Airweld’s “Answer Man”, Victor Fuhrman, has 41 years of experience in the welding supply and compressed gas industry. An AWS CWI, Victor brings his expertise to our customers, providing solutions to make their jobs more efficient and productive while maintaining the highest quality.

Each month, Victor will select a question and answer it here. If he answers your question, you will receive an Airweld t-shirt! Send your question to:

Our question this month comes from Philip C. of Hauppauge. He asks:

Dear Answerman: The other day, I told one of my welders to reposition his ground clamp and he corrected me, saying that it is called a work clamp and not a ground clamp. I’ve been welding for thirty years and have always called this a ground clamp. Who is right?

Dear Philip: Actually, your welder is! Some of the expressions and slang used over the years in the welding industry are actually misused. In electrical terms, the word “ground” implies an electrical connection to the earth. In a welding circuit, the “ground” is actually the work connection. Welding manufacturers are now labeling this side of the connection on their power supplies as “work” and the clamps are work clamps. Give your welder an “A” for accuracy! Thanks for asking!

Previous Questions

This month’s question comes from Joseph G. of Patchogue, New York. He asks,

“Dear Answer Man: “What is the difference between E7014 and E7018?

Dear Joseph: While these two SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc or “stick”) electrodes have two properties in common, there is one property that makes a huge difference. They both start with “70” meaning a minimum tensile strength of 70,000 psi and they both have a “1” in the third position which means they can be used in all welding positions, flat, horizontal, vertical and overhead.

The fourth position here is the critical factor. This refers to the type of coating and welding polarity.

4 = Iron Powder Titania and AC or DC+ (Reverse Polarity)
8 = Low Hydrogen Potassium/Iron Powder and AC or DC+ (Reverse Polarity)

Where 7014 may be used for general purpose mild steel welding requiring 70,000 psi tensile strength, 7018 is used for structural steel and pipe applications requiring low hydrogen welds and meeting the AWS D1.1 Structural Steel Code. They were created to avoid hydrogen cracking on high strength steels and are moisture sensitive requiring storage in a rod oven between 250 and 300 degrees F. after the container is opened.

It is very important to know the difference. Thanks for asking!