Common welding related questions we hear. Part 8
Question 6 for this month: Do I weave or not weave? A lot of modern welding material frowns upon any manipulation of the welding rod while making a pass. These texts refer to using stringer beads to make welds, particularly in the stick and MIG welding processes. Yet, if you go back a few years, you’ll find many texts teaching correct weaving and rod manipulation techniques. Notice the emphasis on “correct”! There are right ways to weave and wrong ways obviously.
One of the reasons that so many texts teach stringer beads for nearly every type of welding position and material is that stringers simply require the user to drag the rod on the surface, allowing the hard, unmelted portion of the flux to serve as a buffer between the puddle and the rod. This method is easy to learn, but just as anything related to welding does, takes practice as well.
Generally, the strain of thought leading to teaching stringer welding is to introduce the least number of variables to the welding so that consistency can be achieved and maintained early on. Aesthetically speaking, stringers don’t have much personality. However, you can’t argue with results.
Men and women welders who train with stringer techniques will often pass their test at an earlier stage than someone learning how to weave. Of course, it ends up more about the economics of the technique rather than the technique itself. In a welding school, the idea is to have the highest graduation rates as possible, as fast as possible. This many not be admitted by many champions of stringer bead welding, but it is not far from the center of the issue.
Stringer bead teaching is faster, and more economical and gets the most people proficiency at welding. Weaving though really allows you to improve the appearance of the weld. Mastering weaving does take more time and effort because a perfect top weld when ground down will quickly reveal many internal flaws if you are inexperienced. Many excellent stringer bead welders never become proficient in weaving techniques.