Storing and Redrying Stick Electrodes the Right Way

Storing and Redrying Stick Electrodes the Right Way

How To Store and Redry Stick Electrodes

Following the right procedures for storing and redrying electrodes ensures you get good quality welds. In the present article, you will get to learn storage methods of welding electrodes. You will also understand if over-drying electrodes in an oven can affect the weld performance.

What Is a Welding Electrode/Stick Electrode?

A welding electrode is a coated metal wire made of materials with a similar composition to the metal being welded (base metal). In welding, an electrode is used to sustain the welding arc and work as filler metal for the joint to be welded. The coating protects the metal electrode from any damage, helps stabilize the arc, and improves the weld quality. Carbon steel shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) electrodes are classified by their coating and slag types. Depending on the type, the electrode usability could be identified for flat and horizontal welding or all-position welding. Additionally, the coating type can limit the polarity in which the electrode will perform. The AWS (American Welding Society) specification for carbon steel electrodes for SMAW (AWS 5.1) lists this information and the coating and slag types as well as the usability. The specification also lists the mechanical properties, chemical analysis, and tolerances for coating concentricity that each electrode classification must meet.

Storing and Redrying Stick Electrodes the Right Way

Electrodes must be safely stored and always be kept dry away from moisture. This is because moisture destroys the characteristics of the electrode coating. This may cause excessive splattering during welding. It can also cause weakness and cracks in the welded area. Any electrode exposed to humid air for more than a few hours needs to be preheated before use. When unsure on how long the electrodes were exposed to humidity, the electrodes need to be re-dried by heating them in a suitable oven. When dried, the electrodes need to be stored in a moisture-proof container or holding oven.

Holding Oven

Storage methods of welding electrodes depend on their type. Storing the cellulosic electrodes (E6010 and E6011) in the same oven as the low-hydrogen electrodes (E7015, E7016, E7018, E7018M, E7028, and E7048) can have a negative effect on the electrodes' performance. A 6010 or cellulosic electrode has a moisture content of approximately 4 to 6 percent. The low-hydrogen electrodes as manufactured have a moisture content of about 0.1 to 0.4 percent, and they are usually packaged in hermetically sealed cans or vacuum-packed. If these electrodes are stored in the same holding oven at 135 to 140 °F, the higher moisture from the E6010 will be absorbed into the coating. Although the performance may not appear to be affected, the elevated amount of moisture content in the E7018 may not yield a low-hydrogen deposit.


Most manufacturers recommend that low-hydrogen electrodes be stored at 225 to 300 °F. Comparatively, the cellulosic types usually are not put in a holding oven because moisture pickup generally has no effect on performance. If both electrodes were stored in the same holding oven at the higher temperature, the 7018 would obtain higher moisture content and the 6010 electrode would perform poorly because the moisture in its coating would be too low to give the electrode sufficient energy or arc force throughout the entire electrode. This arc energy helps control weld penetration. If these electrodes absorb too much moisture, they will exhibit poor arc direction, excess spatter, and even internal porosity.

The most common carbon steel electrodes and their holding temperatures.

Electrode Type Oven Temperature (°F)
E6010, E6011 Ambient air
E6012, E6013, E7014, E7024 100-150
E7016, E7018, E7028 225-300

The table lists several of the most common carbon steel electrodes and their holding temperatures. For more precise numbers, you should contact your distributor. Stainless steel electrodes should be stored at temperatures equivalent to the carbon steel low-hydrogen types.