Unless you have ever personally performed a soldering operation – which might be done for a variety of different purposes, might it be added – then you might have fallen prey to the erroneous belief that all soldering iron tips were created equal. This could not be further from the truth, and we will get into some of the details surrounding the utility of different types of tips, but first, a little background.
Solder is, very broadly defined, as a low melting alloy that is useful for that very reason; it doesn’t take a lot of heat to melt it and therefore to use it in its liquid form. Although we sell solder and soldering tools for roofing applications here at John Stortz & Son, solder is useful in a number of different situations as well. Crafters and electricians, for example, use different grades of solder for connecting tiny components and closing off circuits in wiring.
At Stortz, however, our specialty lies in solder for roofing applications, and most solder created for such purposes is made of a mixture of tin and lead, although there are also lead-free solders available.
When it comes to solder for roofing, the main purpose of soldering is to create a watertight joint between sheets of metal. There are many different types of seams that roofers can create in sheet metal for roofing, including lap, rivet and lock seams, but in many instances, the purpose of soldering is to make the entire assembly watertight. That is one of the chief functions of a roof, after all.
Why the Different Soldering Iron Tips?
Among the equipment that you might need for soldering are torches, a soldering station, soldering tips and more, including the solder itself. However, one of the nuances in soldering lies in soldering iron tips. We offer many different types of soldering iron tips here at Stortz, and if you spend any more than a minute or two looking at our collection, you’ll recognize this quickly enough – so what’s the point?
The very basic premise of the soldering iron tip itself is to hold heat from a torch (or in some cases, from electricity) so that that energy can be used to melt and manipulate the solder into the seam to create a proper, waterproof finish, that ideally is also aesthetically pleasing. That is the reason that soldering tips are typically made from dense metals like copper, as these can hold a lot of energy and release it quickly in the form of heat. Here are some of the different soldering iron tips you’ll find in our store.
- Pointed (AKA Pyramid) Tips – These types of soldering tips are pretty recognizable from their appearance alone, which resembles a pyramid and tapers to a fine point. It is interesting to note that there are other types of finely pointed soldering tips as well as conical tips, but these are largely reserved for use with electrical wiring because they are useful at reaching into tight spaces.
The value of the pointed tip is that it still offers a fine degree of precision for soldering in tight or very narrow spaces in roofing at joint locations and in corners where a chisel tip or a hatchet or hammer tip might be more difficult to use.
- Chisel Tips – Whereas pointed or pyramid tips come to a fine point, chisel tips, as their name suggests, are shaped like chisels and have a flattened edge as opposed to a sharply tapered point. Because the nature of seams results in a lot of long, flat straight joints, chisel tips are relatively economical when it comes to delivering solder effectively to these joints.
- Hatchet Tips – Hatchet tips are very similar to chisel tips in that they have a long flattened edge, but the edge lies at a right angle, similarly to how a hatchet’s head is mounted to its handle. See the picture to the right for a visual representation of a hatchet tip. These types of tips have the same basic advantages as chisel tips, but they can make it easier and more practical to reach into tight spaces and can improve comfort while soldering in some situations. You may also hear these types of bits referred to as hammer tips.
These are only some of the different types of tips that are out there, although they account for the vast majority of the soldering tips you’ll find here on our site. In addition to these, you may come across other tips such as conical or finely pointed tips, beveled or hood tips, and others.
If you’re looking for essential soldering supplies including tips, torches, bar solder and more, check out our collection via the link above. If you have any questions, give us a call at 888-847-3456 and we’ll help you out!