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In the US Navy welding school, we started with oxy-acetylene welding, then brazing cast iron, and finally “stick” welding. My later classes included high pressure silver brazing, high pressure pipe and hull (with exotics like inconel, etc.), and then on to the aircraft school for all forms of TIG.

I feel the oxy-acetylene school really assisted with the hand/eye coordination necessary for TIG work, with the addition of a pedal and foot coordination with TIG. I still use oxy-acetylene when I have a quick steel job that doesn’t require any flux rather than dragging out my shielded arc or TIG, and I prefer my TIG for silicon bronze “brazing” of dissimilar metals.
I only use Oxy-acetylene for cutting thick pieces nowadays.
My dad was a certified-level welder with stick and gas.
I don't think he was certified, but his test welds did pass the certification tests, which I remember one test was welding from one side only, and then bending the piece backwards at 180 degrees without the joint failing.

Dad used a weave which I never understood, but he always had excellent welds.

Good things about stick welding is that there is little to break.
I did have a rotary control on a Lincoln tombstone go bad, but nothing else ever break.

I don't go to any effort to keep my 6013 rods dry, but I recall dad had a rod oven that he kept his rods in, which is probably why he had such good welds.

I think it is critical to keep the 7018 dry.

I have welded stainless beer kegs with nickle rod to make a furnace shell.

The 6013 rods are pretty aggressive about burning through scale, rust, etc., and that is my concern is getting a weld that fully penetrates the two pieces all the way to the back.
Much of it is about leaving the correct gap between the two pieces, and tacking that gap so it does not move.
I don't clean any metal before welding it, and I can get away with that with a good gap, and a good 6013 rod with sufficient heat.

We better start a welding thread, I think we have hijacked this fellow's thread.

Agreed - I would have been interested to see the effect only of cleaning the scale, without any other changes, and then compare to cleaning the scale + improving the technique. Also agreed on the benefits of starting with stick, but I wonder if TIG might be even more beneficial as a starting place (though in my limited experience, that is always the last technique learned). Really learning to see the puddle was a significant part of the learning curve for me, and with TIG, you can really watch the puddle without flux or splatter getting in the way.

One thing that I have learned from Jody's videos, that has been invaluable when dialing in MIG settings, is to do a test weld followed by a cut/polish/etch. It can be rather eye-opening to see how much - or how little - the weld actually penetrated. That has been especially helpful with the cheap import MIG welder that I have - yes, one of those import inverter machines that can do MIG, stick, and scratch-start TIG. I haven't bothered to try TIG with it, but it does both MIG and stick surprisingly well ... except for one thing. The machine I have, like so many others over the past few years, tries to eliminate the learning curve of wire speed and voltage, and instead uses a semi-sorta-integrated control with some sort of "synergic" feedback. On the one hand, this makes it even easier for a beginner to use. On the other hand, it makes it harder to know exactly what you are adjusting. :(
When it comes to beginner TIGging, this guy:
is even better than Jody. He explains things down to the nits. There's lots of other good vids too.
Hello all,
I'm actually a very bad machinist, I can clearly see how to do it, but my execution is severely sub-par. I have to work on my equipment and my own patience and am here to try to improve both. I'm a car person, electronics person, and a machinery person, and have a mechanical/electrical type of job. Some of my influences are YouTube producer/presenter Allen Millyard, he has created some amazing engines for motorcycles without the aid of a full machine shop, and Quinn from Blondihacks as well as This Old Tony and Stefan Gotteswinter from YT. I have about 100 other presenters that I follow somewhat regularly. A search for information on 'Google Search' brought me to this forum and I hope to be able to learn lots of new information as well as possible some old information presented in different ways. Thanks in advance for your patience and bandwidth.
Welcome to the group

I tried a high-fill rod one time (good for horizontal welds only), and while the weld looked fantastic, it was superficial, and would easily break.

I went back to the trusty 6013 rod.

A word of caution regarding inexpensive welding power supplies rated for TIG, Many of the imports offer secondary current only in DC . To weld aluminum and magnesium in a practical fashion, you need a power supply that delivers AC with Hi-Frequency stabilization. Several of my friend's fell into the no-AC dilemma