Tool Time Tuesday – Resurface Soldering Pads

There are many soldering surfaces out there that you can use to protect your table tops and help to aid the soldering process along. As you use them they can become dirty or pitted due to the use of flux. In my studio, I like to use a compressed charcoal block and Solderite soldering pads. The pads are great because they reflect the heat back onto the piece that I am working on. They can also be cut, broken, drilled and reshaped if needed.

resurfaced1

As I tend to use a lot of flux (call me the queen of flux,) my boards tend to get pitted and dirty fairly quickly. It would be a shame to just throw the boards away just because the top gets pitted or dirty. When I get to a point where I can no longer lay a flat piece of metal on my board because it will get stuck due to existing flux or dirty due to other objects on the board, I know it is time to resurface the board. This will work for both charcoal blocks and the soldering pads that I use in my studio.

Starting1

In the picture above I have 5 pads that are fairly well used. There are a couple of clean areas that I could use, so they wouldn’t all need to be resurfaced now. But since I am doing it, I might as well do them all.

resurfaceSolderingpad

 

I place the board face down on a concrete surface, in this case, it is my driveway. Then I put a little pressure on the board and move it around in a figure 8 pattern.FirstPass

After just a few figure 8’s you can see that I have a much cleaner surface. But I am not done yet. Place it back down and do a few more. I check it after every 3 or 4 figure 8’s. Done

This is the same pad as above. You can see that I didn’t remove it all. I could have kept going, but those pits were a little deeper than I wanted to go. I now have about 95% of my surface clean and that works well for me.

Resurfacedpads

Yes, it does make a mess. I like to sweep up most of the dust and just throw it in the garbage bin. You can then wash off the side walk or allow for nature to do that for you. Living in the Great Northwest, I let nature take care of it.

Things to consider if you do this:

  • Work outside – The dust particles can be very messy and just not something I want to have to deal with in my studio.
  • Don’t sit downwind – Yes, I made this mistake when starting this tutorial. The lighting was better if I did sit downwind, however, I was very quickly covered in the dust, and it didn’t exactly feel too good when I accidentally got a nose full either.
  • Wear a mask – Even though I was working outside, it is best if you wear some kind of respirator. The best would be a nice heavy duty one with filters, but even a painters mask is better than nothing.
  • Wear an apron and rubber gloves – This isn’t necessary, but it sure helps keep you a bit cleaner.

9 thoughts on “Tool Time Tuesday – Resurface Soldering Pads

  1. Penny Hummel

    Thank You! This information is most helpful. Mine is still in fairly good shape, but I would not have thought to do this on my own when the time comes to clean it up. You are the BEST!! Penny 🙂

    Reply
  2. Angie S

    Good to know I can do this! I tend to drown things in flux as well, as I generally have no flame control… 🙂

    Reply
  3. Melissa Muir

    haha, I do it so I don’t have to worry about firescale. I have only had firescale on maybe 5 pieces that I have completely fluxed. I flux EVERYTHING.

    Melissa

    Reply
  4. Anne Autsolief

    Melissa- I clean my soldering pad and bricks in a similar fashion using an old cinder block.

    Reply
  5. Melissa Muir

    Ohhh, that is a great idea Anne. It would make much less of a mess on the driveway. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Melissa

    Reply
  6. Valerie

    Oh goodness, I could have used this recently. I just got done sanding mine down by hand. Duh…the driveway would have been so much easier (and easier to clean up too!)

    Reply
  7. Melissa Muir

    LOL Valerie, I thought you and I had talked about this already. So sorry you had to do it the long way. 

    Melissa
    Reply
  8. Lisa W.

    Great ideas Melissa!
    I would like to add a caution to be sure to use at least a dust mask, as you mentioned. Silicosis is a respiratory disease caused by inhaling silica dust from exactly this sort of situation, and it can be prevented by using a mask and then sanding away!

    Reply

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