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Proper Storage of 7018 Rods to
Prevent Defects - Part 1

I just answered a question for Practical Welding Today about proper welding electrode storage. In it I referenced that welding with 7018 rods that have moisture in them will introduce you to one of the common weld defects…porosity.

7018 welding rods allow very little hydrogen into the weld pool unless they have moisture in them from not being stored correctly. Moisture allows hydrogen into the flux, which is then introduced into the weld pool adversely. What happens is the moisture is superheated and then bubbles up to the surface leaving an open pocket in the finished weld bead. So at that spot the weld is weaker because it is not a solid bead.

Click here to view our welding ovens and to learn
about the benefits of proper storage!

Many people just leave 7018 welding electrodes in the boxes they come in, while others think they are using proper storage methods when they really are not. There are three common myths that are really widespread in the shop and field.

One is wrapping the welding rods in plastic and storing them in your freezer. Besides making your wife mad as hell, this will actually introduce moisture into the flux. As soon as the package is brought out into the atmosphere, it will be attacked by moisture from the cold rods being soaked in the warm outside air.

I wear glasses, and on a cold winter day my glasses immediately fog over when I walk into a warm room. That's the same effect you're gonna' get with your freezer rods.

Another, and probably the most widely spread and widely used myth is putting the welding electrodes in an old refrigerator with a constantly burning light bulb inside. (Remember that old question: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there will it make a sound? Or does the light bulb REALLY go off when you close the freezer door? Well in this case you WANT the bulb burning all the time.)

Supposedly the bulb will make it hot enough in the refrigerator to keep the welding rods at the recommended temperature. Only trouble is there ain't no light bulb out there that is going to keep a constant 250 to 450 degrees, which is the correct specification for open welding electrode boxes! It's something like using a garden hose to put out a forest fire, just not gonna' work.

Now don't feel bad if you've done this because I've done it too, and I've seen major shops and building corporations doing it too! I worked in a huge "black iron" shop where they did millions of dollars of fabrication and production of beams, girders, columns and the like for the construction industry. Our storage area consisted of a dusty little room with a crummy refrigerator with a 150 watt light bulb.

I remember seeing the chief engineer come in for a job we were doing for an "earthquake proof" (yeah, I'll believe that when I see it!) hospital in California. He had come in to make sure us welders were properly certified. When he saw that pitiful little welding electrode storage area he just about shut the whole job down! It took a lot of convincing and the ordering of a REAL welding rod oven to make him happy again!

Continue to Part 2


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