First of all I would just like to introduce myself. My name is Brendan, I am fourteen years old, and I drive and tune race karts professionally in the USA and Canada. I am fairly young, but I assure you my mechanical ability rivals most adults I have met. When I'm not racing I am working at a race shop or working in my own garage at home. My setup at home is pretty complete with all the tools and equipment I would ever need, but I am looking to add a welder to my collection soon to first of all make a welding table and second of all to use occasionally on whatever projects I have on the go at any given time. I have used TIG and MIG welders before with decent results. I had a chance to use a stick welder today and I liked it a lot, and so far I am fairly good at it. I have done some research and a stick welder seems to fit my needs perfectly. Inexpensive, easy to use, no shielding gas, etc. So I think that is what I am going to go for unless you guys can convince me otherwise, hahaha.
I have a few questions about the process itself. When I was using the stick welder today I laid down some very nice beads once I got my speed down (as far as I can tell). My first question is, once I have striked the electrode and begun to weld, do I lift up on the electrode slightly or do I press it directly against the metal? My second question is, during the last weld I did, the slag actually lifted off the bead and curled up at the beginning of the weld and continued to do so until I stopped welding. Is this a sign of anything bad, or a sign of anything good? Thank-you very much.