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Stick Welding Techniques

This article will cover basic welding techniques in “stick welding.”
Stick Welding TechniquesBefore welding make a final check and remove consumable material. Remove the cigarette lighter from you pocket. Check your machine to make sure it’s on and adjusted to the approximate settings. Clean the joint. Clamp the rod in the stinger at a 45 to 90 degree angle. Warn those around you. Place the rod about two inches from the work. Adjust your hood so that when you nod your head the hood will fall over your face. Strike the arc using the tip of the rod on the surface using a wrist motion, just like when you strike a wooden match. When the arc is struck lift the rod about 1/8″ above the base material. If the rod “sticks” snap the stinger backward from the direction of the work. Become light handed. Practice on scrap pieces.

Proper Stick Welding Techniques
Run a practice bead. Strike an arc moving the welding rod across the plate at a uniform speed and at an incline of about 20 degrees in the direction of travel. A right handed person usually welds from left to right. Steady your elbow against your body, the table, or the work. Use the free hand as needed to control the stinger. Run beads that consume the entire rod. Let the arc penetrate the base metal and deposit the filler metal (from the rod) into the joint.

Continue to strike arcs and run beads across the joint making proper adjustments until you start and stop as desired, with no problems. No further adjustments should be needed. Burn the rod down to about 1 and 1/2″ from the end. One welding rod usually produces a weld about 1″ long.

To continue or to restart the bead:
When you stop there is a “crater.” Chip the slag and re-strike the arc a little bit ahead of the crater and then run the bead. In time this method will produce uniform welds of high strength without trapping any slag in the bead that cause defects. At the end of a weld or when the rod is used up, pause slightly to fill the crater then pull the rod away. Chip the slag and inspect the weld.

Good welds are dependent on five techniques: correct amperage setting; correct arc length; correct rod selection and angle to the work; correct travel speed; and welding rods that have been stored and maintained properly.

When electrodes absorb moisture from the atmosphere, they must be dried in order to restore the ability to deposit quality welds. Electrodes with too much moisture cause unexplained cracking, poor operating characteristics, and porosity. If you’ve experienced these conditions it usually is due to your storage methods or re-drying procedures. All electrodes, even those outside of the “stick” category, must be stored and then dried to the right level to work well. Even a small amount of moisture in low hydrogen electrodes, for example, can lead to major weld problems such as internal porosity and weld cracking.

Too little amperage causes a weak arc that is hard to strike. Too much amperage causes a large crater, or a flat bead with excessive spatter.

An arc that is too short will make the rod stick. Too long and large drops of melted metal will drip off the rod and it will tend to “blow’ and spatter. A long arc also produces uneven bead with poor penetration.

The rod angle affects the penetration. An important welding technique is holding the rod nearly perpendicular to the joint increase penetration but can cause slag to get trapped in the weld. Lowering the rod too flat or low lessens the penetration and causes ripples.

Speed affects the amount of rod deposited and the uniformity of the bead. Correct speed produces about 1″ of weld per rod. Travel too fast and it makes a thin bead with little penetration. Too slow lets the bead build up with edges that overlap the base metal. Too slow of travel on thin metal will blow a hole through.

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