Tuesday 19 April 2016

A Tale of Two Soldering Blocks

I have a new soldering block.

My old soldering block, pictured below on the left, has seen me through a lot. In fact, it's as good as the only block I've ever used when I've soldered away from the class environment. And it had got to the stage where to find a small patch of level surface involved balancing the block on its side and really wasn't ideal, to put it mildly.


I've always used powder flux and when this is heated it becomes molten. Then it hardens to an almost glass-like quality, as you might be able to see in the photograph. It also becomes sticky and hardens rapidly as soon as the heat is removed, and can quite easily hold the work being soldered onto the soldering block. This is, to put it mildly, far from ideal when you've finished the soldering part.

Eventually I was given the handy hint of reheating the area very slightly, just enough to make the flux molten again, and then lift the work off without any resistance. But until then I used to pull until the silver came free, and it normally came free with a small piece of the soldering block.

So my old block is a mixture of miniature valleys of missing block and mountains of glass-like flux. It's still usable and will be used, but for delicate, more precise work, having a smooth soldering surface feels like the most extravagant indulgence and I'm still enjoying the clean and smooth expanses, and doing my best not to create any more landforms than I'm sure I inevitably will, however careful I am.

Do leave a comment or get in touch if you've any hints to share about dealing with soldering blocks - I've love to read them.


  1. I have a love hate relationship with soldering blocks, I have a bit of an over the top set up for mine, but I mainly use charcoal. I love busting out a new one, but I hate using it and getting it covered in flux...

    1. I'm like that - I totally hate ruining them! Which I think is why I didn't get a new one for so long...
      I've never used charcoal though - must add that to my list of things-to-try ;)

  2. Interesting! You could paint your old one and display it somewhere.

    1. That's a great idea - I can tell you're an artist! But the block will still come in handy to protect from heat or reflect it, or to solder on when I know I'm going to make an awful mess! ;) So I'll have to keep it as is for now.
      Thanks for the comment :)


Thanks so much for leaving a comment here - I always love to read them and I do my best to reply to them all, either here or by email.