How to Solder: Great Tips on Soldering for Beginners

Learn the basics of soldering to help with projects around the farm.



Farm And Workshop Welding By Andrew Pearce
“Farm and Workshop Welding” by Andrew Pearce instructs the novice metal worker on how to weld, cut or shape metal — a practical guide to have around a homestead. 
Cover Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Siphoned Soldering Heat
Whenever an electronic component looks as if it might be cooked, grab its leads with pliers to siphon off soldering heat.  
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Clean Bit
No matter how the bit is heated, it must be kept clean. The dirty-looking, oxide-covered specimen won’t transfer heat properly and brings contamination to the joint. File it or wire brush it, then keep it wholesome during work by wiping it on a damp cloth.  Any bit must be tinned before use: fluxed, covered with a thin coat of fresh solder and refluxed to leave it shining silver (next photo).  
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Soldering Irons
Traditional soldering irons hold the bit in a steel shaft. Heat comes from a separate flame.  
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Refluxed Bit
No matter how the bit is heated, it must be kept clean. The dirty-looking, oxide-covered specimen (previous photo) won’t transfer heat properly and brings contamination to the joint. File it or wire brush it, then keep it wholesome during work by wiping it on a damp cloth.  Any bit must be tinned before use: fluxed, covered with a thin coat of fresh solder and refluxed to leave it shining silver. 
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Three Soldering Irons
Three types of electrically heated soldering iron. The 20W miniature variety (right) is, naturally, for small jobs. The much bigger version (center) has a jumbo-sized tip, giving a good heat reservoir for big work. The 100W instant heat gun (left) is a good all-round tool, coming quickly to temperature and usually taking interchangeable tips.  
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Self-Contained Gas Iron
Modern self-contained gas irons are ideal for jobs in the cab. A good brand like this Antex generates plenty of heat. Kit’s attachments extend usefulness into jobs like cutting/sealing polyprop rope. Liquid butane is held in the handle/reservoir.  
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Using Metal As Glue
Soldering uses soft metal alloy as a glue. Glued joints are weak when peeled (A); think of pulling off a sticking plaster. Joints loaded in shear are much stronger (B). So a lasting soldered joint is one with a big surface area which will only have to cope with straight pulling loads.  
Illustration Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing
Soldering Tools
Peripherals for soldering. Resin flux and cored solder (center) are primarily for electrical work. Acid flux (left) scours surfaces and will corrode if not washed off: it’s generally used with plain solder (right and front) on plumbing and sheet work. The gas blowtorch (top) has replaced the blowlamp for heating traditional irons. 
Photo Courtesy Fox Chapel Publishing











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