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I know how to do some projects in theory — sweating copper-pipe joints, for instance — that I’ve never needed to test my skill at until I moved into a new house with a missing toilet and sink. Replacing the valves for the sink’s hot and cold inlets went like a dream, but when I got to the third inlet valve, the one for the toilet, I had to try it about ten times before I got it to work correctly. I have no idea what I was doing wrong, but here’s my tip: if you can’t seem to get the joint right, try some solder paste, and use a bunch.

My toilet works now, and it doesn’t leak. It might be a sissy way out, but it cost less than $10 — and it let me turn the water on for good.

Photo posted on Flickr by tanais.

Solder Paste [Solder-It]
Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]


Solder-It boasts that this solder paste’s tensile strength is five times greater than normal solder.  With a tensile strength of 10,000 to 25,000 PSI it should certainly handle most applications; for instance, a square inch of it would easily hold a truck bumper on. Don’t use it for a muffler, though — the 430-degree free-flow point will drop the muffler before you hit the corner at the end of the block.

The street pricing ranges widely, but a 7.1 gram syringe of the paste will run at least $5.

Automotive Solder Paste [Solder-It]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?] [What’s This?]


pt500butanetorch.jpgFire is cool; it’s just that simple. A full featured “table torch” with large fuel capacity, immediate ignition and a fully adjustable pinpoint flame is much more than cool — it’s practical.  We find uses for ours in the shop, around the house, and even in the kitchen.

We’re not talking about a Bic lighter here, but a full-on torch.  The PT500 from Solder It has a powerful high-output 2500 degree wind-resistant flame than can be adjusted from around 1″ in length to 5″. 

We like the PT500 in particular because its large Butane capacity gives it a 2 hour burn time, it lights with a single button click, and you can adjust the fuel and air mixture to tweak the flame for each task.  Oh yeah, did we mention it looks really cool?

On a recent visit to the parents’ place we used the PT500 to Ferr-L-Tite (glue) arrow tips into aluminum shaft arrows, though we did have to pry it out of Mom’s hands first.  (She’d borrowed it to make creme brulee.  Mmmm.)

You can find the PT500 for around $40 with careful shopping.  Note: It’s a lot bigger than it looks.  While your run-of-the-mill kitchen torch stands about 5″ tall, this one’s closer to 10″. 

Have fun, and don’t burn yourself (or others).

Pt500 Heavy-Duty Butane Torch [Solder It]
Street Pricing [Froogle]