Silver Solder

Discussion in 'Workbenches, including workshop techniques.' started by paratom, 5 November 2020.

  1. paratom

    paratom Western Thunderer

    After a laps of about 50 years between my first Peco track plan layout and the one I am about to embark on which will be in EM, I have been reading up on track building. I have a copy of Ian Rice's book on track building and he mentions using silver solder for crossing v's which I assume gives a stronger joint. Silver solder wire isn't too expensive and I have a small blow torch which would be ideal for the job. Any thought on this matter or would I be better using ordinary solder for the job.
  2. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    One of the advantages of silver soldering is that the joint won’t become unsoldered when soft soldering the v to the rivets which were commonly used in the Brooke-Smith method of track construction at the time of publication of Iain’s book. If you are bonding the wing rails and v together you also have to be careful not to dwell too long with the iron but in my experience, normal soldering is fine for v assembly.
  3. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    I build the common crossing up as a sub-assembly when using ply timbering and individual chairs or solder the Vee and hold it in place with pins when using soldered track assembly. If you have a look at my layout build Pottery Quay, on the layouts part of the forum, you will see what I mean.
  4. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    I’ve soft soldered all mine - maybe 10 or 12 - without issue.

    I think hard soldering would be great, but you’d need a jig that would stand the heat to hold the parts in place.

    I’d say it would be very nice, but unnecessary

  5. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    I've started using the Silver solder paste which makes the job a lot easier
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    As mentioned it's perfectly feasible to do with soft solder but if then soldering on wires and wing rails you just need to be quick and confident.

    I do a lot of my small details with silver-solder, lamp irons brackets etc. because I then soft-solder them to the loco without any fear of the joint failing at soft solder temperatures, the main advantage of a silver-soldered joint. Also as mentioned the joint will be much harder than a soft soldered joint so less prone to wear but only really a consideration if expecting intensive usage. The disadvantage is that silver solder will not fill gaps like soft solder does, so the joints do need to be a reasonably good fit to get the solder to flow, they don't need to be high precision but you just can't get away with agricultural engineering like you can with soft solder.

    As for the jig - you don't need anything fancy nor does it need to stand up to the high heat. When I did my crossing V's (7mm) with silver solder I simply cut a small piece of nickel-silver sheet in a trapezium shape - the non-parallel sides cut to the required angle of the crossing V. This can then sit an inch or so away from the joint and the rails are fastened to the "jig" using binding wire.
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    If you are silver soldering then the binding wire is really useful to get - it allows you to hold the components together whilst soldering.
    simond likes this.
  6. richard carr

    richard carr Western Thunderer

    I have made over a 100 crossing Vs all soldered with 145 degree solder, not one has ever come apart, it just takes too much heat to get them apart.
    I would though advise you to make sure that the the rail you use is very clean, be it steel or nickel silver to get a really good joint in the first place.

    Boyblunder likes this.
  7. paratom

    paratom Western Thunderer

    Thanks for all of the advice. I will probably give both methods a try and compare the results although I do like the idea that 145 degree fills gaps and I am using a crossing V jig so my angles do not have to be perfect. Will post my results.