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#66009 - 05/18/06 04:03 AM Calling all old guys... Help with soldering K&T?'s  
e57  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
S.F.,CA USA
First off,I have done quite a bit of K&T re-work for my young age of 35... And a bit of lab work on the electronics soldering side.

However, the lost art of K&T splicing and soldering is a dying art IMO. And recent newbies have no clue to the stuff.... I used to work with some old salts who are now retired, and learned what limited stuff I know from them, and as all the old guys disappear, I find I have now explain K&T often. - So, I'm thinking of writing a little lesson on it. (Well not so little, its 12 pages now, but has some poor illistrations.)

Anyway, I have some questions to clarify about the use of solder pots, and open flame heated irons? (Something I was never around for.)

  • Did you guys really recycle solder splashes off the floor for re-use, and was this practice frowned apon?
  • What was the preffered method for tap splices in framing, iron and stick solder, or iron to heat, and poured?
  • Were poured joints fluxed?
  • At some point joints were required to be in boxes, and it seems soldering was still in vogue, how were these joints done?


Any other information is also heplfull....


Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#66010 - 05/18/06 05:56 AM Re: Calling all old guys... Help with soldering K&T?'s  
Trumpy  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,222
SI,New Zealand
Mark,
When I started my time as an Apprentice Line-Mechanic all of our underground joints were Solder type.
You had a Solder pot in the trench.
Live or not, that was how cables were jointed.
This was before we had any crimp connectors.
You tinned the conductors (both copper) in the pot and then put a sleeve over the top of the two cables, heated it with a blow-torch and then filled both ends with solder dipped in killed spirits (Muratic Acid I think it was called), that was your flux.
If you were lucky, you'd get out of the trench without your Goloshes catching fire.
And am I alone in the people that used to work under a PoCo(Or Telco) tent and have some school-kid come and open the flap, just when you are trying to make a joint and let the wind in and say "Ahh Just Smoko time is it?".
Soldering is a skill they should be teaching all new people to our trade.


Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

#66011 - 05/18/06 07:04 AM Re: Calling all old guys... Help with soldering K&T?'s  
resqcapt19  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,148
IL
Mark,
What is a poured joint?
Don


Don(resqcapt19)

#66012 - 05/18/06 11:04 AM Re: Calling all old guys... Help with soldering K&T?'s  
gfretwell  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,113
Estero,Fl,usa
My grandfather was an old time electrician and he talked about the old timey stuff but by the 50s he had a big electric iron he used and taught me to use. This was probably about 200w and it soldered #12 like you would do hook up wire. He used roll solder once it was available


Greg Fretwell

#66013 - 05/18/06 11:39 AM Re: Calling all old guys... Help with soldering K&T?'s  
Bill39  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 75
Indianapolis, IN, USA
Mark,
What is a "K&T"? Is this a slang term or regional name?

I've been in the trade since 1973 and this is the first I've heard of it.


#66014 - 05/18/06 11:48 AM Re: Calling all old guys... Help with soldering K&T?'s  
Trumpy  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,222
SI,New Zealand
Don,
A poured joint was when you wrapped your wires and then set a casing around it and then filled it with solder.
They used that over here until the 1940's.
Bill,
K&T is Knob and Tube.


Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

#66015 - 05/18/06 03:44 PM Re: Calling all old guys... Help with soldering K&T?'s  
wa2ise  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 783
Oradell NJ USA
Quote
Did you guys really recycle solder splashes off the floor for re-use, and was this practice frowned apon?

And am I alone in the people that used to work under a PoCo(Or Telco) tent and have some school-kid come and open the flap, just when you are trying to make a joint and let the wind in and say "Ahh Just Smoko time is it?".


Back around 1962 I was in 2nd grade, and the local phone company used solder to seal up junction box like cylindars on their heavy phone trunk cables that were strung pole to pole along the street. Seems that they spilled molten solder on the ground next to our school playground (luckily no kids were out there when it happened). But later, after the spilled solder globs had cooled, it was recess time and all us kids were fascinated by the pretty little spoon shaped globs all over the ground. Brought some of it home to play with some more. My father recognized it for what it was, and told me not to eat it, and wash my hands after handling it.

Today the area wlod have been declared a Superfund toxic spill site... Along with that classroom where some kid brought in some mercury to play with and the teacher got mad and slapped the kid around, and the mercury spilled throughtout the classroom.


#66016 - 05/18/06 08:26 PM Re: Calling all old guys... Help with soldering K&T?'s  
e57  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
S.F.,CA USA
First off, Trump, thanks for the info, and yes I totally agree "Soldering is a skill they should be teaching all new people to our trade." Which is why I'm on this little mission. I keep getting these "Rope-A-Dopes" that slither out of the spec'ulative housing out in the burbs who have no clue on remodels as help these days. I only say that because IMO to be a "true" journey' should have a full if not semi-round of experiance. Show them anything other than romex, and they get wide-eyed. The thing is that most of the housing and commercial stock in the city and area we work in pre-dates from 1890 - 1970+. There is very little in way of new construction here... That said, I get to demo a lot of very old work, and often intregrate it into the new. And, seeing that it seems I am the only guy in the company that knows what to do with it, I have go do it... [Linked Image] Every one has an employee handbook, and if I write something that explains the 'hows' of it to add the handbook, then I don't have run around to every job to tie in the old stuff. I figure it doesn't have to be scientific or too historical. But I dont want to mis-represent the past I wasn't around for either. I only know what I have been told, and some of it confuses me too.

Anyway, I'm popping this up on one of my sites, feel free to take a look, and critique if you like. Bear in mind it is still in edit stage, and needs a little more work.

[URL=http://www.markhellerelectric.com/wusplice.pdf]K&T splicing[URL]

[This message has been edited by e57 (edited 06-04-2006).]


Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#66017 - 05/19/06 06:57 PM Re: Calling all old guys... Help with soldering K&T?'s  
Scott35  Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,707
Anaheim, CA. USA
My Father did a little K&T New work, back when He first got into Electrical Contracting + He saw some of the "Old Timers" doing K&T work when He was still working as a Residential Framer / Carpenter.

He mentioned the "Dip Pots", which were used to tin the stripped Conductors. They were dipped into a Solder/Flux mixture (similar to Rosin or Acid Core Solders, I guess???...). This was heated by something similar to a "Pocket heater" which uses Napthalene as fuel, and has a "Contained" flame (like a large Zippo Lighter which keeps the flame lit when the top cover is closed).

After tinning, the Conductors were "Tied" into a "Joint" - typically a "Western Union" type of joint was used.

With the joint made, heat was applied to the central point of the joint, using either an Electric Iron, or a torch.
Rolled Solder was applied to the joint, which I would imagine had some type of Flux (either inert or paste applied with a brush).

After the joint cooled, tape was applied. The type of tape used is like a Cambric type of Friction Tape.

Some would reuse the dripped off Solder (dropping it into the tinning pot), others just left it for _Someone Else_ to deal with (i.e., Mr. Broom Pusher).

When I do any K&T work, I use Rosin Core Solder for tinning and finished joint. I use a 200 Watt Soldering Gun for the heat source (Induction type - like a small hand held Arc Welder, with a heating lead instead of an output arc - the typical Soldering Gun!).

To insulate and seal the joint, I use Heat Shrink tube and a few layers of "Good" Black Electrical Tape.

Wish I had more to contribute.

Scott35


Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

#66018 - 05/19/06 07:16 PM Re: Calling all old guys... Help with soldering K&T?'s  
Scott35  Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,707
Anaheim, CA. USA
Mark,

I just checked out your Word Document regarding K&T.

Good Job!!! [Linked Image]

May I use it to assist with training, for similar inexperienced personnel?

Scott35

edited for spelling blunders!

[This message has been edited by Scott35 (edited 05-19-2006).]


Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

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