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Welding Technique and Safety

I saw a lot of bad welding techniques on cable TV shows last night. I’m not talking about, poor fusion, or weld defects such as undercut or porosity. I’m talking about the utter disregard for safety!

There’s a lot more to welding technique than just running a bead. All kinds of bad things can happen if you aren’t educated in, or just plain disregard safety. I’m hoping young hobbyist and people new to the trade aren’t copying the welding technique WITHOUT the safety factors.

Welding techniques have been taken to a new level on a lot of these shows, but in a lot of cases safety has been left behind.

Two of the worst things I’ve seen are…


Using a cutting torch with no cutting glasses…
This doesn’t involve welding technique, it involves being absolutely crazy!
Although the ultra violet light is not as intense as in welding, it is still enough to damage your eyes if you look at it too long.

But worse than that, get too close to the steel and you’re gonna’ blast some molten spatter into your unprotected eye. Mild steel melts at approximately 2700 degrees F and an oxy/acetylene torch is burning at almost 6000 degrees F. Get that in your pupil and it is lights out…FOREVER! A five dollar pair of cutting glasses would prevent it!

Welding/Cutting Technique Tip:

Check for proper pressure settings and tip size for the plate thickness you are cutting. Keep the tip about 1/8″ off of the plate, watch your travel speed, and slightly aim the tip in the direction of travel. (especially on thin steel) RELAX your hands as much as possible, and roll the torch on your knuckles as you cut instead of dragging your hand across the steel. If you have a long cut, clamp a piece of angle iron to the steel you’re cutting and drag the torch on the angle iron for a good straight cut. Always maker sure the tip is clean.


Tacking and welding with no hood…
That onionskin of an eyelid is NOT providing adequate protection from the harmful UV rays. Damage to your eyes with UV is PERMANENT & IRREVERSABLE, need I say more? Like hearing damage, it can happen over time without you noticing it until it’s too late.

The possibility of cataracts, macular degeneration, and now maybe even EYE CANCER will dang sure make me use a hood EVERYTIME I tack and weld! Similar to hearing loss, it can happen over time. And you sure don’t want to get a 2700 degree spatter droplet on that little eyelid ’cause that’ll put you into a world of hurt!

Welding/Cutting Technique Tip:

Get a quick-change hood for tacking. A good one will cost you from $100 to $300. Some only change to # 10, with mine I can grind, cut, and weld with #10, #11, and #12. But I paid $300 bucks for that privilege!

You can pick up cheap, (price AND quality) quick-change hoods for as low as $39 on sale from Harbor Freight and Northern Tools. I wouldn’t wanta’ weld in the shop or field with them, but they’re great for learners and garage hobbyist.