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Looking for good soldering iron for guitar work

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by jamieorc, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. jamieorc

    jamieorc Tele-Holic

    533
    Apr 22, 2011
    Virginia
    I've been through a few. Currently have the Weller with 3 LEDs. Not sure if it's the 25 or 40 watt. It's fine for wires and switch/pot tips, but on pot bodies, it's terrible. Also, the tip is going away really fast. Using with non-lead solder.

    Cheers,

    Jamie
     

  2. mtjo62

    mtjo62 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    55
    713
    Jul 17, 2008
    StatesVegas, NC
    rich815, DuckDodgers and OneHenry like this.

  3. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    Yeah, a solder station would be overkill but also great to own. And if you aren't asking too much from it than a cheap one would be fine.

    But I'm surprised that your 40watt soldering iron doesn't do the trick. You have to use a larger chisel head soldering tip, but that should work fine if its just for guitars and only occasionally.

    And agree with mtjo, leaded solder works much better.
     
    8barlouie likes this.

  4. koolaide

    koolaide Tele-Holic

    517
    Oct 11, 2009
    south carolina
    I say buy a Hanko. But.... I love tools, and I am the king of Overkill.

    Cheers.
     
    rich815 and jamieorc like this.

  5. Brendan

    Brendan Tele-Meister

    495
    Feb 21, 2004
    Hakko FX-888D. About,$99 at Frys and sometimes on sale for $89. I've had mine for 3 years and it gets a lot of use. I highly recommend it. It will probably outlast me
     
    gtrguru likes this.

  6. nsmith01tx

    nsmith01tx TDPRI Member

    78
    Apr 23, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I see good deals on Hakko 936’s on EBay quite often. Very good adjustable temp soldering irons.
     

  7. warrent

    warrent Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Sep 15, 2009
    toronto
    R. Stratenstein and bluesky1963 like this.

  8. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 15, 2014
    Maine
    Look for a Weller TC202 station, with a TC201 iron. You can find them used for $30 - $60. I've used mine for 30 years, it works great for soldering to the back of pots, general wiring, cables, etc.

    tc202d.jpg
     
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  9. jamieorc

    jamieorc Tele-Holic

    533
    Apr 22, 2011
    Virginia
    Thanks, everyone. (Leaded solder works better, but... lead.)
     

  10. Joe Sailor

    Joe Sailor Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 18, 2011
    Longmont, CO
    I had thought that a soldering station was overkill and used soldering irons for years.
    Boy, was I ever wrong. Got a used Blue Point off CL for $30 and now I look forward to soldering things!
    My bro bought a cheap station from Amazon and is very happy with it.
     

  11. OneHenry

    OneHenry Tele-Holic

    Age:
    62
    576
    Apr 16, 2018
    North carolina
    You need to use 60/40 lead tin rosin core solder, not unleaded solder. I assume that you're not chewing on the connections.
     
    SacDAve likes this.

  12. wordfan

    wordfan Tele-Meister

    Age:
    39
    145
    Jan 21, 2006
    Durham NC
    Lead boils and vaporizes at 3164 degrees Farenheit, so any fumes you're getting aren't lead.
     

  13. jamieorc

    jamieorc Tele-Holic

    533
    Apr 22, 2011
    Virginia
    I got a Hanko. No reason to use lead.
     

  14. Rayf_Brogan

    Rayf_Brogan Tele-Meister

    Age:
    37
    174
    Dec 14, 2017
    Washington
    Thank you for that. It's only when I'm breathing in the crap I'm soldering do I remember that I need to buy some sort of mask.
     

  15. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Meister

    Using a good quality solder makes a big difference. For all my electrical soldering (building and repairing amps, wiring guitars, etc.) I've been using Kester "44". It's a 60/40 rosin flux solder, and it does contain lead, but it flows so much nicer than the unleaded solders I've used.

    I personally think that the little bit of smoke from the flux gets mistaken for lead fumes. I'm also certain that breathing any of that stuff can't be good for you. If you have a small fan, you can set it up at your soldering station in a way that it pulls the fumes away from you; not blowing directly on your work, but in a way so that it pulls fresh air from behind you, then across your work before it hits the fan.

    Sometimes a little bit of additional flux helps the flow too. You want a flux that's designed for electrical work. I've got a small tub of flux from Radio Shack, probably not the highest quality, but it still works good. All you need is a small amount; I brush it on very lightly with one of those el-cheapo little artist's brushes from Harbor Fright. Just a little bit on the back of the pot helps the solder flow very nicely :).

    A good clean tip is essential for a clean soldering job. Crummy tips = crummy work. Some of the cheap tips are made from junk metal; a good quality tip, like genuine Hakko tips, are what I like to use. Good Luck on your soldering, once you get set up properly, it makes soldering a breeze :).



    Best Regards,
    Geo.
     

  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    Like playing guitar, it's in the technique not the gear ;)

    sandpaper the back of a new pot, push a little solder between the iron and the pot so you have a thin film puddle. Now tin the end of the wire(s). Hold the wire(s) down to the pot with the iron while you push a little solder at the iron and wire interface. Let the flowing solder transfer the heat and soak in. Wood pencil to hold everything down when you pull the iron away. If the solder looks slick and shiny you got it good, if it's dull and slushy then something jiggled while cooling and you could end up with a problematic connection someday (just reheat).

    Do that and you can buy any '$5' iron at Harbor Freight. If you want a nice holder you can bend a coat hanger to look like those solder stations and screw the end of the coiled wire to a stable board. I really upgraded my kit when I did that. ;)

    .
     

  17. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 20, 2008
    Alabama
    The Stahl Station on Amazon is very good!


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
    chauncy likes this.

  18. bringfling

    bringfling NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    22
    1
    Jun 23, 2018
    omaha
    Hi everyone my question inst guitar related but i haven't been able to get much help from any of my local hardware stores so I wanted to see if you guys could help me out quick.

    I am trying to solder tiny washers together but am having a hard time finding the right type of wire a guy from home depot suggested silver wire so i looked into that but i would need to get a mini torch to melt it which is not a problem but id rather stick with the gun i have i am sure this will be a easy answer but i am new to this hope you guys can help out.

    the gun i have is https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DGZFSNE/?tag=tdpri-20

    the washers i have are low carbon steel #4's and #8
    https://www.fastenal.com/product?query=1133066&fsi=1 &
    https://www.fastenal.com/product?query=1133072&fsi=1
     

  19. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    I think we might need more info to help. Like application . . .
    "trying to solder tiny washers together but am having a hard time finding the right type of wire a guy from home depot suggested silver wire"
    Did you mean solder or wire?
     

  20. PCollen

    PCollen Tele-Afflicted

    May 7, 2010
    Man of the World

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