Today’s Saturday Skills session was led by Richard explaining the dark arts of soldering as we all gathered around the big table. Firstly, Richard stressed the importance of cleanliness when soldering and how it is vital to achieving a good strong bond to ensure that the surfaces you are going to solder are “squeaky” clean.
Richard talked about the different types of flux available such as paste or liquid and when to use them. As regards solder, low melt solder may be used for lighter more detailed work and white metal work but where a stronger joint is required it will be necessary to use a higher melt solder.
Around the table people had brought along their own soldering equipment. Bill brought along an old soldering iron that he’d had in a drawer for many years which Richard then brought back to life by filing the tip clean. This was only possible because it was a solid tip so don’t try this at home unless you are sure what type of tip you have.
Richard said the main thing was to always keep your tip clean and advocated using a dry tip cleaner rather than wiping it on a damp sponge which he felt was liable to damage it.
Richard also talked about methods of removing excess solder and demonstrated the use of de-soldering braid and a de-soldering pump to achieve removal. Richard illustrated his talk by soldering different metals together and passing the results around the table. These included soldering white metal pieces together which is often problematic for many people including me.
Throughout the session many questions were asked of Richard with people seeking advice and talking about their own soldering experiences, successful and otherwise. As the afternoon drew to a close Richard was heartily thanked by all concerned for a very interesting and informative talk.