Common welding related questions we hear. Part 17
Do I need to use 7018 with my new stick welder to get strong welds? I’ve heard this question many times. E7018 is a fine welding rod choice in many situations, when properly stored and managed. It provides a smooth flowing puddle with easy to peel slag. It has a nice consistent arc.
It is one of the absolute best choices for strength and quality of weld. It is also a rated as a low hydrogen rod, which means it has pretty demanding storage requirements to maintain its low hydrogen properties. For welding jobs that require low hydrogen, the rods must be kept stored in a rod oven and kept “hot”. In the average hobbyist’s garage, a rod oven is not going to be an option. In addition to this, the rods must be dry and sealed in a metal can when bought or a baking procedure must be employed to remove the moisture in the rod.
After this they must be kept in a welding rod oven until use. After 4-8 hours, the rods must be re-baked or thrown away. True, a 7018 is a perfect rod, but it is also more demanding than the average hobbyist would care for. Of course, a 7018 can be used without the storage requirements, but most of the advantages gained by using it are lost.
A better, and cheaper choice would be a 7014, which has similar welding characteristics, but does not have the same stringent storage requirements(though it would not hurt to have them in a rod oven to extend their life span if one is available). The 7014 would be just a strong under general use conditions, and is considered a perfect “fabrication” rod.