Welding is a very useful skill to have and is not too difficult to acquire, just requires some knowledge of technique and a lot of practice. A basic welding set-up can be had for under £50, often less than the cost of having someone else perform a single repair. Uses include replacing panels on a classic car, putting a patch on a leaking exhaust, making brackets, fences, gates, handrails, furniture, sculptures...


There are many types of welding process but I will only cover the ones suited for home workshop use. These are MMA ("stick") , MIG and TIG.


Manual Metal Arc welding uses an air or oil cooled welding set with a consumable electrode (welding rod) that has a flux coating. A wide range of rods are available for different applications and materials including mild and medium carbon steels, stainless steel, disimilar steels and cast iron.


Manual Inert Gas , also know as GMAW, involves a continuously fed coil of wire as the electrode, with gas shielding. A variation on this, Gassless MIG, uses a flux cored wire rather than gas shielding. MIG takes less time than other welding processes and is relatively easy to perform.


Tungstun Inert Gas, or GTAW, uses a tunsten electrode shielded by gas, and filler wire fed by hand into the weld pool. Similar technique to gas welding. A slow, skiled process particularly suited to stainless steel and (with a suitable welder) aluminium.

TIG Electrodes
Type Usage AC/DC Tip colour
2% Thoriated mild and stainless steel DC -ve Red
Ceriated ferrous and non-ferrous metals AC and DC Grey
Zirconated Aluminium and magnesium alloys AC White

Gas/TIG wire is available for welding particular metals.

Welding Safety

There are inevitably risks involved with welding.