How To Care For Welding Rods Part 1

Have you ever gone to weld, and pulled out your favorite box of welding rods and discovered that the rods are rusty and flux is flaking off or feels like you just dipped them in a box of water?  If you have, then you are like me and nearly everyone else that is a welder.

Sooner or later you are going to have to toss a box of welding rods.  Ouch. That hurts.  Yes, it does.  That’s money that is wasted, rather than made.  Using rods like this make such a bad weld that it may be dangerous to even consider using, particularly if the flux is designed for low hydrogen welding such as the 7018. At 20-30 dollars per 5 lb box of welding rods, losing a whole box of welding rods is hurtful to the budget of a small shop or even a home hobbyist.  Let’s not even consider the possibility if they were bought (and wasted) in larger quantities. There are several options that work well.

First, if you are not using a whole lot of welding rods at a time and don’t want to make a bad weld with the rusted welding rods, consider buying the smallest, or next to smallest container that you’d likely use in a months’ time. Welding electrodes like the E6011 do have a long shelf life, if they are stored in a reasonable manner, but even they disintegrate after a few months of exposure to humid conditions.  For some you may not even use the smallest amount in a year.

Definitely smaller purchase quantities are more expensive by the pound, but when compared to the total amount discarded, the initial higher per pound price is better than the price per pound lost when a large quantity of welding rods is discarded.