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Soldering Irons

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Len Morris 108/10/2014 11:08:44
295 forum posts
259 photos

Hi Everybody,

Having spent all morning working on mi tin plate model, this is a general beef about modern soldering irons that hopefully some manufacturer will take note of.

Why on earth do they insist on wiring them up with a short length of stiff plastic 7 mm cable? Takes all the feel out of the job and the cable will pull the iron all over the place when you put it down.

Even a big 100 Watt iron is only pulling half an Amp. They could easily be wired with 6 feet of 3 mm flexible twin core at no extra cost.

Working with a new iron. It's going to get rewired tonight!


CookieOld08/10/2014 11:25:10
297 forum posts
70 photos

Hi Len , I have bought a Antex XS25 from CPC it as a silicon lead and is really flexible £17.00

Dave wink

Bob Abell08/10/2014 12:59:07
8562 forum posts
2642 photos


For the work you are doing, you need a real soldering iron!

1" sq x 3" long copper and a pot of Bakers fluid

Gerrit it on the gas stove and get crackin'!


Len Morris 108/10/2014 13:44:12
295 forum posts
259 photos

Hi Dave,

Thanks for that. Had a look at the Antex site and they seem very good. They make a point of their leads being flexible either in silicon or rubber. (Not plastic!). For some reason their smaller irons are more expensive than the larger ones. Have ordered a 100 Watt iron for £14.99 and we'll see what it's like. Their industrial range of big irons looks good but a 200 Watt unit will set you back £250!


Len Morris 108/10/2014 14:01:00
295 forum posts
259 photos

Hi Bob,

I think you mean one of these:-


and this is mi small one, have seen it, done it and have the tea shirt, book and film! The problem is that mi misses objects to mi paraffin blowlamp in the kitchen!

Joking apart, they do have a place and when you need to get some serious heat into a job, they do work!


Geoff Sleath02/11/2014 20:17:06
67 forum posts
18 photos

I worked at GEC, Coventry in the early 1960s. They were wiring Post Office telephone exchange racks in an area near me. Those with 100s of relays and uniselectors that were used then. They were all soldered with gas heated irons like Len's. They must have been very good because sound connections were paramount and there was a strict inspection regime.

It puzzled m as I'd been using electric irons since I was 11 or 12 years old to build radio receivers and repair TVs. Never used a primitive device like those but I'd made one in metalwork at school.


pete graham01/04/2020 11:33:47
39 forum posts

Hi, everybody above.I

I have just read the interesting comments about soldering iron power leads and totally agree ......close to exasperation once, I used a minil vice fixed to the edge of my small work table to hold the iron. Not a perfect solution and probably one of a few but at least it stopped everything being swept overboard.

Twenty , thirty years I used to do a lot of soldering , some of it involving quite large brass and steel components and never had much trouble at all with the techniques using multicore solders and fluxite . But it seems that the "chemistry" of soldering has now changed I was talking recently to a technician in a radio and electronic workshop and he told me that the, now legal, formulation of solder without a lead constituent had created some difficulties with tinning and running... I certainly found this just a while ago in doing a small wiring job.

Any comments


Dave Milbourn01/04/2020 13:16:26
3915 forum posts
252 photos

Yes, Pete. I've been assembling model boat electronic units onto printed and tinned copper PCBs since 2007. I haven't counted the number of soldered joints I've made in that time but I suspect it would run well into six figures and likely seven. I've had to use lead-free solder from Day #1 - chiefly Wartons' brands. After an initial disilke I've got used to its little ways. You do need more heat than the old lead-based stuff, so I bought a Weller soldering station and WSP80 iron with a silicon flex. It was horribly expensive c/w an Antex but quite definitely the best the tool for the job. I still have it and use it almost daily. It came with a "spring" stand which holds the iron and has a sponge which you keep damp to wipe the iron tip on. If anyone is looking for a decent solder station then I can recommend this one unreservedly. Weller Soldering Station

Mind you it's even more expensive than mine was in 2007, but isn't everything?

I had a little flirtation with one of those old copper irons when I was apprentice in 197-never mind. Great fun with stick-solder, paste flux, a gas ring and wired edges! If you were working on mild steel and you didn't scrub off the flux immediately you could almost watch the rust forming before yor eyes. I generally use a little gas torch and Bakers No3 fluid with tinman's solder for small soft-soldered non-electrical joints, and a Gaz blowlamp and Cupalloy materials for silver-soldering.

It's all good clean fun!

Dave M

Edited By Dave Milbourn on 01/04/2020 13:19:03

Banjoman02/04/2020 08:33:24
1141 forum posts
2414 photos

I have precisely the same model of Weller Soldering Station as the one Dave M. recommends, and while I would not for a nanosecond consider my opinion to be worth even tuppence, compared to one based on the experience and expertise of Mr Milbourn, I will nevertheless chime in to say that I wholeheartedly second his recommendation. Yes, it's ruddy expensive, but an absolute joy to use; takes a huge variety of tips, that are easy to switch between; heats up very quickly; has precise heat adjustment; and in general allows for very exact work.

In short, when it comes to soft soldering, it is the Apis's genua!


Edited By Banjoman on 02/04/2020 08:33:49

pete graham02/04/2020 11:09:33
39 forum posts

My Dad , way back in the 1930s onwards was a model rail and steam engine enthusiast and I don't he ever even considered giving up his old copper iron and gas ring...probably thought these electric gadgets were new fangled..

I don't know what happened to his iron but I did "inherit" some chunks of "tinmans" solder, the sort that plumbers use with a blowlamp and I found that this worked a treat with my electric iron when "grated" into a tin lid and used with fluxite. Later, I bought some similar solder "ingots" from a plumber's merchant and and it is not the same stuff and presumably because presumably lead free. It does work but not guaranteed !!. I just wonder if my technique is amiss somewhere.


PS. How do I access this section of the Forum without having to go to search and type in "soldering iron!" ??

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