lead free plumbing solder

Hi,
Has anyone used tool station's lead free (plumbing) solder? I previously used the Fernox brand from screwfix but I see there is a price difference of a few pounds. I don't mind paying more for the
fernox if it is better; is it?
My plumbing technique seems to have got better since I bought a new blow torch. The one I had previously, a £10 cheapie from Wilkos have a very broad flame and I don't think that helped.
I find 15mm fittings easier to do than 22mm ones. I seem to apply the solder to the 22mm fittings before it is hot enough to flow properly. I guess that's because it is a bigger fitting and takes longer to warm up. Any tricks of the trade to know when it is ready for the solder?
I am still using the yellow pot of Fry's flux, so don't need any more yet, but I see la-co also make some which is cheaper. Is that just as good?
TIA
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Fred wrote:

Yellow pot ... what's wrong with the green tin with an imp on it?

I used some of that when helping a friend plumbing a new flat, was surprised how good it was.
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On Wed, 28 Aug 2013 23:12:07 +0100, Andy Burns

I still have a brand new tin of Fluxite.
BICC used to do a flux (Coraline?) (they may still do) which has a lovely somewhat lavender smell when heated. It ws used a lot by leccy boards for cable jointing.

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Frank Erskine

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The flame from the blowlamp goes slightly green.
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Heat it as fast as possible, making sure both sides of the joint (e.g. fitting and pipe) are being heated. If there's a part which is going to take longer to heat (such as a large brass fitting, or larger pipe), play proportionally more heat on that, and start with that join. By the time you've done it, the other joins may well be almost up to temperature by conduction anyway. If you take too long, the flux can be long gone and the copper starting to oxidise before you've soldered it, and then the join probably won't work.
Normal tip is to just momentarily touch the end of the solder on the join. When it's nearly ready, a tiny blob will come off and stay on the pipe, and when it's completely ready, the blob will be sucked into the join by capilliary action, and you can then apply more to make the join. Don't use too much - you should see a thin silver ring all around the join (check behind with a mirror afterwards), and ideally no drips on the pipe, although that's a finer level of perfection which many plumbers never manage. Do some practice ones which you unsolder and pull apart afterwards, and check for a complete line of tinning around the pipe and inside the fitting, to confirm it was a good seal.

There are different types of flux, in particular acid flux is supposed to work better on old manky pipe, but mustn't be used on gas pipework. I prefer to clean the pipe and fittings beforehand with steel wool (don't leave any in the pipe or fitting), in which case you get reliable joins without using acid flux. There's different flux for leaded and unleaded solder too.
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Andrew Gabriel
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On 28/08/2013 23:48, Andrew Gabriel wrote:

I have found the Fry Powerflow (yellow tub) works very well with either.
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John.
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On Thursday 29 August 2013 20:32 John Rumm wrote in uk.d-i-y:

The blue tub - Fernox Flux works fine too. Heat activated so good for gas and kinder if you want to assemble a load of joints before heating.
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On Wed, 28 Aug 2013 22:48:43 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

I got a fitting brush with a blowtorch kit, wouldn't have got it otherwise. *Very* useful.
Cleans interior and exterior of a fitting. Two twists on a new fitting and the copper is gleaming, and very slightly rough. No strands of steel to get trapped, rust out and leak. It'll get paint off an old tube easily (and old solder too, if the solder is thin thin and operator patient). Clean copper makes soldering a lot easier!
Apparently they come as a drill attachement as well...
http://www.millrose.com/tiwisted_wire_brushes_fitting_tube_brushes_overview.php
(First convenient picture, these are USAnian and not metric...)
Thomas Prufer
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