A Guide to Welding and Fabrication Slang

Welding requires a skill set that’s taught in school, but it’s also necessary to know the field’s lingo if you’re to have a successful career. If you’re new to the welding and fabrication field, here’s some of the most common slang that you’ll hear and what each term means.

Welding Technique Slang

All professionals develop shorthand terms for the work they do. In welding and fabrication, there are several slang terms for the techniques that you and others will use. Knowing these is essential if you’re to follow instructions properly.

  • Stringer Bead: A stringer bead is a straight and narrow weld bead. It’s formed by moving the SMAW electrode in a straight pass along the weld joint.
  • Root Pass: A root pass is the first weld bead that’s placed in a multipass weld. The bead sits directly in the weld joint.
  • Fill Pass: A fill pass is the second weld bead place in a multipass weld. The bead is placed on the root pass, and it uses the amount necessary to fill the joint. In some cases multiple fill passes are required. A fill pass is frequently referred to as simply a “fill.”
  • Cap Pass: A cap pass is the last weld made in a multipass weld. The bead can be either a stringer bead, or weave back and forth.
  • Fisheye: Fisheye is a reference to the puddle shape when welding. It might also refer to the crater shape when a pass is complete.
  • Keyhole: Keyhole is a reference to the hole that forms in an open-root joint weld. The keyhole makes it easy to get good penetration and tie-in when the weld is completed. This work is often done with an AWS 6010 SMAW electrode.

Welding Personnel Slang

Welders and fabricators also have slang terms for people who work in the field. You’ll probably hear the following terms at some point:

  • Bugger: A bugger is a welder’s assistant. The prep, cleanup and might run more passes between completion and visual inspection.
  • Rookie: A rookie is someone new in the field, as is true in most uses of the term. Green and greenhorn are suitable alternative terms.
  • Golden Arm: A golden arm is someone who has excellent welding technique and consistently produces solid results. Such a welder has been in the field for some time.
  • Shoulder to the Holder: Shoulder to the holder describes a welder that uses more brawn than brains, strongarming many jobs.
  • ROMF: A ROMF is a welder who’s no longer needed on a project. This is frequently due to their performance.
  • Meat Hand: The term meat hand comes from “bead hand.” This is a welder who runs root passes on pipeline jobs. Meat hands tend to be skilled welders.
  • Shield Archer: A shield archer is any welder who uses SMAW equipment.
  • Zorro: A zorro is a shield archer who’s attempting to unstick the SMAW equipment.
  • Drinking Hand: A drinking hand is someone in the field who drinks alcohol excessively. The term doesn’t carry negative connotations.
  • Potato Face: A potato face describes someone in their field who has flash-burned eyes. The term stems not so much from the appearance but from the use of potato in treating flash burn.

Start Your Career in Welding and Fabrication

If you’re new to welding and fabrication, get the training you need to have a successful career in this field at Vocational Technical Institute. Contact us today to learn more about our curriculum and how it’ll prepare you.