A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Soldering Maiden Voyage

A couple weeks ago, I soldered for the first time. I just did some simple connector rings in brass and copper,  and this is how they turned out:
Not too shabby!

I was going to do it with my Gentec mixed fuel torch, but the oxygen tank was leaking badly where the regulator screwed onto it and I couldn't get it any tighter so I ditched that idea for the moment and just used a skinny MAPP canister with a Bernzomatic torch head on it. I usually use the Fat Boy canisters for annealing and making ball headpins and stuff but Home Depot was out of those and only had the skinny ones so that's what I've been using. It turns out the skinny ones are slender enough for me to hold in my hand. I had my boyfriend unscrew and reattach the oxygen regulator to the tank on my Gentec torch and he got it seated much better--I think I didn't have it threaded quite right. But I've been chicken to retry it.

I used Firescoff ceramic flux spray and brass sheet solder from Unkamen Supplies for the brass rings--it matches the brass perfectly, it's very yellow, and is easy to melt. I tried both copper color solder from CoolToolChick supplies and silver solder on the copper rings, also using the Firescoff. The copper solder was really only slightly less silver than the silver solder but it seemed to antique better and it's nicely camouflaged in the rings above. It was very hard to cut--I had to use heavy-duty wire cutters. I also tried the copper solder from Unkamen Supplies but I couldn't get it to work. I think it was too fine a gauge.

I was going to try the paste flux I got too, but I couldn't get the lid off. Had to have the boyfriend do that too so that will be something for the future.

I pickled the brass rings above twice to get them back to the yellow brass color--first in hot Sparex to get the black residue off, and then in a mixture of three parts hydrogen peroxide to one part white vinegar, heated on low on the stove in a glass pot, to get the pink color off. After scrubbing them with steel wool and fine sandpaper, they were back to a mellow gold color. Then I antiqued them in ammonia fumes, buffed up the high spots, and tumbled them.

6 comments:

  1. Nice job! You're going to be a pro :)

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  2. Not too shabby indeed. I'm jealous.

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  3. they look really great! did you preheat the metal before applying the firescoff? I have some and haven't tried it yet.

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  4. Everything looks great!!! I've noticed when using heat on brass that the copper comes to the surface very quickly - sounds like you experienced that as well! Keep it up!

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  5. That's it now! Once you've started soldering there's no stopping! It's too much fun....

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  6. You REALLY have innate talent. I'm so impressed with the things you do! And proud to own some of them!

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