This past weekend I attended a conference for tinsmiths here in
Iowa. During the workshop a representative of the Johnson
Manufacturing Co. gave a session about their company and the soft
solders and fluxes that they produce…
The representative told us that there are more and more restrictions
and regulations on the use of lead bearing solders. He said that in
Europe lead is pretty much banned in manufacturing and when used is
highly regulated and tracked from manufacture to disposal. U.S.
companies that want to sell in Europe must meet their standards.
He said that most U.S. companies are getting the lead out of their
soldered products and he even gave an example of an artist whose
commission was rejected because it contained lead solder. The
restrictions on lead will come to the U.S. eventually.
The Johnson Company has developed many different soft solders to
meet the lead free regulations. I took samples of a general purpose
lead free solder(#497) to replace the 50/50 solder that I use for
the occasional seam on my larger metalwork. They also produce food
safe tin solders that contain a small percentage of silver that the
I expect that the 10 lb. roll of 50/50 solder that I have will be
wrapped in plastic and put on a back self. Someday I will probably
have to dispose of it as a hazardous waste. I remember 30 years ago
I had to have a bar of pure tin especially manufactured for me so I
could tin line the interior of a copper cooking vessel that I had
made. Today pure tin is a standard.
Jeffrey, I suspect that a lot of the objects that you might repair
already have a lot of lead solder in them. However, I would suggest
that you check out the Johnson line of products. They probably have
one to serve your needs and have several technical papers on their
website that could help you.