

Hyneman stepped in and followed a similar path, but relied on sharper teeth and an all-metal fabrication to try and
generate more biting power. Even using a 20,000-lb. hydraulic press to power the metal jaws only resulted in bending the press and not denting the cable.

Apparently, even if Jaws were 7 ft., 2 in. tall, he couldn"t generate the power necessary to bite through that

The Oddjob re-creation was much more successful. The MythBusters build team purchased some bowler hats and then fabricated steel rings, some blunt and some sharp, to line the hat"s bottom ring. After constructing a robotic arm to generate an acceptable throwing speed, the team learned that Oddjob could indeed decapitate a marble statue, just as he did in Goldfinger. Of course, the MythBusters team had a hollow marble statue, but it was a cool re-creation nonetheless.

Without a doubt, fabrication can be fun. Not profitable in this case, but fun.

Of course, contract killing can be highly lucrative, but also highly risky. I learned that watching the 1973 film The Day of the Jackal. Some angry Frenchmen want to hire a
foreign-born killer to slip into France and assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle. For the contract killer
to get close to the French leader during Paris Liberation Day celebrations, he has a gun manufactured to
specifications that fits inside stainless steel tubes that will become crutches. The killer then hobbles past security dressed as a French war veteran, removes the gun parts, constructs the weapon, and targets de Gaulle. A
wise French detective thwarts the assassination attempt, and the metalworking world avoids an embarrassing moment.

That"s this week"s report. Stay tuned for more reports on metal fabricating moments in pop culture on this same station. That is, however, if the snow falls.

Dan Davis

Dan Davis

FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
Phone: 815-227-8281