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TIG Welding: How to Hold the Torch

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you doing?

Kevin Caron: Well, I had a couple of email requests asking if I could do a how-to video on how to "walk the cup." I can kind of show you, but not clearly. I'll do my best to explain as I go along.

This is the cup on the welding torch, and this is the tungsten in the end of it. This is where the spark is; where the arc comes out of. This is where all the welding actually goes on. Walking the cup, at least from what I've been able to figure out, is best for working on an inside weld where you've got a 90-degree corner weld.

Basically it involves simply working your welding gun along in this fashion. As you can see, the gun is just kind of walking itself right around the corner. The only difference between that and the way I do it is that you get to rest the gun. It makes the weld look a little smoother.

I find that holding the gun - and I'm going to get in trouble for this - holding the gun correctly gives you a better weld. That's why I don't hold the gun like this. I'm not choking a chicken or anything. I'm not trying to squeeze a tube of toothpaste.

I prefer to have it a little bit more like a pencil, so I can "write" with it, especially when I'm working on some of my smaller metal sculptures, where there are tight corners. This approach also gives me the opportunity to place the bottom of my hand or my finger, two fingers, or whatever I need, place them on my work somewhere. That tells me where my artwork is in relation to my metal.

I'm not standing in such a way that I end up messing up my weld. I can hold it and follow right along the edge of the metal. I don't even have to watch because I can feel the gun touch the metal as I'm going around the corner.

It'll work either way. It just makes it a little bit easier, a little bit more stable, in my opinion. But remember, I am not trained. I have no classes, and I'm not certified in the use of a TIG welder. This is just what I've learned by doing it this way here in the studio.

Once again, the way I like to do it is to hold it like a pencil. Hold it like the end of your finger, basically, so you can just sit and point and write with it. Always use your little finger to drag it along in order to keep your hand steady.

That?s all. See you later.

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