First time I've asked for help, so hope I'm doing this right:-)
I have an older soldering board that is my favorite and I cannot
find another like it anywhere. It is a very soft brick about 4"X 6"X
2 1/2" and is very crumbly and easy to resurface on a concrete block
Mater of fact, the surface resembles the texture of a concrete block
and I believe it to be gypsum or something similar I have tried
ceramic, magnesium and charcoal, but keep returning to the old
standby, but it is almost beyond hope. I have binding wire holding
it together and it is getting pretty thin from so many resurfacings.
I have searched the web and cannot find one like it anywhere. Any
ideas of what it is or where I can get a new one Best regards,
Arlen, I think you are talking about fire brick. Google it to see
photos. I didn't know the trick about resurfacing it, though, so
thanks for that.
I am not sure what the material your soldering brick is, but it
sounds a lot like the firebricks that are used to line kilns. I use
them all the time, as I can gouge grooves, or depressions to hold
rounded pieces. I got mine from a ceramic supply place.
That's what I learned to solder on some 40 years ago. I have found
similar soldering blocks in ceramic firing supply places. They are
referred to as "kiln bricks".
Looks like yellowish concrete block? (Manilla folder kind of
If so, it's just a soft firebrick. You can get them from kiln supply
PS--> Never seen a flat-out grey one, so if it's really concrete
grey, god knows.
A picture would help but could it be tufa stone? I get mine from
this supplier as it is used by First Nations silversmiths and is
soft and easy to use.
This sounds like a high temperature insulating fire brick, such as
used in electric kilns.
Have plenty here! too far from you tho.
Try electric kiln makers or pottery kiln suppliers.
they will know what ive suggested.
I have an older soldering board that is my favorite and I cannot
find another like it anywhere. It is a very soft brick about 4"X
6"X 2 1/2" and is very crumbly and easy to resurface on a concrete
block or sidewalk.
Try a store that sells ceramic kilns and supplies, might be fire
brick used to build/repair a kiln.
Richard Hart G. G.
Arlen, I think when I got mine they were called "firebrick"
(ceramic/alumina composition - used as kiln liners) and I think they
came from Rio. (site is offline doing upgrades now)
The pottery/kiln sites carry them but ordering only one may be
problematic .. and more costly.
Should be available for $5 or less from jeweler's supply places
though some of those carry the magnesium bricks too.
Could it be soft refractory brick? Try a kiln supplier (ceramics
Can't be for sure till it is actually looked at first person, but it
sounds very much like tufa. Tufa should serve the purpose even if
that is not the material you are using. It has been used forever by
Native American smiths for soldering on and casting. You can order
some from Indian Jewelry Supply, but be sure to tell them you need a
solid piece large enough to solder on with no fractures in it. There
are still a few superior craftspeople that cast in it, but it is
becoming a lost art, and needs new blood. It leaves a very distinct
surface in the finished piece, that is quite lovely. Hope that is the
answer. Thomas III
It sounds like a fire brick (or what I call a fire brick) from a
kiln used for ceramics firing. I buy them for about $5.00 a brick
from a local jewelry supply here where I live. I've not seen them in
or on typical jeweler supplier sites. Google "fire bricks for
ceramics kiln" and see if the images show what you are looking for;
then perhaps you could find via a ceramic arts supplier.
You have described what I use, all the way to the way to resurface
If what you have is a kiln brick, or fireplace brick, a good brick
supplier will have them. I have my soldering area lined with them,
and standing ones as a "backsplash". Also extras to use to create a
small "kiln" sort of area that holds heat when needed. Think I maybe
paid $5 each? Maybe less....
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
Sounds like fire brick. Check with a refractory company.
In the UK rather than use kiln bricks, which work well, there is a
cheaper alternative. Celcon building blocks.
These are the insulation blocks you get for the inside layer of a
house, you want the WHITE ones, the grey ones are foamed concrete and
will not survive.
Celcon blocks are the same price as a soft kiln brick but about five
times the size, cut them up with an old wood saw.
Use the sawdust in the bottom of your furnace to stop the crucible
sticking to the bottom.
You may have to hunt around a few builders merchants who seem to
stock them and the foamed concrete ones, but cheap is a good price!
It might be a kiln brick. try pottery supplies.
It sounds like you have refractory brick. It is an industrial
product used for lining kilns, ovens and forges. You should have a
refractory supplier in your area, or check at a blacksmith
conference or blacksmith supplier. They are used to line propane
blacksmith forges. Google refractory brick or propane blacksmith
forges and you may find some nearby.
I would go with firebricks (kiln bricks) from a ceramic supply
place. They are relatively cheap ($2-3 per brick, but shipping will
kill you), and they are rated according to heat - some are for 2200
temps and some are for 2400 temps. I like the softer white ones.
Most of the time, I ask my pottery friends for their broken kiln
bricks and they are more than happy to give them to you. In fact,
I've not had to buy any kiln bricks for a long time for I keep
getting them from my pottery friends.
I may be an old-timer, but after learning to solder on kiln bricks
backin the 80's, it's really hard to move onto the newer soldering
surfaces. I've tried Solderite pads, but they don't last long and
it's a big expense to keep replacing them. I prefer to stick to my
beloved kiln bricks. They last forever.
Looking on the Internet, Celcon is a thermoplastic that was not
designed as a soldering surface, cheap though it may be. Have you
checked it out to find out if it emits any toxic fumes when heated?
To the person who posted the initial question, soft firebrick, used
by potters, is a good surface on which to solder, though a bit
messy. It's cheap, a plus, easy to cut into supportive shapes and
sizes, and it works just fine. I'm guessing that's what you had been
using, but, if not, try some. It's inexpensive enough to try, and
discard, if you don't like using it.
My mentor, Jim Cook, taught me about the soft kiln bricks and how to
secure pieces for soldering.
Stainless steel dressmaker pins can be stuck into the surface to
hold metal in position or serve as a stable point, such as when
hand-applying a bail to the side of a piece. The top of the pin can
be bent in a "U" so that the head points down, in order to apply
pressure from above when stuck into the brick.
One can also use a hack saw to cut the brick into layers that can be
stacked, creating a 'hot box' or oven when soldering large pieces.
Dimples can be easily made in the surface for melting scrap into
balls. Larger depressions will accommodate a protrusion (like
decoration or the bezel/head on a ring), allowing you to solder on
the opposite side of the piece.
Eventually, the surface of the brick becomes sort of crumbly. Just
turn it over and use the other side. When both sides are crumbly, the
brick surfaces can easily be smoothed by rubbing on a concrete
driveway or walk.
I'll add that if you work in gold a lot, it might be worth cutting
the crumbly surface off and adding it to your sweeps, rather than
rubbing the surface off.
'Nuff said. I keep a couple extra soft kiln bricks for future use.
you never know.
Judy in Kansas, where the nights are dipping into the upper 50s, but
the days are still hot.