Pollen etc Contaminated Soldering Pads

Contamination of my Solderite pads has given me a problem in the
past. I have a couple of solutions.

First when I have a new pad or the old one has become dusty, I
“season” it by going over it with my torch letting the torch linger
on each spot long enough for the pad to glow red. As the pad is
heated, it contaminants will first cause the surface to blacken,
then a grey color, and finally snow white.

Second, I think you are on the right track to cover items on your
bench. I may be a bit compulsive about this but I grind my glass
covers to get a nearly air tight fit. Of course, this technique
requires a smooth bench top to complete the seal with the glass. I
use anything from a big peanut butter jar to a baby food jar, my
favorite is the traditional glass garden cloche available from Lee
Valley Tools (leevalley.com) garden catalog. The cloche is a bell
shaped glass frost cover with a knob on the top to lift it by.

I place a piece of wet or dry sandpaper on a flat surface and rub
the mouth of the jar or cloche until it flat. Starting with coarse
paper and finishing with fine. You need to keep spraying the paper
with water to wash away the glass particles you remove. Needless to
say you want to clean up the glass dust before it dries. One word
of caution…the cloches are relatively inexpensive cast glass that
is somewhat irregular. It may take 30 minutes or more of hand
grinding to make them flat.

While a glass cover would not be practical for an unmodified
Solderite pad, I cut most of my pads to 3 inches square. Not only
is the smaller pad easier to cover but it is easy to turn around as
you need a good position for soldering work.

Folks, I am a newcomer, just subscribing a week ago. I usually log
on on Sat and Sunday mornings about 4:30 AM mountain standard time.
What a suprise I had yesterday when I opened my e-mail account to
235 new messages. I will try to keep up as long as I can. However,
I also welcome personal e-mail. I have 33 years of brass, silver,
and gold fabrication experience sometimes for a living and always
for the pure joy of creation. I am both eager to learn and to share
the things I learned the hard way.

Howard Woods @FrodoGem
In the beautiful foothills of Eagle, Idaho