Stick Welding: Learning the Tips for Best Practices and Its Uses

Rate this post

Even if you’re a well-seasoned woodworker or do-it-yourselfer, learning the best practices of stick welding seems like an intimidating prospect for the uninitiated. The good news doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult to get into welding. Most of the time it just requires practice.

The industry offers several different kinds of welding that you could choose for your projects.  Luckily, here we’re going to concentrate on how to stick weld. Also, some welding projects offer high compensation once done amazingly. Consider reading some best stick welder review for more information.

Why Go with Stick Welding?

Stick welding remains one of the most popular kinds of welding. Sometimes we refer to this as “shielded metal arc welding” or “covered electrode.” We call it such because it uses an electric power source along with a fixed-length electrode to fuse metal. The “stick” part appears as a reference to the electrode; a solid metal rod comprises the core of the electrode.

Mineral compounds and metal powders cover this rod with a binding agent, which is often referred to as “flux.” This rod conducts the electricity and provides the compound that secures the joint. Accordingly, stick welding remains popularly known due to its versatility. Welders do it anywhere, inside or outside.

It also doesn’t require water, gas, or being close to a particular power source (in remote locations, generators are safe to use). Furthermore, it also doesn’t need a lot of equipment as compared to other kinds of welding, which makes it popular for home use. It also works well on the majority of alloys and metals.

The major downside occurs in the manual process as it exists reliably mechanized. Although, most DIYers consider not this a concern. However, stick welding is an easier form of welding to catch on to, it’s not quite as easy as wire welding or some other common welding practices.

Learning how to stick weld takes time, as it requires knowledge of a few specific practices to complete successfully. Welding schools offer great training and certifications for all. We bring you some tips to make learning how to stick weld easier.

LINCOLN ELECTRIC K1170 AC225, 60Hz Arc Welder
  • Powerful welder, smooth AC arc & can be used with a wide variety of metal
  • 3 year part and labor warranty
  • Great for use with a variety of variety of metals, including stainless steel, steel & cast iron
  • Welds steel, cast iron, and stainless steel
  • 225 Amp
Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200 TIG Welder, K5126-1
  • A great TIG machine for aluminum
  • TIG and stick from one power source
  • Take it Everywhere, Plug in Anywhere.
  • Advanced features yet easy to use
2021 Everlast PowerMTS 251Si Pulse MIG TIG Stick 250amp 110v/220v Multi Process Welder
  • Digital IGBT Inverter construction, MIG/DC TIG/Stick/Spool Gun ready
  • Dual Voltage 120/240V . HF and Lift Start for TIG , Dual Voltage 120/240V
  • 030"-.045" Wire diameter / 35% Duty Cycle @ 250 Amps / Save up to 9 programs
  • 25 Series Euro fast connect MIG gun
  • Pulse MIG/Syn MIG /// Pulse TIG function, Adjustable MIG/Stick Arc Force

Don’t Skip the Safety Gear

Fully-Geared Welder at a Workshop while doing Stick Welding on a Workshop with sparks
Image: CC by 2.0, Julian Carvajal, via Flickr

First, ensure that you and your workspace stay safe during stick welding. As mentioned above, you do stick weld in many places, but make sure the safety of your workplace. Again, you don’t necessarily need a lot of gear to stick weld properly. Moreover, make sure to pick up all of the following before you begin:

  • Welding helmet. One of them ensures work safety, as arc welding occurs very bright. It literally means similar when you look into the sun! Expensive helmets on the market go self-darkening yet you can afford them. Or else, a cheaper fixed-shade welding helmet means fine.

The helmet protects your eyes from the brightness and your face from flying sparks. The brightness appears very dangerous. People who don’t take precautions often end up battling an eye injury called “arc eye,” or a burned retina.

  • Welding gloves. Again, these come in a variety of styles and budgets. Any of them essentially protect your hands from the heat.
  • Make sure to wear natural fibers, not synthetic. In the event that a spark gets out of control and lands on your clothing, fabrics like nylon can potentially melt into your skin.

These are the essential three. It is also highly recommended to get a welding apron and a respirator if at all possible, but if you are not welding often, they are not as necessary as the first three items. Welding symbols come in handy during these times as well.

Hobart 770286 Flip Front Welding Helmet
  • Ideal for a variety of welding jobs
  • Handy flip front makes it easy to remove
  • Approved by ANSI, safe for the site
  • Standard 4-1/2- by 2-inch view area
  • Conveniently adjustable fit
Welding Helmet, Black, 3350 Series
  • This refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with all relevant accessories, and may arrive in a generic box
Drake Off Road Tools 400 Welding Gloves Lined Leather, Blue - 14"
  • Cotton lined for comfort
  • Made in China
  • Package dimensions : 1.42" (H) x 12.99" (L) x 5.67" (W)
  • Locked stitched for added strength
932°F Heat Resistant Welding Gloves 16 inches Cowhide Leather - Long Sleeve and Insulated Lining BBQ Glove for Tig Welder/Mig/Grill/Barbecue/Green Egg/Stove Black-gray
  • ONE SIZE FIT MOST - Perfect for outdoor barbecue, garden grilling, kitchen cooking or welding. If the long gloves are defective or damaged within 90 days, we will replace it for you or provide a full refund, so you can feel confident purchasing with OZERO. Prime Note:Please contact with us,if the gloves are defective within 90 days or you choose a wrong size and style,we will give you a better satisfied solution than Amazon customer service.
  • Flexible and durable for welding, BBQ, grill, smoker, oven, baking, gardening - OZERO Long BBQ Gloves are made from 1.2mm thick and soft shoulder split natural cowhide leather which is heat resistant, flame retardant, puncture resistant and cut resistant.
  • A environmental gift for your friends - raw materials and processing of OZERO Leather heat resistant gloves are up to European environmental standards, whether working at kitchen, garden, backyard or outside, it's kindly for people and our environment.
  • Up to 932°F / 500℃ heat-resistant gloves for men and women - The inside of these gloves feature 100% soft and thick insulated lining fitted with air-isolated aluminum foil that isolate hot air from glove's interior for heat resistance. Much high-performancer than silicon gloves.
  • Full protection for hand and foreram - The 16 inches grill glove with extra long 7.5 inches sleeve protects your hands and forearms from hot coals, open flames, grinding debris, welding sparks, hot kitchen ware, hot cooking steam and sharp objects.

What Do You Need for Stick Welding to Get Started

Various accessories for Stick Welding on a Workshop with helmet, rods, brush, voltage wires, and more
Image: CC by A-SA 3.0, Mgschuler, via Wikipedia Commons

Once you have your ultimate welding guide and safety gear in order, you’ll need to have the machinery and supplies necessary to actually stick weld. Again, the good news is that you don’t need a lot of equipment for this particular task. Here is a basic list of what you will need:

  • Power source. Generally, you will need a step-down transformer as well as a rectifier, though if you are engaging in outdoor welding, you may have a more portable source, such as a generator.

Assuming that you are looking to weld from the inside of your home, you can normally get one of these for a reasonable price for the most basic models.

  • Electrode. There are many different electrodes on the market. Generally speaking, your choice of electrode will depend on the material that you are welding.

It offers three different main types of electrodes for Stick Welding:

  • “Fast-fill,” which is designed to liquefy quickly
  • “Fast-freeze” which are meant to harden quickly
  • “Fast-follow” or “fill-freeze” are intermediate.

E6010 exists as the most common electrode and a fast-freeze electrode. And that’s all you need in terms of equipment. One of the reasons why stick welding can make up next to half of the welding done in certain countries is due to this simplicity.


Make Sure Your Metal Is “Normal”

For stick welding, the materials for your great welding project should be considered the “normal” range for metals. If you get unweary and unsure as to what this means, it refers to metals that are AISI-SAE 1015 to 1025 steel. These also will have a sulfur level of less than .035 percent and a maximum silicon level of .01.

Since any kind of material with a level above normal have a tendency to crack using this method. Stick welding itself normally uses steel and iron. However, you can also weld nickel, copper alloys, and aluminum with this approach.


Pay Attention to Angle Position

Fully-Geared and Equipped Construction builder on top of a building who does Stick Welding on the right angle
Image: CC by A-SA 3.0, Deutsche Fotothek (Germany), via Wikipedia Commons

Some angles affect the quality of your work in stick welding. For instance, if the sheet steel you need to use between 10-18 gauge, an optimal 45-75 degrees. However, you will also want to watch out for what is known as “burn-through,” or when you try to apply too big of a weld to the joint.

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and this is a common beginner’s mistake. You want the weld to be complete, but overdoing it can actually weaken the metal and lead to breakage.


Watch Out for Buildup

Like burn-through, you also want to be wary of “buildup” when you are engaging in stick welding. “Buildup” refers to how thick the weld is. If the weld is too thick (has too much built up), this can cause problems with fit. That is, if you are attaching your metal piece to another surface, this can throw off dimensions, and again, end up weakening the joint.

A good weld really shouldn’t have a thickness of more than 1/16-inches. Buildup not only potentially weakens a joint and throws off other measures, it simply wastes time. It takes practice to know how much is too much.


Make Sure Your Electrode Matches Your Weld

Generally, best practices with stick welding mean using the largest possible electrode for your joint. However, common sense tells us that bigger appears generally better.

Yet, too big of an electrode lead to burn-through or too much buildup. Generally speaking, if you do overhead or vertical welding, make sure that your electrode is not bigger than 3/16 inches.


Clean Your Surfaces Prior to the Weld

Naturally, you work with the cleanest surfaces possible for stick welding in order to ensure the best quality weld. If you work with entirely new materials, you go ahead and start smoothly.

But, once the welding material has been exposed to the elements, you need to take the time to remove grease, paint, rust, or oil. These have a lot of potential to contaminate your joint.


Troubleshoot Correctly

Nobody’s perfect, and when learning how to stick weld, it’s natural for a novice to make welding mistakes. Some of the below are very common mistakes made by welders when using this method:

  • The “wandering arc.” Stick welding’s other name is “arc welding,” due to the arc of electricity that appears once used. Sometimes if you are using a DC current, you may find the arc “wandering” out of your control.

Not only does this result in an imperfect joint, but it can also be dangerous as well. This is most commonly encountered when tackling complex joints. The best solution is to switch to an AC current.

  • “Shallow penetration.” When talking about welds, the “penetration” implies the depth of the weld into the joint. For a secure joint, the weld needs to penetrate the entirety of the weld. Essentially, this arrives as the opposite problem as the buildup. Too shallow penetration means trying a higher current.
  • “Bad fusion.” If your weld does not fuse the entire joint, you experience bad fusion. Your joint needs to be fully fused in order to be secure. To combat bad fusion in your joints, try using a higher current.


Stick welding remains one of the most popular forms of welding across the planet for its ease. With enough practice, you, too, will understand how to stick weld. Stay safe, and remember to practice your techniques. We tackled a quick-to-learn kind of welding from a small job to a large construction project.

LINCOLN ELECTRIC K1170 AC225, 60Hz Arc Welder
  • Welds steel, cast iron, and stainless steel
  • Versatile use, designed for operation with metals 16-gauge & heavier
  • 3 year part and labor warranty
  • Output Range: 40-225 Amps AC
  • 225 Amp
Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200 TIG Welder, K5126-1
  • Take it Everywhere, Plug in Anywhere.
  • A great TIG machine for aluminum
  • Advanced features yet easy to use
  • TIG and stick from one power source
2021 Everlast PowerMTS 251Si Pulse MIG TIG Stick 250amp 110v/220v Multi Process Welder
  • Digital IGBT Inverter construction, MIG/DC TIG/Stick/Spool Gun ready
  • Dual Voltage 120/240V . HF and Lift Start for TIG , Dual Voltage 120/240V
  • 030"-.045" Wire diameter / 35% Duty Cycle @ 250 Amps / Save up to 9 programs
  • 25 Series Euro fast connect MIG gun
  • Pulse MIG/Syn MIG /// Pulse TIG function, Adjustable MIG/Stick Arc Force

Leave a Comment