This study presents a novel expression for the tendon force associated with residual stresses produced during welding of large, thin sections. A general engineering equation is presented as the combination of a closed-form expression, based on idealized treatment, and correction factors to account for the effects of temperature-dependent thermal and mechanical material properties. The closed-form expression corresponds to the assumption of constant material properties. A rigorous mathematical treatment is utilized to derive explicit, exact expressions for the temperature-dependent correction factors without the need for empirical correlations. The temperature-dependent behavior of materials is captured accurately using four dimensionless groups. The analysis was validated through numerical simulations with common structural grades of low-carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium. The idealized treatment resulted in predictions with a mean difference of 18%, which was reduced to 7% by incorporating the correction factors. The remaining error is a systematic overestimate, which can be attributed to compliance effects of the finite plate used in the simulations, and is the focus of ongoing research. The utility of applying the novel tendon force equation to problems in fabrication procedure design is demonstrated with an example predicting distortion during manufacturing of hollow structural sections.