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Member postings for Bill Brehm

Here is a list of all the postings Bill Brehm has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Silver soldering, I still don't get it.
17/07/2013 21:59:51

I just put on the thin foil like yesterday, no tinning. This one turned out much better.



17/07/2013 15:30:16

I had to read a bit about boilers, and the problems caused by copper-phosohorus. I can see why you might not even want it anywhere in your shop. For my use, which is a static model, would it be a satisfactory alternative to Silver solder? I guess I'm asking the question: other than safety, why silver?

I need to do the second frame rail today, and considering how well putting the thin foils of solder between the mating surfaces worked, I'm thinking of just tinning one, or both piece first. I'm hoping there will not be a need for any additional solder.


16/07/2013 20:17:46

I'm in the U.S.. Columbus, Ohio. I checked with my local welding supplier about the solder used in air conditioning and refrigeration. He showed me a solder with a 56% silver content. That's about the same as I'm using now.. It was 37.00 GBP (I don't know what the symble for Pound is) for (5 )1/16" x 18" sticks. What I'm using now is about 16.50 GBP for a Troy oz. (don't know the significants of a troy oz, but that is how it's priced) Unfortunately, it's difficult to make a comparision.

He asked what I was doing, and wondered why did I need to use "silver". Good question, I really don't know myself. I told him I needed a high temp solder so that when I add parts prior joints won't re-melt. He then shows me this. Which is a whole lot cheaper.

So, why do we use silver solder?


Well, I got my frame together. Putting the small thin pieces of solder between the parts worked. I still wasn't able to get additional solder to flow down into the joint, but there where no through gaps so I'm satisfied with it. The flux also dried out before I could finish it all. I let it cool, then added more flux and finished. Don't know it that was correct or not, but I'm thankfully done with it.

In the future I'll avoid this kind of technique. To do a good job of it requires more skill than I have at the moment. Cost wise, it's probably better to just get what you need.

I looked into the Acetylene/Copper problem. I haven't used any copper yet, and from what I've read the brass I'm using doen't have enough copper to be a problem. I'm going to look into it more.

Thank you again for all your help. This is a great site, and I continue to get good solutions, and ideas from it. If I ever have anything to contribute, I will certianly do so.


PS I need to make a tubing bender, so I'll be combing over the Tool threads tomorrow. face 1

Edited By Bill Brehm on 16/07/2013 20:18:54

Edited By Bill Brehm on 16/07/2013 20:20:15

15/07/2013 20:57:44

Wow, I didn't even think my post would be up until later today. So much information I had to take notes as I read. I hope I have address everyone. I'll just paste my notes.


That's exactly how it went. It got red, and then you could just see the gap opening up. I gave up at that point.


I have since learned that most people seem to use the propane and get great results. I only went with the Smith torch because I already had the tanks, regulators, and hoses. My pickle in an in house brand from Rio Grande. It's sodium bisulfate.


My flux is called “Handy Flux – for low temp brazing” made by Lucas Milhaupt, and it seems to turn black even when I get a good result. I can never get it to run clear. Light brown is the closest to clear I ever got.

Mike Young

It's all pink, black, and brown and looks terrible. I pulled it out of the scrap box this morning, set it in the pickle for a few hours. It still looks terrible.


It's just air/acetylene, no oxygen, but I think you are right. I do spend some time, probably not enough, heating the entire piece, and once ready I just concentrate on one spot some small distance from where I will place the solder. My thinking was that the heat would just radiate out, melt the solder, and done. So I should never really stay on one spot?

I knew they would soak up a lot of heat if I was to try to work right next to them. Still it's one more thing to change. I'll wrap the part with wire next try.

I use steel wool to clean the parts.

The foil to space the pieces would be brass or copper, and just a small strip every few inches. Is that what you mean? I have foil, so I'll do that.


I looked at my order again. I'm using “Extra Easy” which melts just a little below “Easy”, and it is expensive. Especially during this learning phase. They have a brass solder that is about 30% cheaper that I might switch to, and a copper solder that is just plain cheap, but has a really high melting temperature.

Ian S C, Eric, Keith

I didn't know about the copper/acetylene problem. I'll look into that. To be honest, I'm not really sure if I can legally have acetylene in my basement. So switching to propane might be required anyway.


This is what my wife told me to do in the first place. After tomorrow I'll either have a nicely soldered frame, or an order for more material. Considering how much work and frustration this has been so far, next time I need a certian thickness, that's what I'll get. All in all it probably cost more in wasted solder and gas than the metal plus shipping would have cost.


I cleaned up last nights disaster. The front of the frame didn't solder well like I had thought. My larger of the two pliers was used on this end. The rear third, to my suprise, went together good enough for my use. I only need to add some solder to where the vice grip was.

From what you have told me, here is what I'll do. Pickle, and clean all the surfaces. Place small strips of foil along the length. Flux, and wrap it in two or three places with wire. Get out my propane bottle, and try it again. If I can use my acetylene torch with propane, I'll get a bigger tip. If not I'll have to get a propane setup, and just just the acetylene for when I just need a small flame. I have a 00 tip for it with a 25mm flame.

Thank you all for your input. I'll let you know how it turns out.


15/07/2013 02:10:41

Hi Everyone,

I joined this site some time ago because you had more information that any place I had found on silver soldering. I read post after post, learning more and more, and I thought I was starting to understand it.

That is until tonight. I'm trying to make a brass automobile frame. I know it's not steam, or train related, but you're the only ones with any answers. I didn't have a piece of material thick enough to make it, so I just made 2 pieces of 1.6mm X 300mm long X 7.6mm width which I would simply sandwich together. I cleaned, and fluxed the joint. Had drilled and pinned it together for alignment. I use two small vice grip pliers to hold it together and also keep it off the bricks, and proceeded to heat it up. The ends soldered up nice, but when I got to the center I couldn't get the solder to run into the joint. It just sat there as a silver ball. The metal was red hot, the area was turning black, it was warped so bad at that point there wasn't much point in going on with it, and it sill wouldn't run.

Is there a practical limit to how much flat area you can solder together? How do I keep it from warping?

I'm using an acetylene Smith Silversmith torch, with a small tip (2.6mm) that gives about a 100mm flame, and easy flow solder (620C). I don't know if I need a bigger tip for even more heat faster, or to tin it all first, and use small screws to hold it together.

If you have any ideas I'll try it once more before just taking the loss, and get the material I need, but what fun is that?

Thank you,


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