Is 2-handed stick welding bad practice ?

Used to be pretty good with 1/8" 11, 13, 14 & 18 rod
with conventional stinger in right hand. But of late, and
running a lot of 3/32 13 and 18 rod on angle iron and such,
I got in this habit of "assisting" my right hand with my left
for better control, expecially when starting a new rod
because its so long, and twangy etc. It works well for
me, but I'm wondering if I should be trying to learn the
control/dexterity with just the one (right) hand, and
un-learn this 2-hand deal. Is 2-hand stick welding
seen in the industry as sissy-like lor anything ?
Reply to
Mr Wizzard
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maybe it's just the added weight (of heavy smaw cable) that's bothering you; how about doing a couple of circuits with 15~20 lb barbells before commencing to arc??
works for me....
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Personally, I think whatever you can do to get a good bead is ok. When I was in school we were taught all sorts of *techniques*.
The first and foremost was to lean or brace yourself against something solid to steady yourself. Among other things was to hold the electrode with both hands if you wanted to up until the time it gets so hot you have to let go. Another was to bend the electrode if need be to get a nice aim to the work. It breaks some of the flux off but the important part was to do smooth solid beads.
If you catch yourself admiring some object that has really nice welds on it, you'll envy that ability no matter how they did it. A habit like that is not quite as bad as eating with your fingers.
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Not a thing wrong with using both hands if it can be accomplished. The other hand is sometimes positioning the work if I don't want to fixture everything first. I recommend a 10' whip of #4 lead from the holder to the main electrode lead, which is usually heavier.
Reply to
Thomas Kendrick
Thats exactally the situation actually... been doing plate on edge to side of 1/2" pipe with 3/32 13, and 18, and they look so dam good, I was feeling guilty for doing it 2 handed. But your right, I find myself admiring this more than (what I thought was) my better work with 1/8" rod on regular plate butt's with just the right hand.
A habit like that is not
Reply to
Mr Wizzard
Just my two pennies ..........
Sissy is blowing an xray or having a cutout or repair or re-x-ray on a critical piece that holds up the whole job. Almost anything that you can do to get the weld in there RIGHT the FIRST time seems okay to me. I really don't believe the inspector will mind, either, as all he wants to see is full penetration, full fusion, lack of slag inclusions, all the important stuff........... please, anyone, correct me if an inspector would call you down for your style. He is sure to get you on direction of travel, or type of weave, whip, etc, but not on style.
I learned to weld with both hands while learning to weld pipe. At times I hold the rod holder with one hand, both hands, my dominant hand, and my un(?)dominant hand, depending on the particular arc of the pipe I am working on. I also use my left (off) hand occasionally when I am doing particularly hard to reach places or other screwy locations. I have a whole different touch and sensitivity with my left hand, and for a short time, can actually weld a little better with it than my right hand. I would not have developed this skill had I not tried it on pipe when I was in a location and direction that made offhand welding the best way to do it.
I wouldn't worry too much about what others think. The inspector is the one you want to like your work. I was on a Bannister job, the Weeks Island Strategic Salt Dome Reserve Pipeline through the Atchafalaya Swamp in Louisiana. It was 54" O.D. concrete coated pipe that ran for a distance of 90 miles. There was a particular welder that wore nothing but tan Dickies clothes. He had a pancake welding mask and a leather skullcap. He had a "butch" haircut (one that is about 1/4" long, and flat on the top.) He didn't smoke. He had a chrome lunch box. He looked just a little weird. He really stood out from every other welder who were clad in the Levis, Wrangler button snap shirt, flowered Comeaux welding cap and RedWing Boots standard outfit. But, every time there was a critical tie-in or special weld to be done, Francis, the inspector, called for him. He never had one cutout that I know of. So, I guess looks didn't figure much in the deal. And I don't think Francis had any squawk about how he held his hands either.
He might have had some ribbing from the guys, too. But he was the last welder to leave the job.
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