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Thread: Can't get on with Borax Cone

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Staffordshire
    Posts
    17

    Default Can't get on with Borax Cone

    Hi All,

    I'm fairly new to soldering and am using a borax cone with easy solder strip. To save I decided not to get a borax dish and was crushing and mixing the borax myself. This was fine but thought I could prob save time and get a better paste consistency by getting a dish but I can't stand the dish, it really didn't grind down the cone like I expected and before I could even use the paste (if you could call it a paste) it had dried up. I just went back to my previous method. Neither ways really produced a paste more of a lumpy water which has been difficult to work with. What am I doing wrong or should I find a different flux? Any recommendations?

    Thanks
    Belinda

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Cumbria
    Posts
    115

    Default

    I use a proper borax dish - they are so cheap I didnt think it worth the saving not to have one. Yu really need about a teaspoonful of water and hold top of cone firmly and rub the cone into the water in a circular motion - it starts to turn the water creamy. Once it gets to that stage its fine to use. The stuff does dry up very quickly so I keep a little tumbler of water by the dish all the time so can keep adding a half teaspoonful of water and keep it going.
    I've had the same cone for about a year now so it does last well.
    If your dish is new fill it with water and stand it on yur draining board to let it soak up the water, do this a few times before you use it otherwise it will just soak your paste straight in before you get a chance to use it.
    I dont clean my dish either - just occasionally scrape down the grunge from the sides and mix that into a paste.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    England
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    1,902

    Default

    Hi Belinda, I have been using a Borax cone and dish for 50 years now and don't intend changing, a new dish will need running in,I use about 2mm of water in the dish and mix it with the cone,rubbing in a circular motion around the dish, after a while you will have a milky liquid which is your flux,it does not have to be a paste, if it dries up just keep adding water and mixing more, I use water colour paint brushes to add the flux to the jobs. Do not wash out the dish when you are done, let it dry until you need to use it again.The Borax dish only need cleaning every few months, mine builds up a solid edge of hard borax around the dish. When I want to clean it I just pour some hot water into the dish and the lumps dissolve and fall off the edge,with me this is about once every three months. Just click on my name Goldsmith and look at my album to see what I have soldered using this flux.
    good luck, James

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Staffordshire
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Hi,
    Thanks for your reply. Sorry if I didn't make that clear, I did get a borax dish from cooksons and I am using a circular motion prob with a bit more water than you suggest but the cone is just so hard I usually have to let it soak in water then chip away at it. Even then it's hard to get a paste. I certainly don't get a paste by rubbing it on the dish in the circular motion. Could my cone be dried out to the point of being to hard? Do they go off?

    Thanks
    Belinda

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Staffordshire
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    I do very similar to Faith. I did find it difficult to get the right consistency when the cone and dish were new, but once it got going I haven't found any difficulties. I do keep a small bottle of water nearby to keep the flux at the correct consistency.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Staffordshire
    Posts
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    Default

    Hi,
    Thanks for more replies. I've only used it for the first time this week so I guess I need to break it in then and give it more of a go. Will def use the water bottle to keep it from drying out and the paint brush to brush it on, I think I've prob been flooding my solder area with way to much lumpy flux as I've been using a spoon to drop it on the solder spot.

    Thanks for the input.
    Belinda

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Cumbria
    Posts
    115

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    Yep sounds like too much flux on the work. You will have been getting a lot of bubbling when you torch it and probably a horrible glassy hard mess? deffo use a fine artist brush or you can buy a flux brush - you only need to use a little flux on your joints.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Wolverhampton
    Posts
    142

    Default Borax cone

    Hi Belinda

    I'm suprised anyone can use those crock dishes, they are terrible (they leak) !!! for the last 40 years I've used slate (as in off the roof) it's waterproof so your borax doesn't drain through doooooh !! what a good idea I've always mixed the borax up to a milky consistancy which prevents it perishing so easily when it's exposed to the flame (watery borax will perish quickly and your solder won't run), and when it's dry a little water will make it liquid once again.

    I also use the small end of the cone when I first start and as pointed out it's a bit of a pain at first but after a while you shouldn't have a problem.

    I work the same as James and let the old borax build up around the slate, i use this hard borax for dipping hot jump rings in to flux before soldering. (make sure the borax doesn't get too dirty over the course of time) If you use slate you must break it in !! the borax will be contaminated at first so you need to mix the borax 3 to 4times before using.

    A word of warning !! If you are using easy solder than i recommend you use easy flux powder for temperatures up to 750c (off the top of my head) I've found that borax and easy solder don't mix that well. Sutton tools web site will provide the info.

    Happy Soldering

    Carlton
    Be careful what you wish for.......... It might come true

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    313

    Default

    These guys are great! Wish I'd had James' advice when I first bought a dish - I thought I'd been sold a pup as no amount of rubbing away seemed to get me a milky paste and the water just soaked right through onto the bench.

    My two-penny-worth is to point out that the brush is also a fabulous way of placing the paillons of solder on the joint... it is easy to pick the tiny specks up on a wet brush and they get fluxed at the same time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Wolverhampton
    Posts
    142

    Default

    Hi Joe

    When I solder a joint I never use Paillions because they might leave residue behind, I actually use strip solder touch it on the one end and it will travel across the seam provided the temperature is correct and if I solder a jump ring ect... I pick the ring up in my tweezers run the solder onto the base first before putting it onto my piece this prevents the solder running all over the place.
    Carlton
    Be careful what you wish for.......... It might come true

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