How to Hold a Soldering Iron

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For any soldering tasks to be completed successfully, you’ll need to have a soldering iron. But before you can even embark on carrying out your soldering duties, it’s vital to first perfect the skills on how to use this tool. One of the first things you need to learn is how to hold your soldering iron.

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While this might sound straightforward, most people usually don’t do it properly. As a result, this increases the chances of injury. If you don’t want to compromise your wellbeing but don’t know where to start, you’re in luck as here is an in-depth guide on how to hold a soldering iron.

How Should You Hold Your Soldering Iron?

You need to hold the soldering iron correctly when carrying soldering tasks to prevent exposing yourself to possible danger. Here’s an outline of how best to hold your soldering iron.

  • Always hold the soldering iron close to the base of its handle like a pen. As you do this, imagine you’re writing down something but make sure never to touch the hot soldering tip.
  • Place the tip of the soldering iron on the tips that need to be created. As you do this, confirm that it comes into contact with both the track as well as the lead component. You should continue holding the tip in this position for a prolonged duration.
  • Add a little solder on the joint and make sure it flows smoothly on the lead plus track, consequently creating a shape that resembles a volcano. Make sure not to apply the solder on this joint instead of the iron.
  • Take out the solder followed by the iron as you keep the joint still. You should do this to give the joint a couple of seconds to cool down before moving the circuit board.
  • Carefully examine the joint to verify it has a sparkly and “volcano” shape. If you can’t see this shape, reheat the joint and then add more solder. As you do this, make sure the track and lead are fully heated before the solder’s application.

Projects You Can Do Using Your Soldering Iron 

Now that you know how best to hold your soldering iron, what are some of the projects this tool can be used? Here’s an outline of some of the tasks you can carry out using your soldering iron.

Soldering Metal Gutters

You can use your soldering iron to solder the metal gutters in your home. When doing this, you should follow the same procedure, followed by roofers to create a permanent and leak-proof solder joint.

Soldering For Electrical Continuity

If you’re an electrician, the soldering iron is a useful tool that helps you solder splice wires as you carry out commercial or residential wiring. You can also use the soldering iron to attach wires to electrical terminals on control panels or in electrical gadgets. You can also use the soldering iron to ensure electrical continuity on a circuit board.

Soldering For Auto Repair 

The soldering iron is a useful tool when fastening joints, smoothing rough surfaces, and filling up uneven cavities: It’s also useful when filling up holes, tinning metal sheet edges, and when performing auto body repair without having to do auto body repair.

Soldiering Mosaics and Stained Glass

You can also use your soldering iron to solder stained glass as well as mosaics. While in the past, lead solder was used when making stained glass and mosaic sculptures, this has now changed as nowadays, lead-free solders are preferred.

The soldering iron you use should have at least 100-watts. You also need to have other crucial supplies for your soldering tasks to be done successfully, including a glass cutter, safety glasses, copper tape, a glass grinder, a firm wood work surface as well as pliers.

During Plumbing Tasks

The soldering iron is also useful when joining copper plumbing pipes to lead-free solder. This is usually the case when working in tight spaces where using a soldering torch would be challenging. 

Soldering Vacuum Tubes

The soldering iron is also a useful tool when creating a sealant on vacuum switch tubes that insulate your house’s parts using both ceramic and metal connections. For instance, you can soft-solder copper parts to ceramic and not compromise the tube.

You can also place a silver tin solder at the pre-fab vacuum switch tube, creating a corrugated ring with a cover, which creates an airtight vacuum found on its circuitry board where the tube is fixed. 

Safety Measures To Observe When Holding Your Soldering Iron 

It’s crucial to implement some safety measures when holding the soldering iron or else risk hurting yourself. The measures you must observe are;

  • Working in a perfectly ventilated room since the flux produces toxic fumes when it’s burning.
  • Make sure to look over the health and safety warnings stated on the user manual of the soldering iron before using this tool. By doing this, you get to understand better how best to use this tool when soldering.
  • Always wear appropriate safety gear when holding your solder. This includes loose clothing, safety gloves, and safety glasses, making sure to remove any jewelry. 
  • Should the soldering iron slip up from your hand, never attempt to grab it as it’s extremely hot, thereby can cause a severe injury. You should instead maintain your cool and collect it by its handle.
  • Wash your hands each time you’re done using your soldering iron.
  • Have cold water or ice nearby to put immediately on solders that burn by accident. This helps prevent the solder, which is usually extremely hot, from unintentionally running off and burning you.
  • Never solder live wires or circuits as this can cause you to be electrified.
  • Keep your soldering iron switched off at all times when you aren’t using it.
  • Make sure to position the soldering iron on its stand whenever you aren’t using it.

Conclusion 

For you to effectively use your soldering iron, it’s essential to hold it correctly. Otherwise, you risk hurting yourself, which should be the last thing you want for your health.

If you had no idea how to do this, reading this detailed article has provided you with a guide on using your soldering iron. With this in mind, you’re now in a position always to use the soldering iron effectively and safely.

About the Author Dan

Just a random guy who likes to build things. Providing tool knowledge, appliance/device testing tips, and DIY project info in an easy-to read & non-intimidating style.