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Soldering Hearth

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Deltic00710/01/2012 20:29:28
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Hi all,
 
I am looking at setting up a small hearth and wondered what products are best and where i can get them in the UK. I reckon about a 10 inch x 6Inch would do to start,I also only have a wooden bench in my garage so a little worried about the heat transfer.
Any help appreciated
 
PS Just seen this on ebay!
JasonB10/01/2012 20:35:10
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I use the Skamolex blocks from Chronos, three blocks for teh sides and ane plate for teh bottom, CuP Alloys do similar
 
J
Deltic00710/01/2012 20:37:57
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Thanks.
Any idea how much heat would go through to my bench?
 
JasonB10/01/2012 20:48:33
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I use it straight ontop of my bench and there is no heat issue and thats usually using a 1" burner. Very little heat gets through but they do throw a lot back into the work.
 
Ever since I bought them I've been intending to make a metal frame with short legs on to hold it all together but never got round to it.
 
J
Michael Cox 110/01/2012 20:49:52
551 forum posts
27 photos
I use Thermalite or Celcon aerated concrete blocks from any builders merchant. These have excellent insulation properties and are very cheap compared with the specialist refractory blocks sold by model engineering suppliers.
Mike
Stub Mandrel10/01/2012 20:54:38
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I have had large lumps of metal at red heat on a 3/4" skamolex block, and its possible o pick up the block by parts which weren't drectly heated afterwards.
 
I have some much thcker (1 1/2" x 15" x15") blocks which I will make a hearth with one day. I imagine they would work as space-shuttle tiles
 
I plan to make a simple box for the tiles out of a biscuit tin or similar as I don't imagine any dangerous heat getting though, though I do any big jobs outside, only 'cooks blowtorch' or turbo flame ones indoors.
 
The problem with skamolex is that flux sticks to it, and then causes pitting when you break any items stuck to the block off. I am still searching for something suitable for a suitable 'pad' to place on the skamolex to protect it.
 
Neil
Steve Withnell10/01/2012 21:02:06
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848 forum posts
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I just use an old fireback - it's made from some lightweight refractive material. They must get tossed out regularly. Maybe worth talking to a gas fitter.
Terryd10/01/2012 21:05:27
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Thermalite cement blocks and similar are ok for insulating but quite inefficient for refractory purposes. Proper refractory blocks such as Jason suggests are excellent, both as refractories and as insulators. Proper refractory products reflect heat back into the work and need less energy for a given job, cement blocks simply absorb heat away from the work.
 
It is the combination of reverberatory effects and insulation that make proper blocks so effective and eventually cost saving. With full blocks for the base there will be no problem on a wooden bench. Mine are supported in a simple 25 x 25mm angle iron frame for the base. I have been silver soldering, brazing and bronze welding for more years than I care to admit and I wouldn't use anything but proper refractory products. Anything else is false economy.
 
Regards
 
T
mick H10/01/2012 21:12:11
772 forum posts
28 photos
Try Bath Potters' supplies for refractory bricks.
Neil Greenaway10/01/2012 21:20:55
71 forum posts
3 photos
Hi There,
 
How about this stuff? I bought a sheet for replacing the firebricks in our woodburner - used the old stuff for soldering on.
 
 
Many thanks,
 
Neil
Deltic00710/01/2012 22:06:58
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Thanks everyone,Very useful information.
 
Mike
 
Springbok11/01/2012 05:49:38
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Hi
Late into this but, as I have log burning/coal fireplace and occasionaly have have to replace a firebrick when I get to enthusiastic and thrown a log in, Quite some years ago I wanted a hearth for my workshop and the little eurika light came on.
 
A sheet of scrap steel I had, go down to the builders merchants and purchase some fire bricks please note they are not like household bricks but about 1.5" thick x 12x12
depending what they stock measure and cut up your steel use your bender or vice to make a box, (front open) insert your block base and sides You now have the perfect little hearth that will not burn your top mine sits on an malamine surface and I use a seviert torch.
 
bob ,
 
Clive Hartland11/01/2012 08:05:14
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2838 forum posts
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How about one of those plumbers flexible blankets they place around and under pipes when they are soldering pipes in the house?
 
Clive
Gordon W11/01/2012 10:25:56
2011 forum posts
My hearth is made from fire bricks, mainly 'cos a builder gave me a sack full of leftovers. They do absorb heat and take a while to heat up, but they also don't loose the heat quickly, so for what I do I reckon it more than balances out. The hearth is a steel bin, shaped like a mini-skip, used for rack storage systems.
Springbok11/01/2012 10:47:08
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Just a thought after clive mentioned the blanket cup alloys were demonstrating similar a few years ago and he was using a torch holding in his hand the material.
 
Gordon gave me some ideas as people are now throwing out storage heaters the firebricks in them would be suitable. but it would be interesting to find out your decision.
 
Bob
Terryd11/01/2012 10:58:50
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Hi Mike
 
Quote from Stan Bray, one time editor of MEW and designer of small steam engines and write of model engineering books. On the subject of Brazing Hearths:-
 
"This consists of nothing more than a metal container holding a quantity of heat-retaining material: an old baking dish is ideal for this purpose, one with sides about 2" or 50mm deep. The heat-retaining material can be from a variety of sources; proper silicone bricks as used in potters' kilns are ideal, but may not be readily available, but it is possible to obtain firebricks that reflect heat. Avoid the type used to line the backs of fireplaces, as generally they only do just that and act as liners; they are not designed for heat reflection."
 
Proper refractories designed for the job will make it easier and more cost effective. I was lucky in getting a whole lot of second hand ones from an old brazing hearth. These are proper lightweight white refractory bricks. White to help in reflecting heat. You can heat one end to red hot while holding the other end still cool. A normal firebrick will get hot all the way through eventually. The latter will also store the heat for long periods after absorbing it. My mum used to use them as replacement for hot water bottles, (she was scared of those bursting). Heated up in the fireside oven, wrapped in an old sheet they would still be warm in the morning at the bottom of the bed. Very cosy in the winter in non centrally heated houses
 
Mine are in a simple angle iron base frame and other loose bricks used to create a reflective shield as needed. Broken bits can be used as supports sometimes and they can be cut with a hard point wood saw.
 
Jason's links look good.
 
Best regards
 
T


Edited By Terryd on 11/01/2012 10:59:23

Bazyle11/01/2012 12:15:04
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6390 forum posts
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Once you have a hearth you may need to prop up bits being worked on. Years ago an article suggested the ceramic elements from broken gas fires.for this. The knobbly bits on them are good for supporting od shapes.
Stub Mandrel12/01/2012 18:39:21
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Clive,
 
I don't think a plumber's soldering pad would stand up to the abuse.
 
The ideal would be the little circle of something in a square of gauze we used to have for the bunsen burners at school. These didn't reflect heat, just spread the flame so it didn't crack beakers. I guess they contained asbestos, but I imagine they would be ideal as an easily heated hard surface to place over the skamolex block.
 
Perhaps i;ll get a firebrick and hacksaw a slice off one with an old blade.
 
Neil

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