Stick welding tips part 3

Having a well versed friend close by to give pointers and stick welding techniques tips is invaluable to learning to weld. So many self-taught welders develop bad habits right from the start that haunt and plague them the rest of their lives. Having someone to offer corrective advice is invaluable, but sometimes impossible to find. In the absence of an on the ground expert, many good online resources exist in the form of writings and videos. However, a few pointers are still in order. Always check your polarity first. This will make the difference in a frustrating weld and one that is a pure joy. Also, practice arc striking before you dive in to trying to make a perfect weld. Fifty percent (my guess, not a scientific observation) of the difficulty involved with welding is perfecting the arc start. An arc start can be made from one of two methods. First method is the match strike method, which flicks the electrode along the weld path, rubbing it on the metal. This will create sparks and eventually at a point the arc will light, if the proper standoff is maintained. The other method is the tapping method. It is simply best described like a chicken pecking the ground to get an arc to start. A light hand and quick reflexes are required. The match or scratch method is a reliable way for the beginner, but careless striking in the professional world where the arc accidentally is struck outside of the weld area will disqualify the weld. The tapping method can be tedious but when correctly done, will typically light right away. For the beginner, a series of taps may be required.