I've found a couple of current Weller wood burners for sale. One says
25 W and 900F (480C). The other says 750F (400C).
You've got me thinking, and I see I don't know how hot the soldering
irons and guns I've used, could get. If I don't have a wet sponge handy,
I'll use dry paper, such as a napkin, to wipe a hot tip. The paper
won't smoke. It will pick up solder and oxidation but probably won't be
even lightly browned. By contrast, if I touched my hot wood burner to
wood, I'd get a puff of smoke and leave a dark brown mark. That doesn't
prove a soldering iron wouldn't get as hot as a wood burner if I gave it
A couple of years ago, I replaced 18 crossover capacitors in
loudspeakers. I was reluctant because it seemed as if I were no longer
any good at soldering. I bought a new iron and it was as easy as pie.
I think if solder won't cling to a tip, it's hard to transfer heat to a
joint for a good solder connection. It seems to me that if a tip gets
to a certain condition, it may not perform very well even after sanding
I suppose an iron takes a minute or longer to heat up. If I use one and
think I'll need it again in a couple of minutes, I'll leave it plugged
in. It could sit too hot for hours, being used only a few times. I end
up with a damaged tip, and I'll think I can't solder.
In cases where a semiconductor manufacturer said a lead could be at
soldering temperature only a few seconds, I'd ignore conventional wisdom
and use a gun. When you take a soldering iron from the stand, it may be
much hotter than necessary. You touch it to the joint, touch the solder
to the joint, and wait for the heat to flow through the joint and heat
the solder to the melting point. Meanwhile, heat is traveling up the
lead to the semiconductor.
With a gun, you pull the trigger and press the solder to it. The
instant you get a drop of solder on the tip, you touch it to the joint.
You know you're just above the melting point of solder, and contact
lasts about a second. Fastest gun in the west!
My first battery iron was a Wahl Isotip, about 1974. I liked it so much
that I bought another, in the 1980s. They would heat up quick. My
fingers were pretty close to the tip, for precise control, like a
pencil. They were unlikely to overheat anything.
I see nowadays they use 3 AA NiMH cells. That's great, just pop in
fresh batteries and keep going! One advertises 8 watts and 900F.
Another, far more expensive, advertises 9 watts, 12 seconds to operating
temperature, and a limit of 450 F. That's the one I want!
On Wednesday, November 12, 2014 6:01:02 PM UTC-5, Kurt Ullman wrote:
Small phillips head brass screws in a solid wood door?
Or huge steel screws in an anchor in a lightweight cardboard door? <g>
I would try a hand impact driver like motorcycle owners all have. (why I b
ought mine) But I wouldn't obsess over it, if it didn't come easily. Hit
it too hard you'll cam out and mess up your brass.
If you don't get it right away, drill out the screw head, slowly and carefu
lly, so you can pull off the brass plate.
Then, drill next to the screw shaft and pull it out. Overdrill the hole to
a larger size, 3/8ths or 1/2 inch. It doesn't have to center as long as th
e point where the screw goes back in is contained in the hole.
Fill the hole with epoxy/glass sphere mix. If you can't find that, Bondo w
ill work. You'll have to predrill the screw hole, you cannot start a screw
into that stuff, but it will definitely hold. You'll want to cut threads
with a steel screw then replace with new brass ones.
On Thursday, November 13, 2014 2:10:19 PM UTC-5, TimR wrote:
t it too hard you'll cam out and mess up your brass.
the point where the screw goes back in is contained in the hole.
ew into that stuff, but it will definitely hold. You'll want to cut thread
s with a steel screw then replace with new brass ones.
Or drill the hole out slightly undersize for one of those premade 1" long o
r so dowels, drive dowel in with a little wood glue, then drill a small pil
ot hole in dowel et voila. BTDT.
ON EVERY SINGLE DAMN DOOR AT MY GIRLFRIEND'S HOUSE.
Why do people leave jobs half done...? At least all the doors are mostly s
ecured to their jambs and latch properly now. I still need to go back and
extract one busted hinge screw and rebuild one jamb where the striker plate
goes as there's too much wood missing there to do the dowel trick on that
reversible drill. Bits are available one at a time at Home Depot iirc,
but more cheaply at Harbor Freight (a set of four). Sometimes the
screw comes out while one is drilling it out, becaue the drill is going
Notice the difference between 2, 3 and 4 and all the others.
I think they actually have different names, because they work entirely
differently, but my mind is blank.
2,3 and 4 work by hitting them with a hammer. Most of the force keeps
the bit in the screw's slot at the moment it is most needed to keep it
in the slot, and the rest tries to turn the screw, etc. in the chosen
IIUC The electric ones require some pressure on the screw, but work
mostly by applying the twisting force repeatedly, though not all t hat
strongly. Is that right?
I like the first kind. I have 3 and 4, and 2 is the same as 4 except
for the case.
I don't think the second kind could work as well, except in this case,
since the screw is in wood, that's probably different. Certainy using
the first kind on wood is not a great idea. If you hit the driver hard
enough, you'll crack the wood like a karate guy breaking a board.
On Thursday, November 13, 2014 11:09:55 PM UTC-5, micky wrote:
Getting off topic for this post, but I discovered yet another kind of impac
t driver recently when the shop foreman at my friend's shop came to my resc
ue when I busted my last #3 phillips bit (I didn't have my snap on set with
me so I was using a less expensive Lisle one) trying to remove a stubborn
rotor screw with a hand impact.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
MAGICAL! I need one. Of course his was snap-on and probably ludicrously e
xpensive but whereas the SO hand impact and a hand sledge makes an impossib
le job doable but difficult the shake-n-break made the same job trivial.
On Wednesday, November 12, 2014 6:01:02 PM UTC-5, Kurt Ullman wrote:
The screw extractors that you use with a drill actually work well in this k
ind of situation, if you have enough clearance to get one in there. I've u
sed them with success on e.g. handrail hardware where the heads are strippe
d and they are (as you would expect) screwed into a stud.
Do you have a screwdriver with a square shank and/or a hex up near the hand
le? Put a wrench on it and lean into it hard to keep the driver from cammi
ng out. If that doesn't work, proceed to the above.
Consider the screws expendable and get new ones when you reassemble.
> Bondo will work. You'll have to predrill the screw hole, you cannot
> start a screw into that stuff, but it will definitely hold. You'll want
> to cut threads with a steel screw then replace with new brass ones.
I've never tried glass filled epoxy, but I know that Loctite makes a
"toughened" epoxy specifically for repairing wood. Normally, an epoxy
will cure to a very hard (and brittle) material which will crack and
even shatter when you predrill and drive a screw into it. Loctite
E-20HP is made specifically be behave just like wood in that respect.
You can predrill into it and then drive a screw in just like it was
The dual cartridge of E-20HP costs about $15 to $20 depending on where
you buy it, the dual plunger dispensing gun can be bought for $40 if you
'Loctite 98472 Manual Dispensing Gun for 50 Ml Cartridges - Stanley
Supply & Services' (http://tinyurl.com/qx868rf )
And the mixing nozzles cost about 35 cents each and come in a package of
The only problem with this system is that for small screw holes, you end
up leaving more epoxy in the mixing nozzle than you use. But, other
than that, this is truly and excellent way of fixing stripped screw
holes in wood. I use Loctite E-20HP to repair doors and door frames
where the wood around the screws holding the back set and strike plates
in is in poor condition, and it's a one time fix. You repair it once
and the repair lasts forever.
Interesting. I use a broken steak knife to scrape off what all is on
there. No serrations. It still leaves a thin layer of solder. (A girl I
didn't know very well saw me one day and gave me t he knife. She said
she'd broken off the pointed end, and figured I'd want it, and she was
so right. I use all the time for at least 30 years now. )
The wood buring irons stopped working when the copper went away and the
heating element was exposed. Is it the flux that does that? Why. (I
never used acid flux)
Maybe thats what happened to you.
I had several temperature elements but always used the cooler one. I
think it wore out so now I always use a hotter one. I know that's no
way to live.
I also have a set of 5 heat sinks, with jaws closed by a spring, little
and bigger, straight on and right angle, and one with a magnet to hold
it in place while it holds the wire. Plus I saved an aluminum
clotheline clip, for hanging up laundry, but I haven't used that. You
put these on the leads and they detour most of the heat.
I have two Wen guns, that look like revolvers. They're great, The
element is not folded like Norman's was, but one rod less than an eighth
inch in diam. They're good especially when I'm working on the car
and not at a desk. Both tips are wearing out and I've been on Ebay for
months trying to buy a new tip, but all I see are whole new guns, often
brand new. They heat up very quickly and stop heating when you
release the trigger.
I have a 100 foot extesnion cord and like to use AC poweed.
Except one time I had to drill a hole in a fence cap in the woods. I
was excited to finally use my converter, which I bought because it was
so small and cheap. Boy was I surprised when I found out how much
current a 3/8" drill required. Far more than this little converter. So
I took the cap off and took it home to drill.
Broken knives are great tools. For many tasks, the point would just be
in the way.
My wood burner had a ceramic heating element that screwed into the
handle with threads like a 5-watt night-light bulb. The copper tip
screwed into the other end of the heating element.
In the Coast Guard, my chief issued us tins of acid flux paste to use on
electronic gear. Not being a profound thinker, I went ahead and used
it. I was on that ship 3 years and didn't see any corrosion from
I've read that rosin fluxes can also be corrosive. A few years ago, I
had to replace a lot of components on the control board for my HVAC
system. At several places, the conductors on the circuit board were
corroded away. It looked as if components had been replaced before,
probably at the manufacturer's repair facility. I figured a trace of
rosin solder had become corrosive in the damp basement in summer. Now
when I solder, if there's a risk of corrosion, I wipe away the flux and
flush with contact cleaner.
It's happened more than once. A new iron turns me from a soldering
dunce to a soldering master!
a holder for a soldering iron served as a heat sink, that might keep it
at a reasonable temperature during delays. A wet sponge could help.
The iron as been sitting hot. Before using it, you wipe it on the
sponge to clean it. That would also cool it. If I soldered frequently,
the hiss might tell me if it was still to hot and I should wipe it again.
I have a hemostat. If there's 2.5mm of exposed lead, I can clip it on.
In some cases, there's not room to clip it.
That's why I like guns. They don't sit around overheating.
I wouldn't junk my line-powered stuff. Nine watts isn't enough for some
nice-looking set of spade bits at a flea market. I couldn't get
anywhere with the 10mm until I realized it was beveled backwards. So I
On Friday, November 14, 2014 11:37:09 PM UTC-5, J Burns wrote:
Do it. You won't regret it. I have the Weller WES51 and am happy with it, but I've heard enough people singing the praises of Hakko that it seems that if you do a lot of soldering it may be worth the extra money.
Rather than using a sponge, get a Hakko scrubby thing like this
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
then you don't cool your tip as much but it leaves it just as clean as a wet sponge/rag.
has a pack of 2 sub-c NiCads and a 0.3 ohm tip. Wow, if all went well,
that would be 8 amps and 19 watts!
A circuit with such low impedance would certainly be affected by slight
resistance in contact points or batteries, but I don't remember any
The Isotip on the ship in the early 70s, was very handy aloft. I could
accomplish tasks that might otherwise have required a corded gun.
Prepare the connection, apply a little paste, melt a little solder on
the iron, and hit the connection. The molten solder transferred heat fast.
Weller has come out with the BP865MP, apparently recently. It uses 4 AA
cells. They recommend alkaline and say 9W on high and 8W on low. With
new alkalines, that's only 1.5A!
Customers complain that they have to hold the button down waiting for it
to heat up. I never minded that with my Isotips. I see an important
difference in design. With the Weller, you have to wait for the heat to
travel down the shaft from the heating element to the tip. The Isotip
generated the heat in the tip, for a much faster response.
Customers complain that there's too little heat. With alkalines, it
won't be long before you can get only 4 watts. What was Weller
thinking! They could have recommended NiMH and used an element that
would draw 20 watts!
I have an old no-name iron that used 4 C cells. Like the Isotip, it
generates its heat in the tip, for a fast response. It's 0.9 ohms, for
NiCads didn't last long, sitting on the shelf or charged with dumb
chargers. Those two battery irons ended up useless. Now I'm thinking
that if I bought 4 AA to C adapters, that no-name iron would run
beautifully on Eneloops.
Any decent soldering iron these days uses a closed loop temperature controlled tip
If you wet it or touch it to the work and draw heat out, the loop will turn the power up as needed to hold the tip temperature.
Also if you leave it in the holder, it doesn,t just keep getting hotter and hotter, the loop cuts the power back to hold the temp.
Its like a cruise control.
On 11/16/14, 2:19 PM, email@example.com wrote:
I don't think they were available in the days when I sat at my bench all
day using an iron intermittently.
For applying solder, tip size can be important. A cheap iron with the
right tip for a task might be more decent than a temperature-controlled
station with an unsuitable tip.
A tip could last longer with temperature control, but one could replace
a lot of tips for the price of some of those stations.
Temperature control sounds good for preventing damage when desoldering
components on a board.
My last soldering job that lasted more than a couple of minutes was
replacing 18 crossover capacitors in 6 loudspeakers. I had a 30-watt
iron but bought a 15-watt iron for the job. The smaller iron was less
likely to cause damage when desoldering. I plugged it into a power
strip that lit up when on. The red light reminded me that the iron was
on, so I could switch it off if I didn't need it for a couple of
minutes. The tip was less than an inch long, so it didn't take long to
reach operating temperature.
I'd call that a shoestring substitute for temperature control.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.