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48 Welding Slang Phrases to Talk Like a Metal Junkie Expert

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In the construction world, newbies often find themselves lost in common phrases and welding slang thrown around by fellow workers.

Here’s the ultimate guide on welding slang and fabrication slang in the workforce.

You’ll find categories in the following subjects:

  • People & Characteristics
  • Equipment & Techniques
  • Workshop Issues & Welding Situations
  • Common Work Commands

Your Blueprint to Welding Slang Words & Phrases

People & Characteristics

Golden Arm 

A welder with excellent technique and end results.


Welder’s helper, cleaning up and prepping weld in advance; it might run additional passes after the weld is completed in advance of visual inspection.

Meat Hand

Derived from the term “bead hand.” A root pass welder on a pipeline job. Usually a good welder that can run slick root passes (stringer beads) in x-ray pipelines in production mode.

Drinking Hand

Welder that drinks alcohol in excess. Not necessarily a bad connotation.


Welder whose services are no longer necessary.

Shield Arcer

SMAW welder

Shoulder to the Holder

Welder who uses more brawn than brain for work.

Potato Face

Welder with flash burned eyes.

Green/Green horn/Rookie

Any welder new to the trade.


Welder trying to un-stick the SMAW electrode.

Equipment & Techniques


Truck or trailer devoted to hauling a welder’s equipment.

Bird Poop

Cold, supremely ugly, ropey blobs of metal made by a novice failing a weld.

Tombstone Welder

Common AC or AC/DC stick welder that looks like a tombstone in that the dials are on the front and it stands upright.


Two pieces of long run pipe welded together crooked.


Buckshot/Dingle Berry

Welding spatter



Alligator Cut

A torch cut done so poorly that the steel looks like it had been chewed through by an alligator.


Final weld bead in a weld joint. It may be completed in the form of a stringer bead or by a weaving motion back and forth.


The shape of the puddle while welding; sometimes also used to describe the shape of the crater at the end of the weld.


Arc that provides a lot of drive into the weld joint. It often is associated with increased spatter.


Arc that has less drive (dig) and potentially less penetration into the weld joint.

Hot Start

Function used on some SMAW power sources to simplify arc starting when using difficult-to-start electrodes. It works by adding more current to help establish the arc.


The shape of the hole that is formed while welding an open-root joint. Allows for good penetration and tie-in in the completed weld.

Cold Lap

A defect that occurs when there is lack of penetration on one leg of the weld. Also called lack of fusion or incomplete fusion, it most often is caused by travel speeds that are too slow or weaves that are too wide. It also can be caused by lack of heat input, which prevents the weld and base metal from fusing together.

Wagon Tracks

Also called worm tracking, this weld defect is caused by hydrogen that has been trapped by the freezing slag. The defect, typically the result of excessive voltage, appears when a bubble flows into the weld puddle and evaporates into the atmosphere.


The shape of the SMAW electrode as the flux burns off the end.


SMAW electrodes having organic material, such as paper, as the main component. These electrodes tend to have deep penetrating capabilities.


Any weld or material with at least one bend that is not supposed to be there.

Weed Burner

Propane torch usually only used for pre/post heat.

Bubble Gum

Weld with lack of fusion &/or porosity/weld with lumps and bumps.


SMAW electrode bag

Chicken Scratch

Arc strikes outside weld area.


Welding or carbon arc sparks

Workshop Issues & Welding Situations

Poor Fitup

Gaps in some spots while other spots are tight.

Making Popcorn

Power source not set correctly (on MIG especially).


Drag up

Preemptive removal of welder services before becoming ROMF.


Major lull in workhands; coming from either inattention of the contractor to see welders are paid regularly or cheating welders out of .10 per hour.


Lack of penetration with the root pass. Over 1 inch on mainline welds and 2 inches on tie ins can is considered to be a defect.


Small to large holes in the weld metal. Small GP on the cap may be ignored by the welder or covered by strategically putting mud on the weld.

Stringer Bead

No whip action, just a simple weld – like decorating a cake.


Ability of a weld puddle to flow evenly, allowing both sides of the weld to merge smoothly with the base material.


Also called arc force or arc control. It is the ability to adjust the drive of the SMAW electrode to achieve more or less penetration into the weld joint.


The way a SMAW electrode, typically an AWS 7018 classification, burns off while welding.It occurs as a large amount of the SMAW electrode releases across the arc, often resulting in additional spatter.

Walking papers/Bounced/Snake Eyes

Getting fired or laid off.

Common Work Commands

Clamp it Jed

Put a clamp there.

$10 on the truck, $20 on the arm, and they furnish 

 Non-union (probably pipeline), rig job. In this example, the rig takes $10 an hour and the welder receives $20. And they furnish – gas, rods, bottles, water and ice.

Skater in there

Smooth way to add one welding pass upon another pass.


Put me on Maxine & 100

Put both knobs on an engine-driven machine all the way up.

Dime Wide & Nickel High

Width and height of final pass on pipeline weld utilizing the SMAW process. Utilization of these precision inspection tools is based on the idea welders and inspectors are motivated by money.

Final Thoughts:

Now that you have some more knowledge on welding slang, we hope it helps you better understand your new co-workers and makes communications smooth and easy.

Cameron Dekker

Cameron grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a once-proud steel town on the Lehigh River, where he got a taste of TIG welding in his high school shop class. He holds certificates for Certified WeldingEducator (CWE) and Certified Resistance Welding Technician (CRWT) from the American Welding Institute. His interests include scuba diving, sculpture, and kayaking.