Getting used to stick welding for the first time
by Tim Drinkwater
(Eau Claire, Michigan)
When I first started trying to stick weld, I found the length of the rods hard to get used to and judge distance depth etc. I used to cut the electrodes in half, clean one end to bare metal to go into the stinger and file the other cut end even with a file. The shorter length seemed to make it easier to handle the electrode until you get the hang of starts, travel angles, arc length etc. You waste just a little bit of the end of one half of an electrode, but it made it a lot easier until I got comfortable with everything. Learning to stick weld was a little more of a challenge for me because I have always done a lot of electrical wiring and the first thing you learn when wiring a house or repairing anything electrical is that sparks and arcs are BAAAADDD!!! LOL. Instinct and self preservation force you to pull the electrode away as soon as the arc starts, you swear a little, try to arc again, pull it away and kill the arc etc. Once you get the hang of it, it is no big deal striking an arc but those first few attempts have a tendency to make you start laughing at yourself a lot. I would be willing to bet that seasoned electricians probably have the hardest time learning to strike an arc or maybe not. Cutting the electrode in half definitely helped me, maybe it will someone else too.