View Full Version : Gentlemen.....warm your sticks!

03-07-2010, 04:52 PM
Hi all.

I was having all sorts of problems striking up and getting nice consistent welds and getting lots of sticking. An old boy where I work said "Son, what you need to do is warm your sticks up 'n dry ,em out mate." The next day he bought in a wooden box that was able to hold a box of sticks supported on a bit of 90 angle, with a 100W light bulb in the bottom. We put my box of sticks in the box and put on the lid, turned on the lamp and went for a well earned coffee, and a chat about my meridian project. After a while the old boy suggested we go and see if our sticks are ready. Amazingly I found striking up much easier, and the weld seemed very much easier and consistent and no sticking. A very simple solution to what can be very frustrating to those not in the know. It is very important to leave at least 1 1/2" for the bulb to have air around it so it does not get to hot, and a hole in the lower side, and the lid to let the air circulate. You guys in sunnier and warmer/ dryer parts might not notice any benefit. But I have noticed a huge increase in ease of striking up and better penetration and consistency in my welds now and much less sticking. It has not been warm/dry in the uk, as usual. I hope this might be of use to some who are suffering such cold, damp and miserable weather and welding experiences as us in the UK at the moment. In short, keep your sticks warm and dry. If you cant. Try this.

All the best and happy bike building.


03-07-2010, 06:55 PM
I'll try it. Thanks

03-07-2010, 07:41 PM
Its amazing what you forget with time.
30/40 years ago all our sticks were placed in an oven before use at about 45/50'C
Particularly the low hydrogen ones.
Yes, it will help.
Another trick we did with suspected damp rods was to short them out first till they were hotto dry them and then start welding

03-08-2010, 04:05 AM
Yep, good advice from that 'old boy' - who's probably younger than I am...

I've always kept the packet of rods in the airing cupboard on top of the hot water cylinder. I just take one or two out as I need them, and it seems to work well.

One other point I learned the hard way - buy the best quality sticks that you can find. Avoid the cheapo ones - I think that you'd get better results with some fencing wire dipped in glue and sawdust.

Cheers, Phil

03-13-2010, 03:38 PM
I'm a full time welding student. Here's what my instructor has taught us on the issue of heating rods. Veterans please feel free to chime in if I get it wrong.

The low hydrogen rods like the 7018 can be used for upwards of 9 hours after opening the package and submitting them to atmosphere (depending on weather conditions and the quality of the rods), then they need to be heated. Technically, they work best when being heated first either way so if that's an option, you should do it. They should be heated to about 250 degrees for 24 hours prior to use, and once removed from the oven, unused rods can be reheated once before they're not really up to code any more.

Of course that's all code stuff, as if you were doing critical welds on a job site. For hobby stuff, just warming them up to get the moisture out of the flux will be a big help. We have a big oven in the welding lab, and I can tell a difference between fresh rods an cold rods after I've had them out of the oven for a few hours if I grab too many at once in the mornings.

Another thing that will help is to have a file handy. When you stop welding with a 7018 rod, it will almost always have slag on the end. A lot of people beat them against a wall or something to break it off, and keep going, but this also breaks off the flux which can cause porosity on restarts. Grinding the tip can give you cleaner restarts.

Just make sure not to put the grinder on the table you have connected to the work clamp. :)

04-09-2010, 09:11 PM
I bought a toaster oven at a yard sale today for $3. The lowest setting for the temperature is 200 degrees, maybe a bit less..

Welding rod warmer.

04-09-2010, 10:58 PM
Great idea. Thanks for the tip. Now I'll have a new item to clutter up the garage. :jester: