In the to start with 12 months or so just after Lexi taught me to solder, when I even now did not do it incredibly typically, I had a handful of little capture phrases or mantras that I’d use to remind myself of recommendations and methods on how to solder. The major one particular Lexi taught me was “solder flows toward heat.” It aided me bear in mind where to goal my torch, in particular when functioning on a massive piece, as very well as where to place my solder in relation to a seam just before I commenced.
Lexi also reminded me of her five guidelines or methods of soldering: Match. Clean up. Flux. Solder Placement. Warmth. I acknowledge that I really don’t clear my metal (and in particular not my solder wire) properly ample, so this is one particular mantra I need to have to retain repeating!
Now, while the soldering strategy is very a great deal second character to me, I however uncover myself repeating some of those people little mantras when I work, specially when I have issues hoping to solder a join or approaching how to set it up.
9 Ideas on How to Solder
Below are 9 soldering strategies and mantras I’ve collected via the several years that aid me recall proper solder protocol.
1. You want solder to stream up a seam, not just soften.
Don’t forget that the flame from the torch doesn’t “melt” the solder–the flame heats the steel, and that heat causes the solder to movement where you want it. Don’t technique a solder seam with the intent of just melting your solder or you will likely do it wrong.
2. Solder will not fill gaps.
Finishes should meet correctly for solder to movement up the seam. If you do manage to get plenty of solder to movement and fill a hole, it will be a weak join and you’ll probably get an additional opportunity to test it again later.
3. Flux requires out the guess do the job.
Check out for the flux to convert clear and glassy beneath your flame which is when you know you’re at about 1,100°F levels and your solder will quickly circulation. You will see a brilliant silver line surface when the solder flows–stop then, you are accomplished!
4. Place the solder below the seam.
I know Lexi doesn’t like 3rd hands, so as her faithful student, I wasn’t fascinated in them both. I merely location solder less than the seams that I’m soldering and heat the metal the excess weight of the piece retains the solder from blowing off from the drive of the flame and the solder flows correct up the seam.
Even so . . . see number 5.
5. Soldered joins need help.
There are some circumstances when a small little bit of rigging with binding wire or T-pins is necessary to maintain a piece jointly tightly all through soldering. A different alternatives is to carve out a holding location in my firebrick to produce the set up. But I have always managed to do it without having a 3rd hand! Nickels also make helpful supports and weights to raise up, keep jointly, or maintain down elements during even though you solder them.
6. Remove solder absent improper with instruments.
If you accidentally solder two chain backlinks collectively or solder a stray piece of metallic where it doesn’t belong, Lexi states to prepare a sharp, thoroughly clean solder choose and frivolously heat the offending seam. Then adhere the pick in the seam or in between the joins and pull them apart. I have experienced success having molten solder to “jump” onto a heated choose, much too.
7. Solder on an elevated tripod.
If you do torch enameling on a tripod, you may possibly have found this a single presently. A very similar process is also helpful for soldering. It enables you to warmth sensitive steel parts and joins from underneath (such as heating back plates of bezels) or if you fear melting a piece or the flame blowing off the solder.
8. Solder wire requires to be clear.
Really do not minimize much more pallions of solder than you will use at a time, because it’s significantly easier to cleanse when it is nevertheless in wire type than in very small very little squares! I normally forget to clear my solder wire simply because I ordinarily use paste solder.
9. Solder cleanly on a thoroughly clean floor.
When your hearth brick receives burnt up, soiled, and crusted in flux, Helen Driggs suggests scrubbing all of that mess off on a concrete sidewalk or driveway to expose a clean up like-new floor.
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Images courtesy of Lexi Erickson
Originally posted 11/7/2014. Updated 6/8/2022.
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