Roger's guide on basic soldering for copper pipework.
The first thing is cleaning the pipe. If you got a bit of tarnished pipe like some of this which I have just taken out of shed, it really is no good, even with self-cleaning fluxes. That won’t polish up to be a perfect job. So, we get something like a little bit of emery, a little bit of abrasive. You can even use those Scotch Brite pads from the kitchen, anything like that, and just take the rubbish off the pipe, and make sure that it’s nice and shiny. The same goes for the inside of the fittings. You can see this is an old fitting here. It’s been lying around a while. Self-cleaning flux won’t clean that up. What you need to do is you need to get something like a wire brush or something like a bit of emery, and get it inside of that fitting and just polish up.
It really is important that you make it clean. Now, at some point you’re going to want to cut some pipe. Now you can do this with a junior hacksaw, but it doesn't give you a very square edge. The best way to cut copper is with a pipe slicer. This one is sold by Monument Tools. It’s very easy to put on the pipe and just spin it round and cut it, and what it gives you is a nice, clean, square-edge pipe. Now, you can get these in different sizes. This one is 15 millimetres or the old half-inch if you like, and you can also get them in larger sizes or you can get one pipe slice, or one pipe cutter rather which will do all sizes, but you have to fiddle about and adjust it. These are my favourites. Now, before I go any further, I've spoken about cutting pipe with pipe slices and the like, but what they do is they slightly bevel over the end of the pipe. Now, in a purer school of plumbing, what people say is you've got to get rid of that slight burr on the inside of the pipe because it creates turbulence, resistance, and they’d reckon it can cause leaks.
How to do basic soldering.
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