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Welding Rod Storage 101:

An Old Refrigerator with a Light Bulb is not a Rod Oven

There are a lot of myths out there about storing welding rods, especially in make-shift rod ovens. Out on structural jobs we used primarily 1/8" 7018 low-hydrogen rods and they needed to be kept dry. (see Rod Storage)

On some pre-cast parking garages we used 5/32" to weld double tee connections, (the long floor spans that look like two upside down T's) but still 7018, just a different diameter, and like 1/8" they needed to be kept in a rod oven to keep the moisture out of them.

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

We used the 5/32" rods because they deposited more metal and seeing as how most of the connections we welded were in the flat position, it made sense. Most of the time though, I was welding on all steel structures and we used 1/8". And by the way, in case you're wondering, the pre-cast concrete structural members had steel plates in them that matched up so we could weld on them.

Welding rods graduate up and down in 1/32 inch increments. 1/32 of an inch may not seem like much but makes a big difference, especially welding vertical and overhead. The smaller the weld puddle (weld pool), the easier it is to control and manipulate.

I've seen some crazy improvised rod ovens in my day both in shops, and in the field. Funny how in some cases it would've been easier to buy a dang oven in the first place after adding time wasted, and materials used on some of those hair-brained ideas.

The most common rod oven we made had to do with the good ol' refrigerator. The refrigerator is probably the most common used/abused rod oven myth out there. There's the incorrect belief that it works on low-hydrogen rods for keeping moisture out, and there's even a myth about wrapping rods in plastic and storing them in the freezer!

What happens is people disconnect the cooling system and run a light bulb in it to produce heat. The problem is rod ovens need to be at least 250 to 450 degrees F to keep boxes in, 150 -200 degrees F to store bare rods in, and - 500, that's right FIVE HUNDRED, to 600 degrees to re-heat rods that have been exposed to the atmosphere.

I don't know of too many light bulbs that are going to keep those temperatures inside a refrigerator. Heck, you can get a small portable oven for about $150, and a larger one for a couple of hundred (See Keen Ovens.)

Like I said in the article in the article on 7018 rod storage, don't feel bad at all if you've done this, you're sure not alone! I've done it myself before I knew better and I've see 'em on a bunch of different jobs for some really big companies, including a huge coal-fired power house! That's how far the myth has spread.

I think the worst refrigerator, slash, rod oven I ever saw was one that had previously been used to store fish. Once that light bulb started heating that sucker up, it was every man for himself getting out of that shop!
Pretty much everyone there demanded a REAL rod oven and they finally got one. Welding rods and crappie just don't mix!


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