Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Soldering old lead


This is normally only a requirement when repairing old windows. Usually either to join new lead to the old, or to repair breaks at the original solder joint.



You will need to clean the lead down to the bright metal at the joints. This is more than a rub with steel wool. You need a glazing nail to scratch through the oxidisation layer, the corner of your lead knife, or in cases of mild oxidisation, a brass wire brush might do. But not a steel one as that may scratch the glass and any painting.  

Do not clean the oxidisation off the lead elsewhere. That is a protective layer already formed which leads to the longevity of the came. It is best to leave oxidised lead alone rather than expose the metal to further oxidisation.

Getting to the bright metal where you want to solder the joint means the flux can act appropriately and help the solder form a secure joint.  Otherwise only a weak, cold joint is possible.

Note that you always need to use dust masks or other breathing protection.  You need to have the work area well ventilated and need to do a damp wipe down of surfaces to reduce the amount of lead oxide in the work space.

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