I'm roughly six months into this hobby and looking back I wish I had taken an introductory welding class or two at a community college or trade school. Even for a garage hobbyist I feel it's worth the investment of time and money. So as you go through my recommendations keep in mind that I'm self taught. The resources listed below are those that I've discovered and found valuable over the past few months. I hope you get as much out of them as I have.
Reference, instructional and creative inspiration books and manuals:
Haynes Techbook Welding Manual (Instructional)
$16.47 on Amazon
A great introduction to welding and cutting. Provides an overview of tools, techniques and the various cutting, brazing and welding techniques. This book or similar is a must have for any beginner.
Welding Essentials by Galvery and Marlow (Instructional)
$29.95 on Amazon
This is a text book used in instructional programs and as such gets a little theoretical/academic for most garage hobbyists. As an example I'm not really sure that I will ever need to fully understand the chemical changes that are taking place as the combustion of oxygen and acetylene force molecules of metal to separate. I can summarize that chapter as "hot blowtorch cuts metal", but there is substantial to learn from this manual. Including, but not limited to, oxyacetylene torch safety, descriptions of different welding, brazing and cutting techniques, proper joint fabrication and angles plus much more.
Arc Welding by Walker and Polanin (Instructional)
$38.22 on Amazon
Another academic instructional book, but this one uses a practical approach. Covers safety, types of joints, equipment, teqniques and procedures. Filled with examples, exercises and pictures to compare your work to the desired outcome. I find myself going back to this manual regularly.
Metal Forming, Forging, and Welding Techniques by Ares (Creative inspiration)
$19.79 on Amazon
A hardback filled with color pictures and examples of work. The author Jose Ares is an amazing craftsman and artist. The book is full of inspirational nuggets and shows what is possible with metal. There's several step-by-step project plans that are within reach of a beginner to intermediate level hobbyists. It does cross over to metal forging and other non-welding topics, but is a great creative reference.
Reference Charts and Common Conversions:
Equipment Catalogs and Vendors:
Material Catalogs and Vendors:
Online Bulletin Boards and Communities:
Instructional Videos and YouTube Channels: