Hey, whatever works! lol
I'm going to go to the store tomorrow and get some better solder and
flux. Then I'm going to completely cut out the section that I've done
since the workmanship is so shoddy it will probably fail in the near
future. I might get a few extra parts to practice on, but I'm fairly
confident that I'll have rather different results with solder and flux
that is better suited to the task.
Don't get too excited. It's partly your equipment, but really it boils down
to practice practice practice. I think I spent about 20 bucks on 1/2"
copper pipe and fittings then stood in the garage and soldered. Almost
caught my Workmate on fire 3 times, almost dripped solder on my hand (I've
dripped molten plastic on my arm before - it will burn a hole in your
flesh), and out of the 15 or 20 attempts I had 2 successful joints. You had
the videos, which I think will make it easier for you. I didn't have the
luxury when I started learning. If you can do 5 good joints in a row - then
I'd start to work on the real thing.
BTW: Don't forget to practice on 1" pipe if you can.
Make sure that the solder is good for brass pipe, and that the
soldering paste is compatible with the solder. I know this sounds
like common sense, but I was having lots of issues with getting good
results with 95/5 solder and lead free paste. I changed over to lead
free, silver bearing solder and paste that specifically says "lead-
free" on it. The silver bearing solder only costs around $.50 more
per pound than the regular lead free solder. A couple of other tips:
1) Heat both sides of the joint. Apply more heat to whichever part
has more metal to it. I like to work around the joint, then apply
solder to the opposite side of the joint that I am applying the heat
2) If your torch can use propane or MAPP gas, use MAPP since it can
generate more heat.
3) You don't need to get the metal glowing cherry red, it is easy to
apply too much heat to it, and burn off all the flux.
Feel free to email me off list if you are still having issues.
That's a big thing, is to watch someone else.
Hint: Heat one side of the pipe, and at the same time touch the
solder to the joint on the far side. Where the fitting meets the
pipe. At some precise temp, the solder starts to flow, and the
flux is still bubbling.
Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
How well do they work? I looked at them once, and it didn't look like
there was very much solder contained in that little groove inside the
fitting. Maybe enough when the pipe is new and freshly cleaned...
Besides, it looks like you can only use them if you first cut, clean,
flux, and assemble all of the pipes going into a coupling or tee, then
solder all of the joints on that fitting at once. If you left one arm
open, the solder would melt when you're soldering the other arms and
form a blob that would prevent adding the final pipe later. That
doesn't fit my preferred style of working.
To go against what someone else suggested - you may be getting the joint too
hot. The solder won't stick or wick into the joint if its too hot.
BTW: This isn't something you can learn in one day - trust me. It takes
quite a bit of practice and on top of that brass is even more difficult to
solder because it's typically thicker than copper. If it all possible I'd
practice in the garage on a couple pieces of spare until you get it down
right - then work on the real problem. It's something you have to get right
and it won't be obvious to your untrained eye when it is right.
Thanks, that opinion does help. I was beginning to think that I had
gotten it too hot. The solder is definitely not wicking into the joint
like it's supposed to. It just clumps up and falls away. Very
annoying. I'm trying to avoid having to pay a professional to come do
it, though. I've called a couple of places and given them very good
information about the job and they still won't quote me a price over
the phone. And they charge $40 just to come out and look. I don't
know if they're going to charge $50, $100, $200...I have absolutely no
idea. But hell, I've already spent nearly $80 for the supplies to try
it myself. What a pain in the ass...
Read this and several replies and your responses --
First question I have is "brass"??? You sure or you mean copper which
would be far more normal ordinary plumbing fittings.
After you get past that, what are you using for flux and solder?
And, finally, heat source? A 1" pipe takes a pretty decent-sized flame
to heat adequately quickly.
As for technique, heat the fittings, not the pipe and definitely not the
solder. Hot enough is when the solder melts on touch to the joint. If
it doesn't flow easily you've either got incompatible solder for the
material, flux, or both.
If you are new at this, I'd also suggest buying a couple feet of regular
1/2" Cu and a few fittings and practice on a few of them to get the hang
of it rather than continuing to practice on your end project.
I'm using Oatey silver lead-free solder and Oatey H-20 water soluble
Just a simple propane torch.
I definitely need the practice. Unfortunately, at this rate I'm pretty
sure I'm not saving any money by doing it myself. I should have just
paid for a real plumber to do this from the beginning. But now I've
spent nearly $80 in supplies. I might as well try to finish the job.
If I did it wrong and I have an unfinished solder joint, can I pick up
again to finish it, or do you think I'll just need to cut away that
section and start over with a new coupling?
Like I said before, go to this forum, search for the thread on sweat
joints. Read the pro's recommendations and follow through.
You don't need to cut away the section. It does have to be cleaned with
emory cloth. The pipe couplings have to be equally clean. Don't use water
soluble flux. Don't heat the solder, heat the joint. Keep the torch moving.
One inch copper with propane is tough. Good luck.
Ah...I am using Oatey H-20 water soluble flux. Should I make another
(fourth) trip to Home Depot and get some different flux?
Maybe a neighbor has some different flux. I may also need to borrow a
different torch. I've tried two propane torches (first one kept going
out). Maybe a MAPP or acetylene torch would work better, especially on
one-inch pipe outside in a breeze. Damn wind.
I was able to get it done with a new MAPP torch and some non-silver
solder. Worked just great!
Now I'm trying to figure out how to unclog a sprinkler system valve. I
know I had to do it once before many years ago, but I don't remember
exactly how to do it.
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