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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Harbor Freight welding rods

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Larry B 1486

10-12-2017 14:12:07




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I was in Harbor Freight last weekend and noticed they also sell welding rods. They have 6011 and also 7018. Has anyone ever tried there rods. The price is about half what I have been paying at the welding supply store where I buy my welding supplies. Thought I would ask around to see if anyone had good luck with them.




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Bonnan

10-14-2017 22:09:04




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
My most recent incident on Chinese mfg quality. I have first hand inside knowledge that they bought a small valve mfg company here in the USA for the purpose of shipping China made valves here, relabeling the shipping cartoons "made in USA" and then shipping the cartoons back to China! Purpose......they charge more and get more for the product. I'm not sure it is legal but there are no ethics out there.

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Stephen Newell

10-14-2017 19:15:28




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
I don't think you can get an answer to your question. You need to buy some and try them on something not to critical and evaluate them for yourself. So many people are prejudice about products made in China it is clouding their judgment. You can buy junk products made anywhere.



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welding man

10-14-2017 11:45:10




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
I guess it all depends on what you are welding ,how good of a job you are trying to get, or if you guarantee your work, if you are doing it for some else. After welding for close to 50 years there are not too many brands and types of electrodes that I haven't used over the years, some very good to some that are horrible. Personally I have no desire to help the Chinese economy at all and I buy as little as I can that says Made in China. The only 7018 that I buy is Lincoln Excalibur. It is the best I have ever run, by far. It costs me $2.00 a pound. A 50# Box will make me between to $750.00 and and a thousand dollars. I personally wouldn't even waste my time trying it.

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sotxbill

10-14-2017 07:59:18




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
Being that china products are NOT regulated.. you can buy very very bad stuff... and you can buy very very good stuff.

Just because one is true, does not make the other false.



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Stan in Oly, WA

10-14-2017 11:00:39




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to sotxbill, 10-14-2017 07:59:18  
Good points. But then, most American goods are much less stringently regulated than the same types of products sold in other developed countries, and certainly far less regulated than most American consumers believe them to be. Also, in some fields of commerce---retail food sales being one of the most obvious---American advertising genius and a widespread willingness to evade the spirit of regulations, if not the letter of the law, combine to make the quality of goods singularly difficult to determine prior to purchase. At least the Chinese are not good at that yet (although the American sellers of Chinese goods often are.)

Stan

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Hogleg

10-14-2017 05:58:53




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
weld.com on u-tube has some comparisons of some of the HF consumables against other common brands. Interesting to watch.
John



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1948CaseVAI

10-13-2017 12:29:55




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

China has the ability to control whatever they wish during the manufacturing process. The fault lies in the cheap US companies that will not pay what it costs to exercise that kind of quality control so the specifications are quite loose. The Chinese could likely, if they needed to, outshine many US manufacturing companies. The US is no longer circling the drain, we have gone down it.

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dr sportster

10-13-2017 10:15:33




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
I have bought some things at H-F -- throw away spray guns. Bead roller that you have to weld extra plates on and beef up . Torx set . Very large tool box . That said if I needed rod I would go to my local welding supply and get Lincoln rod. I have always used it at work and never had any rod related problems. I just could not trust the H-F rod to not be a money throw away. 50 lbs last me years for how much I use.

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unc

10-13-2017 09:19:49




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
There's welding rod, and then there's Welding Rod. Without going into brands, a specialty welding supply sells known quality electrodes to certified welders and welding shops. They can't afford to get involved with angry customers and lawsuits caused by questionable materials. Yes, the good stuff costs more. One of our local farm supply stores sells off-brand and low-end name brand electrodes. If you compare two 7018 electrodes side by side, the good stuff has almost twice the flux of the cheap stuff. With 7018, the alloying elements (the expensive part) and iron powder are in the coating. Makes me think half the coating, half the quality. I earned my welding ticket the hard way- I won't risk it over cheap materials. unc

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docmirror

10-13-2017 09:13:35




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

Edit as above, I just looked on amazon and found Forney is still made in USA. I'll have to order some.



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docmirror

10-13-2017 09:10:32




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
There may be two issues at work here. First off, I seem to be the only one that keeps my sparky welding rod in a sealed tube until use. I've seen farm/ranch guys leave all kinds of rod just sitting in a can exposed to the elements. While 6011 can tolerate that ok, 6013, and especially 7014 cannot. If you doubt me, that's fine, I can live with some naysayers but I've had great luck with 7014 rod which stays in sealed containers, and then I heat it a bit to drive out any moisture when welding in spring or early summer humidity.
Next, the rod from all mfg is now made in China. I was in swapping my tank the other day and saw a Hobart box of new 6011 rod and it said 'made in China' on it. I don't know if there is any rod made in the US anymore, and if it's not made in China it's from Mexico or Thailand. Which concerns me about the possible contaminants and chem consistency of welding rod in general.
If anyone finds a box or pkg of rod that is made in the US still, please publish it here. I want to order some.

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jgayman

10-13-2017 10:44:01




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to docmirror, 10-13-2017 09:10:32  
I'm a home DIYer and most of welding consists of repairs and the very occasional fab job. As such a box of rods lasts me FOREVER. Once I open a 5lb box I keep the rods in one of these air tight containers. They can be had for $10-$15.



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DR. EVIL

10-13-2017 06:27:53




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
I've seen welding wire for MIG at HF, never arc welding rod. With China's lack of ability to control oxides and chemistry in metals of any kind, I can't imagine their welding rod would be very good. Weld deposit way off analysis, and flux making slag deposits hard to remove something I would expect.



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Stan in Oly, WA

10-13-2017 10:04:20




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to DR. EVIL, 10-13-2017 06:27:53  
DR. EVIL, The inability of the Chinese to produce dependable metals is probably why they donít have a space program, and why they havenít been able to put a laboratory called the Tiangong 1 into orbit or later have an unmanned spacecraft called the Shenzhou 8 successfully dock with it twice---robotically, and later have a spacecraft called the Shenzhou 9 with a crew of three dock with the space lab. If they could produce metals that were any good, they could have done those things. Oh wait, they did. Well anyway, their inferior metals are what has prevented them from being able to produce over 100 types of their own military and civilian aircraft so that they have to buy everything from more advanced countries. Oh wait, that was only true before 1950. Go ahead and disparage Chinese capabilities if it makes you feel better, but itís going to take more than just waving Chinese made American flags and hurling insults to keep America from declining.

Stan

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DR. EVIL

10-14-2017 07:31:02




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 10-13-2017 10:04:20  
Stan, I absoluted RESENT your post! As a purchasing professional with over 30 years of experience buying parts for manufacturing I have personally had Chinese produced metals repeatedly fail due to oxide (slag) inclusions, repeated off analysis metals tried to be snuck by. Same exact problem bit a major manufacturer of ag and construction equipment about 4 years ago and I'm sure has plagued any other manufacturer that has tried to source parts to off-shore low cost countries.

You have neither the experience or technical knowledge of what you are claiming as proof that China is technically capable of. I laughed when the representative from China asked if they could "Use the metal they use for their domestic potable water systems" instead of the material my company had used for decades that met ALL FDA, NSF, and other gov't regulatory agency requirements. Their domestic material had several percent lead which is strictly forbiden in the US. First brass alloy heat came in high in iron, second heat high in aluminum, third heat high in Lead and I went Ballistic! I demanded they find a competent mill, hit my material specs or else because I was DONE accepting their crap. The typical manufacturing tolerances for US made parts is plus/minus .003 inches, tighter tolerances available upon request at slightly higer prices. CHINA STANDARD TOLERANCES ARE +/- .015 inches. They will try to hold tighter tolerances but seldom can for long. They refuse to accept their junk back when rejected, I don't care how big a company you are and how many company lawyers you have.

So STAN, What have you done the last 30 years with China? Been an Astronaut or pilot it sounds like?

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Stan in Oly, WA

10-14-2017 09:53:54




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to DR. EVIL, 10-14-2017 07:31:02  
DR.EVIL, I apologize for offending you. Clearly you speak with the authority of experience to support your claims. I believe that more often than not this is not the case. I have not been a pilot or astronaut, nor do I feel that those professions necessarily provide the ability to detect a flawed argument or protect an individual from holding unreasonable prejudices. You are an intelligent person with technical expertise in at least on specific area. If you are also reasonable and still willing to look at problems with the view that complex situations usually do not have simple explanations, I think you might agree that there seems to be some kind of disconnect on this subject (i.e. the quality of Chinese welding rods). On the one hand your experience with Chinese metallurgy and industrial manufacturing standards supports the conclusion that China is a country with inferior capability in those areas. On the other hand, the existence of an apparently successful Chinese space program suggests that they have the ability to produce better materials and work to more exacting tolerances when necessary. I suggest that itís entirely possible that both of these things are true. China is a country with more than three times the population of the U.S. Itís common for Americans to view China as a single unit---everyone thinking alike, everyone doing the same thing, the government being aware of everything and exerting absolute control over every action of every citizen. A momentís reflection is all it should take to realize that this view is impossible. You wonít even get five guys in a poker group who think the same as each other and do things the same way. So I think itís likely that Chinese industry is the opposite of monolithic. The reality is that it runs the whole spectrum---from useless products being produced in factories where the guiding principles are cost cutting and fraud, all the way to factories producing goods with sufficient quality and exacting enough tolerances to be used in areas as demanding as aviation and a space program. I do not believe that the Chinese work to a standard of excellence. It seems that they are more often guided by a values-free pragmatism: thereís no reason to make a product better than it has to be if it adds to the cost or fails to increase sales.

I believe that this country is in trouble because of simplistic thinking, preconceived ideas and doctrine being used as tools for problem solving, and an unwillingness to confront the reality of unpleasant conditions. I thought you were engaging in some of those things, and you werenít, and I apologize.

Stan

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Stan in Oly, WA

10-12-2017 22:25:39




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
Larry B, I don't think I ever tried their 6010 or 7018, but years ago I bought about 50 pounds total of their 3/32 7014 and 6013, and 1/8 6013. I got it either online or through their catalog, and it cost me less than a dollar a pound with $5 shipping. I was then using a lot of those two types of electrode for a surface texture for metal art, not for repairs. I've used many brands and sizes of 6013, and I found Harbor Freight's Quick Strike brand to be about average. I'm not crazy about the welding characteristics of 7014 in general, but I thought their version of that was average, too. I agree with JTWAT that what would make the most sense would be to buy a package and see what you think. Even if others liked them, you might not, or vice versa. By sheer coincidence I did a small welding repair yesterday and after I finished it, I spent a few minutes trying to see if I could get the slag to peel itself off a bead of Harbor Freight 6013 and 7014---just for fun. I couldn't quite get the amps dialed in to make the slag rise in a single piece, but I only tried two settings for each stick. I got both to brush off cleanly with a touch, which I decided to call good enough and get back to work.

Stan

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JTWAT

10-12-2017 15:07:15




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
Since they are so cheap, get a pack and try them. I did. Didn't like them. Slag was hard to remove.



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kcm.MN

10-12-2017 14:36:49




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
Has been MANY years, but yes, I tried them with my little HF buzz box. They worked well, but then I still had a ways to go to reach "novice". :lol:
You can get Hobart brand rods on Amazon for a very reasonable price. ......Ok, maybe you can't. Just looked up my last order. Bought 10-lbs of Hobart 3/32" 6013 rod for $27.99 - now it's $33.98!

Had also gotten 10-lbs of Hobart 1/8" 6013 for $24.99 - that's now $35,42!! OUCH!!

I did find that the HF rod stuck a lot, but then there were many other conditions that might have led to that other than the quality of the rod -- mostly, operator error. :roll:

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Leroy

10-12-2017 14:25:59




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 Re: Harbor Freight welding rods in reply to Larry B 1486, 10-12-2017 14:12:07  
Not saying they don't have them but I have never seen then in the store.



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