RE: [Harp-L] Soldering Reeds

Loctite has different kind of steel filled epoxies.
Although Im working for Loctite, I have never tried
using epoxy for reed tuning. However I can recommend
some of them if somebody wants to try. All of these
contain steel powder, they are for metal repair, so
you just go and buy it, no need to buy powder
The availability of the types in the US can be
different from Europe. These glues are usually sold in
hardware stores, screw/bold shops, or probably tool

First I would go for the most frequent one - Loctite
3450, which comes in a 25ml twin syringe. The working
life is 4-6 minutes. After this it starts curing. Cure
time is about 30 minutes.


Loctite 3462 
working life mixed: 3 minutes
cure time at room temp.: 10 minutes

Loctite 3473
working life mixed: 8 minutes
cure time at room temp.: 30 minutes

You can download their tech datasheets from

and search for photos on google.

The disadvantage compared to soldering is that it is
much slower. Also if you are bonding, a basic rule is
to clean the surfaces to be bonded. We usually use
Loctite 7063 which is a solvent based cleaning spray,
but fine sandpaper and alcohol should be fine. I would
recommend sandpaper also, because it roughens the
surfaces, and the glue will stick better. 
Personally I would rather use soldering, but 
I have sometimes used instand adhesives, like Loctite
401 with Loctite 7455 activator to make it cure fast.
There are several ways. I would think soldering is the
safest if we dont want anything in our lungs. I am not
saying adhesives dont stick (this is my job) but if
you dont clean the surfaces and dont have the right
glue, nobody knows the result for sure. I have
automotive customers mostly and they usually test a
glue before using them in mass production (vibration
tests, humidity tests, mechanical shear, compressive,
tensile strength tests, heat tests etc.) only after
these use them. So the tests is up to everybody
whoever wants to try, I just mentioned a few things to
consider. An adhesive can work very well, but one
needs to find the right one, AND use it correctly. So
good luck, if you have questions I can answer I will
try, but as I said, I have not tuned a reed with epoxy
and have not made tests. ALso one more thing. WIth
epoxies it is essential that you mix them VERY well.
THe reason is that especially the hardener is "not
very healthy" to put it this way, and we dont want
that in our bodies. So if you are using epoxies
remember to mix the two components thoroughly so all
of it cures through homogenously. 
Instant adhesives (cyanoacrylates) are much more
harmless, the problem with them is that they are not
heavy enough, so they dont add enough mass to the
But if you only need a bit of retuning or altering in
pitch, they can be okay. 

best regards


--- MLeFree <mlefree@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Matt Smart writes:
> > I am about to attempt to solder reeds to make a
> low C.  I have never
> > soldered before. I usually just file the reeds. 
> Can anyone offer
> > tips/instructions? thanks
> Matt and all, I tried soldering and even though I
> have a good deal of
> experience in soldering electronics and jewelry,
> discarded it in favor of
> Pat Missin's preferred method: brass powder mixed
> with an epoxy resin into a
> paste. The trick is finding the brass powder, as the
> techique is not only
> very easy and convenient to use but it has many
> other desireable attributes.
> I can place the right amount of paste more precisely
> and I have much better
> control when sanding it as I tune the reed than I do
> with solder. It's also
> very convenient in the sense that if you don't like
> your result, you can
> gingerly flick the chunk of hardened brass
> powder/epoxy mixture right off
> the reed with an Exacto knife, leaving a perfectly
> clean and undamaged reed
> surface. There's also the advantage of not having to
> use heat that may or
> may not effect the temper of the reed. Very
> reed-friendly by any comparison
> with soldering.
> Check out Pat's "Altered States" web site for the
> details, And Oh, yeah. You
> can find brass powder at sculptor supply houses. A
> little jar of it runs a
> few bucks and it will go a long way, enabling you to
> non-destructively tune
> a virtually unlimited number of reeds.
> Works for me. And Pat Missin.  ;^)
> Michelle
> _______________________________________________
> Harp-L is sponsored by SPAH,
> Harp-L@xxxxxxxxxx

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