The basic but valuable welding skills learned in stick welding. Part 1

If you are learning to weld, and wish to master all disciplines of welding eventually, you will probably want to begin with one process, and learn it before proceeding to the other disciplines. If you are wanting to do this, then consider learning to Stick weld first. There are a lot of people who would like to ignore this facet of welding, but being able to stick weld is a not an outdated process and is not going anywhere for some time to come as it still excels in providing economy, portability, versatility and capability. There are several aspects of Stick welding that you will learn that will readily transfer over to other welding processes which will give you a good foundation to build upon when you decide to try another process. One of the first and most important skills of welding you will learn with stick welding is puddle recognition. The stick weld puddle develops and forms right under the welding rod. The force of the arc constantly agitates the puddle so it can be seen. In addition, the puddle forms slag which quickly separates and coalesces behind the puddle. This can be seen as a darker swirl or streak that boils out of the puddle and separates to the rear. Some people have trouble distinguishing between the puddle and the separating slag, but this is a good skill to have when recognizing contaminates when they occur in other processes of welding, as the contaminates can exhibit themselves as dark specs that float out similar to the slag, but in small quantities, if any.