California

“Does anyone, in their company they own or work for, weld or have a welder in the shop who fixes all those little things that need to be welded? Seems like there is always something that needs, or could use, a little weld. Been pondering taking some classes at the junior college.”

Pennsylvania

“I would highly recommend a welding class, along with a small engines class. I took both as electives for my degree and took both in high school. I used to do much of my own welding—I built a snowplow frame for the tractor, a set of forks for the tractor, changed my bucket to quick-attach and other assorted smaller items. When I moved, I had to sell my 220 stick welder because my new place didn’t have hookups for it. I do have a small MIG; it is awesome. With the argon tank, you can make any weld nice. I don’t use it much because I haven’t broken anything in a while, but it’s nice; can save you lots of money. Welders around here cost $40 to $60 an hour.

“I would suggest that if you are going to buy a 120-volt welder to go with a MIG. I used a 120-volt stick welder once and it was hard to get going because it didn’t have enough power. I know I got frustrated because my welds looked like crap, and they didn’t hold. If you take a class you will see the benefits of MIG.”

Massachusetts

“I also have a 120-volt welder, but it’s gasless, that way I don’t have to spend money on gas, and I can also easily take it with me to the job. I bought a Honda EU1000 generator for the toolbox in my truck. They work great together. You can either take a class or teach yourself. MIG welding is actually very easy as long as you prep both surfaces down to bare metal. Try it, you might be surprised—as long as you have a steady hand. I hardly need anything welded that can’t be replaced for short money though.

“I got my generator at a local Honda dealer a few towns over from me. I think it’s 1,000 watts, but I’m not sure, to be exact. The thing works great. It’s one of the smaller models that Honda puts out, but it does whatever you want it to. It’s very quiet, too.”

Colorado

“If you plan on welding anything with heavy-gauge steel, i.e., skid loader, bucket, grapple, I would highly suggest getting a 220-volt welder. I found a used Lincoln 175 for $500 with cart and argon bottle. If you get a 110-volt welder you’ll break welds faster than you can repair equipment.”

Pennsylvania

“If you bevel out the weld area, you can do a lot with a 110. You just gotta know the principles behind your weld. I’ve seen .5-inch steel welded with a Hobart 110 MIG, flux core, turned all the way up. It took six passes with a good cleaning between passes, but it held as well any other weld. I’ve found that actually too much heat causes the undercut of the weld, then it doesn’t break at the weld, it breaks right next to the weld.”

Michigan

“As far as learning to weld, I would suggest taking a class or having an experienced welder show you how. A weld may look OK to the untrained eye, but if your welder isn’t set right or you go too fast or too slow, you will have a weak weld. Weak welds on equipment can be dangerous.

“I’m in the process of starting my own tree service, but for my regular job, I am a construction millwright (I work in the automotive industry installing the assembly lines, robotics and conveyors. I also work in the powerhouses working on the turbines and generators). I do a lot of welding at work. We usually use the larger 440 welders, and a lot of portable welder generators. Mostly stick welding.

“For thicker steel, I would recommend an arc welder. For thinner metals, I would go with a MIG welder. If you have the money, I would suggest 220. It’s better to have the extra power there if you need it.”

Washington

“As I read this thread, I can’t give all involved enough advice as to what machine, which process for what part or how many years of welding service I have. What I can say is learn what constitutes a good weld and learn how to achieve that end result. The color of the machine doesn’t care how strong the weld turned out. The pretty weld will almost magically appear if the other factors are correct. Do it right for the sake of your loved ones, or get it done by a qualified pro.”

“In Your Own Words” is contributed from www.TreeServicesSite.com. Visit the forum, and join in the discussions.