A little technique to get the slag off a 7018, right before you stop welding, make very small circles to fill the crater then snap ur wrist so your rod goes from roughly 90 degrees, to parallel with the deck, the little bit of slag stuck on the end of the rod should just fly right off if you do it right. Takes some practice but i never have to worry about hard restarts. There is a little excess flux on the end of the rod that will break off once you tap ur rod to start welding again, no worries. try it out, and practice it. You will know when your doing it right trust me.