Courtesy of Welding Tips and Tricks/YouTube
Courtesy of Welding Tips and Tricks/YouTube

On the scale of macho, welding is up there heavy equipment operator and lumberjack. How could it not, when it involves molten metal? But it requires plenty of know-how too—about the various tools, materials, and techniques of the trade. If there is anyone better at explaining that stuff than Jody Collier, I don’t know who it is. Collier is a seasoned welder who has a website called Welding Tips and Tricks. I’ve been getting his newsletter for years, and I don’t even weld (though learning to weld is near the top of my bucket list).

In the video below Collier explains that stick welding is “slang” for shielded metal arc welding—the process by which an electric arc turns a welding rod (or stick) into a pool of molten metal that fuses with the metal being welded. As the rod is consumed its coating turns into a gas that shields the weld from contamination by oxygen and other atmospheric gases until the metal has time to solidify. Collier goes on from there to explain five things you need to remember while stick welding, using the mnemonic device CLAMS:

C stands for Current..that's amperage. As a general rule, you will want to set the machine amperage hot enough that the rod will not stick when you hold a tight arc length

L stands for Length of Arc. Hold a tight arc

A stands for Angle. Fortunately Stick welding is fairly forgiving on rod angle.

M stands for Manipulation of the electrode... there are lots of different rods and applications where some electrode manipulation is required. But welding flat or horizontal using a 7018 generally does not require any manipulation other than dragging it at the right speed...

S is for speed. rule of thumb is to travel slow enough to avoid undercut..but fast enough to avoid excessive build up.

Collier is an excellent teacher; check out this video and the others on his website.