Saxophone Forum


by johnsonfromwisconsin
(767 posts)
10 years ago

I really messed up a soldering job

Well, I broke a key on my 90 year old bari. Breaking the key wasn't the really bad thing. The bad thing I did was trying to solder it with the soft solder I had on hand. Didn't work, but i also find out that this soft solder made it worse and you can't completely remove it using standard unsoldering techniques. I could probably use a rotary tool with a steel brush to get it off, but I don't want to make it any worse than I have. Will this be a problem now for a real technician?

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  1. by Lefty
    (21 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: I really messed up a soldering job

    Welcome to the excilting and fast-paced world of saxophone repair. This should not be a problem for a competent repairman, beyond thinking of the hard time he/she will give you for your failed effort. Cleaning up someone else's mess is where we make our real money. Removing duct tape has paid for my beach-front estate. Seriously, it should only mean that the repairman has to spend more time preparing the broken spot for hard soldering, which means more $$. There is usually no extra charge for the hard time you'll concurrently receive. Lefty

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  2. by Slausonm
    (51 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: I really messed up a soldering job

    Try again with (real) silver solder. (not low temp solder with some silver content) . My local welding supplier carries it. You will need to buy some flux too. Purchase the thinnest wire he sells. My supplier sells it by the ounce. You won't need much. Take the key apart. Heat and wipe off ALL of the soft solder with a cloth or paper towel. I prefer diaper flannel but paper towels will do, just don't burn them. Don't use a synthetic cloth as it may melt. Remove any traces of solder film by sanding with very fine emory paper and/or buffing it off with Tripoli compound on a buffing wheel. Clean thoroughly with soap and water then rinse. Line up the key parts warm them up with your torch. If the key parts are small you can use a propane torch, if they are bigger, it will be easier to use a prestolite type torch. Add a bit of flux to the joint you are repairing. Move the heat around to thouroughly heat the broken area, add some silver solder to the joint as you heat. You can flow the solder towards the heat, so move the torch to where you want the solder to go. Flux more if needed. Some other tips, If your bari is silver plated, you will need to remove the silver plating in the area of the repair along with the solder mess. Wear eye protection, use ventilation as the metals in some solder and some flux are toxic. Regards, Matt

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    1. by chiamac
      (586 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: I really messed up a soldering job

      hey, send me an email. I can give you some soldering tips, as well as were to find solder. as for silver solder. There are 4 different temps. extra easy easy med hard I would suggest going with the extra easy stuff. It will flow (melt) quick, and do a good job sticking stuff together. Although if you're working on silver this solder may leave more of a yellow mark around the piece. As for cleaning off the low temp stuff, get a few good small files and some sand paper. I dont' like using dremel (or flex shaft) tools if I don't have to. you may want to get some pickle or cleaning acids from a jewelery supply place, (or whatever horn repair people use) to make sure the metal is clean enough. there are a few different ways to silver solder something... stick, pick, or little pieces sitting on the metal. I mostly like to put the solder bits on the metal as I'm heating it up. This way I know everything is in place when the metal is up to temp. I've also stick soldered, which is touching the "stick" of solder to the joint... it's quick, easy, but it can be messy. remeber to flux the joint well! also, (my experence) the area of the joint just needs to be up to temp, not the whole piece! and try to keep the heat away from bezels and anything too thin... since stuff like that can melt before you know what's going on! (experence) good luck, and email me if you have any more questions!

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      1. by johnsonfromwisconsin
        (767 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: I really messed up a soldering job

        Just an update: I did take it to my old technician, he soldered it for me. Unfortunately he apparently mistook silver solder to be a low-silver content tin/silver compound. The fix didn't of course hold, now I'm taking it somewhere local. Here's hoping....

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        1. by chiamac
          (586 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: I really messed up a soldering job

          lol how can a person mistake the solders? one bends, the other is more like hard wire...

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