One of the things that used to irritate me, particularly when stick-welding with small diameter rods, was the difficulty in controlling the end of the rod, a new rod being the most difficult because of its length. Firstly, to achieve a clean “strike”; secondly, to prevent the rod from sticking; and lastly, to control the puddle of molten metal. With smaller rods, the “dither” (rapid movement of the rod end) can make the strike difficult and leads to the rod sticking everywhere but where you want it. The problem is exacerbated when you are welding thin materials.
Many years ago, in an attempt to attain better control of the rod, I grasped it with my leather-gloved hand, about 60 mm from the end. What a difference! Using the rod like a pencil, I was able to strike a stable arc and control the flow of molten metal like never before (see photograph).
With welding gloves, you can use up to half of the rod before the heat becomes too much to bear. Once you reach the halfway point, you can resort to using the rod holder in the normal way. Keep your gloves dry, ensure that the flux coating on the rod is intact along its full length, and you won’t be shocked.