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Welding stuff while its raining

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by warrior24, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. warrior24


    May 3, 2006
    I have heard that you shouldn't weld while its raining is this true and why, I figured that you guys would know since you weld the end of Damascus and also rebar to a billet. Because its raining right now and I want to finish welding legs to my forge but its raining.
  2. Brad Greulich

    Brad Greulich

    Feb 4, 2006
    I work in a Metal fab. shop and we do a fair bit of on site welding. a few weeks ago it was raining and we had to do some welding out side, we just covered the welder and the genorator with a tarp (well ventlated of course) and made sure we were wearing dry gloves and using dry rods.

    BTW I dont know how dangerous what we were doing was, only that no one got hurt :p

    Happy welding :D
  3. warrior24


    May 3, 2006
    Not for the fact that the water might electrocute you but some how its supposed to make the weld weak or something like that but am not sure if its true. I think it a myth
  4. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    In 28 years I have never had any trouble welding while it was raining.
  5. J.Marsillo


    Nov 8, 2000
    The only trouble I have while welding in the rain is getting the bejeezus shocked outtame:eek: Its no fun to get zapped while your hanging on with your other hand.:eek:


    Mar 20, 2006
    The biggest problem of welding outdoors in the rain is getting the dogpiss shocked out of you by getting soaked and stepping in a water source that is sharing the same ground as the welder. It can be more difficult to strike and hold an arc if the rods or the work is damp but once you get going the weld is not affected as long as things are dry enough.

    LOL, Valimas beat me to it. As far as I know DC will not be anywhere near as likely to electrocute you as AC will.
  7. canineforge

    canineforge Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Don, you are such a young guy. Did you start welding when you were 5 or 6 years old??? ;) :D

    - Joe
  8. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    I started welding when I was very young :)
  9. Matt Shade

    Matt Shade

    Nov 24, 1999
    What you're doing should be ok. Just be careful about how you handle things so you don't get shocked.....it hurts like hell and could have a bad end result;)
    The other thing is if you are welding on something that has been sitting out in the rain, you might want to preheat the weld areas to dry them out before you start welding. If you weld a tight joint that has water trapped in it, the water will turn to steam and blow out your weld. Sometimes it just makes for a porous weld, and sometimes it slings stuff all over on you. This is more of a problem with repair type work than fabricating new stuff though.


    Dec 17, 2005
    Outside of the obvious shock hazard mentioned several times above, welding in the rain can cause hydrogen embrittelment of the weld. This is why you are supposed to keep your welding rods in an oven to keep them dry. I seriously doubt you would notice the difference on a home project or with the handle welded to a damascus billet. They (divers) do arch weld (I believe wire weld) under water, I assume a special rod is used. I hear the trick is keep electrode between the diver and the ground so he doesn't become part of the circuit.

    Jim Arbuckle
  11. mete

    mete Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    DAMNENG, you're right Navy divers weld under water but they've been taught not to use themselves as the ground !!! The reason we brush off the rust before we weld is that the rust holds moisture and you get a poor weld with porosity and perhaps some hydrogen embrittlement .There are certain rods that are designed to work better with rust.
  12. warrior24


    May 3, 2006
    thanks guys guess my shop teacher was wrong, we used to weld in a garage and we wouldn't weld when it was rainy outside.
  13. mdoyle


    Feb 10, 2006
    He just didn't want to listen to your whining! Now get out ther and weld! In the time you spent reading this you could have been done!:D
    Good Luck
  14. NDallyn


    Jun 22, 2006
    I'm actually a journeyman welder from Alberta. If you do have to weld something in the rain, it is important that you cover the area you're welding (with a tarp, etc.) and also use a torch to sweat the material (preheat) before you start (steel is porous and will hold moisture). If you do all this you should eliminate any problems with quench cracking and hydrogen embrittlement. If you have no choice but to weld wet material (and only if you have no choice) you can weld with a 6010 electrode (the cellulose flux is supposed to contain 3-7% moisure content to begin with) first and then cover with a low hydrogen rod like 7018. The heat from the 6010 will preheat your material and drive moisture out of the weld zone. I will stress again that this is NOT THE BEST METHOD but it will work in a pinch. Good luck!:thumbup:

    p.s. If you are using any kind of wire feed system (mig, flux-core) or are tig welding - you MUST properly preheat wet material before welding in order to get a quality weld. These processes seem to get porosity and cracking much more frequently than stick when less than ideal material preparation is used.
  15. Walt2


    Mar 13, 2001
    There has been more than one welder killed while welding in the rain or laying on wet ground and welding. During 44 years of welding, I had one real bad experience welding in the rain. I was up about 20 ft. off the ground on scaffolding welding a patch on the side of a large vessel. It had been drizzling all day but had stopped. My gloves had gotten damp from handling the wet leads and my leather safety steel toed boots were damp. Something went haywire internally in the DC machine (this was a diesel rig) that I was using and when I struck an arc, it knocked me down on the scaffold boards. I later found out I had a small hole arched in my right heel where the charge went to ground through a nail in the heel of the boot. Upon checking the machine, we found out that just touching the lead with the machine running, would result in getting the h*ll shocked out of us. I was later told by the person who repaired the welding machine that it was very dangerous when this happened to a welding machine. It was puting out high voltage as well as high amps. I do not understand electronics and would not attempt to repeat what they told me happened to create this situation. After that happened, a couple of years later the company came out with a safety policy that no one was to weld in the rain "period". Anyone caught was subject to time off without pay for the first offense, dismissal on any further violations.
  16. Tom Militano

    Tom Militano Banned BANNED

    Feb 27, 1999
    The way I weld nothing sticks together anyway, so it doesn't matter if it's raining. Giving me welding equipment is like giving a monkey a straight razor to play with, dangerous.
  17. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    I was assuming your question was about welding in a shop while it was raining outside? I would not weld outside in the rain, common sense tells me better.
  18. warrior24


    May 3, 2006
    sunfish you are correct I was gonna weld in a shop, I am not dumb enough to weld in the rain
  19. Walt2


    Mar 13, 2001
    Years ago before the safety standards got to where they are today, it was common for welders to weld in rainy weather as long as it was light rain. On some jobs, you either did it or you did not have a job. My last 341/2 yrs at welding was in a plant and before safety rules got to where they are these days, management expected you to work in the rain to some extent. Most of the time though it would be on something that had caused a production cut and they wanted the process back on. Some supervisors were worse than others until MSHA got involved and put a stop to some of the things that used to go on. I've been gone from that scene for 6 years and do not miss it a bit.

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