Stick Welding Stainless and Some Freakin Sweet Arc Shots

Stick welding stainless is easy in the flat and horizontal position.

But for vertical uphill, it can be very tough.

One reason is that the rod heats up so fast and runs weird.

When the rod gets hot, it runs differently than when its cold. Metal drops seem to come off the rod at a quicker rate, the arc force seems to drop and the bead tends to crown.

So how do you fight against these tendencies when you are welding stainless with stick?

Well one thing is to set the amperage at the low range of what might seem hot enough....

Stainless stick rods are not very thermally conductive..have a low thermal conductivity. That is why they get so hot so quick.

They run great for the first 2 inches or so and then things start to change. The rod heats up and starts to deposit metal at a different rate than it does when its cold.

There is not much getting around it.  The only thing you can do is set the amperage low enough so that things dont get out of hand too bad toward the end of the rod....but high enough to penetrate and weld ok for the first few inches too.

I sound like a politician.  Set it hot enough...but also set it cold enough.

Another tip is to use some type of weave or oscillation to allow the weld metal to spread out a bit.  I used a "J" motion in this video and I recommend it for stick welding stainless.

Another tip is to pay attention to how red the rod gets when you get down to the stub. It the whole stub is red hot, odds are you are too hot unless you are welding flat or horizontal.

You can actually set amperage pretty acurately from one machine to another by paying attention to how red the stub is...and that is a useful skill when you are practicing for a welding test. you dont want to practice and practice on a familiar machine only to be thrown a curve ball on a strange machine.

I mean think about it.  You practice and practice and settle in on 96 amps and it works great. 

Then you go to a strange shop and use a strange machine that maybe has the numbers worn off the amperage knob...or maybe there is no knob at all.  If you paid attention to the red hot rod stub, you can set any machine within a few amps of what you need.


  1. set amperage low enough so arc is ok from start to finish of rod
  2. use a "j" motion technique or other slight weave to help flatten the bead
  3. pay attention to how red hot the stub is for a reference point
  4. keep a fairly tight arc and use a slight push angle for uphill welding

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