• In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey shares some basic pipe-joining techniques.

    1. Cut copper pipe using a tubing cutter.
    2. Smooth the inside of the just-cut pipe end with a reaming tool.
    3. Buff clean the outside of the pipe end with a strip of emery cloth.
    4. Clean the inside of the pipe with pipe brush or rolled-up cylinder of emery cloth.
    5. Brush flux around the outside of the pipe, and around the inside of the fitting.
    6. Push the fitting onto the pipe end. Then use a propane torch to heat one side of fitting.
    7. When the flux starts to bubble, apply solder to the joint.
    8. Once the solder is drawn around the entire joint, remove the flame.
    9. Wipe away excess solder from the joint with a thick cloth.
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      learning to solder requires patience and practice

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      Tools List

      • tubing cutter
        Tubing cutter
      • pipe reamer
        Reaming tool
      • propane torch
        Propane torch
      • cotton cloth
        Thick cotton cloth

      Shopping List

      Copper pipe and assorted fittings

      Emery cloth


      Lead-free solder