What Is Stick Welding Used For?

Stick welding is also known as arc manual welding. A consumable electrode that is coated is used as a welding rod in stick welding. Stick welding is one of the oldest applications because it has been in existence since the discovery of welding. Learning stick welding is a bit harder compared to other welding applications. Stick welding is widely used all over the world making it a very popular type of welding.

What Rods Do You Use In Stick Welding?

Stick welding rods are coated with combinations of carbonates as silicates. The wire is dipped in the mixture to form the coating. The coating on the electrode helps:

  • Provide arc shielding when Carbon Dioxide is produce as a result of the decomposition of calcium carbonate.
  • Form slag which gets rid of impurities and protects the weld pool.
  • Provide additional filler material on the welding joint.
  • Provide arc stability by use of potassium and sodium.

How Does Stick Welding Work?

As we have discussed earlier, stick welding uses a welding rod to join metals together. The welding rod or electrode used in stick welding is coated with flux.

The electric current from the power source flows through the welding rod forming an arc at the point of contact with metal piece. As the welding rod melts, the flux coating emits gases that shield the molten pool preventing oxidization. The gas cloud that was formed turns to slag which is usually removed after the welding job is completed.

Stick Welding Tips And Tricks For Beginners

Stick welding is a difficult welding process to learn but also interesting to some beginners. However, looking at what other pros are doing and emulating their skills can help you know what techniques produce best results.

Slowly master the art of manipulating your electrode to know how the bead will appear. Below are the tips that will help you set up your stick welder as well as lay high quality welds.

Stick Welder Setting

Ensure that you select a current that marches your electrode. The electrode you choose, determines the power you will use to weld. The stick welder has DC positive, DC negative and AC.

DC positive is commonly used because it has great penetration properties. DC positive is used for welding thick metals while DC negative is mainly used to weld thin metals.

Your amperage should march your electrode. If you find it a bit hard trying to adjust your amperage settings, use the welder manufacturer’s information for guidelines. Electrode manufacturer’s normally suggests the amperage ranges on the electrodes box. 

Angle Of Travel

Backhand and drag methods are mainly used for overhead welding positions, ensure that the welding rod is perpendicular to the weld joint.

Use push or forehand for vertical welding positions. Position the welding rod at 5-15 degrees in travel direction.

Arc Length

Ensure that the arc length is correct. The arc length differs with each welding rod or electrode and the welding application. Ensure that the arc length doesn’t surpass the diameter of the electrode.

When your arc it long be sure to end up with spatter because long arcs produce a lot of heat.  Most beginners use long arc because they want a proper view on the puddle and arc. If you’re experiencing trouble seeing the arc, tilt your head or you can opt to use a different position to weld.

Controlling your arc length guarantees you a cleaner weld bead and little spatter too.

What Is Stick Welding Used for?

Stick welding is used both commercially and also at home by hobbyists. This welding technique is so efficient when welding thick metals especially the DC stick welder. It is used to join alloys and joints both indoors and even outdoors. Stick welding can be carried out under harsh environmental areas example windy and rainy conditions. The ability to weld dirty metals which have paints and rust gives a plus to stick welding.

Welding thin materials using stick welding can be a bit tricky. The high heat used in stick welding is unforgiving to thin metals because they rapture when stick welded. If you want to weld thin materials, use AC to weld.

Which Metals Can Be Welded By Stick Welding?

When it comes to welding, the selection of equipments, techniques and material is very crucial. You don’t just pick any metal and any electrode and weld using any welding technique of your choice. Every selection you make must march with the welding rules.

Different metals are welded using different techniques. The metals that can be weld using stick welding are:

  • Iron
  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Nickel
  • Copper Alloys

Advantages Of Stick Welding

  • The equipment used in stick welding is affordable.
  • It is portable because it doesn’t require external gas tank
  • When welding different kinds of metals, you can charge the electrodes too.
  • Stick welding can be done even under harsh weather conditions like rainy or windy conditions.
  • Stick welding is used to weld a wide range of metals.
  • Stick welding produces clean welds.
  • Stick welding can be carried out on dirty metals with paints and rusts.

Disadvantages Of Stick Welding

  • Unlike other welding applications, skills and experience are required for one to be able to stick weld.
  • Stick welding is favorable to thick materials but cannot be used on thin metals.
  • This welding method can be time consuming because one must clean up the slag formed during welding.
  • Stick welding is slow compared to other welding applications like MIG.
  • Stick welding cannot be used on reactive metals like tantalum, columbium and titanium.
  • The electrodes used in stick welding have to be replaced frequently unlike other welding techniques where a spool of wire is used.


When it comes to welding, you have different applications and their tricks on how to operate them. Practicing what you learn is the secret to your successful welding career. Although many think stick welding is complicated, learning from professionals will get you motivated. Choose the right metals and consider your environment when welding using stick welding.


Edward, a seasoned welding expert, shares his extensive knowledge and insights on Welderit.com to help you enhance your welding skills.

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