Welding is both a science and an art, and it’s one that I’ve (so far, at least) been armchair fascinated by for years. Much like studying art and visiting museums or seeing cool street murals, I can appreciate how aesthetically pleasing welds can be. There’s an extra practical component here, too. Welding is kind of like cooking in that way.
Another way that it’s like cooking, it seems, is that once you know the basics, how different people choose to approach doing it may vary wildly from person to person. Different people approach the task in a variety of ways. As long as certain rules are adhered to in making sure the join is solid, the methodology may be open to a reasonable amount of interpretation, and everyone who has some idea of what they’re doing will probably have an opinion about how their specific way is the best way.
That’s one thing that seems evident after watching Superfast Matt’s latest video, which is all about how he finally took a welding class with a local expert. After having just kind of done his own welding thing for the past two decades, he decided it was time to finally learn it for real. In this video, he takes us on a run-through of what he learned in the class, how it’s changed what he’s doing now—and how he was previously doing it wrong.
A gorgeous weld on my Honda Hawk.
An, um, less gorgeous weld on my Honda VF500F Interceptor.
Obtaining some training with an expert to help you get the basics down, as we all probably already know. It can also make a huge difference in our approaches to doing a given task. That’s why Matt also recommends that if you want to learn how to weld properly, your best bet is to find someone like his teacher in your local area, and then go take a class with them.
Ultimately, though, another way that welding is like cooking (or, indeed, anything else that involves art, science, or both) is that you won’t get better at it if you don’t practice it regularly. Part of where the art comes from is in gaining familiarity with the tools you’re using, as well as how you use them. That's a skill you have to build within yourself, and not necessarily something that can be taught.
Developing skill at a thing only comes over time and with much repetition. While you probably won’t be perfect at first, as long as you keep going, you’ll start to get a better grasp on what you’re doing, what you did wrong previously—and how you can make it better. That’s all anyone could ask for, isn’t it?