View Full Version : wuz you a welder helper?

04-17-2012, 08:14 PM
who here started their pipe line carreer as a welder?

04-17-2012, 08:29 PM
i did! almost 2 years. This is your best bet, if you have never been on a pipeline job, no matter how great of a welder you are, you will be lost! The pipeline world is like no other! You will be expected to kno what to do, not told what to do!! As a helper, you will learn the way things work, and what it takes to get the pipe in the ground!


Hot Pass
04-17-2012, 08:34 PM
Not bragging about it;

But, it is just how I and many others on this site will testify to. I started out as a 'Welder's Helper' on a traveling pipeline construction comapny, in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Lousiana, learned the ropes sort of speak.

Learned enough about pipe welding, fabrication, lay-out, and estimating to get work doing; pipelines, tie-ins, pressure vessels, boilers, power plants, petro-chemical plants, and refineries, etc.....

Learned many welding processes and applied them then and now.

Been in the field a long time, over 25 years, worked and welded to API, ASME, and AWS welding codes, still welding to API today, and a CWI and CPWI.

04-17-2012, 09:09 PM
I started. out as a helper for an old man in his 50"s LOL I was 18 a year out of hs .

For a co called Bechtel I felt like a slave beveling all his pipe never welding any of it even though i made the test to get on . in one year i learned a lot went from a tank farm to a nuke plant love those 80's have a good time working and playing hard
yeah 31 years welding I love it all of it

04-18-2012, 05:15 AM
I was was a helper. Used todo a bunch of nat gas lines, flex pipe, install ball flanges, gaskets, bolt stuff up, grind n bevel pipe, learned how to two hole, etc... then moved to a shop, same kind of stuff except i'd prep stuff too, then started tacking, etc... stay after work n practice during lunch and learn a lot from everyone.. job duties was basically everything nobody else wanted todo haha. sweep floors, mop, order supplies, open rods put them in the rod oven, get everyone clear cover lenses in the morning, any supplies they wanted, goto yard n ge rolls, move stuff around shop, do all the basic inspection work on pieces going out before the weld inspector would get to them and let him know if anything wrong (stamps, gauge, etc..), blow the units out, keep track of heat numbers, print out WPS and make sure everyone has an updated one in their station for the job they are working in, go over everyone's QRS reports and make sure nobody made mistakes, get new rolls of wire for guys, replace their machine from mig to fluxcore setups, bevel pipe laid out, etc.. and not to mention doin this for 15 guys

good times :P

04-18-2012, 05:59 PM
I started out as a helper on small pipelines, and pads for a couple years then went to a shop welded doing layout, fit up, weldout assemble to instalation in the field, built alot of cool stuff, and learned alot from the older guys, the went back to oilfield work running a rig for a company learning new stuff everyday, and now on my own still learning new things working with another rigwelder thats 65yrs young. I have always loved what I do because no matter how long youve been doing it there is still new stuff to learn, and I wouldnt change a thing, alot of good times, and people through out the years. And alot more to come. And yes being a helper first is the best way to start out.


04-18-2012, 07:37 PM
I started helping a guy from California named Brian . I worked with him for about a month and a half. A few months later I broke out welding API and ASME 2,3, and 6 inch for a few service companies. I always kept in contact with Brian the whole time. We talked every week or it seemed like it. I picked up another job with a service company that got a bid for 120 skids for Anadarko. One day with my helmet down the welding boss asked meÖ. Do you know Brian, how is he?........ He started 2 days later. I loved working beside the guy I helped. When I look back , kinda never stopped helping him. What ever I needed he was there, what ever he needed I was there. We didnít spend a lot of time outside of work together, but we had a common bond thatís hard to find. I have since moved on from that job and still keep in contact with him. Met a hand full of pipe welders from Arkansas, Arizona, Wyoming, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi , Ohio, Washington, all friends now but none as close as my old weldor.

04-18-2012, 07:53 PM
I started as helper with my Dad running our welding shop. I worked my way up learning welding, Fabricating, Pipe fitting, Etc. My intro to pipe welding was a 60 inch water line tie-in we did. I think i was 16 or so and was welding on that pipe. I helped my Dad build our first rig. That man taught me a lot over the years and is still teaching me tricks. I still call him when i get stuck on something or i need a reminder on how to do a certain procedure. Over the years him and i have both met several welders who we all bounce ideas off of and trade info on work. One of them is working close by me here in North Dakota and is going to give me a hand with my caps. I guess in some respects i might have had it easy working for my Dad but he was still hard on me and i do thank him for it. I had to work my ass off to get my first rig and now i am on my 3rd rig. I guess everyone starts somewhere some at the bottom some in the middle. I feel very lucky to have a Dad like mine who taught me a great trade. I know he is proud of me that i followed in his footsteps. If was not for my Dad i probably would not be in this trade.

04-20-2012, 05:06 PM
well i hate to say it but i skipped being a helper,i was in the service and when i got out i whent to welding school and started welding in boilers and refineries. learned to weld with mirrors on tubes , did that for about 10years before moving over to pipeline. have been all over the country and even overseas. this carreerfield has been the most rewarding i have ever had.the people you meet and the friends you make are the best in the world. when you make a friend in the pipeline biz thats a friend for ever,even if you dont see them for 5yrs ,one day you will cross paths again and you will pick up where you left off.
there are friends on this site that have never even meet but if your ever in thier area and need something you can call them and they would be there to help. now thats brotherhood. welders have a bond that no other has.

04-20-2012, 05:08 PM
Well put Ez well put.

04-20-2012, 06:14 PM
Well put EZ,

I come from a pipeline family ( a dad and seven uncles),I took my first test for HB zachry when I was 20, screwed up and passed it, welded on a power house with them, welded for Peabody erectors after that but didn't want to travel like the rest of my family so I joined the local pipefitters union and went from welder to appentice, since i knew how to weld I got stuck making every crap weld those old journeymen didn't want to make, but it only made me better and I learned alot. After I turned out I went back to school and became a mechanical designer Did that for 8 years but couldn't stand the cubicle so I went back in my truck and have been having the time of my life !!!
PS. That first test was 28 years ago this year.

Hot Pass
04-20-2012, 09:00 PM
I didn't really clear up my post on 'Welder's Helper', I started as a helper at Farrar Construction in Dover, Ok on a traveling pipeline construction crew, at the age of 15, 16, & 17 working during the summers of 1983 and 1984 and 1985, earning my paid in full tuition to Tulsa Welding School for 6 months learning pipe welding open root tig and stick, lo-hy caps and 5p caps, blueprint reading and lay-out, great course back then.

The opportunities came after that. Worked in an ASME Code pressure vessel shop at 18 yrs, did a lot of 'Single hand' welding built my first truck at 24 years with out any payments. 'Broke-Out' at 24 yrs in Callifornia working power plants and refineries, boilers, pressure vessels, power piping, petro-chemical, paper mills, saw mills.... Even worked in the 'Entertainment' industry building roller-coasters, show action equipment for them parks, museums, Las Vegas magic shows, fire effects, water effects, and mechanical dinasaurs..... Good Times.

04-20-2012, 09:20 PM
Hell no. Went to a good welding school. Myself and most of my classmates of 1978 were pipeline ready and hit the ground running in Ohio's Clinton Sand oil boom. I landed on DA Waldron Oilfield Associates hot tap and live over the hole welding crew.

PS Absolutely not bragging about our talents. It came hard in a tough 2+ yr course specific to API line pipe. 23 of us started and 5 made it. My parents were coal bed methane vent well drilling contractors so I was a natural for the fire and flame stuff

04-20-2012, 09:54 PM
man we have quite a bunch of helper stories going LOL

04-21-2012, 09:55 AM
Would have been nice to be a helper first, but tested and got on as a welder. the weldin was kind of the easy part... except for 2 cut outs... People expecting you to know more than u do is the hard part. Glad I did it and can't wait to do it again.

04-23-2012, 09:48 PM
Well i first touched a stinger in high school ag class, i was amazed that, that red box could melt metal like that. After 5 years in the army came home and began adapting to civilian life again. Started working in the oilfield as a roustabout where i was always the guy that would work my way over to the welders to pick their brains about the trade. After a while decided to go to college for welding technologies where i was introduced to MIG and TIG welding which drew me to the trade even more. My first job was welding trailers for big-tex for $7/hr. But i loved what i was doing. As far as a helper during my roustabout days helped many a welder alot of station work and anytime they would let me weld for practice id get on it. I bought my truck, machine and tools on my own. I left to kenedy texas in 2010 to get a job as a helper. The only vehicle i had was my rig truck. Drove all night. Slept for an hour and went to work the next morning, they saw my truck and said " you wanna test?", we need welders not helpers and i said screw it, if i really want this heres my chance and ran with it. A few months later i was the first mother f#%ker to get the call that i was laid off. And vowed never again will that happen to me. I. Came home thinking that i would be able to find pipeline work back home, even hired on as a helper and the day came when they were testing welders. I figured out really quick that its about who, not what you know. So i decided that i will keep practicing and learning so that i aint the first but the last guy to leave the job.

04-25-2012, 04:28 PM
Well my uncle owns a lil fab shop in my hometown started working summers there about 14 same stuff cleaning up, grinding, changing bottles etc. started welding a lil bit about sixteen mig, stick, heli arc. moved to houston at 19 to go to college, had a part time shop job with an offshore company, more of the same bottom of the barrel do whatvere to make as many hours as i could. they sent me offshore once, is all it took. I wuit school and joined the boilermakers, welding boiler tubes, pipe layout, changing valvesand all that crap. Havent made it to the big time yet, hunting a truck right now as we speak. in the late 90's my uncle chased rigs hard-core, I would go with him at night and early in the morning. And it just seemed like a good way to get paid, I like the mud and grease, the chnce of exploding. It just all seems like heaven.