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Low-cost soldering boards


#1

I’m soldering some high production type work right now, and I’m
finding I’m going through soldering boards too quickly. I’m using
the 12x12 white boards sold through most of the jewelry suppliers.
Does anyone know if this is a fire-proof material that Home Depot
sells in their lumber department? I’d love to get several of these,
but don’t really want to be paying $15 a board - when I’m needing at
least one a week.


#2

My favorite surface to solder on is fire bricks. The K-23 insulation
brick can be pinned into, carved into shapes, reflects heat well and
stands up for a long time. In addition, it can be resurfaced when
necessary. I get mine from a building supply store (not Home Depot,
but a specialty store) but ceramics supply places will carry them to
use inside kilns. They usually sell for under $5 each. Be sure to get
the K-23 as some of the other fire bricks are hard and not as easy to
use.

Let me know how you like it !
Deb


#3
Does anyone know if this is a fire-proof material that Home Depot
sells in their lumber department? 

Home Depot–and just about any other lumber yard–sells a product
called HardiPlank. It is fireproof. I have both my house and my
store sided with it and get an insurance discount because it is
fireproof. I’m also a former assistant fire chief and can attest
from experience that it will not burn. If you get the type that is
not factory primed, it will work well as a solder board. Stay away
from the factory-primed because the paint may release toxic fumes
(I’m not sure about this–but better safe than sorry). HardiPlank has
become the siding of choice in this part of the country.

Del Pearson of Designs of Eagle Creek in Beautiful South Texas,
where people still do business on a handshake.


#4
    Home Depot--and just about any other lumber yard--sells a
product called HardiPlank.  It is fireproof. My favorite surface to
solder on is fire bricks. The K-23 insulation brick 

I spent some time trying to find out what these two materials are
made from – got bogged down! Hardie products’ website is gorgeous
but WAY too hard to navigate and read and I never found what it was
made from - though it has silica in it, was all I could fathom. They
warn about inhaling silica dust when cutting.

As for K-23, it may (or may not) be made from elements including
clay with alumina hydroxide, or it may be magnesium based.

So the question, if you’re using these at very high heat with your
nose close by breathing in all sorts of fumes given off due to the
inevitable reactions, have you made sure they’re not toxic?

My soldering boards from Thunderbird come with health statements and
about their reactivity.

Roseann
Roseann Hanson
Desert Rose Design Studio
www.desertrosedesignstudio.com
Tucson, Arizona
520-591-0508


#5

G’day;

A number of Orchidians have mentioned Hardy Plank for use as a
soldering board. I have some small knowledge about it - my house in
which we have lived for 22 years is clad with Hardy Plank Sidings.
This material appears to be made of a cement asbestos mix, but
doesn’t give off the asbestos fibres unless it is saw cut. The usual
method of cutting is to score it then snap it over the edge of a
bench. It is very hard, so will not take the usual pins to hold
pieces for soldering. Also it cracks and breaks easily if not slowly
heated all over. Local torch heat will certainly crack it. I think it
would not be much good as a soldering board - other than for lead/tin
solder. I personally use pumice, which we in NZ are lucky enough to
pick off some beaches. It has some drawbacks, but I’ve used it for
years, and I made a rotary holder for it so the work can easily be
turned around for easy working. Another very good alternative is the
insulating brick for kilns, which are soft and can take pins. It is
quite soft and light.

Cheers for now,
Johnb of Mapua Nelson NZ


#6

Hi All, Just in case anyone is looking for a source for cheap
insulating firebrick - I recently found out that my local McMaster
Carr carries what appears to be the K-23 firebrick at a pretty
reasonable price. I have not actually used them yet, but the specs
they gave me sound right and I am just about out and ready to order
some. I’ll let you know if they work well or not. Hopefully they
are soft enough to cut and pin into. On the other hand, if anyone
has already used their brick and has a comment I would like to know
before ordering.

Thanks.
Grace, Cleveland, O


#7

Hello from the striking city by the bay,

Several years ago, my soldering block died during the weekend when
Otto Frei & other suppliers are closed… I remebered at home we
were given a pizza making set that included a circular hard stone
for cooking the pizza on–aka–pizza stone… I knew this was heat
proof to a certain degree and I started using that as my soldering
board & have had great success with it- no cracks, dust etc…On top
sometimes I add a charcoal block or small soldering pad that I get
at Otto Frei(in my building they are down the hallway & the staff are
super people…) Anyway I thought I’d share this since we are still
discussing it. Hope everyone stays creative,happy ,& well…

Sincerely, Jo-Ann Masggiora Donivan, SF,CA

P.S. In the USA-remember to go out 11/2/04 & vote!! And if you are
any where close to the California Museum in Oakland, check out a
great metals show sponsored by the Metals Art Guild in the Collectors
Gallery-- on til Oct.31st.


#8
    Just in case anyone is looking for a source for cheap
insulating firebrick - I recently found out that my local McMaster
Carr carries what appears to be the K-23 firebrick at a pretty
reasonable price.  I have not actually used them yet, but the specs
they gave me sound right and I am just about out and ready to order
some.  I'll let you know if they work well or not. Hopefully they
are soft enough to cut and pin into.  On the other hand, if anyone
has already used their brick and has a comment I would like to know
before ordering. 

I just thought I’d mention this… Even if McMaster-Carr is not local
to your location…

They are in the same business that I am in the day job…Industrial
Distribution… Their catalog is literally 3" thick, with thin
durable paper… I keep one as a reference

If it ain’t in McMaster…then you have to start really digging… And
yes…bought some stuff from them that can’t be had anywhere else…
Even if you scope the source…there’s minimums and stuff… You get
around that with them…

Uhhhh…Good People, too…

No connection…the usual disclaimers… But folks…they’re good
at what they do…

Gary W. Bourbonais
A>J.P. (GIA)


#9

I have been using a soft fire brick for years. Not sure if it is
K-23, but I got them at a builder’s supply house. They are perfect
for soldering for many reasons. I gouge depressions in them to hold
domed pieces so that they do not roll around, or sometimes just
press the piece in, They hold up well with no crumbling, yet I can
easily saw the large ones into smaller ones if necessary. I gave up
charcoal (except for special projects requiring the extra heat), and
use the fire brick almost exclusively.

Alma


#10
    If it ain't in McMaster...then you have to start really
digging. 

Do you know any tricks to get McMaster to send you a catalog? I
agree that they are a great supplier, but they are legendary in the
difficulty to get their catalog. I know they have a great website,
but when just trying to figure out what items or materials they have
that may be suitable for a project it is nowhere near as useful as
flipping through the paper catalog. I buy from them frequently, have
open account and still they will not send me a catalog. I would
probably double my buying from them if I could just browse a current
copy when I need to order.

Help others make informed buying decisions with McMaster-Carr . We
welcome your opinions and experiences with ordering, customer
service and and over all satisfaction.

Write an Anonymous Review
http://www.ganoksin.com/resources/review.php?id=1774

Tim
A2Z Metalsmith Supply Inc
5151 S Federal Blvd Ste I-9
Littleton CO 80123

720 283-7200 Phone
720 385-2118 Fax
www.A2ZMetalsmithSupply.com


#11

I agree, I have used McMaster as a source for many hard to find
items. I love their TIN coated drill bits - really outlast the other
high speed material. They tend to be more expensive on some items
but their customer service has been top rate. I have a very out of
date catalog and happened to notice that the firebrick price has gone
up considerably when I checked their internet catalog.

Another source I have found is Bailey Ceramic Supply. Their price
seems a little more reasonable, but after adding on shipping it might
work out about the same.have


#12

Hi Gang,

 If it ain't in McMaster...then you have to start really digging.

Another place that has a wide range of products is MSC Industrial
Supply (mscdirect.com). They have an online catalog, a CD catalog &
a hard copy catalog. The hard copy catalog weighs 12#. It’s 4608
pages plus a 96 page index & 16 page supplier list.

They ship from several places around the US & are very good to do
business with. They’ve been my supplier of choice for industrial
type stuff for over 15 yrs.

Usual disclaimers, just a very happy customer.

Dave


#13
     Do you know any tricks to get McMaster to send you a catalog?
 I agree that they are a great supplier, but they are legendary in
 the difficulty to get their catalog. 

The only suggestion I can make is that you contact someone in
industry… Machining, metal fab, utilities, government…and see if
they have an older copy they’ll part with…

My reference copy is a hand-me-down copy from work…5 years old
or so… And even if a company is an industrial customer, they don’t
get them every year (so I’ve heard)…

Gary W. Bourbonais
A.J.P. (GIA)