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Old style soldering irons

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  • Old style soldering irons

    Two Questions....

    1) Do you recognize this type soldering iron? I've not seen that particular style and was wondering if it’s recognizable as being from a particular craft of technique

    2) With our gas and electric power equipment today, is there a use for the old style copper solder iron? Anyone still use them? Do they hold advantages or are they obsolete?

    Thanks


    .

  • #2
    Soldering Copper

    I believe that they were called "soldering coppers."

    I used one in shop class about 45 years ago.
    It worked quite well.

    Fixxit
    457863656C73696F7220212000

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    • #3
      Obsolete. But they're made out of solid copper, so that's something

      They're shown in Burghardt's Machine Tool Operation and Audel's -- I can scan a couple pages if you're morbidly interested...
      "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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      • #4
        They look like the type a blacksmith would use. I've seen and used the round style with a four sided tip. Heat them on the fire and then to the work. The copper holds a lot of heat.

        I believe they were used mostly for sheet metal work. The style shown looks like it would be good for soldering an inside corner or perhaps a flat seam.

        Obsolete? Well, that's a matter of viewpoint. They still work. Could be good if you must work in a spark free enviroment. But would I buy one to use? Heck no! A small propane torch will probably do anything they would and a lot more. Perhaps there are some home/small shop blacksmiths who still use them. I would ask the question on a blacksmith BB.
        Paul A.

        Make it fit.
        You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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        • #5
          thanks

          ok, i'll hang them above the doorway, crossed just like old wooden skis at the chalet....and hope they don't thunk someone on the head.
          .

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          • #6
            Thay are good for gas tank work, Where you do not want flames or sparks.

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            • #7
              i have about 8different sizes and use them quite often when i want a lot of heat quickly, as in electronics. and rebuilding battery pacs. im wonderin g if those are used when replacing communitators (sp)on electric motors ?

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              • #8
                I saw them being used on the box a few weeks ago on roofing lead work as it limits the temperature obtained and is very efficient. Only problem is in having to have a shielded burner to stop the gas flame going all over the place mind you once they are upto temperature they have a lot of residual heat in them.

                peter
                I have tools I don't know how to use!!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ptjw7uk
                  I saw them being used on the box a few weeks ago on roofing lead work as it limits the temperature obtained and is very efficient. Only problem is in having to have a shielded burner to stop the gas flame going all over the place mind you once they are upto temperature they have a lot of residual heat in them.

                  peter
                  Mcgyver, I think that they are Tinsmith's coppers, specifically used dor soldering inside seams on tinplate boxes. In WW2, the RCAF received 10 ga practice bomb charges, as well as Very Pistol cartridges packaged in tinplate boxes fabricated with soldered seams. I have a couple yet. There should be one copper with the handle mounted straight in the middle of the back edge so that a bottom seam in a deep box can be run.
                  Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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                  • #10
                    They are great for clock work, and other similar uses. They hold more heat than your typical soldering pencil in the smaller sizes, and although I've never used a big one, I'll bet there are times they are the cat's meyow too. Say for instance, soldering lead or copper flasing around chimneys and the like. Didn't know lead flashing was supposed to be soldered? Beats all modern adhesives, IMO. The only drawback is the old gasoline torches used to heat them are tough to find in working condition, and I don't know where to find the stuff to fix them up.
                    gvasale

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gvasale
                      Say for instance, soldering lead or copper flasing around chimneys and the like. Didn't know lead flashing was supposed to be soldered?
                      How would you get the burner up on the roof, to heat the copper?
                      Wouldn't you prefer a propane soldering iron in that case?

                      McGyver, here's the page from Burghardt:

                      Last edited by lazlo; 08-15-2009, 05:33 PM.
                      "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                      • #12
                        A small propane torch will probably do anything they would and a lot more.
                        I beg to differ, when working with soft solder there is nothing that compares with a copper soldering bolt! Preheat the work if necessary (not necessary with thin tin plate) apply flux with a brush, melt solder onto the tinned copper bolt then run the bolt down the seam. The solder flows from the bolt onto the fluxed area and makes the neatest join you could imagine.

                        Now a propane soldering bolt is not the same as a propane torch but it would be the best of both worlds.

                        BTW, soft solder should not be discounted for home shop work and it is well worth getting properly acquainted with.
                        Last edited by The Artful Bodger; 08-15-2009, 06:12 PM.

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                        • #13
                          From my dads business in the late '40s I acquired a couple of soldering coppers. One was simply a block of copper on a stick, made to sit in the little gas fired pot, and the other looked virtually identical except for the ac cord coming out of the handle. I still have one of them somewhere-

                          Several years ago I was involved in making decorative waterfall structures that were clad in copper sheet. Because we needed to make the bottom waterproof, we had no choice but to solder it, which required lots of fast heat without overheating. I made up a soldering copper from a largish block I had on hand. At first I tried heating it with a torch, but overall it was too slow.

                          So- I made up a heating element in cylindrical form, wrapped fiberglass cloth around it, then expanded that into a hole in the copper block with some stainless sheet wrapped into a cylindrical form. The whole thing was saturated in some kind of fireclay- furnace cement I think it was that I used. I rigged up a transformer with several taps to power it. It ended up taking about 50 volts at about 10 amps, and I still couldn't use it continuously without it cooling too much. I could drag it about two feet along a seam while soldering, then I had to wait. There was just too much copper in the seam area sucking the heat away.

                          Long story short, the large block of copper was what allowed me to actually do the job. The project was a failure since nobody bought these things, but I ended up with this clunker of a tool. Then one day I was using it to solder up another copper box I had made when suddenly a small explosion too place out the side of the thing. That was the end of the heating element. I'd made the classic mistake of not burying one of the leadouts from the element deep enough into the furnace cement. A part of it became exposed and blew out in a sort of mini supernova.

                          Well that's my soldering copper story, and I'm soldering to it
                          I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                          • #14
                            Large irons like that were used in radiator work and in large leaded glass window work in churches and cathedrals. When soldering copper radiators you need to avoid remelting previously soldered parts. An iron helps accomplish that. Also, you can't use a torch on leaded glass as it will cause the glass to break.

                            Here is a little bit of metallurgy regarding soldering. The type of solder used for electronics is usually 60/40 tin/lead or 63/37 sometimes. That is what is called a eutectic mixture and has the property of going from solid to liquid and back at one specific temperature even though it is made up of two different metals with different melting points. The solidus and the liquidus are the same for any eutectic mixture of two metals. When the alloy freezes or melts it does so all at once.

                            That is not a particularly desirable property when doing structural soldering. That's why plumbing solder and lead caming solder is 50/50 tin/lead. Because it is not a eutectic mixture it changes from solid to liquid over a range of temperature making it much easier to control and easier to avoid completely remelting nearby soldered areas. The solidus is lower than the liquidus and the range of temperature separating the two can be manipulated by changing the relative percentages of the metals.
                            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                            • #15
                              Lazlo: Thats where the old gasoline pump-up torch comes into play. You remember the "U" shaped feature at the end of the end the flame comes out of, and the "?" shaped hook at the other end? That was to hold the copper while heating. One in the hand, another on the torch. I have a couple of torches, SOBs to get to operate porperly, no replacement filters, other parts to keep them running. But far far better performance than the old bernzomatic. Much much more econimical to operate.
                              gvasale

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