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How Long Can I Leave A Piece Foiled Before I Solder It

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#1 Spiff



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Posted 18 January 2018 - 11:04 AM

I'm in the beginning of a huge project that I think could take me another 18 months to finish. Normally I cut the pieces, foil them as I go, and put them on the cartoon and build the piece on the table that way. For me, this ensures that the finish product comes together correctly. But if I follow this technique, the foil would be on some of the pieces for over a year until I solder it. Do any of you think this is a problem? Thanks in advance for any help!

#2 FantasyStainedGlass


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Posted 19 January 2018 - 11:36 AM

I have not tried this, but I heard if you keep the foil clean (no flux whatsoever on the foil) and cover it with plastic wrap, like cling wrap, and keep it dry, clean and dust free, it will keep for a very long time.  I went as long as 6 months on my bench with having it covered with a towel only and it stayed fairly clean, and it soldered fine for me when I finally got it finished to the point of being able to solder it.

#3 Terry_



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Posted 19 January 2018 - 08:33 PM

What hurts the copper is tarnish and dirt, so if you keep the fingerprints off and the no dirt, you are about 95% there.  You will still need to watch for environmental contaminants sulfur fumes (very common - auto exhaust, decomposing organic compounds...), phosphates (commonly found in some cleaning products) and oxygen (real hard to eliminate).  If you use a good flux, it should take care of any minor tarnish and if you have some bad spots a brushing with some clean steel wool or a scotch bright pad should take care of it.

#4 Boris_USA



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Posted 20 January 2018 - 04:50 PM

Oxidation of the copper is your biggest enemy. Copper will form a film over the surface which acts as a protective layer for it.  Does not need anything but air to do this. I have had to refoil pieces after they sat a couple of months. Would not take solder and could not clean well enough for a decent looking job.  A couple of weeks is usually no problem, since flux will take some of the film off.  Steel wool will work, but to me, not worth the work.  I just don't foil stuff till ready to put it together.

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