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7018 Welding Rods for the Hobbyist

Welding RodsAlthough mostly used for structural fabrication and erection, many home hobbyist are discovering the great benefits of 7018 electrodes. Most shop and field jobs receive 7018 electrodes in 50 pound boxes. Because of the need to store these rods properly, it is often suggested to the hobbyist that they should purchase anywhere from 1 pound to 10 pound packets. This is not good for two reasons:

First, buying anything under 50 pounds increases the price BIG TIME!!! It is highway robbery buying small packets at many of the building supply stores and even at many welding supply stores. I don't know if it's because it's more of a pain putting the electrodes (rods) in the packages or what, but you are WAY better off buying the 50 pound containers unless you plan on only using a very small amount.

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

I'm not sure why small amounts cost so much more, maybe it is because of packaging. I took a tour of Hobart's electrode production plant while visiting Hobart's Welding School in Troy, Ohio a few years back. It was really interesting watching how the rods were made. What surprised me most, or I should say, what freaked me out the most, was seeing how they were packaged! Here is this elaborate plant with all kinds of computers, conveyors, extractors, etc. and then at the very end of the process is…some guy putting them in the cans.

I'm expecting some big piece of machinery placing all these 7018 rods on different belts to be fed precisely into each can. What I'm seeing is this guy grabbing handfuls of rods and madly filling up each can! You talk about a job where you better be in good shape, and don't EVEN come in with a hangover!

I guess it's hard enough putting handfuls of 7018 into 50 pound cans, and even more labor intensive to put them in one, two, five, or ten pound packets. I didn't get a chance to see how that was done.

I've seen 5 pounds of 7018 rods costing FOUR TIMES more at one of the big hardware/building stores than what it would cost if you were to buy in the larger 50 pound quantity at the welding supply store. These prices are changing almost daily, and when I say changing, I mean going up! Prices I've paid for steel and rods have doubled and tripled over the last couple of years.

The second and even more important reason it's better to buy 7018 in the 50 pound boxes is because they are hermetically sealed to keep moisture out.

If you're old enough to remember watching Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, you remember him as Carmac the magician with his "hermetically sealed envelopes." They were sealed so he would not know the question inside. He would give a funny answer, then open the envelope and read a question, usually getting a lot of laughs. The neat thing about Johnny was, even if the joke wasn't funny, his look into the camera always was.

We'll talk about the importance of 7018 rods being delivered like Carmac's envelopes, "hermetically sealed", in article #2.


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