Forehand Vs. Backhand Technique in Welding: Which One is Better?

welder setting up plasma cutter

Welding Buddy Experts

August 1, 2022
Backhand welding technique

Nothing is quite like the satisfaction of creating something with your hands. And when it comes to welding, there are two basic but essential techniques to master: forehand and backhand welding. Do you need to learn both, or is mastering one enough?

In this blog post, we'll discuss using the forehand and backhand welding techniques for your welding projects. Which one is better?

Backhand Welding

The backhand technique in welding is also called pull welding, wherein you drag your welding torch opposite your weld puddle. The rule of thumb for this technique is to angle your welding torch about 45 degrees from your weld zone and your arc directed to the molten metal. 

For example, if you're right-handed, the direction of your weld progression would be towards your right. Meanwhile, you're adding your filler metal or electrode using your left hand. You might have seen this welding technique in most welding tutorials. That's because the weld puddle is visible this way for welding enthusiasts to see. 

Why Should I Use Backhand Welding Technique?

Is this welding technique applicable only to gas welding? It doesn't. In fact, you can use this with most types of welding, such as flux-cored arc welding and gas metal arc welding. But asides from its versatility, you can get the welds due to these pros: 

  • Better visibility of your weld puddle. Backhand welding allows for a better view of the weld puddle, which results in a neater and more aesthetically pleasing weld. 
  • Deeper penetration. Its high-profile weld is also ideal for thick metals, allowing better weld penetration. 
  • Even and consistent arc. With this technique, you have better control of your arc. As a result, it improves your weld, creating less spatter. This is perfect for cosmetic fabrication where a clean weld is required.

Ideal Backhand Welding Positions 

Now that you understand the definition of the backhand welding technique, it's time to know where this welding technique is ideally used. This method may not be suitable for beginners, but you can create excellent finished welds on flat or horizontal positions. 

Since backhand welding produces a strong arc, this ensures that your flat welds will be evenly heated. Though, you can also backhand weld in other positions, provided that you have mastered this technique.

Forehand Welding

If there is pull welding, there's the opposite–the push or the forehand welding technique. With forehand welding, your welding electrode goes first, then your welding torch afterward. The torch is also at a 65-degree angle from the slag. 

If you're right-handed, the direction of your weld will be to the left. So think of it as following the line instead of keeping track of your weld puddle. 

Why Should I Use Forehand Welding Technique?

This method is a good starting point for beginners because you can see the weld zone. But you can reap other benefits from mastering this welding technique.

  • Faster welds. One of the main benefits of using the forehand welding technique is that it is very fast. This is because you can easily follow your weld zone. 
  • Pre-heat effect. If your arc is facing your base material, the heat raises the temperature of your metal, thus making your welds slower to cool. Plus, the minimal temperature variance between the arc and your parent weld will decrease the chances of cracking due to shrinkage stresses.
  • Higher deposition rate. The speed of your welding rod fusing to your base material is called deposition rate. Due to the position of your filler material and torch, you can feed your filler material to your welded joint faster. Conversely, if the deposition rate is too low, it can cause the weld to be porous and weak.

Ideal Forehand Welding Positions 

When it comes to welding, there are a few different positions that you can be in. However, the vertical and overhead positions are the two most ideal in forehand welding.  

The vertical position is when the welding electrode is pointing upwards. Meanwhile, the overhead position is when the welding electrode is pointing downwards. Both positions are ideal for forehand welding because they provide the best control over tracing the weld zone, preventing damage to the surrounding metal.

Importance of Welding Techniques

Welder using backhand technique welding

Both techniques require a lot of practice to master, but they are essential for any welder who wants to produce high-quality work. 

Forehand welding is generally considered easier than backhand welding since your weld zone is more visible. However, backhand welding has several advantages:

  1. It allows the welder to see the weld pool more clearly, which helps to prevent defects.
  2. It produces a narrower and deeper weld bead, which can be important for certain fabrications.
  3. Backhand welding is less likely to distort the workpiece since the heat is applied from one side only. 

Although forehand and backhand welding are both important techniques, many welders tend to favor one over the other. Some welders learn both techniques and use them depending on the specific application.

Final Thoughts 

So, is the backhand welding technique better than the forehand welding technique? The answer to that question is subjective. 

Some welders may prefer the backhand method because it gives them more control over the weld puddle and allows them to weld more aesthetically-pleasing welds. Others may find that the forehand welding technique is easier for them. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide what works best on your welding projects. 

That said, we hope this article has helped you become more familiar with both techniques and given you some things to think about when deciding which one to use. For more information on welding techniques and other helpful tips, explore our other articles here at Welding Buddy!

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