I have a joint on my speedster project windshield frame I want to lead fill, instead of using bondo fill. I have done very little lead work. I am pretty good at solder work on radiators and such. I have the sticks of body solder, but I do not have any "tinning butter" So my question is will "solder paste" like you do radiator and copper pipes with work. This is not a huge seam. It is aprox 30 inches long and may have a 1/4 to 3/8 inch of solder showing after Im done. I know all the rules and details about clean/clean/ and clean again. I know how to tin something. But I have used the body solder very little. I will try a test area tomorrow, but Im just "fishing" to see if we have any guys with experience in this field, who may say Im wasting my time and get some "tinning butter" or may have some good tips for a newbie (Im a very old newbie) Thanks in advance ....
Years ago, I used Dutch Boy's tinning compound when doing lead work. Have not used lead for many years. The acid from the tinning compound will leach up over time thru the lead and cause the paint to chip off. Lead gives a much stronger edge compared to bondo. Have never heard of "Tinning Butter". Using lead on a body panel causes a low area at the outer lead edge which must be pecked up. Bondo is much quicker and easier to use...and much less expensive.
Donnie, if you can tin the brass frame (I am assuming it's brass)with a rosin flux, and then clean the tinned area very well; the body solder should adhere to it, and you and then work the body solder into shape. This should prevent any later "leaching" of flux. This would be very difficult to do this way on a body panel, but a solid like a windshield frame should be fine.
Most welding supply shops carry tinning compound and it works well. It will bleed out somewhat when finished, but repeated washing with water and baking soda until the bubbles stop showing will help. Some of the modern epoxies work well but I am pro lead and have used it on repairing rust holes on my T
My old friend who owned a body shop swore by only one product: http://rubyfluidflux.com/
I use a product called 'fluxite'. Non acidic/non corrosive. Available online from; https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/flux-paste-fluxite
I just finished repairing my rear seat frame with lots of deep pitting and some rust throughs. I thought of lead but I used USC all-metal. It's like bondo, but it has metal mixed in and dries hard as a rock. You must shape it when it's just gone off or its really a lot of work to sand with paper because it's so much harder than bondo. I was surprised how well it worked so I'm going to use it on some body panels with rust holes. Just a thought.
an old radiator repair man showed a trick one time, he sandblasted everything frist that realy cleans it good. on cast iron it removes the carbon from the surface then it will tin well. thats all i know. charley
Donnie, The only thing I know about all this is Life Is Flux and Some Of Us Get Fluxed More Then Others!
Thanks for the input and words of wisdom I did not get around to doing a test yesterday. Ill try again today. I have sandblasted the parts, then Ill sand to shiny metal. Then apply flux and solder. Im just not used to doing it with body solder. It acts a little different when melting.
donnie.it will tin better if you dont sand after sandblasting. charley
A little auto body lead history. Back when body panels started getting thinner and before the introduction of auto body plastics, body shops were using a lead spray gun. This is a picture of a top of the line lead spray gun, made by Brent's (I believe of Calif), at least that's where I got repair parts for it. You tin the metal with a mercury powder. you apply it with a damp rag, which at first looked like cooper then turned into a shiny tin look. The hose was hooked to acetylene torch with just the acetylene turned on. You would use a spark lighter to light the flame on the spray gun. As you can see there is a stick of lead sticking in the gun now, and that would melt into the pot. Then you add air to it and sprayed your panel. It was pretty much a one shot deal. You could add to it if you had a low spot but fairly difficult to do. The second picture is just a regular lead torch. Again it just used acetylene. The advantage was, you could fill small pin holes with lead, which you can't do with plastic fillers for permanent repair. The only other advantage was lead doesn't shrink, where over time and I'm talking a long time, plastic can shrink, but to the average person it is not noticeable.With the expense of lead now days, I very seldom use it anymore. With the advances of plastic body fillers and fiberglass base materials, except for filling pin holes, it has made lead pretty much obsolete. Some of the newer fillers claim you can repair pin holes with it, but I personally would not. As far as sand blasting to clean radiators for repair, this works excellent. Another place sand blasting works is if you use braze to repair body panels. You'll hear people say you can't use that. The main reason for that is the flux on the brass. If you sand blast the braze first, it gets rid of the flux and gives the brass a rough edge for the filler to adhere to. That's my 50 cent lesson for free today! LOL
To apply the lead to a panel to avoid it from running off on to the floor the panel is slightly heated and the lead is slightly heated at the same time, at the point when the lead bar just becomes a solid solution it is pushed on to the repair twisted and pulled away with the torch and let cool. Then move to another location and repeat, avoid heating the main area. Then file with a good sharp body file.
Dan, Thanks for showing the tools and explaining the spray process. I had never heard of that. We have done spray welds in the Boilermaker trade, but they are usually on turbine shafts, or other areas we wanted to build up and machine back to size. It usually was a high chrome or stainless filler metal. I got around to soldering the joint today. It went pretty well using regular solder paste to do the tinning with. My main problem was getting everything to tin. The bulk of the joint tinned very well. but there were several areas (all on the original Ford windshield frame) that no matter how much I worked on them, still would not tin. I finally had to take the wafer wheel on the grinder and remove some of the surface metal in those areas. I think the problem was that even though everything was blasted to a "white blast" appearance, that there was still contamination in the metal. After I got it all tinned, it just took a matter of minutes to fill the joint. Ill take pictures tomorrow. I had some very minor low spots after draw filing, and sanding the solder flat. Not enough for me to worry about. Im going to put a heavy "prime and fill" primer on those areas. I think a couple good coats will hide all the little low spots. Then I have to paint the areas of work and then make it all look 75 years old
Donnie,where you have problems tinning, polish the area with as fine abrasive paper on a sander, scotch bright wheel ect. until it is super smooth and clean and that should eliminate the problem. Another potential problem with using lead is contamination as you are using tinning compound and bees wax on the wooden paddles. When done wash the area thoroughly with lacquer thinner, then hope no contaminants are trapped in the lead that will eventually work out. The fact you want it to look 75 years old makes it not so critical.
I finally got around to taking some photos. I had attached a small angle iron to the bottom of a cut down and modified model T windshield frame to act as a stop and draft deflector/seal. It left a seam that I did not like the looks of. Sorry but I forgot the before picture of the seam ... It turned out pretty well, If I had filled the seam area a little fuller It could have been finished in lead. As it is Ill have to use two or three primer coats to smooth it out, But no bondo... It will be plenty good enough for a "patina finish" speedster. And it is very solid.
I have NO experience using body lead, but one thing that I have noticed in the last 55+ years. I have never seen any signs that lead had been used in body panels, until after they had been sanded exposing the lead. No cracking, shrinkage, or leaching of flux. I'm talking original manufacture's body work. I remember reading the early to mid '50's car magazines with the articles showing how the customizers modified bodies and filled the seams with lead. I was, and am still, in awe of their talent. Dave