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Though silver solder is designed mainly for bonding its namesake, it’s useful for just about any metal. The stuff ships in thin sheets which are designed to be cut into small pieces (pallions, for the picky), so you can pre-place exactly as much as you need in precisely the right location. The process is similar to brazing, but is less likely to damage fine or thin metals. A careful user can fuse two 0.025 in. copper wires end-to-end. The end result is also much cleaner than lead- or tin-soldered joints, and with proper technique, stronger as well.

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Toolmongers who find themselves tackling electrical work on a regular basis are probably familiar with the six-dollar Radio Shack soldering iron, a plug-in hot stick without even an on/off switch. If you’re ambitious enough to tackle a large project like an entire automotive wiring harness, or just use your iron frequently, those get frustrating fast.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Weller’s WES51D digitally-controlled soldering station. The user can set the temperature (which is displayed on a bright three-digit display) with a simple dial, and the unit automatically maintains that target. As an added bonus, the iron stand has a slick little grooved sponge which makes tip cleaning a dawdle, and this feature is available on Weller’s full range of irons. There are four different models covering a wide price range, and all deliver even heat and top-notch construction. As usual, Amazon has excellent prices on these fine tools at around $118 for the kit.

Soldering Station [Cooper Hand Tools]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

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