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How do I stop solder drip?

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  • How do I stop solder drip?

    As a DIY I've never had a problem sweating joints, but I frequently get a solder glob on the bottom of my joints.

    Can one of you pros give me a tip on how to get those nice thin solder rings?

    thanks.

  • #2
    dp, the globs you get are from excess solder and flux. the joint should be wiped free of excess flux when you heat the pipe and fitting. this is important on vertical joints. on a horizontal joint the solder will collect at the bottom (gravity). when the joint is soldered you can wipe the excess with a glove or a rag. solder will not stick to dirty copper or copper that has no flux. 1 trick is to sand only the fitting depth and an extra 1/4''. wire brush the fitting properly. heat the bottom of the joint first on a vertical fitting. then transfer to the top. no excess heat or solder.

    most lead free solder have a smaller pasty range(temperature at which the solder will bead up and not run) than that of old 50-50 tin lead solder. the lead free have anywhere from 5- 50 degree pasty range.

    if all else fails, you can wipe off the excess and then sand off the shiny solder. after this exercise you'll get better so you don't have to continue with sanding.

    rick.

    Comment


    • #3
      dp,

      The simple answer is to use less solder. Of course it goes much beyond that. You also need to make sure you are using the right amount of heat in the right area. If you use a large tip and always hold the flame on the bottom of the fitting you will draw the solder to the bottom of the fitting.

      When you solder a fitting you are using capillary action to get the solder inside of the fitting. It takes a little heat on the fitting then a little on the pipe and the back to the fitting and you are ready to solder. In addition it doesn't hurt to wipe excess solder off of tour fittings with your fitting brush while the solder is still hot. After a couple thousand fittings it’s second nature and you don’t even notice the steps it takes to solder.

      If you look at the Installation Standards which are within the Uniform Plumbing Code it has a pretty good explanation on how to solder.

      Mark
      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

      I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

      Comment


      • #4
        Be careful when wiping the hot solder. It is easy to flick off a bit of solder that can burn you or someone else closeby. Wear safety glasses (the old salts may laugh at this but yes, you should wear them). Hot flux can burn also, so try to wipe in a direction away from your face if you can.

        [ 11-27-2005, 01:19 PM: Message edited by: Bob D. ]

        Comment


        • #5
          I always wear just one glove on my left hand when soldering, I hold the torch in my right hand and apply the solder with my left, after the joint is sweat I put down the solder (or transfer the roll to my palm) and wipe any excess with the glove. Once you get good at it wiping won't always even be necessary as you will get a certain feel for the solder and you can just wick it around the joint quickly without globbing it at all. Alot of DIY'ers just glob the solder on the joint as they do not know when enough has been applied or they are afraid not enough has, and this results in very sloppy looking joints. As has already been mentioned, it takes alot of practise, but once you have it down the globbing will stop and you will have nice professional looking joints.

          Comment


          • #6
            Looking good on the outside is one thing, but having a joint that is filled with solder and no voids is another. If you want to see how you are doing, solder a couple short pieces of 2" L into a coupling, one horizontal and one verticle. Then cut the coupling in half at the mid point. Now make a cut along the run of the pipe such that you can then flatten the piece out with a hammer.

            Then peel the pipe away from the fitting to reveal the joint. This might require a cold chisel to get it started. A joint can look like a million bucks on the outside and hidden behind that nice looking cap is a void the size of the Grand Canyon [img]smile.gif[/img] Many times what appears as just a small pin hole at the surface is like an iceberg inside the joint, you're just seeing the tip of it

            Only practice along with instruction from someone knowledgeable will help you get proficient. No, you can go around pulling apart joints on every job to see how well you did, its like a welder doing X-Ray work. They get tested and qualified but not every weld may get shot (X-Rayed).

            Some jobs I have worked require you to qualify to soft solder and the test is much like I described above, you solder two 2" couplings (4 joints) and they are checked as above. For large bore we did the same with 4" K copper. Same testes are performed for silver solder.

            I had to qualify on doing cad-welds too, that was for fire water lines when installing outside hydrants. It was 23 years ago when I did those cad-welds. Don't think I could remember the steps for doing them properly now as I haven't had the need to do it since then.

            Comment


            • #7
              I can see a test being done for proper silver soldering technique. Compared to regular soft soldering, that's a whole other world, especially when trying to make a repair on existing buried pipe that is still mostly buried in cold ground. Some guys heat up the copper so hot it almost melts itself and it's integrity is in short order shot. I've see journeyman plumbers who don't have the first clue about proper silver soldering, mainly because it's so rarely needed. But as my luck goes, I have gotten many jobs for leaks under slabs, or IN slabs, and silver soldering the repair is the only way to do it properly, and you don't get any second chances if the joint is'nt sound and the slab is re-poured.

              Comment


              • #8
                I started out ih HVAC where we all we did was silver solder. A job came up once doing hot water coils and no one in the shop could soft solder worth a darn.

                Mark
                "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AZPlumber:
                  I can see a test being done for proper silver soldering technique. Compared to regular soft soldering, that's a whole other world, especially when trying to make a repair on existing buried pipe that is still mostly buried in cold ground. Some guys heat up the copper so hot it almost melts itself and it's integrity is in short order shot. I've see journeyman plumbers who don't have the first clue about proper silver soldering, mainly because it's so rarely needed. But as my luck goes, I have gotten many jobs for leaks under slabs, or IN slabs, and silver soldering the repair is the only way to do it properly, and you don't get any second chances if the joint is'nt sound and the slab is re-poured.
                  I'm with Utah and Bob D. here.

                  Bob D. is absolutly correct on saftey. Utah is correct, that proper brazing is actually easier than soft soldering. It is less tempramental.

                  the dog
                  the dog

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It's not very much easier when you have a line that's mostly buried in cold ground and you have excavated a leak for repair and you have to dig back quite a ways away from the repair so that the cold ground does'nt prevent you from getting the fitting hot enough for the silver solder to flow, and the air is cold too, and all you are working with is a MAPP canister torch.

                    Well, maybe I'm not as practised at it as I think I am?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AZPlumber:
                      It's not very much easier when you have a line that's mostly buried in cold ground and you have excavated a leak for repair and you have to dig back quite a ways away from the repair so that the cold ground does'nt prevent you from getting the fitting hot enough for the silver solder to flow, and the air is cold too, and all you are working with is a MAPP canister torch.

                      Well, maybe I'm not as practised at it as I think I am?
                      AZ,

                      I use an air/acetelene torch for 1/2"-2" (minimum), and oxy/acetelene for above.

                      On the other hand, I have always worked in Southern California so don't have to deal with the extreme weather conditions you do.

                      I'm always interested in your posts because you deal in an area of the trade I am not very framiliar with. Although, believe it or not there are areas of So-Cal that experience freezing conditions.
                      Your handle is AZ, which I assumed meant you were from Arizona. Your posts have indicated that you work out of Alaska. It's great to have a different perspective on the trade.

                      the dog
                      the dog

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks Dog!

                        I'm originally from Arizona, yes. Spent 10 years in Tucson before I moved up here about 6 years ago. Went from frying pan to freezer lol It's a very challenging place at times, but always rewarding, and out of all my travels the most pristine and beautiful, though I may envy you your temperatures right now.

                        And thanks too for all your info and contributions.

                        Comment

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