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I have a newly acquired derelict saxophone that is slated to be my next Frankenstein project. Wanting to try some key fabrication and modification. Up to now I have been using a small butane torch for pad work and soft soldering. What should I upgrade to for silver soldering? What do you guys use?

Would this do the trick?http://www.musicmedic.com/catalog/products/tool-st700.html
 

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i think that would be too hot, silver solder needs a very low temperature to melt sufficiently.
you can get soldering irons which are meant to not burn you, its like a soft rubbery tip which melts solder and silver solder but wouldnt burn you if you touch it, apparently they work well on silver solder.
 

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Perhaps my terminology is incorrect. I am talking about hard soldering like attaching key cups to keys, or soldering up some rat cage keguards, stuff like that. Not soft soldering like attaching a post.
 

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Spider, yes an air-acetylene set. You can go to oxy-acetylene but that would be overkill for most purposes and can very quickly burn the zinc out of brass, plus the separate oxygen tank isn't exactly inert....

BTW, contact your local welding supply. They will have comparable torch sets (usually) and Ferree's also sells a good one at a reasonable price. Get your B tank from your local welding supply too. Refills vary but one tank will last a long time (years) if you aren't doing extensive silver-soldering work on a regular basis.

..... But ..... as a much cheaper proposition..... if you have the right pencil tip for a small pinpoint flame, one of those Benzomatic propane torches will possibly get the job done too, and in that case all you need for fuel is the disposal $4 propane bottle from your local hardware store. They will burn quite a while too, for what they are.
 

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SearjeantSax said:
think that would be too hot, silver solder needs a very low temperature to melt sufficiently.
you can get soldering irons which are meant to not burn you, its like a soft rubbery tip which melts solder and silver solder but wouldnt burn you if you touch it, apparently they work well on silver solder.
Even standard tin/lead soft solders demand a decent butane torch when working on horns; soldering irons are only used by people in the electronics field, for tiny connections on circuit boards etc. and are typically too weak to evenly and quickly heat enough of the surface area required for joining comparatively "large" sax parts (usually post or keyguard ferrules or 8ve pips to the body proper).

The lead-free solders (mostly tin with 2-5% silver) are sometimes called "low-temp" silver solders, creating confusion for some people, but these are just another soft solder product and they require at least as much flame heat as other soft solders to melt and flash.

Also, though "brazing" and "hard soldering" or "silver soldering" are commonly used interchangeably, I'm told that brazing as a task performed by welders (haven't done it myself) with brazing rods typically calls for a good oxy-acetylene torch, as the filler material in brazing rod requires much higher temps to melt than your average silver solder.

Caution: You need a different flux for silver soldering work (some people make a homebrew flux with borax and distilled water) and you need something like an old stone crockpot with a heated "pickling solution" (there are several, Sparex is the most common) to clean the silver-soldered parts effectively after they've been joined. If you do this stuff indoors, have excellent ventilation. Otherwise get a ventilator mask with filters for welding work. I think 3M sells a disposable version, can't remember the part # offhand. Flux fumes can cause serious respiratory distress.....
 

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I agree with Wind.miller's info.

I use a slightly simpler torch with LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas - largely propane and butane) from a bottle. (Barbecue and camping gas bottle) This cannot melt the brass of keys or bodies. Acetylene probably can, but does the job quicker, and has the convenience of a more defined flame with more "squirt".

(The more technically correct term for the process of making high-strength joins in the metal of keys is silver-brazing. Not "soldering", which by definition is at a much lower temperature. But few people use the term. Soldering is what is done between post ribs and the body. But no Searjeantsax, soldering irons are not used for either of these, because conduction is far too inefficient to transfer heat to the parts involved, when that heat is being rapidly conducted away from the parts involved. Your post was quite misleading!)
 

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I use one that I think came from Lowes or the hardware store. It has one tip with two hoses. One hose goes to the propane, one to a bottle of oxygen. Each hose has the basic valve where it screws into the bottle. The O2 valve and bottle are both reverse threaded. It was cheap and works quite well.
 

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I use the acetylene torch with a few different tips from Ferree's, and I also have a "Little Torch" kit from Kraus: http://www.krausmusic.com/solderin/torch.htm

I find it useful for silver soldering very small, precise parts. I am not sure its usefulness has warranted the price just yet.

Incidentally, I use the zero tip on the Ferree's acetylene torch for padding, and I haven't touched a butane torch since.
 

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wind.miller said:
one of those Benzomatic propane torches will possibly get the job done too, and in that case all you need for fuel is the disposal $4 propane bottle from your local hardware store. They will burn quite a while too, for what they are.
Attach that Bernzomatic tip to a $7 tank of MAPP gas (the yellow tanks next to the blue propane tanks at the hardware store) and you can silver solder anything economocally.
 

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hornimprovement said:
Attach that Bernzomatic tip to a $7 tank of MAPP gas (the yellow tanks next to the blue propane tanks at the hardware store) and you can silver solder anything economocally.
I picked up a MAPP/Oxy unit like that at Home Despot for about $50. I think the solder and flux from my local welding supply cost about as much as the torch kit did. I haven't used it yet.
 

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Hornimprovement (do you have a real name?), That's interesting. I've used MAPP gas but only with the tip that came with it (large flame). You use the Bernzomatic screw on tip (with hose) like the one from Music Medic? I thought that might not be safe or workable and hadn't tried it. I will now.
I use an acetylene only torch now (also from Music Medic). Always willing to try everything.
Hans
 
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