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Thread: Rookie first time questions..."cleaning" the solder

  1. #1
    DIY Member coopns's Avatar
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    Default Rookie first time questions..."cleaning" the solder

    Just trying things out for the first time....

    So I got a 8 inch piece of copper and a fitting. I put the flux on, heated both pieces of copper put the fitting on and dripped some solder on. Worked ok for my first time I guess but I saw in the house and the plumber looked like he cleaned it up or wiped off excess. Would he be that good or did he clean it up?

    When I did dripped it on there, it kind of sucked in to the joint but wasn't pretty probably because I dripped to much on.

    Any advice or recommendations?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Clean both the inside and outside of the respective pipe and fittings. Put flux on, push the pieces together in the proper orientation, heat the fitting until the flux is obviously hot, remove the heat momentarily and see if it will melt the solder. If not, continue heating. If it is a big fitting, you might need to heat one side while putting solder on the other after moving the torch around the fitting. It will suck the solder up into the joint. If you haven't already, remove the heat. WIth a cloth that won't melt, wipe the excess solder off before it starts to solidify and don't move the pieces until it has set up. Most fluxes are acidic, and any excess should be wiped off. The extra solder isn't a big deal, but it looks better if you wipe it off.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    Can't wiping off the excess solder before it hardens cause the joint to move and therefore cause it to not set properly?

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I sound like you got really lucky on the first attempt, but is is most likely that that joint will fail. The first thing to do is to clean both the pipe end and the inside of the fitting. This should be do just prior to assembly. Next apply flux to the pipe end and inside of the fitting. Now put the joint together and apply heat. The joint is heated until the hot joint will melt the solder, you never melt the solder with the flame. Once the joint is hot enough for the solder to flow, remove the heat and apply the solder around the joint. The flux will cause it to suck into the joint. you can wipe the joint with a damp rag to remove the excess flux and smooth the joint, but be sure you don't move the joint until it has pretty well cooled. Also, do not cool the joint with water. I just wipe the flux with a damp rag after the joint has cooled off.

  5. #5
    In the Trades kordts's Avatar
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    You learn to flick the "boogers" with your gloved finger without disturbing the joint. I know a plumber, he's retired now, who flicked the boogers backhanded with his fingernail.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default solder

    You don't "drip" the solder onto the joint, you put the solder against the joint and let it flow into the fitting.

  7. #7
    DIY Member coopns's Avatar
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    Yeah, I was incorrectly kind of burning the solder and dripping it on...Whoops. I will try'er again tonight.

    So the joint should be hot enough then it kind of sucks it in. So hold the solder right on the joint eh?

    Thanks.

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