I have a stock of various low hydrogen electrodes, 7018, 8018, ...,. These have been in my garage for a year or so, some opened, some not. Some are from Ernie's big welding rod giveaway a year or so ago.
Literature specifies that these rods should be used within a few hours of opening, or else stored in a hot oven. Neither of which have I done nor can likely do in the future.
My question is: can I still use these to weld mild steel? Have my low hydrogen electrodes simply become 'normal' hydrogen electrodes? They seem to work fine, make nice beads, look good, and seem strong. I make small projects, but some are guardrails and other things that I don't want to fall apart.
My thinking is that low hydrogen is necessary only because the greater rigidity of high carbon steel results in higher stresses in the weld HAZ. Since A36 is more ductile hydrogen cracking ought not be a concern.