Soldering tips

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-07-13, 08:19 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 428
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Soldering tips

I competed my first soldering chore this past weekend in an attempt to run lines a little closer to correctly. An improperly framed wall and prior owners' creative plumbing made this task a bit difficult and demonstrated some issues.

While everything tested watertight, I ended up charring some wood and pvc due to the close quarters and, I think, to the fact that I was using a propane torch that did not allow me to adjust the flame other than high-low.

Other than purchasing a flame retardant cloth, what else should I do in the future? Would a better torch with MAP allow me to get a narrower and hotter flame to get soldering before everything else heats up? It seemed to me that the propane was taking a lot longer than it does on Ask This Old House.

Thank you,
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-07-13, 09:39 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 23,007
Received 529 Votes on 486 Posts
When working on existing plumbing one of the difficult and annoying things is water in the line and long horizontal runs can be the worst. Even though the water is off a bit of water laying in the bottom of the pipe can prevent it from getting up to soldering temperature. If you don't drain or dry the pipes first you have to keep the heat on it until the water is boiled away in the work area.

Wet cotton rags, old cookie sheets or scraps of steel can be used as heat shields to protect surrounding areas from burning. As long as a cotton rag is wet it will not burn. Just remember though that it can get very hot.
 
  #3  
Old 10-07-13, 09:43 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 57,723
Received 923 Votes on 862 Posts
I'm not a plumber but I always found that propane was slow too. Never used MAP gas.

I purchased an acetylene "A" tank and a Turbo torch kit. Was probably one on my best investments. I have many different sized tips. It's like having an oxy-acetylene setup with no oxygen.

Even with the Turbo torch and a small tip you still need to protect the area. Those flame retardant pads work pretty good.

Always keep a squeeze bottle full of water nearby too.
 
  #4  
Old 10-07-13, 10:09 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 428
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ok, so it doesn't look like I did anything too wrong (other than forgetting to wet the surrounding timber before soldering), I was just in a difficult situation. Thanks for the insight.
 
  #5  
Old 10-07-13, 12:31 PM
P
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
PJmax where did you buy that torch?

Micheal I've started to use Pex where I only have to sweat pipe on each end. That may or may not have helped you on your last job but it's something to consider.
 
  #6  
Old 10-07-13, 12:36 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 57,723
Received 923 Votes on 862 Posts
I bought it around 10 years ago from an HVAC supply house. It was around 150.00 back then. I've since bought most of the tips. They start around 35.00 and go up. The tank I got used from a gas supply company.
 
  #7  
Old 10-07-13, 05:11 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,388
Received 14 Votes on 12 Posts
I switched from propane to Map years ago with much success. Rarely have any issues and have done extensive soldering without leaks. Also purchased a fire retardant pad which has paid for itself if peace of mind during close quarter work.

Tips include really really clean copper and a good flux. This combination and being relatively a stickler for precision and clean joints leads to successful soldered joints. Buy lots of emery cloth and change it out often. Work one joint at a time so that you do not set clean copper down on dirty floors prior to fitting them together. Clean/Flux/Connect - Build the puzzle and then I go and solder each individual joint. For a shower rough-in, I build the whole unit outside on the driveway and only solder the final 2 supply lines in place inside the house.
 
  #8  
Old 10-08-13, 06:41 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 428
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Great advice, all.

I saw no reason for the expense of pex connections because 1) it would have been a lot more money for such a small job, and 2) I hope to tear up the bathroom floor in a couple years and run the plumbing correctly.
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: