Once you get setup and start learning stick welding..turn you're heat up a little hotter and start running flat welds,this way you won't get so frustrated from the rod sticking on you and want to give up like alot of people do when first learning stick rod.
Once you get the hang of starting a rod without sticking you can turn you're heat(amps) back down a little.
Another little trick i use to help out beginners in our apprenticeship classes is put the practice peice on a slight upward angle so the slag will run behind the weld and you will start seeing the actual difference in you're slag and metal..this is where you will start getting GOOD at stick welding once you actualy SEE and KNOW the difference in the 2 ,its what we call having the eye for it.
You're slag puddle will be more of a smooth puddle..the metal will freeze(solidify) with ripples in it..it'll take you a lil while to know what i mean but with some practice you'll see what i mean.
Those who said once a rod(especialy a 7018) is wet is no good anymore is right on the money..the idea is to keep them dry from the get go.
For here at the house i use an old mini fridge with a 40 watt bulb in it to just keep a little warm and moisture out,but if you can find an old all metal fridge or freezer you can put a 100 watt bulb in it to keep them warmer and that also helps in a rod running smoother when it is dry and hot.Thats why we always use rods fresh out of a rod oven with a steady heat of 250 degrees with 7018 when weld testing for a job or a certain quailification...but a 6011 or 6010 is usualy only needed 100 degrees or even less because of the hydrogen needed on those rods
So in a nutshell..store any of you're 6010's in just a rod container like in this pic of what i use for just around here..those light blue containers can be had for around 5.00-10.00 a peice and has a rubber seal to keep moisture out,you can also get away with storing 7018's in those too ,as long you don't let the lids off very long when taking some out needed..you're not taking an A.W.S test or such,,just learning and trying to keep good rods for the practice..
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