How to Silver Solder Brass Pipe

Written by frank m. young
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How to Silver Solder Brass Pipe
With preparation and the right tools, you can skilfully silver solder brass pipes. (solder wire image by naolin from

Soldering brass pipes, or any other type of metal pipe, is an essential skill for plumbing and other home-improvement projects. Brass is a metal alloy that's typically two-thirds copper and one-third zinc. Its melting point is 900 to 940 degrees Celsius. As notes, brass pipes and pipe fittings possess great strength. They're also easier to bend or shape than steel or iron. With the right tools and a little know-how, you can strengthen your home's plumbing system with durable, sturdy brass pipes.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Silver or silver alloy solder
  • Flux
  • Pipe fittings or unions
  • Safety glasses
  • Gas blow torch
  • Emery cloth or steel wool
  • Clamps or vices
  • Metal or firebrick work surface

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  1. 1

    Clean the ends of the brass pipes to be soldered. Use a scouring pad, emery cloth, steel/wire wool, or wet-or-dry sandpaper. Remove any dirt, grease or other particles from the pipe ends.

    How to Silver Solder Brass Pipe
    Wet-or-dry sandpaper is ideal for cleaning the ends of your brass pipes. (sandpapier image by Thomas Aumann from
  2. 2

    Prepare the flux. Mix the flux powder with water, according to the product instructions. Use a brush or cotton-tipped swab to apply the flux. Apply the flux neatly.

    How to Silver Solder Brass Pipe
    Use a cotton-tipped swab or brush to apply flux paste to pipe ends. (cotton swabs image by timur1970 from
  3. 3

    Push the proper pipe fittings firmly down onto the flux-covered ends.

    How to Silver Solder Brass Pipe
    Make sure you have the right type of pipe fittings or pipe unions. (bronze faucet image by YURY MARYUNIN from
  4. 4

    Place the prepared pipes onto a fireproof surface. Metal or firebrick are good. Light your blow torch. Wear safety glasses while using the blow torch. Apply heat to the area just below the pipe union or fittings. This removes the water content from the flux mixture.

    How to Silver Solder Brass Pipe
    Blow torches come in a variety of sizes--be sure you have the right one for the job. (blow torch image by Greg Pickens from
  5. 5

    Hold the most intense part of the torch's flame on the pipe union or fitting. Have the silver solder ready to use in your other hand. Heat the flux until it has a runny or watery consistency. Gently touch the end of the solder to the heated pipe, under the union or fitting area. It should encircle the pipe union and suck up inside the area. Apply only a small amount of the solder.

    How to Silver Solder Brass Pipe
    Wear safety goggles or glasses when working with a blow torch. (safety at work image by Paula Gent from
  6. 6

    Allow the pipes to cool and become blackened. Dip the pipe ends in cool water. This is called quenching the pipes. Use of extremely cold water may cause the pipes to crack.

    How to Silver Solder Brass Pipe
    You're almost finished! Repeat this process to join larger groups of piping. (plumbing image by Inger Anne Hulbækdal from
  7. 7

    Allow the pipes to cool for a few minutes. Remove the excess flux with a damp rag. Repeat steps 1-7 for each new pipe soldering.

    How to Silver Solder Brass Pipe
    Use a damp rag to remove excess flux. (rag image by Henryk Olszewski from

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure the flame is the right temperature. If too cool, it will not join the flux and solder. If too hot, it will boil the solder and may melt the pipe fittings.
  • Be sure you have the right type of pipe fitting for your project.
  • You may want to use a vice or clamp to steady the pipes during the torching process.
  • Wherever the flux goes, the silver solder will go. Apply flux neatly.
  • Pipe ends may also be dipped in the flux-water mixture. This is a timesaver for larger pipes.
  • Be sure that your work area is free of flammable substances.
  • Always work in a well-ventilated area.
  • A well-lighted work area will enable you to be most accurate with your soldering.

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