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Old 03-19-2011, 08:14 PM
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silverbear silverbear is offline
The Boy Who Never Grew Up
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: northeastern Minnesota
Posts: 8,131
Default Re: Tinsmith's in frame gas tank for cantilever Schwinn.

Dan is a good teacher, watching closely as I tried my first line of solder along the top. Like an athletic coach he called out to me... "OK now, it's flowing... good, good, you're going too fast! Slow down, you've lost it. Now go back and pick it up again... give it more solder... not so much, just feed it as you go. Slower, slower... give it more solder or you'll lose it!"
At first I was trying to hold the iron as you would a pencil. Not good and the angle of engagement was not flat and low enough. I changed my hand position which helped me not push down on the iron... don't need or want to as it will drag and also may push the pieces apart (which I did). As I concentrated on one thing I would forget another, but I had Dan there watching and encouraging me. You can see in the first photo what look like ripples in the solder. This resulted from my moving the iron too fast which allows the iron to cool so there is less flow to the molten solder.
You can see in the next photo that the solder is smoother as I moved the iron forward more slowly so that it didn't have time to cool down. That's the trick, I discovered, to watch the solder puddle evenly and then pull the iron forward slowly, keeping it at a low angle and making sure the puddle stayed flat like a ribbon of silver.
By the time I finished up the tank I had a much better feel for the soldering and was greatly encouraged. The first photo and the second show seams which will both hold the tank together and be leak free. But the second looks much better and I can be better assured that the solder has flowed under the edge into the flange for a good union.
I can see that experience from practice will move my skill level forward. When you are starting out with something like this there are a number of things to be paying attention to. Focus on one thing and you may forget something else. Only practice will make things a "habit"... getting used to what the solder feels and looks like when the temperature is right, keeping the iron clean, holding it so that the iron is low and the tip is lying flat to the work, feeding the solder to the tip of the iron and not to the piece being soldered, not pushing down, seeing that the solder is not flowing even though it should be... so cleaning the tip again on the sal amoniac block and applying more liquid flux which may have evaporated, moving slowly. You get the idea. Knowing what to do and then practicing each aspect of the operation will eventually bring results.
I learned a lot from Dan's explanations and by watching him as he made tanks #1 through #3, but I learned things no one can fully explain by doing it myself while trying to attune myself to the materials and tools. My imperfect tank taught me much and in that sense is the most valuable tank I will ever make. Later ones may look better and come together more quickly, but none will ever teach me so much so quickly.
Thank you for your patience, Dan.
Tomorrow I'll take a couple photos of my tank for you to see. There's a big difference in the quality of the soldering from the beginning compared to the end.
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Someday when I grow up I will probably lose interest in toys with wheels, but until then...
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