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Old 09-12-2010, 05:52 PM   #16
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


IMO, bread is the last option. Get the water out if you can, why do anything that can contaminate your potable system. If you have to use it, get the cheapest white bread you can (wonder bread or store brand). No whole grains, pumpernickel, or even wheat. Keeps the chance of clogging aerators and valves to a minimum

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Old 09-12-2010, 06:49 PM   #17
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


I didn't think to mention this before, but when I am learning a new skill I try to find a way to practice first. Since you have had some trouble, try taking a short piece of pipe and a fitting- coupling, end cap, whatever- and practice at a work bench. That way you can be comfortable, have plenty of light, etc. Not trying to squeeze in a corner, on your knees in a crawl space with a flashlight, etc. Take all the variables out of the picture and when you get it right you will know it. Just spend a couple of bucks for a 1 foot stick and a couple of fittings or just use the ones you already have. Some people discourage re-using fittings, some just clean them off and go again.
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Old 09-12-2010, 07:00 PM   #18
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I held the solder to the top of the pipe/cap, and ran the torch all around. When the solder melted, it mostly just beaded up and dripped off.
Heat the pipe and fitting first before touching the solder to the joint. Perhaps you are heating the solder and not the fitting.
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:11 AM   #19
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


From your lasr post "I put the cap onto the pipe. I held the solder to the top of the pipe/cap, and ran the torch all around."

If you did in fact touch the solder to the pipe prior to heating it the cap(and pipe beneath the cap) then the solder would run off as it has a lower melt temp. As one of the posts before said - after cleaning and fluxing, put the cap on, heat it at the end and as another post said - after about 10 seconds - more or less depending on your heating source, start touching the solder - tapping it on the pipe near the joint . If the copper doesnt "suck" into the cap - heat a little longer.

If you can't get the solder to melt this way, there is most likely some water - somewhere close to where you are heating thats being drawn to the heat and preventing the pipe from reaching the melt temp for the solder. So use the white bread (no crust) to plug the pipe and soak up any water as you heat things up. Push it in a ways too - it all comes out later. And if you're using standard hardware store propane, Use the hotter burning stuff - Yellow canister usually. MAP or MAPP. make sure your torch is ok for it as it burns hotter. It should be though.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:11 PM   #20
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


Did we mention to use the tip of the blue part of the flame cone?
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:25 PM   #21
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Heat the pipe and fitting first before touching the solder to the joint. Perhaps you are heating the solder and not the fitting.
^ this.

You only tap the solder on the pipe to test if its hot enough. If holding it there, the solder will bead up on itself before the copper gets hot enough.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:15 PM   #22
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


Thanks again for the replies. I'll put your advice to use and do a few practice solders using scrap pipe. Then I'm going to do it again for real and replace the ones I did last weekend, because I don't have much confidence in them.
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Old 09-15-2010, 05:48 AM   #23
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


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It's good that you wanted to learn to solder, too many want the easy way out these days. Like someone said above, make sure other faucets nearby are open, maybe stick a shopvac on the pipes you're sweating to get all the water out then give it another go. As long as the gases have a way out, it should sweat on pretty easily. Good luck, leave them sharkbites at the store
You the man I agree leave the bites at the store learn how to solder. nothing like a solder joint.
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Old 09-15-2010, 08:26 AM   #24
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


Use white bread, like wonder bread - NOT wheat bread or whole grain. Those will clog your aerators in the sink.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:52 AM   #25
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Use white bread, like wonder bread - NOT wheat bread or whole grain. Those will clog your aerators in the sink.
the-man post #16 already said that.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:54 AM   #26
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So he did.
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:12 PM   #27
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


what jack of many said....

I am sure there are 500 videos on youtube showing this. But, like others said, I learned (pre-internet) by using some tube scraps in the vise in a more "controlled" learning environment. It is not that hard- it's not like learning to weld. But, as said, you must have the pipe drained. You shouldn't have any more trouble with caps than any other fitting- at least I don't, and I'm not a pro. Primarily heat the fitting with the torch and I like the MAPP gas but unsure if it's still available? when done let it cool a bit then wipe down the soldered area with a damp rag to clean any flux residue off.

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