Braising is a technique just short of welding. When you weld, the two pieces of metal actually melt and flow together and you often use a filler rod, which is just a rod with an alloy of steel, to add a little more material to strengthen the weld. When you braise, the two pieces of metal do not melt, they just get really hot, but the braising rod does melt and forms a bond with the two pieces of metal - holding them together. Braising isn't as strong as welding, but it is useful for many purposes. The problem with braising aluminium is that aluminum doesn't change color as it gets hot the way steel does. It's fairly easy to tell how hot a piece of steel is by just seeing the color. This doesn't work with aluminum and the danger is that it will just melt and run in to a big puddle. The difference is temperature between when the braise will work and when the aluminum will melt is not all that great, so this is a real danger - at least for me.
I've also been reading Dickens. I reread Great Expectations and am not almost done with Oliver Twist. It's somewhat like seeing Shakespeare, all these characters that have entered the common language. Ellen and I are going on a car trip later this year and we are going to listen to Bleak House.
I also read A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum, about a Palestinian woman growing up in a very traditional family is Detroit, Michigan. It's a fantastic book, though very hard to read because of the subject - it reinforces all my prejudices against traditional cultures no matter where they are.
Wonderful spring here in Washington - somewhat cool so everything is spread out they way they should be - dogwoods then redbuds, daffodils the tulips - but my nose is paying the price, allergies are bad. It will be time to start working in the garden in West Virginia is a couple of weeks, that will be good.
Good to see you back.