To Weld a Pachyderm

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In college, if you major in English, you get to write a paper.  A drama major will act in a play.  And a welding major?

Well, he might just get to weld an elephant…

Sculpted elephant shows tradesman’s artistic flair

By Kristi O’Harran
Herald Columnist

The circus is coming to Camano Island.

Well, not the whole ring and tent, just a fanciful retired elephant.

bildeJames R. Shields III, who grew up on the island, fabricated the pachyderm at Everett Community College.

She’s a beauty — in metal.

“Elly started with a three-way, 4-inch pipe fitting that looked like the beginnings of a trunk, and grew into a partial head when the body showed up,” Shields said.

The body is a working air compressor tank from the 1940s that was bound for the college scrap pile.

From there, pipe fittings made the legs, thanks, Shields said, to Rick Brydges, who teaches pipefitting. Fittings were also welded to make the legs and trunk.

The spine and tail are fashioned from rebar.

“I got to use 350 pounds of scrap welding wire, and spent more than 200 hours, to make Elly,” he said. “She will be on display at Freedom Park at Terry’s Corner on Camano Island.”

Elly has bright eyes, tusks and a trumpeting trunk on a wrinkled body that truly looks like elephant hide.

Children can climb aboard when they go on safari.

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