Re: [Harp-L] Re: Soldering Reeds

If I'm adding a massive amount of solder to lower the pitch by, say, a
fifth, I'll apply a line of graphite using a soft lead pencil on the surface
of the reed at the point where I want the solder to end and along the edge
of the reed to help prevent the solder from flowing where it is not wanted.
Someone on harp-l passed on the suggestion some years ago to apply the
pencil marking on the surface of the reed and an attendee at a workshop I
once gave in Trossingen thought of the idea to add the graphite along the

Best regards,

On 4/9/07, Vern Smith <jevern@xxxxxxx> wrote:

My experience is the same as Rick's. The mass of the reed is so small that it assumes the temperature of the much-more-massive solder and iron almost instantly. The flux is the key to getting the solder to flow and stick, not pre-heating.

I also agree with Rick that there is little danger that a soldering iron
will overheat and anneal the reed.  The iron is just not hot enough to do
that.  The danger in taking too long is that the solder will flow over the
edges of the reed and have to be laboriously scraped away to avoid
interference with the edges of the slot.

I recommend a brief, deft touch with a small drop of molten solder hanging
from the pointed tip of a small soldering iron at the center of the area
where flux has previously been applied.

Visit my harmonica website

----- Original Message -----
From: "rick epping" <rickepping@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, April 09, 2007 3:01 AM
Subject: [Harp-L] Re: Soldering Reeds

> I prefer not to heat the reed before applying solder. I've found that a > reed has so little mass that the molten solder itself will usually heat > the > reed sufficiently within a second or so to bond. This way, the reed is > less > likely to become overheated in the process. I don't know if it's even > possible to overheat a reed with a soldering iron - Vern might be able to > answer this one - but I think it takes a little less time and might be > safer > to let the solder heat the reed. I would guess that any overheating from > a > soldering iron would not be high enough to affect a reed's temper but > might > be enough to detension the reed and cause a temporary drop in pitch. > > Best regards, > Rick Epping

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