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Anyone have tips on sweating pipes that are in a vertical position?
How can I keep the solder from running all over the place?
The solder shouldn't be running as you describe if you are following the right procedure.
Can we assume you are talking about copper tubing, of a relatively small diameter of 1/2" to 1", and that you've completely cleaned and sanded the surfaces with emery cloth, both inside the fittings & completely around the copper tubing??
Have you also smeared solder flux (looks like darkened vaseline) onto the pipe & fittings? & have you applied the torch flame long enough so that the solder wire melts as soon as it touches the metal???
When the joint is hot enough, the liquified solder will enter the seams/joints by capillary action in the piece to be joined; you must then immediately wipe the joined piece with a dry cotton cloth to wipe away any excess solder & seal the joint (an man's old cotton undershirt is ideal)---allow the piece to cool completely before touching.
Soldering problems come when you don't completely clean the surfaces to be soldered with the emery cloth so that the copper tubing is shiny bright, or you fail to apply some flux, etc.
If you are new to soldering or you continue to have problems, try soldering a practice piece of copper tubing to a fitting on a workbench, until you perfect your technique.
Google "how to solder copper pipe" for numerous sites that describe this procedure with photos & text.
What Dobbs said plus;
Use less solder. This takes practice at how much solder to use and how much heat to use. Excess of either will make for dripping solder.
When soldering 1/2 & 3/4 copper place the heat on one side of the joint until it is hot enough to melt the solder on the opposite side. Touch the solder to the side away from the torch, you will see the solder run completely around the joint your done. Don,t apply any more solder once it runs around the joint. It takes a 1/2" of solder to do a 1/2" joint.
Let me add this: pipes must be completely dry for this to work. Before soldering, wipe pipes dry inside and out, make sure no "new" water comes to the area.
Use Mapp Gas when possible....
Heat the fitting, not the tubing. Don't get it too hot before applying the solder; no discoloration. MAPP is crucial on big brass fittings.
After cleaning, fluxing and putting the joints together be sure to wipe off any excess flux, this will help to keep the solder from sticking where you don't want it.
clean and flux fitting and pipe. assemble. Then with a cotton cloth wipe off extra flux before heating. Remember that a 1/2" joint only takes 1/2" of solder and 3/4" takes 3/4" of solder and so on.
Thanks for the tips guys... I think the problem is that I'm putting too much flux and not wiping off the excess.