Difference Between Forehand & Backhand Welding

Welding is an essential fabrication process used in the manufacturing and commercial construction industries to join multiple objects. As you may know, it involves heating the respective objects, thereby causing them to melt.

As the objects begin to cool, they fuse together to create a secure connection. While all welding processes are performed by melting the objects, there are two primary ways in which they are performed: forehand or backhand. So, what’s the difference between forehand and backhand welding?

What Is Forehand Welding?

Forehand welding is a welding technique that’s characterized by the application of the rod before the torch. With forehand welding, the worker holds the torch at roughly a 30-degree angle from his or her right side. This allows the torch to point directly between the rod and the welding puddle.

When compared to backhand welding, forehand welding offers a superior level of penetration. The torch is able to heat hard, dense objects by penetrating through them. The downside to forehand welding is that it tends to produce more splatter while also promoting an inconsistent arc.

What Is Backhand Welding?

Backhand welding is a welding technique in which the worker welds the objects from left to right. Also known as pull welding, it involves applying the torch before the rod itself. Although there are exceptions, backhand welding is typically included at about a 15-degree angle on the worker’s right side. The worker is then able to add the filler metal from his left side.

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Backhand welding offers several benefits, one of which is a consistent arc. Because of the position of the torch and filler rod, the worker is able to create an even and consistent arc. In turn, this allows the worker to evenly distribute the filler metal. Backhand welding also creates less splatter than forehand welding, making it desirable among workers.

The main difference between forehand and backhand welding is the way in which the torch and rod are held. Forehand welding involves holding and applying the torch before the rod, whereas backhand welding involves holding and applying the rod before the torch.

Forehand and Backhand Welding for Other Fabrication Processes

The main difference between forehand and backhand welding is the way in which the torch and rod are held. Forehand welding involves holding and applying the torch before the rod, whereas backhand welding involves holding and applying the rod before the torch.

With names such as “forehand welding” and “backhand welding,” you may assume that are only used for welding. However, both of these techniques can be used for other fabrication processes, including brazing and soldering.

Brazing and soldering, of course, are unique fabrication processes because, unlike with welding, they don’t melt the objects intended to be joined. Regardless, forehand and backhand techniques can be used for all three fabrication processes.

Similarities between forehand welding and backhand welding

  • Forehand and backhand welding techniques are associated with fusion welding processes (primarily gas welding, but the concept is equally applicable to most arc welding processes).
  • Most of the arc welding and gas welding processes can be carried out either in forehand or in backhand technique.
  • Filler metal can be applied in both the configurations.
  • Flame or arc length remains within same range regardless of forehand or backhand strategy employed.
  • Irrespective of welding technique, the joint quality depends predominantly on the capability of the welder.

Differences between forehand welding and backhand welding

Forehand WeldingBackhand Welding
In forward welding, the flame or electrode is pointed towards the direction of weld progression.In backward welding, the flame or electrode is pointed away from the direction of weld progression.
Here the torch is inclined at an obtuse angle (usually 135° – 150°) with the feed vector.Here the torch is inclined at an acute angle (usually 30° – 45°) with the feed vector.
The torch is situated above the deposited weld bead (puddle).The torch does not remain above the weld bead, rather it remains above the unfilled root gap.
Filler metal is applied ahead of the torch.Filler metal is applied behind the torch.
Pre-heating of the base metals takes place automatically in the forehand technique.No pre-heating occurs here.
No post-heating occurs here.The backhand welding technique facilitates the post-heating of the deposited weld bead.
The weld joint is subjected to undesired residual stress.Post-heating allows the joint to be continuously annealed which helps to relieve the residual stress.
Pre-heating offers a faster torch feeding rate, which helps in improving productivity.Torch feeding rate is usually slow due to a lack of pre-heating.
It increases the filler deposition rate but cannot fetch deeper penetration.It assists in achieving deeper penetration, though the filler deposition rate is slow.
The tendency of spatter formation is more with the forehand technique.The backhand welding technique creates comparatively less spatter.
This technique offers good visibility to the welder.The weld zone has poor visibility.
It is preferred for joining thin plates (usually up to 3.0 mm without edge preparation).It is preferred for joining thicker plates.