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Old 05-22-2008, 04:49 PM
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maplefrank maplefrank is offline
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: copenhagen new york
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Question Does anyone know how to solder using the old irons?????

I was wondering if anyone out there has ever used the old irons that you have to heat up???????

I saw them being used when I was at the evaporator factory in Vermont..........Now the pans are of a welded stainless construction.............

I have always been fasinated with the way things used to be done, and I would like to learn this art, before its forgotten.
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Old 05-22-2008, 06:19 PM
yorkiepap yorkiepap is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: SW PA.
Posts: 42

Hey Frank,
Yes, I remember back in the '50's when I was young, my pap & uncle used those to do their soldering. My pap(92 next month), used his for all his soldering including the rain gutters. My uncle had a motorcycle & auto body shop and he used one with several types of setups. My pap's was a large one about 16" long, had a wedge front end. The main heating body was 1" in diameter & the wedge screwed into it as there were several types of heads that could be used. The main heating body then tapered to 1/2" and into an oak handle about 1 1/2 in diameter. It sat in a jig that had a gasoline blowtorch under it in an angled rack that directed the torch flame to the wedge head. Took about 15 minutes to get it glowing red. Pap would "tin" it with 50/50 rosin core solder. You had to keep putting it back in the jig to keep it hot, but the heavy front really kept the heat fairly stable. He converted it to propane after a couple years because he wasn't fond of the gasoline dangers. My uncle had a similar setup with very unique "body spatulas" he used to do the auto body repairs with and his setup was rigged to hold 2 spatulas, one in use, the other heating, and were heated with his O/A. He heated the body seams with propane, brushed on the flux, took the glowing red spatula & lead filler & would spread it like butter over the seams. His body work was second-to-none & he was highly recommended & respected for his workmanship. In '55, he taught me to ride a motorcycle and how to stick & O/A weld as I was 11 and learned so much from him. I use to sneak out of our house all of mom's coathangers to have practice O/A weld material. Man, those were the days......

Anyway, I hope that gives you some insight into that procedure that was used many years & I understand it is still used in certain arenas of craftmaking. Denny
Complete weld, machine & fab shop...

A man's word is his honor... without honor, there is nothing....
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Old 05-23-2008, 06:41 PM
kbs2244 kbs2244 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Way North Illinois
Posts: 1,643

I have one in the wife’s garage sale right now.
$2.00 pulse shipping.
4 sided point that you kept in the flame of a pump up white gas blow torch to keep it hot.
I have the same thing sitting next to it, but electric, for the same money.
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Old 05-23-2008, 08:35 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Mackay, Queensland.Australia
Posts: 637
Default Old irons

Sure do,

The iron was kept hot for soldering in a natural gas flame.
The faces or cheeks had to be cleaned regularly in or rather on, a block of Sal ammoniac to prepare it for tinning.
The faces were left spotless clean and shiny.

The edges to be soldered were fluxed with killed spirits which was acid with bits of zinc dropped in it.I forget just for the moment exactly what type of acid-but I think it may have been nitric.

The thing to remember is that the tinned iron face must make full surface contact with the metal being soldered.The heated base metal is the key - without it there is no clean melting of the solder.

Solder sticks came in 60/30, 60/40 and 50/50 lead and tin ratio.

Hope this helped or at least re kindled some other soldering memories.
May your chooks turn into Emus and kick ya dunny down.
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:54 AM
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LW Hiway LW Hiway is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Indian Bayou and Lake Charles, La.
Posts: 21,320

"What Oz said and no shortcuts".

I'll still use my collection "irons" and gasoline "blow torches" to do certain radiator or thin sheet repairs around the farm with great success.

Some abilities and tools may be lost to future generations, but in no way does that mean that they can't be re-learned and found very useful.

I just thought that adding these 2 pics of what I have here at the apartment on the subject, just waiting to be brought to the farm shop, but just haven't made it yet.

Any time I find an iron or torch, I make an offer as best I can to be a new owner. Something of a collector.
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Last edited by LW Hiway; 05-24-2008 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:09 PM
TozziWelding TozziWelding is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Marlborough, MA
Posts: 64

Old soldering irons are my favorite method of fixing gas tanks
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:46 AM
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GWIZ GWIZ is offline
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Location: USA
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Originally Posted by OZWELDER View Post
The iron was kept hot for soldering in a natural gas flame.
The faces or cheeks had to be cleaned regularly in or rather on, a block of Sal ammoniac to prepare it for tinning.
The faces were left spotless clean and shiny.
Yep, see picture.
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Old 11-06-2008, 06:12 PM
willy victor willy victor is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: SW Lower Mi.
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I believe they are still used on copper roofs and gutters.

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Old 11-06-2008, 10:41 PM
DaveD DaveD is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 98

I've got a couple of 'blow torches' and the old copper irons kicking around here. I seem to have a need for them every 5 years or so. The nice thing about those old copper irons is they hold a lot of heat and you can get a galvanized seam in a gutter done with one pass if you have the knack.

My torches have a hook on the top that lets you lay the iron horizontally on top of the torch and lets the copper hang down in the flame.

I burn kerosene in mine. That tray under the torch snout is to hold raw kerosene. You light it and it heats the torch head and when it all gets hot enough the torch will 'blow' rather than act like a mini flame thrower.
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