Having trouble soldering copper pipe

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My own experience is that I got a rough "lava rock" type look to the solder when I had insufficient heat. My first soldering attempts were made with a 6" long butane torch and it took about 5 minutes to heat the joint sufficiently. Then after I dropped a pipe wrench on my torch I couldn't get a decent looking joint at all. The solder would tend to kind of glob on.
I got a new mapp gas torch and it made a huge difference, only about 30 seconds to heat the joint sufficiently and the solder would wick right in. I noticed that you said in an earlier message that you remove the heat when you start applying the solder. This could allow the temperature of the copper pipes to fall and lead to the rough finish you're observing. (Copper is an excellent conductor of heat so if you remove the torch I'd expect the temperature to fall fairly quickly as the heat spreads out down the pipe.) I continue to apply heat towards the inside of the joint until the solder wicks.
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Wait till you try it with a nice acetylene/air turbo torch, with the BIG tip on it. Takes about 5 seconds to heat up a 3/4 pipe joint to soldering temp, in 30 seconds the pipe melt!
--

Mike S.

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-- one end of the pipe is open to the air, right?
I was soldering a cap onto a pipe and I took a little too long to apply the solder. The cap shot across the basement and melted the rug where it landed.
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Years later, that's funny. But not at the instant it happens.
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Christopher A. Young
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snipped-for-privacy@surfbest.net wrote:

Screw it. Get a flexible, compression connection.
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On Oct 23, 12:13 pm, snipped-for-privacy@surfbest.net wrote:

I had a similar problem a few years back and I was finally able to get the joint to solder after I bought a new can of flux. Maybe the flux went bad or something settled in the can from the heat in the shed but new flux fixed it for me. YMMV
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On Tue, 23 Oct 2007 09:13:59 -0700, eselk wrote:

eselk,
Take a file to the pipe to get the rest of the solder off or reheat it and use a soldier wick to suck it off. You can get wicks in HD or somewhere similar. A round file worked without alot of pressure should be fine also.
Most leaks are caused by the copper pipe not being hot enough when you apply the solder. Otherwise not enough flux. Make sure you clean the ends with sandpaper before applying any flux or solder.
Good luck,
--
coffee
Linux Registered User #449534
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If the fit-up is too tight, solder can not flow properly into the joint. This can be a problem is the pipe is slightly oval or has a bent place.
Don Young
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.. snip...

Thanks to all who replied. I got it last night! Yeah!
I wish I could say for sure what the problem was, but I ended up doing pretty much everything that was recommended in one shot, so not sure what really helped the most. I think part of the problem, and why I had to try so many times, was that after it was leaking the first time, I was probably trying to hard on all of the next attempts assuming that something was wrong. In the end, I just said to myself, "The other fittings went on fine, so stop trying so hard and just give it one more shot, just pretend it is the first time your doing this one, and that it was never leaking."... I just went back to basics, and didn't try too hard, and it worked. Plus I opened the faucet, used sand paper, bread, and several other tips as well, so was probably a combination of everything.
Thanks again!
p.s.-Could have been the fishing gods helping me out as well, because of the 1 day delay, it could time out that I'll be waiting for waterproofer to dry on Saturday instead of Friday, so maybe I'll get to go fishing after all =]
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We never doubted you. You're a fine plumber. Be sure to charge enough, you're worth it.
--

Christopher A. Young
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On Oct 24, 11:26 am, snipped-for-privacy@surfbest.net wrote:

I haven't checked this Group in a few days so I'm coming at this late.
I had a similar problem with repairing 1 small horizontal section of pipe. I just couldn't get the solder to flow. I ended up with gobs of solder dripping on the floor. Cleaning and fluxing over and over didn't help. It was frustrating as hell. The problem was that water was still slowly dripping through the system and collecting in this perfectly horizontal piece of pipe. The torch was heating the water, not the pipe! The solution was to cut vertically at the nearest elbow (letting the water drip into a bucket), repair the horizontal piece with a new elbow, THEN solder that to the vertical piece.
Bottom line lesson for me...water is a great insulator and you can't solder with even a small amout of water sitting in the pipe.
--Jeff
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Actually, the reason you can't solder with even a small amount of water sitting in the pipe is that water is a *terrible* insulator -- but it's very effective at transferring heat away from the spot that you're trying to heat.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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