I am just a weekend welder and I can not seem to make my welds stick
to these spikes. I have a low end stick welder unit I bough for 150.00
from Northern Tool. Any ideas?
Also I have a "Bensomatic" oxy torch for heating rebar to bend and
form and Was thinking about using it to try to gas weld these
spikes... would that be better?
Thanks for the help
I know this isn't what you want to hear , but you need a real welder .
Lincoln 225 amp buzzboxes usually sell used for a reasonable price
(depending on locale) and will do most anything a hobby welder needs done .
I paid way less than 150 bucks for mine .
Railroad spikes, even the "HC" (high carbon, about 0.35%) spikes, aren't
very high in carbon, so they shouldn't be a problem to weld. You
didn't say what the problem is; --- can't keep arc lit? Metal puddles
etc, etc, etc.
If the spikes are rusty, you could have all sorts of problems. Do you
have trouble welding other things or is it just these spikes? Try
grinding the spike down to shiny metal before trying to weld.
What rod are you using? Try some 6013.
Re: the "Bensmatic oxy torch": Does it use acetylene or propane or mapp
gas or what with the oxygen? If Mapp or propane, you can't really weld
With either heat source, be sure to wait until you have a puddle before
1. Whatever electric welder you use, it should be powered from 220V,
like a clothes dryer or water heater.
2. I recommend 6011 stick electrodes, 1/8" diameter which have greater
penetration than 6013.
3. Practice on some 1/8" thick bed frame material first. 100-130 amps.
4. You will probably run out of oxy or fuel and only get the metal hot
enough to burn skin with the gas unit.
you probably don't have enough current to make the weld - others may be more
exact, I'd probably weld at 130 to 150 amps minimum, maybe more depending on
what I was doing with the spikes ** Posted from
Here are my pearls of wisdom. First, you "get what you pay for" only
if you're lucky and/or astute. Otherwise, it's more like "you pay for
what you get".
Second, if you want to try again to get a weld with the machine you've
got, in addition to all the other good advice (clean and shiny!) you
might try to pre-heat with your propane burner. Even better, get it
really hot in a charcoal fire and then weld it. After you weld it put
it back in the charcoal fire, cover it, and let the fire die
naturally. The standard recipe for welding high carbon steel (which
spikes barely are) is "pre and post heat". V
Any idea how old the spikes are?
I once tried to weld some RR spikes that were so old they were
produced when most metal items were made of forged steel.
If I welded one to something it would break off because of the
laminated structure of the steel.
I had a hard time cutting them with an OA torch because the cut kept
getting interrupted by the laminations.
You are a new welder, and have already learned one of the most basic lessons
in welding. That you get what you pay for. You could have bought a Lincoln
Tombstone used for what you want to do, and paid about the same or less.
Return the welder and get a real one.
On Sun, 28 Dec 2008 8:17:48 -0600, redalpha wrote
one of the keys to welding is heat. It might be the case that your buzz box
does not have enough heat capacity, depending on what it is that you are
trying to weld to those spikes.
Clean up the metal you are welding - oil and other chemical residues, and
also any loose rust. The cleaner, the better. Take that bernz-o-matic torch
of yours and warm up your metal to a blue heat or hotter, and then try
sparking your welds.
Assuming that your welding technique is decent, what has been happening is
that your track spikes and other target metal have been actually chilling the
weld puddle that your welding equipment has been trying to create. If your
metal is warmed up nice and hot, a low-amp capacity welder such as yours will
have a much better chance of keeping a wet puddle at the weld site.
Though any oxy-fuel combo will produce a HOT enough flame, the nature of the
flame is such that there will be way too much turbulence in the weld puddle
to actually make a weld. Oxy-acetylene (Or oxy-hydrogen) burn in such a way
that a nice quiet weld puddle is created, and a sound weld can be made. Your
oxy-fuel torch will be good for brazing and other metal work operations that
require that the metal be raised to a yellow-orange heat - depending on the
mass of the metal. If you have a cutting attachment for your torch, it will
make a nice clean cut in mild steel, depending on the thickness of that