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"Tinning" is the process of coating the tip of the iron with a shiny thin coat of solder.


An iron that has been heated, used, and then cooled will have a rough, dark gray surface that conducts heat poorly. If your soldering iron tip conducts heat poorly, you will hold it to your work too long and will damage what you are trying to solder. Thus, you should have a shiny, conductive tip to quickly heat up the connection you are trying to solder.


To tin your iron, first heat it up. Use a soldering sponge (or in a pinch, a rag that has been wet and then wrung out) to wipe the hot tip on. Then immediately press your solder all over the tip to coat it with melted solder and again wipe it off with your sponge. This will tin the tip.


You should use a very thin solder (not much bigger than a thin wire). If possible, use solder that has a little silver in the allow (not silver solder, but solder with some silver content). This type will set more readily without the surface crystallizing (forming what is called a "cold" joint.


Good luck. Cheers.

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What InsideMan said. And, you will occassionally have to sand or steel wool the tip to remove the oxidation. Cheap irons may not have new tips available, but higher priced brands will have replaceable tips that you can buy. Weber is one.


If you clean and re-tin your iron before letting it cool down, the tip will last a long time.

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In UK perhaps tinning has a different meaning but this is what you doo.


Get your wire and approximate its run and its length.

You can buy a rather nice tool to strip the ends of your wire or carefully remove about a quarter inch from each end.


Then you TIN each end by running some solder into the bare wires.

You will do the same to the components,usually a pot lug.

Then,for a really pro looking finish,get yourself some heat shrink tubing.

Put the tinned end of the wire thru the tinned lug.

Ensure they keep still and run some solder onto both components.

Do it quickly but let the solder flow.

Remove the soldering iron and let the components cool.

Then slide some heatshrink tubing over the join.

You can then use a match or a good hairdryer on high,to shrink the tubing around your joint.

Its a good idea to practice on some old wire from an old tv or other appliance,from your local dump.


The heatshrink can cover good and bad joints but the more you practice,the better you,ll get.

Use a soldering iron around 25w with a thin pointed tip.


Good Luck.



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Have a small kitchen sponge that is damp handy.

Wipe the soldering iron on this before you solder.

It will inform you that the iron is hot and clean the tip.


Push the solder onto the tip of the iron.

Let the solder flow easily.

The iron is only there to heat things up.


Put a tinned piece of wire thru a component lug and rest the hot iron on the wire and PUSH the solder

onto the component.

Not the iron.

But try and get this done quickly as its bad news to keep heating these things up.


Also,when soldering earths to the rear of pots,rough up the back of the pots with a lite grade wet and dry paper,used dry.

Just to key the surface.


I used to solder for a living and when I was first shown how to do it,I was

good at it within 5 mins.

You don,t need a 4 week course for this.

Also,for anyone else looking to learn this "black art",try checking out You Tube.

There should be some good instructional video there.



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Other tips:


1-Make as good a mechanical joint as you can before you solder--don't count on the solder for mechanical strength.

2-Solder in a well ventilated space and do not inhale the fumes (they won't do anything good for you).

3-Use some (electrical, not plumbing) solder paste flux on ground surfaces (backs of pots, etc.) to help the solder adhere with less heat.

4-Clean up excess flux (either from the paste or from the solder itself) with 90% isopropyl and a small stiff brush. (Keep the alcohol well away from the iron while you are soldering, just to be safe.)

5-Practice good technique on scrap pieces if you do not do this every day.


Your joints should be nice and shiny when you're through. If you're have problems (getting the solder to melt or adhere), back off! Re-clean the iron or work, take a breath, and try again. Don't just sit there with the iron on the work and continue to heat it if you aren't making any progress. Your practice sessions will give you a feel for how long it should be taking.


Relax. It's a pain, but remember, you can always buy new pots if you mess up. Cheers.

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