Stick welding for a beginner - Part4
Technique is important in welding. This is something that will become apparent to anyone who spends a few minutes with the hood down and a welding torch in hand. Most stick welding courses teach basic techniques, that allow for a quick, and sure method of welding, even though it may be somewhat boring to look at. This technique minimizes motion, and error, and is called making “Stringer” beads, which amounts to running the welding rod on the surface of the metal, by dragging the fluxed edge against it, and continuing in a straight line with little or no side to side movement.
In fact, in many circles, this type weld is required to eliminate as many imperfections in the weldment as possible. With little or no movement, and the flux on the rod serving to hold a steady standoff distance, it truly does cut down on the chances of a seriously flawed weld. This serves also to get more welders into the field with less training. While it has worked to improve overall weld quality, sadly a lot of highly valued welders now in the field no of no other type of weld. An older method that has been taught in times past incorporated a “weaving” pattern, particularly on flat metal.
This method would involve the welder developing fine motor control to hold the electrode at a steady close height, while the rod was oscillated side to side to fill the joint. Many patterns could be used. Crescents, figure eights, and even Z patterns could be used. Weaving could be used to turn out aesthetically appealing welds. Done correctly, it would yield a high quality weld as well. No doubt, though, many welders struggle to make a correct weld this way. Weaving does offer the advantage of helping to knit together, poorly fitted joints, and pieces that have gaps. Modern welding techniques seek to limit gaps, and improve fitments so less concern is given to an irregular faced seam. However there are times in the field, especially in repair situations that the weave cannot be replaced by a stringer bead. Real world economics dictate that a welder must be pragmatic and time lost trying to fit up poorly shaped components to be welded can be costly, so weaving to reduce set up time may be the best solution.