Slag and Rust

Just another day at the DPW Metal Shop.

In the metal shop, you mostly listen to metal. Fitting, no?

They like their job, these kids. It’s a cool job, too. You get to get really dirty and have sparks flying and loud noises, and bang on things, and cut things. In addition to which, there is obviously a certain amount of skill involved. A few of the crew members work in shops in the outside world, and some of them are clearly very experienced. There are also those like Natalie, who joined the crew to learn new skills and who is already a good welder. Doyle – the new metal shop manager – put Natalie in charge of me, and with her help I made my own burn barrel. AWESOME.

Burn barrels are easy, but they require a little creativity. And we need a lot of them so that the good citizens of Black Rock can burn their trash safely. So, whenever there isn’t too much work to do, you can always grab an empty barrel from the big stack at the edge of the fence. First you grind down spots where the legs will be attached:

Then you cut and bend rebar for the legs…

…and weld them on.

Then you get to do the fun part: cutting your own design with the oxycetylene torch.

Voila, burn barrel.

Next to the shop, some of the crew were working on the Lamplighters’ truck: it’s constructed to hold a million people and couches, sure, but it gets too heavy in front and bogs down. They’re taking off the front of the platform and re-bracing the whole thing, so it can hold all your groovy asses the next time you feel like going for a ride.

So, this year when you’re riding around on top of the Lamplighters truck with your shirt off – or when you’re burning your pièce de résistance on a burn platform – or when you’re sitting around a barrel with a weird glowing skull design – think of DPW and the metal shop.

Try not to cut yourself on the barrel, too. I’m just saying.

About the author: The Hun

The Hun

The Hun, also known as J.H. Fearless, has been blogging for Burning Man (and many other outlets) since 2005, which is also the year she joined the BRC DPW on a whim that turned out to be a ten-year commitment. Since then she's won some awards for blogging, built her own creative business, and produced some of the Burning Blog's most popular stories and series. She co-created a grant-funded art piece, "Refoliation," in 2007, and stood next to it watching the Man burn on Monday night during a full lunar eclipse. She considers that, in many ways, to have been the symbolic end of Burning Man that was. The Hun lives in Reno with DPW Shade King, Quiet Earp. You may address her as "The Hun" or "Hun". If you call her "Honey" she reserves the right to cut you.