hard versus soft solder

I've always called soft solder the alloy that is used for electrical and plumbing work, it has a melting range of 400 degrees F or so depending on
the ratio of the alloys components. Hard soldering uses silver solder (or other alloys) with a melting range much higher, like 1250 degrees F or so, again depending on the alloys component metals.
I recommend the book 'Soldering and Brazing' by Tubal Cain. It really does a fine job explaining the why's and how's of what you are interested in. The best help I got from the book was how to prepare the joints to be soldered. He shows how to make an incredibly complex model, a boiler, using 13 different heats and several melting ranges of the silver solder.
Rosin core solder is intended for electrical work. You ought to get some rosin flux (Radio Shack has this) and use this with your rosin core solder - make sure that the parts are clean before you solder them. The 60/40 means 60%Tin and 40% Lead.
Roger

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Another book I found reasonable is "Soldering and Brazing" by Turpin A "M.A.P. Technical" - ISBN 0853440980 Mine has 1.95 British Pounds.
Martin Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net NRA LOH & Endowment Member NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
Roger Jones wrote:

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Right.
No: 60 tin, 40 lead.

Higher silver content will wet and flow better. In a cadmium-free alloy I'd go with at least 45% silver and preferably 56%. I like and use cadmium-bearing alloys because they work better, and I'm careful about fumes. My go-to for nearly all silverbrazing is Harman Handy Easyflo 45 or something very similar. A lot of framebuilders (bicycles) use that material.
For fine work, Brownells offers some .030 wire and thin shimstock in a cad-free 56% silversolder that works well but it won't color match brass well.
A middle ground is a tin-silver solder like Harris Staybrite. 96 tin 4 silver. It's technically a soft solder, melts a bit higher than tin/lead, but it's much stronger and wets brass beautifully. It's not as strong as a "hard" silversolder, but strong enough for many purposes. Also easier to use. You'll have more cleanup with a hard solder because of the higher heat (1250 to 1400 deg F) and flux.
Jewellers use silversolders varying in melting temp from "hard" to "easy" so they can make progressive joints. They start with hard, then go to medium so they don't melt the previous joint, and so on. A jeweller's supply place will have those materials.
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Right. By definition, a hard solder is a solder with a melting point above 450C. Wellknown hard solders are silver alloys and copper alloys.

Right. And it is a soft solder.
Nick
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