Newbie wants to try gas welding...

I am a seaman and have done considerable amounts of non-critical rough stick welding and a lot of burning, but never any oxyacetylene welding.
I will be going home in a few days and I have promised the old lady a real Texas style barbecue pit, and further promised her a brisket done to perfection, slow cooked overnight and half the day, within a week of getting home, so I am looking at getting my project rolling post-haste. Rather than buying an arc welding setup AND bottles, (I already have a set of regs and a nice little Victor torch) I figure for this little project I would keep the cash outlay down and do the welding with gas, and only have to buy a couple of welding tips.
Only prob is... I have never done any gas welding at all. I have talked to some semi-knowledgeable engineers aboard ship and got little more info than a bit of terminology. In other words, what they won't admit is that they have never done it and only read about it in a semi-historical sense. I found a couple of websites but nothing you could really call a tutorial. I figure I can teach myself to do this well enough to build my pit, in a couple of days, but some pointers would be appreciated.
I am somewhat confused about some terms I ran across that are obviously fundamental to the process...
"The principal techniques employed in oxyacetylene welding are leftward, rightward and all-positional rightward." from http://www.twi.co.uk/j32k/protected/band_3/jk3.html
Something like this was explained to me during my first forays into stick welding, but not sure exactly how it applies to OA work. What exactly is leftward, rightward, and rightward- all position? Is Leftward where the torch movement is in the direction of the rod? And rightward where the rod follows the torch? That much makes sense... but what about the "all positional rightward"?
FWIW Hardly any of this project needs to be done with overhead welds. The entire unit won't weigh over a few hundred pounds and so I can flip it whechever way I need.
I understand normal welding uses only 5 lbs or so of acetylene and also oxygen, vs the considerably higher pressures used in burning. Does this mean it is impractical to tee off of the regulators to two different torches, one set up for welding and one for burning? Also, the torch I have is the small Victor, about 3/4 the size of most torches. I love it for burning becaue it is so easy to hold steady and it cuts a remarkably clean line, something I have had a hard time doing with most torches found aboard ship. Now, is this too small for welding, or should I spring for the full size unit? I will be using 1-1/2" angle iron and heavy sheet metal, so I suppose a fairly small tip. Also somebody recommended using ordinary coathangers for the filler rod, with no flux. I have my doubts about this... no flux? And what about the lacquer on the wire? Do people really do this?
I have seen cylinders that are much smaller than the standard size, and especially for the acetylene, it will be easier to transport them (Cause I can't lay it down on its side and there is not enough overhead clearance in the Jimmy for a full height acetylene cylinder) so should I go with the small cylinders? Pros and cons? I could borrow a pickup truck with some finaggling and butt kissing, I suppose, and build something to carry the bottles securely. Also are full size cylinders usually owned by the user, or loaned or rented by the supplier?
Also... is there a faq that might help me?
Email is a spam dump and I have not checked it in years. so replies to the group would be great. TIA!
Robinson
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(clip) some pointers would be appreciated. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ First, since you know how to set up for burning, I guess you know how to set up a neutral flame. That is what you want for welding. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I understand normal welding uses only 5 lbs or so of acetylene and also oxygen, vs the considerably higher pressures used in burning. Does this mean it is impractical to tee off of the regulators to two different torches, one set up for welding and one for burning? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ If you are going to be going back and forth between welding and cutting, I don't see why you couldn't have two torches teed off the same regulator. You will have to keep resetting the oxygen regulator.
Be ABSOLUTELY sure you never turn up the acetylene regulator bby mistake. Acetylene gas at high pressure can explode. ^^^^^^^^^^^^ Also, the torch I have is the small Victor, about 3/4 the size of most torches. (clip) Now, is this too small for welding, (clip) ^^^^^^^^^^^^ The amount of heat is related more to the tip size than the torch size. I think you will be fine with tips around 0 to 2. ^^^^^^^^^^^^ Also somebody recommended using ordinary coathangers for the filler rod, with no flux. ^^^^^^^^^^^^ They work fine. No flus is needed for welding steel. The lacquer will not be a problem at all. It burns off the rod as it enters the heated zone. ^^^^^^^^^^^^ (clip) I can't lay it down on its side and there is not enough overhead clearance in the Jimmy for a full height acetylene cylinder) so should I go with the small cylinders? ^^^^^^^^^^^^ I lay mine down to haul them all the time. The people in the welding supply place watch me do it, and no one has ever mentioned any problem. I have seen it discussed here, and some people worry about it, so I think you had better rely on what the experts say. The acetylene is dissolved in a liquid, which is in a porous solid filler (like charcoal), so if you stand the cylinder up when you get it home, and give any small amounts of liquid time to run down from the valve area, I can't see any problem, and I have never had one. ^^^^^^^^^^^^ Also are full size cylinders usually owned by the user, or loaned or rented by the supplier? ^^^^^^^^^^^^ A very common arrangement is to lease the cylinders. That way, the supplier takes care of retesting when needed, and you just exchange your empties for full ones when needed. I understand that some welding suppliers will exchange ownership cylinders in the same way, but you want to be sure before you buy. It would be bad to have them charge you for a retest soon after you get the cylinders. And worse yet to have one fail.
You're going to have fun welding and eating. Enjoy.
BTW, a very useful tool to have for what you are doing is a portable hand-held metal-cutting band saw, like a Portaband. They are incredibly useful and easy to use. You will be able to abandon the idea of using two torch setups.
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On Fri, 05 Dec 2003 20:03:39 GMT, "Leo Lichtman"

yup. Can do that okay.

I'm hip to that. You would think somebody would make a regulator that could not be set to over 15 lbs, huh? Then again, if you make things too idiot proof, I suppose you end up with too many idiots, and short-circuit the whole process of evolution and natural selection.

Well that's cool. I guess we must have a couple hundred cluttering up all the closets!

Oh... okay. That is a major safety thing aboard ship. But I guess you are probably right. Do you crack the valve and purge the valve head before hooking up the regulator on the acetylene bottle?

Sounds sensible.

Yeah. I have always enjoyed doing stick-weld jobs that are within my skill level. I am really looking forward to doing my first gas welding project Barbecuing is another love of mine, and I am eager to show a whole lot of people what real barbecue is all about. I HATE it when people grill meat and call it barbecued!

That is on my old lady's "Yes I know you want it but do you really think we can afford more stuff like that?" list!
Thanks for all the tips! Very helpful!
Robinson
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Keep in mind gas welding is slow.. People tend to want to travel too fast and add rod before there is a puddle on the parent metal. You normally run with the torch pointing forward ( forehand) throwing the heat forward preheating the metal. If you don't poke the rod into the center of your puddle the cold rod will stick to the edge of the puddle. If your puddle gets too big add rod to cool the puddle and increase forward speed. If you have too small a puddle and your tip keeps popping because you are getting too close with the torch then it is time to increase the size of tip. Have fun, Randy
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On Sat, 06 Dec 2003 15:22:00 GMT, "Randy Zimmerman"

And the other way for vertical welds? What about overhead? Just curious really, because for this project I will try to do everything flat. I will be able to turn my work whichever way I want.

Thanks for those tips, Randy. Should flatten out my learning curve a little. Maybe it is time for someone to put together an online tutorial on this dying art.
Robinson
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