Like the title says, I want to improve my welding skills. I've got a pretty basic MIG setup I've been using for years. I'd rate my skills as OK, but not great. I've been surfing around here, looking at other guys work, and I've realized that I could do better. My first question: what value shade do you like in your welding helmet for MIG welding? One of the biggest problems I've got when welding is being able to see what I'm doing. Like, I can barely see anything - It's easy for me to lose sight of the weld seam and veer off to the side. I was discussing this with a friend who is a welder by trade, and he asked me why I didn't just go to a lighter shade in my helmet. Being a pro, he's got a couple helmets with different shades in them depending on what he's doing. In all honesty, in the 12 or so years I've been welding it never occurred to me. I pulled the shade out of my helmet this morning - it is a number 8. You can't see anything thru it unless you stare directly at a pretty bright light.