Pipe welding requires a lot of patience to learn but if you follow three rules you will find your welds will improve in just a few hours of practice. The three rules are:
- Always find a comfortable position that you are able to sit, kneel, or stand with a good view of the weld joint.
- Whenever possible lean on the pipe or anything else that will stabilize your body and hands.
- Relax and never rush into welding the pipe.
Comfort is the key to welding pipe. Before jumping into the weld, find a position that you are able to sit, kneel, or stand comfortable without getting any cramps or shaking. I hate to say it but welding pipe is a lot like yoga! Many welds require the use of odd body positions and you must be able to hold them for the time that you are welding. When finding a body position you need to get comfortable and then visualize making the weld. Practice the weld without actually welding. This will prepare you mentally and physically for the position you will need to be in. At the same time it will expose any areas of the pipe that may give you trouble accessing before the actual welding of it.
Lean on anything to stabilize your hands is one tip that will improve the appearance of your weld instantly. This is extremely important when taking an on-site job test or pipe welding certification. On-site pipe welding tests are typically done with short pipe coupons and many times they get to hot to lean on. The solution in this case is to use a vice grip or C clamp to lock onto the pipe. This will give you something that is not burning hot to lean on and at the same time give you full control over your welding technique.
Patience and relaxing are the golden rules when welding pipe. Rush a weld and chances are you will either make a less than perfect weld or even get fired for poor quality. If you ask anyone who has been welding pipe for a long time they will tell you to always take your time.