do any of you use the soft alumina soldering blocks
Hi Danny, Yes, I use them. As with a charcoal block they're best when
they are in new, pristine condition. Unlike a charcoal block, they
don't help create a reducing environment, reflect rather than absorb
heat, and they don't burn.
When I find the alumina blocks to be indispensable is when I need to
pin work down to prevent shifting during soldering. I take some
straight steel pins, cut off the heads, and form a hook on the end
with pliers. I can then insert the pin all the way into the block and
hold wires in place securely. Much easier to pin than a charcoal
This works best, as I mentioned, when the block is new. After some
use, the heat seems to fuse some of the surface, giving it a harder,
somewhat glassy texture. The well used surface becomes crackled and
develops a bit of a depression where material has fused together.
They do last a long time, and don't tend to crumble like charcoal.
Their suitability for a variety of purposes diminishes with use, as
the surface deteriorates.
All the best,
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans' Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)