I’m new to the list. I’ll post an introduction and then I’ll ask my
Introduction is that I’m a programmer by day in the Bay Area and I’m
a dilletante over the weekends and evenings. As mortgage costs are
insane out here, I’m following my goal of, by the time I’m able to
afford a house with a proper garage / basement / etc. for a studio,
being able to see exactly what I can get away with in a 2 bedroom
apartment with a balcony. I’ve already done electronics,
woodworking, wood sculpture, some plexiglass fab, and I’m starting on
art metalsmithing. One of my eventual goal is to do metal casting
with either delft clay or sand molds, but that’s another matter.
It goes without saying that both my wife and my co-workers think I’m
nuts, and probably rightfully so.
I volunteer at The Crucible, where they teach all kinds of fun
industrial arts like jewelery and Neon and foundry, which is the
reason why I’m doing this at all.
I’ve managed to do OK with shaping metal. My last project required
the use of a Dremel. I figured that if I was going to own one, I
might as well get some use out of it.
I’m having a tad of trouble with hard soldering. After searching
the archives, I determined that my best bet was to go for hard
soldering and develop correct technique. So I’ve been soldering
together cut up pieces of metal – mostly Nickel Silver – and trying
to get a good join.
I’m using a pretty wide tipped MAPP bens-o-matic gas torch that I
happen to already have. It, unfortunately, doesn’t let me put a
narrower tip on. I can get a bushy reducing flame by putting a
finger over the air holes, however.
I’m using Ottoflux from Frei and Borel and putting lots of it on
since I couldn’t really find any borax at a price less than a jar of
I’m still getting some oxidation that doesn’t pickle off. Is this
to be expected as part of the process, or am I doing something wrong?
I found that initially, the problem was that I wasn’t putting enough
flux on. Later, I think I put too much on, because a chunk of it
How do I determine the correct flowing temperature? I generally
heat it up until both objects are glowing bright red, not just cherry
red, and then drop the solder on. It usually snuggles up to the
surface but doesn’t fully melt at this temperature.
Can I do the soldering in two stages, as in flux, heat, and attach
the solder to one piece, flux a little more, heat both pieces, and
then join? One reference says to try to do that, another one says
that I’ll make my life much more difficult by doing so.
Also, I’ve got an object that I want to make that fits together with
a cut-and-slot construction, kind of like
Where does the solder go in this construction? I made a test piece
and ended up discovering that my MAPP torch does, in fact, have the
ability to melt metal because I couldn’t get the piece of solder in
the right spot.
Should I be trying to acquire another type of inexpensive torch that
would be better suited? Is MAPP gas too hot for this sort of
application? I’ve also got a butane-powered pencil torch that I
could use, but I’m not sure if that’s going to give me the results I
want, either. Or I could get the propane bottle and use that.
I kinda tried searching the archives about this, but I get ten
different pieces of related from different points of view
that may or may not apply to my exact problem.
Ken “Wirehead” Wronkiewicz \ \ /
http://www.wirewd.com/wh/ \ \