book reviews

Welding Books

Welder's Handbook:
A Complete Guide to MIG, TIG, Arc & Oxyacetylene Welding (2nd ed.) by Richard Finch
HP Books, 1997, 169 pages


M ake very sure that the welded assembly can be removed from the jig when the welding is all done," says Richard Finch in this practical introduction to welding techniques. How easy it is to forget that basic principle.

This book contains lots of practical advice about welding by a self-taught expert who welded part of the launch platform for the Space Shuttle and inspected welds on nuclear power plants. It's full of black-and white illustrations and tables, including bandsaw speeds for different metals, gas cylinder sizes, and tensile strengths and welding conditions for different alloys. It describes how to weld with an oxyacetylene torch and arc welder, what equipment and supplies you will need, and gives expert advice about avoiding the many pitfalls and safety hazards of welding.

The author dispels the myth that brief heat-treatment is sufficient to relieve stress. To remove residual stress from 4130 chromium-molybdenum steel, for instance, the author says that the part must be heated in an air-tight oven at 1150° for two hours and gradually cooled. Higher temperatures will merely anneal it, leading to cracks.

The book provides little insight into the metallurgical aspects of welding, compositions of metals, or the chemistry of the flame or arc or the metals' interactions with air. There is little information on brazing and soldering and no information on tests to determine the quality of the weld. The book could also use more illustrations of good vs. bad welds. There is no mention of thermite welding or cadwelding.

Even though this practical guide to torch and plasma cutting and welding of steel, aluminum, magnesium, and even titanium is by no means as complete as the title promises, it provides an interesting overview of the subject suitable for a beginner. Anyone who designs, specifies, builds, or rides in things made of metal, even if you don't do the welding yourself, should know the information in this book.

August 15, 2003

How to Weld by Todd Bridigum
Motorbooks, 2008, 207 pages


C an you learn welding without taking a welding course? Possible but not recommended, says Todd Bridigum in this book, advertised as “the only book on welding you'll ever need.”

Welding Essentials: Questions and Answers by William Galvery and Frank Marlow
Industrial Press, 2007, 524 pages


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