FLUX me!

I’m not one for fixating on specific techniques, but yesterday, I had an unknown student contact me via Instagram asking for some soldering technical advice … shock horror! At college, Oppi Untracts book Metal Techniques for Craftsmen was the bible and I still to this day have a quick flick through now and then.

 

Remembering the process of carefully mixing a jam jar’s worth of Tenacity 4A, Bakers soldering Fluid or Easy Flow, it all comes flooding back to me.

I genuinely remember the sickening horror of the first time I melted a hole in my work, getting bubbles in the solder joint, being sloppy in my fitting and then having to file for hours in an attempt to rescue what I’d flooded with too much solder. Small comfort then, when watching my tutor at Camberwell College of Arts having a similar disaster when giving us first year students a soldering demonstration.

But there is something enjoyable about grinding a borax cone into the smoothest paste, ready to use on a new silver piece. Over the years, you come across new products, and the happy day when I was introduced to the ultra-convenient tubs of premixed ready-to-go Degussa Flussmittel H from Germany.

Now, you’ll find me grabbing plumbers soldering paste used for fitting copper pipes from my local DIY shop. But I’m excited as I just found one called Tinning Butter…what a name, gotta get me one.

Do you have a favourite flux, or, a soldering horror story that you’d like to share below?

Comments


  1. Bob Buzas says:

    I’ve done my share of soldering, mainly to repair old guitar amplifiers and create Dr. Frankenstein’s stereo. My electrician step-father tried his best to teach me but I still made a hash of it.

    1. David Clarke says:

      Bob that’s so interesting and the Frankenstein stereo sounds great.Teaching and learning is a tricky one with the when’s and how’s coming to the for. I always found being TOLD what to do such a complete wind up!

  2. Mark Fenn says:

    My go to mix is Borex with a dollop of easy flow powder, but I’ll be looking up Tenacity 4….my soldering nightmare was when I spilt my solder over the bench and i sent age picking up every little piece….i then went to solder the bottom of a vessel together only to realise after it went very wrong i had pick up some small bits of steel and have place them in the joint!! result one very F**K up seam….so had to reorder the silver at a cost of £300…so I learnt a very important lesson…never to pick up what i think is solder if i spill any.

    1. David Clarke says:

      Mark hi, good stories and thoughts!….. very interested to see that seam with steel in it…….very curious to see what that looks like. Fantastic learning anyway, and always seems to come from the most painful situations!! Upwards and onwards.

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