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Old welding rods for practice?

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I've recently acquired an old Lincoln buzz box and need to teach myself stick welding. I have a line on some old welding rod for cheap, and I'm wondering if I might be able to make good use of it while I'm learning to strike arcs and lay down beads.  Some of the older threads (like this one , this one, and this one) have what looks like good information about using old welding rods, mostly along the lines of "rebake 7018 for non-critical applications, don't self-sabotage your learning with bad electrodes, and strip the flux from the worst rods to reuse the steel." Any additional thoughts to help me make up my mind? Thanks in advance.

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Standard 7018 rod is a challenge to use with an AC only buzz box.   The 7018AC rod works much better, but I always end up using significantly higher amps than the same diameter of 6011 or 6013.  For 7018 rod especially, keep an old file nearby that you can use to rough up the end of the electrode if it has cooled down.  That makes striking your next arc much easier.

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JHCC, just starting out, practicing with old rods as you stated you have read, is not a good idea.  The old rods will not let you see how the bead is supposed to look and weld like a new rod would.  The fluxes on the rods were designed and engineered to perform in a certain manner to produce a proper weld.  The flux on old rods has degraded to various levels and will not protect the weld and produce a proper weld.  If you want to practice stick welding in a proper manner, take the leap and buy new rods of whatever type you will be using.  You can develop some bad habits trying to perfect your welding by using old rods and then when you decide to weld something important with new rods, it will be a whole new learning experience.  

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Good explanation, arkie; thank you.

Robert, there are a couple of options. My favorite industrial surplus place has the following interesting items: 

  • An unopened box of 1/8" Eureka #26 (6013) rod


  • An opened box that's labelled E7018 rod but that actually contains two or three smaller containers of Blue Devil E7024 rod; don't know the size


  • A plastic bin with a bunch of different types of loose rod, mostly 7018 and 6011; many different sizes


  • A big plastic bin with a LOT of loose 7018 that looks in pretty good shape (apart from not being in sealed containers); don't know the size


  • A large-ish metal bin with a whole lot of different rods. Some of them are clearly well past usability, some are marked with manufacturers and their specific codes that I haven't (yet) been able to identify, and there's a lot of 7018 as well. I think there are also a few aluminum rods as well. Frankly, the price is so cheap I might just get this for the bin.


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First off, what Arkie, Buzzkill, and Thomas said.  Buy a pound each of new 6011, and 6013.  I would say, as others have, do not try to weld with surplus 7018, someone I know got a great deal on old 7018, and he might as well have just poked himself in the eye...

I love old, nearly free electrodes with the flux knocked off, to lay down in weld fitup gaps, to feed filler metal while stick welding (Texas tig), upsets nice, should forge weld nice...

Should be able to get the cellulose off of some of it by running it under your car tire... 

Robert Taylor

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Most of that rod looks fine to me.  If it is dirt cheap get some and try it out. But as said before an AC buzz box is not good for 7018, and 7018 can be baked to dry it out.  I love 7018 on DC reverse polarity. It lays down so smooth and the slag literally lifts off of the bead. For an AC buzz box look for 6011 , we called it farmer rod because it would burn through rust, dirt, manure, etc..

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There are two basic types of 7018 rods.  7018 for DC; 7018AC for the AC machines.  Each "will" run on the other machines, but poorly.

I too, like to use old electrodes for the metal in them.  I strip the flux off with a wire wheel on my bench grinder and use them for all kinds of things around the shop.


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On 5/6/2021 at 9:51 AM, JHCC said:

A large-ish metal bin with a whole lot of different rods. [...] Frankly, the price is so cheap I might just get this for the bin.

Someone got there ahead of me. Oh, well.

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Not a  pro welder by any mean by I own and run 5 or 6 welding machines (mig tig arc) between our mill shop and horse farm. Self taught and have the scars to prove it...

I do burn on a daily basis from excavator repairs to small tube, stainless etc.

rods are cheap and the only reason to use crummy rods is when you ran out everything else ,in a pinch, and only on a non critical repair, knowing it will eventually fail...

I do not like giving advice but when asked by beginners I stick with the following line ; cheap tools and supplies can result in an ok job at the hands of a pro , after much swearing generally, and total failure at the hands of a beginner... 

why setting yourself for failure...

would anyone teach their kid on a car without brakes clutch and blown shocks ? (Aside for picking hay bales in a field)

get the best consumables possible period., buy them in small quantity from a reputable welding shop... 

7018 is a dc rod unless specifically rated ac (do not like the way they burn)

I favor Lincoln Excalibur 7018. 

Most will tell you I’m wrong yet I will not do a job with 7018 unless out of a brand new sealed can immediately stuffed in my rod oven and kept there ... I only pull them 2 or three at a time.

rebaking 7018 is pretty much xxxxxx they need to be in a oven at proper temp until burned or they will no longer be up to snuff...

Rod ovens are cheap... otherwise use another type of rod ... 



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With respect to 7018 DC rods, the use of rods coming from a new sealed can or rod oven at the prescribed temperature is commonly a requirement for code structural welding.  For everyday welding, the rods don't have to adhere to the requirements for code work. They do however, need to be kept in a dry environment.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

If there is any rust on the road, if the flux has formed a dry, powdery coating, or if the flux has softened, the rod is bad and should not be used for anything other than non-critical welding on mild steel. if welding electrodes absorb moisture on the flux, it can cause bubbles to develop in the weld.
So please visit this website for more details about welding

[commercial link removed]

Edited by Mod34
Commercial link removed
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