CSA W47.1

Alternative Testing option for CWB qualification

As you may have heard, CSA W47.1 Code for Certification of Steel Fabrication has changed. There are many changes, but today’s blog will focus on the removal of mechanical testing as an option for the ½” FCAW/MCAW testing qualification.


CSA W47.1

1/2″ FCAW Plate

For the past couple of decades, a FCAW/MCAW test could be done on a ½ Test Assembly and be mechanically tested using a side bend testing method. This was really easy to pass, and the folks on the CSA W47.1 committee saw some concern in this method and has removed this testing option. (rightly so)




As a welder my thoughts are damn, that was an easy test to renew! As an inspector my thoughts are, it’s about time we tightened up the requirement for this qualification.

So let’s get to the facts of the testing.


CSA W47.1 2009 Revision, had the option to qualify FCAW/MCAW on a 1/2″ test plate with three side bends, or the middle 150mm to be radiographic tested ( figure 9 of W47.1) Alternatively, a welder qualification could be tested on the 3/8″ plate and two root, one face bend (figure 8 of W47.1).

CWB Welder Qualification Test

CWB Performance Test


Current: AS Of September 1, 2015. 

CSA W47.1 has changed, and Welder Qualification testing for FCAW/MCAW are, to use a 1/2″ plate still to figure 9 with an X-Ray test only (no more side bends, friends), or figure 8 with the 3/8″ plate and mechanically test, two root and one face bends.

I’m going to take a minute and put my welding helmet back on for this discussion, we are going to work through the options of this test strictly as “best option for the welder test” let’s face it we welders are “lazy” ok wrong phrase, we take the path of least resistance, (easiest route), fair enough? And yes I include myself here!

The great thing about the CSA W47.1 standard is that it gives us options! To know your options, it is important to understand the code.


Here are the facts:

Most welders will see Figure 8, which offers the 3/8” plate thickness. Yes, there is less welding to fill the fillet/groove (option 1GF), and most often welders or welding supervisors stop here and don’t look any further, as this is the commonly accepted test methods.

BUT there are other great options that are given in this standard. Let’s dig deeper

Follow my thinking for a minute, go to your W47.1 figure 8. Let’s explore the option 3G. Yes, I’m aware we only get a groove weld ticket for this one, however, with the provisions of clause and figure 6. We can qualify for a groove ticket and complete the additional fillet test.  I know, you are thinking, but this is more testing!


First of all has anyone tried to weld a 5/16″ root opening GF option 1 with a 0.045″ wire, in the horizontal position? Good luck getting a fillet weld small enough to get the bevel pass in too!  BUT with option 3G a welder has a single vee groove with GTSM and back weld! Who doesn’t love a GTSM weld? In any position? The root open doesn’t change for all four positions. 0 gap, GTSM, full penetration joint, weld from both sides of the plate.

So here we go, think about this for a second…………  You can try option 1GF with a fillet and groove in one test. However, that horizontal is going to be a show stopper for you friends. Very few Welders are going to be able to get the two passes in the root! And based on over 15 years experience, this is a fact.

Yes, let’s not forget about our old friend figure 9! This test plate is relatively still easy to weld out, again things to think about, X-Ray of a Groove/Fillet joint is not always easy to pass,. A 1/2″ plate with 5/8″ root opening, 8″ long, requires a lot of welding to fill that joint!


Here are the Shewfelt notes of “How to qualify for FCAW/MCAW!


FIGURE 8, Option 3G Test AssemblyOrder your plates here

  • CWB CSA W47.1

    Option 3 Test Assembly – Tacked

    Tack weld the back of the plate, do the one stop/start in the root weld,

  • CSA W47.1

    Start Stop Weld Pass

  • Weld out plate side A,





  • CSA W47.1

    Grind to sound metal

    Flip plate, Grind to sound metal,(tacks are ground out at this point) Little known fact, there is no requirement in W47.1 for a second stop-start on this test option. Again another bonus of this option, one stop-start!

  • Complete the weld on side B




Test done, proceed to prep and bend.

Here we go again, BONUS, no need to remove the backing bar, there is none!!!!,

So,  bend one root, with a Stop/start, but we have GTSM the joint, don’t know about anyone else but myself this would not worry me, the stop/start has been ground and a weld deposited from the other side.,

Now the face bend, no real difference than from options 1GF.,

Second root bend, REALLY? Is this a root bend? Not really, this is a weld bend test; the root is buried in the middle of the plate! No worries about failing this root bend.  (if welding is done correctly)

CSA W47,1

Fillet Weld

Next, we follow up option 3G with the Fillet weld test assembly from figure 6! This is (I know I shouldn’t call it this) a no brainer test. Weld a fillet, one stop-start, two macro etch tests for penetration and a fracture. Pretty easy!





Oh, I forgot to mention that if you do option 3 with the fillet test of figure 6. If you happen to fail the groove and pass the filet or vice versa, you still obtain the qualification you did pass. Therefore, you can weld, either grooves or fillets (whichever test you passed) until you can schedule a retest for the other.


CSA W47.1

Alternative to Figure 8, Option 1 CSA W47.1

Please visit our Weld Test Centre for WTC test dates in Winnipeg and Brandon.

So ladies and gentlemen there you have it the Shewfelt/AXIS  notes for your next FCAW/MCAW welder qualification.  Good luck on all your qualification tests, and remember always to review and think about your options provided in CSA W47.1!


If you have any questions or comments regarding this blog, please feel free to contact our office at 1-204-488-6790 or email us at bonnie@axisinspection.com


Until Next Week,

Bonnie Pankratz