Tix solder and the Black Pit of Woe

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by kinsler33, Oct 8, 2017.

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  1. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    So maybe a year ago I bought some Tix solder and its tiny bottle of flux for more than I wanted to spend, and I haven't had a bit of luck with the stuff. I am, in general, a good solderer, and though I don't use solder much in clock work I've had no trouble tinning and soldering clock brass or steel with 60/40 rosin-core radio solder. For steel I'll use some old-fashioned soldering paste for flux, and for brass I can use that and/or the 'activated rosin' in the solder itself. Tins well and holds well.

    When I tried Tix, with its flux, on a steel striking pallet slit through by the star wheel, the stuff just balled up. I think I was using my old pencil iron for the job, and that's always proved adequate. So I tried a dab of soldering paste and my ancient roll of radio solder and it tinned just fine, as did the tiny bit of spring steel I soldered over the pallet.

    So here are some Tix questions:

    Is Tix all that much stronger than tin/lead solder? What's in it?

    I haven't tried Tix with my hot-air soldering device (I hadn't thought of it until now) but is there some preferred way to apply the heat? Maybe a solar furnace, or a hydrogen flame? I don't think my propane torch was any more effective than the pencil iron.

    Or did I perhaps fall for the old Tix scam perpetrated by agents of the New World Order?

    M Kinsler
     
  2. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    1. TIX claims to be the strongest of the low-temp solders. I have no way to test that.
    2. I almost always solder with a mini-torch rather than an iron or gun.
    3. Put bits of solder where needed. Apply the heat to the fluxed target metal away from the bits, let the heat soak in so the target metal melts the solder, NOT the flame from the torch. It will flow into the joint.
    4. TIX flux works for almost any solder. I think it's just a solution of zinc chloride.
    5. I used TIX for a while, but found it harder to work with than regular solders. Wouldn't flow the way I wanted it to.
    6. Nowadays I use regular lead/ten solder or silver-bearing solder.
    7. YMMV
     
  3. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    I've never had any problem with Tix flowing when parts are clean and both parts being joined are heated to the melting temperature. I find that Tix is best for things that are not under loading. My experience is that Tix joints have very low strength, especially shear strength. Its advantages are that it is easy to use and bonds at a lower temperature than most other solders. Its also very expensive.

    RC
     
  4. shimmystep

    shimmystep Registered User
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    As RC has outlined, parts need to be clean, and the parts need to heated to the right temp, however if you over heat the parts then Tix will not work so well. And also the Tix flux will quickly turn black, and the solder will ball.
    I use a Dremel multi-tip with Tix, but attach the small hot air nib, so that no flame touches the parts, there is no need for a flame to touch the parts, it will get too hot too quickly for Tix. Heat the parts slowly with hot air until the solder runs.
     
  5. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Cleaning every surface including the soldering iron tip is the key. I file surfaces to a shiny clean finish first and get a nice flow and neat bond. I like silver bearing solder for a stronger bond.
     
  6. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Mark
    Soft solder from my personal perspective is anything with a melting temp. under about 800 degrees. At this Temp. the solder simply adheres to the surface like glue unlike high temp. solders over 1100 degrees. Since they simply adhere to the surface, they all have about the same strength. However there are may different types for specific applications such as electrical, plumbing etc. One example of an unusual application would be in Gunsmithing. In this application, Gunsmith supply houses sell 700 degree soft solder so that it will not melt under the hot bluing process, but has no more strength than any other solder.

    Good results with soft solder as others have mentioned, is clean metal, proper flux and proper heat.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  7. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Tix has always worked well for me.

    My method is the Jeweler's method where a tiny piece of solder is placed against the fluxed joint and heat is applied on the side opposite the solder. The solder will flow into the joint instantly, leaving very little visible solder.

    You will get better joints if you use 120 or 150 grit sandpaper to prepare the contact area.

    A small brushey flame can give you a big advantage. A flame will naturally heat the area much more evenly and you have precice controll by quickly moving the flame in and out as you approach the flow point. The actual solder flow on small parts happens in about a second and your done.

    Willie X
     
  8. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    Yep. What Willie said. :)
     
  9. tom427cid

    tom427cid Registered User
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    Hi all,
    I use soft solder mostly to attach slips to build up verge surfaces. I use either TIX or very small rosin core solder and tix liquid flux. First let me echo all who said the parts must be clean ABSOLUTELY. secondly I also "tin" my surfaces beforehand. Yes, it's an extra step,but I know that I have established the basis for a good bond. Also I use a small butane micro-torch.
    Hope this helps.
    tom
     
  10. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Thanks, everyone, for your advice.

    I must have been overheating the parts, for everything had been sanded clean. My tin/lead solder seems to work at a fairly wide temperature range, and after 50 years of using it that's what I expect. I shall try my nifty new hot air surface-mount rework thing and perhaps my luck will improve.

    In clock work--and everywhere else, for that matter--I never presume that a soldered joint will withstand tensile stress or even shear stress, though I've found radio solder to be very resistant to peeling when it has wetted the parent metal surfaces correctly. There has to be a certain amount of mechanical strength in the joint itself, and if there is the solder will stabilize the parts when riveting or friction won't work.

    I believe that Mr Kieffer recommends silver solder, and I will see if I can learn to use it with my trembly hands. I've had good luck with brazing steel, but I'm always afraid of melting everything if I try it with brass.

    M Kinsler
     
  11. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    There is no one best solder that's right for every application. And of course solder, high or low temperature, may not be appropriate for some repairs.

    RC
     
  12. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    I really don't like to use solder in clock work at all, and generally I won't. I wind up using it more than I'd like, though--mostly for re-soldering wires in the nutty animated quartz clocks my customers keep bringing in. They love those clocks, and they are my customers, so I fix the wretched things.

    M Kinsler

    A talking-truck alarm clock ("Time to wake up, time to wake up...") isn't a Vienna regulator, though the pivots rarely need to be polished.
     
  13. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Dials, Bezels and Glass are all usually soldered. A low temp solder is good to have on hand when you're soldering around a paper dial. For that application, J-B Weld SteelStik is a viable alternative if you're not against using non-period materials in certain clocks/situations.
     
  14. Coalbuster

    Coalbuster New Member

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    63/37 tin lead solder not only has a low melting point at 361 degrees Fahrenheit but is a eutectic solder, meaning it goes directly from liquid to solid without a transitional plastic state. You don't have to be as careful not to move the pieces when cooling, especially good for shaky hands. I've soldered thousands of joints when I was fabricating scientific instrumentation. One trick for soldering pieces that won't solder well when overheated is to bring them up near temperature on a hot plate. That lets you use a lighter touch with the iron.
     
  15. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    Don't forget JB Weld. :D:D
     
  16. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    I don't know if you're being serious or not here bang. JB Weld SteelStik is good stuff. I prefer to stay with period materials, but if I'm working on a common clock and the solder joint is going to be near an old, original paper dial I will use it. It's a steel reinforced epoxy putty which sets up very fast. It's application is also completely reversible so if someone at some point in the future wants to go back to solder, they can easily have at it. At least I won't be the one passing along a scorched original dial for someone else to replace.
     
  17. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    Good stuff where appropriate. I wonder who was JB or what do the initials stand for?

    Many threads we have seen here cause one to wrestle with the decision whether to use or not use this or that method, and this is especially true when the decision is to solder or used some engineered like JB-Weld or Loctite. The conflict I believe stems from those doing repair work somehow believing that they should only use restoration methods and materials. The AWCI standards and practices for clockmakers puts it this way:

    "The “repairer” performs services to clocks that succeed in making the piece function effectively. This is done in an ethical and workmanlike manner. However, “repair” may well not refer to the concept of “restoration” which implies returning a timepiece COMPLETELY to its original, as new, condition."

    I recently had a clock in for repair that had a large and fairly heavy brass bezel with a puttied in glass and a poorly soldered latch strip that immediately gave up. I cleaned the strip and mating surface on the bezel to bright brass and decided to use Tix to resolder it because of the lower temperature required, it was after all originally soldered just a poor job of resoldering after some repair. Used the right flux and the Tix flowed nicely and was a good looking job. I had to make just a slight bend in the latch strip so it would be nicely centered in the slot in the woken case, the "pop", the Tix let go! Was a nice tinned layer on both parts and total coverage. It just wasn't up to the job. I ended up annealing a brass rod and turning a couple brass rivets with flat heads (like a wood screw) that would be nearly flush on the inside and carefully formed a little round rivet head on the outside. Didn't look bad at all and seemed to be nice and strong. Solder and JB have their place and so do "other methods" that might not be appropriate for a total restoration of a museum piece. But one must learn what the limitations of such materials are.

    RC

     
  18. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I can only guess on the "J", but the company was founded by Sam and Mary Bonham in the '60's, so the B is probably for their last name. Maybe the J is reflective of another family member?
     
  19. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    There's lots of "wiggle room" in that statement RC. "...may well..." "...implies..." It's probably just as well that there is. I think you can strive to repair a clock and "may well" use original, period appropriate materials without going to the extreme of "COMPLETELY restoring it to its original, as new, condition". As defined there, I don't think restoration would be desirable to most collectors of antique clocks. In my experience "restoration" usually involves reversal of something previously done to the clock or movement to "restore" it to where one might expect it to be over the course of normal wear and tear with good care and maintenance. An antique (or any) clock which as been badly damaged by accident (or whatever) would be an exception. There are talented folks out there who do absolutely beautiful restorative work, as defined, in such cases. I suppose I usually come down somewhere in the middle of those two illustrative extremes.
     
  20. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    I think the important takeaway here is well executed repairs can still be considered "quality work" even if they may not make it as a "restoration". Restoration is not just higher quality repair work. The outcome objectives are not the same.

    RC
     
  21. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    No argument here. I still usually prefer to use period materials in my "repairs" but I'm not dogmatic about it. I have "restored" antique clocks before but nothing that was otherwise destroyed/lost.
     
  22. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    #22 bangster, Oct 12, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
    Me, I fix clocks. I don't "restore" them to original condition. Don't care to, don't know how to. I make them work, using the best techniques I know --not necessarily those used Back In The Day. Don't get customer complaints.
     
  23. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Technically, I suppose one could say that when clocks have been "fixed", they have been "restored" to working condition. :rolleyes: Getting back to the use of Tix, it's expensive but I think it's good to have some on hand. I think it works especially well when you have to maintain low heat and can use it to join to previously "tinned" surfaces. Definitely a soft (weak) joint though.
     
  24. David S

    David S Registered User
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    You guys are trying hard to get Jerry and I to take the bait here...I finished in the other thread :)

    David
     
    Jay C. likes this.
  25. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    Not at all, everyone is entitled to his own interpretation, understanding and application of the "facts". One may deny the facts but one may not change the facts. The facts are constant; some minds are open to different understandings of the "facts", and some minds are made up.

    RC
     
  26. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Something happened here RC. I was responding to Bruce's post that was just one line ending with a purple face. I thought he was saying more about fixed , restore, repair etc. Now I look and there is much more to his post. His post is now longer than what appeared on my screen. I wasn't trying to saying anything about facts.

    I apologize for my confusion.

    David
     
  27. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Hey David. I think I may have been editing my message when you were responding. I thought I should try to get back to the OP's subject.

    Not trying to "bait" you David...besides...looks like the Barracudas aren't biting this morning. :)

    For a good illustration of a clock "Restoration" I think one should see this thread: Dutch Tall Case Resurection


    Regards

    Bruce
     
  28. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Bruce indeed our posting times were very close. I thought I was loosing my mind (oh oh let's not go there) when RC responded to me. It was like Huh?, what is he saying. Then I went back to your post and it had changed. So thanks for the clarification.

    David
     
  29. BLKBEARD

    BLKBEARD Registered User
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    Tom427CID did a great job of puting Humpty Dumpty back together again in the Dutch Tall Case Resurection thread.
     
  30. Bill Stuntz

    Bill Stuntz Technical Admin
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    That's why we've limited the edit window to 30 minutes. There can be serious continuity problems in threads if users can edit their own posts forever.
    And I admit that I'm VERY bad about that. I (too frequently?) edit my very recent posts to amplify/clarify something I said. And if people immediately respond, things can get confusing.

    FYI, if you discover a serious error (too late) in something you've posted, you can report your own post and request that the admins/mods edit your post to correct the error.
     
  31. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Thanks Bill. I can now see how easy it would be to cause an unintentional range war if a post has changed after a response and nothing makes sense.

    David
     
  32. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Hello Bill,
    The old platform clearly indicated that there had been an edit and solicited the reason (optional). There was also a limited amount of time for an edit there too. I suppose with the changing landscape of mobile devices some type of update in the Message Board Platform was inevitable but thus far I'm not really happy with the new Environment. All of my Threads didn't make it over and evidently a lot of content didn't import over in the proper format (in line photos) if they imported at all. I know you have it all on the old System but it's not doing anyone any good over there. ::end gripe::
    Bruce

    ::edited::
     
  33. David S

    David S Registered User
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    I liked the feature that let you know a post had been edited...even if I didn't always give a reason. At least one knows there has been a change.

    David
     
  34. harold bain

    harold bain Forums Administrator
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    On the old board you had about 5 minutes to make an edit without it showing that it was edited. After that, about another 15 minutes where it would say that it was edited, then too late to make an edit, although a moderator could assist you.
     
  35. Bill Stuntz

    Bill Stuntz Technical Admin
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    And WHO had edited it. I liked it, too. I'll see if I can make that happen in our new software. I'm especially bad about fine-tuning my own posts after I've submitted them.
     
  36. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    The person editing does have the option of notifying the OP that he changed something. But a public notice would be better.
     
  37. Bill Stuntz

    Bill Stuntz Technical Admin
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    True. But I'M the OP of most of the posts I edit. Notifying myself would be pointless. IMHO, a visible public notice in the post would be better. I'm looking into it.
     
  38. john e

    john e Registered User

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    The problem you are having is not due to overheating. It is a result of the flux not reducing the surface oxides.

    The reason for a flux is to clear the oxides from the surface, and provide a cover until the intermetallic bond has been created between the basis metal and the metal of the solder alloy (what you called "wetting").

    Soldering is NOT gluing, even the low temperature solders as was stated earlier. It is the formation of the intermetallics at the surface.

    You need to get a flux that is better than what you have. Yours may be old and no longer capable of activation. A plumbing flux will in general be more aggressive and should work.

    Using a tin/silver eutectic solder will be a bit stronger than lead/tin.

    John
     
  39. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    The "glue" analogy is meant to reflect the difference between a structural material like mortar between two parts, and a material that bonds the parts. Once they are bonded, excess stuff outside the bond does very little if anything.

    Is what I think.
     
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