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gentlevoice 9th July 2012 12:12 PM

"Refurbishing" my Weller soldering tip ...

Wonder if one of you know how to remove a sort of grayish layer from the surface of my Weller W61 solder iron tip?

What happens is this:

When I first use the tip it looks as if the solder makes a layer on the tip's surface - the tip is has a shiny solder looking surface - but after a rather short while it is as if this layer disappears and instead the surface now gets a grayish/brown appearance and the tip no longer transfers heat as efficiently to the components I'm soldering ... Apart from this phenomenon the tip doesn't look old and I guess I may have used it altogether about 40 hours.

Any hints on what can be done is appreciated ;-)


spwalek 9th July 2012 12:47 PM

When my iron tips get scaly and nasty, I usually sand them down to copper when they are cool and retin them. I usually chuck them in a cordless drill to speed up the sanding process. Then i flux them and wrap thin solder around the tip in a coil before plugging in/turning on the iron. This usually works 4-5 times before the tip is just a nub and needs to be replaced. Also avoid leaving the iron plugged in for long periods it seems to minimize the scale.

Hope this helps...

c2cthomas 9th July 2012 01:24 PM

This might be of some help
Electronics Tips: Soldering Techniques

gmphadte 10th July 2012 04:53 AM

NEVER sand a long life weller iron tip. U will ruin it in days.

Gajanan Phadte

gentlevoice 10th July 2012 07:31 AM

Hi all,

& thanks for replying ;-) I now have a better understanding of what has happened and - possibly - how to remove the scaling from my tips. Any of you have tried to have a small bath of tin standing next to the solder iron holder and then dip the tip in this from time to time? Or what do you do to prevent the scale from forming in the first place?

Best regards,


gmphadte 11th July 2012 04:59 AM

Wet sponge

jean-paul 11th July 2012 05:17 AM

Just use a wet sponge and never sand off the iron of Weller solder tips. The iron is there for a reason. You must clean the tip after every time you use it with a wet sponge otherwise flux debri will "eat" the iron. If you are careful with tools and practice some basic hygiene they will last very long.


gentlevoice 11th July 2012 09:32 AM

Hi again,

Found out yesterday that what causes the scaling on the tip is because when I have used it for soldering I clean it on the sponge and then let it be without solder on the tip until I use it again. This apparently doesn't happen when I leave the solder on the tip between solders ... Unfortunately, it makes for more solder fumes so a balance seems to be needed.

Thanks again for replying - I'm well underways now ;-)


jean-paul 11th July 2012 10:59 AM

Don't leave tin on the tip. Don't worry about the scaling, it will go away when you apply tin to the tip next time you are going to use it. If you leave tin on the tip the flux that is in the tin will corrode the iron clad tip and it will have a short life. I use WTCP-S Weller tools for a long time now and I am very sure about the flux "eating" the tips.

It is not difficult: clean your stuff after use. Like with any other tool. If you maintain your tools you can rely on them. If you neglect tools they mostly fail on the job you need them the most.

macboy 12th July 2012 12:21 PM

Don't use a "wet" sponge, use a "damp" sponge. Soak the sponge, then squeeze out all the water possible.

When I start for the day, I let the iron warm up, then apply a liberal amount of fresh solder and let it sit a few seconds before cleaning it all off on the sponge. The flux removes any oxidation that has built up due to exposure to air since the last use, and the fresh solder tins the tip.

I usually swipe the tip on the sponge when I pick up the iron to use it, then put it back on the stand without cleaning again. When done for the day, I clean it before turning it off.

If you get nasty scaly buildup, you can remove it with a brass brush (not steel) or a copper pot scrubber (not steel wool). Never file or sand an iron-clad tip. That will be beginning of the end of it.

I have used the same tip on my weller for several years. I use Kester lead/tin (60/40) rosin-core solder. Maybe some other types of flux and solder will be more corrosive, but this stuff seems to be gentle. I also have one of these, which I rarely use (don't need to).

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