Friday, 30 January 2009

Tips for soldering common crossings

Here are a few tips for soldering common crossings (based on the standard procedure of soldering the vee and wing rails to thin brass strips):

- If making your own crossing vee, solder it together with a high-temperature solder
- Solder the rest of the crossing assembly together with a lower temperature solder
- Use a temperature controlled soldering iron and set the temperature of the iron for the type of solder used for each job to avoid desoldering the vee
- Cut the brass strips longer than they need to be and use heat-resistant tape to fix them to the template
- Use drawing pins to hold everything in place while soldering
- Slide an offcut of brass strip under the ends of the vee and wing rails to support them at the correct height while soldering
- Tin the top of the brass strips and undersides of the rails then sweat them together by applying the iron to rail and brass strip simultaneously close to the joint
- Ideally, solder the crossing vee to the brass strips first, then solder the wing rails, otherwise you won't be able to get the soldering iron close enough to the joint between the vee and brass strip and may end up with a weak joint
- Use a crossing flangeway gauge and check and re-check all the alignments after each joint is soldered.

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