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Thread: Wipe solder

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Wipe solder

    I got some lead a few months ago and while sorting through it I ran across this.
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    I assume it has tin in it, anyone want to venture a guess on how much!
    It weighs about 3lbs.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Bub dbmjr1's Avatar
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    All of my solder bars are 50/50, and are marked as such. In the absence of those markings you could carefully measure the weight, and the volume, then do a little math to figure it out.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    The reclaimed solder joints from plumbing prior to melting the entire piece has been a little over 30% tin. That means I probably melt a little of the lead trying to recover too much of the solder.

    A quick site search finds a post by Bruce 381 on 5-17-2016 that says he has several ingots of Bell wiping solder and his xrf done at work shows it to be 40-60 solder.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    The wiping solder that I have seen that was marked was lower in tin than most other solders. 60%PB - 40%SN down to 63%PB - 37%SN are typical. For some reason wiping solder is often not marked. Nice find!

    A few years ago some of our underground network guys gave me some bar solder and it was a mix of everything. Some 60-40, 50-50, 40-60. By then our company was not installing lead cable any longer, only maintaining what was in service. Along with the cable being fazed out, the skill working on it was becoming a lost art.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I researched this and came up with a telephone company study that the best wiping solder was between 37%-40% tin. with 37% being better than 40%. I just figure it as 40/60 as I have several myself.
    Last edited by NyFirefighter357; 07-04-2018 at 11:45 AM.

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  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    All of my wiping solder is 40% tin and 60% lead


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    Last edited by jessdigs; 07-05-2018 at 06:29 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    Early in my plumbing trades I wiped a lot of water connections and drainage as well as flashings area drain bases and the wiping solder was 40/60 and some had a higher tin count like 95/5 for a lower melt temp for thin like 1/16" sheet lead I never have seen small 3# ingots like yours. All my wiping solder came in 25# chains.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    lead sheathed phone lines were soldered together. Wiping solder has a liquid stage when it can be "wiped" onto the joint and solidifies almost instantly when a certain temperature is reached. The act of wiping it I believe caused near instant cooling to a solid state. It melts at a much lower temperature than the lead being sealed. Wiping solder is eutectic or nearly so. That is it turns from liquid to solid at one temperature without the transition stage where some is solid and some still liquid. That transition temperature is much lower than either component (lead & tin) on its own.

    Aside from being a nice chunk of tin it is a piece of history, as well as a reminder that lead was the plastic of its day. Mine is way down on my list of stuff to throw into a melt.
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check