Monday, 3 January 2011

Strike While The Iron's Hot

My adventures with the soldering iron continue as the final details are added to the Romanian ballast wagon.

The object of this latest epic battle between ambition and inexperience are these hooped handrails which are positioned either side of the platform at the Caernarfon end of the wagon.

Soldering brass is a very steep learning curve for me and fabricating details like these demands a very different approach to what I’m used to with styrene.

The biggest challenge is holding such pieces in place while you join them without them altering position or me ending up with 3rd degree burns on my fingertips.

To a great extent I’m making this up as I go along so I don’t know whether the technique I’ve used here is conventional or to be recommended.

Because I needed to make joints in close proximity I decided to use detailing solder with a lower melting point which requires much less ‘iron time’ although the joints may not be as strong.

I decided to try and copy a technique I’d seen used with solder paint many years ago by a modeller much more skilled than me.

I ‘pre-loaded’ the back of the horizontal pieces with a thin layer of soldier, then I laid the wire hoop in position on top, put a generous dollop of flux on each point of contact and gave each one brief dose of heat.

The flux sizzled, the solder ran and just before the heat transfer along the brass wire reached my fingertips the joints set enough for me to let go.

I’ve probably used four times more solder than I needed to but nevertheless I’m quite satisfied with these for only my second outing with the soldering iron.

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