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Hi Everyone,
The word welding and soldering is often miss-used in our every day conversations but is acceptable. Webster’s definition of weld: unite metallic parts by applying heat and sometimes pressure allowing the metals to be bonded. Soldering is below 800 degrees and brazing is above 800. We often say we silver soldered a part on when actually we should say brazed because most silver flows above 800 degrees. But technically we can say welded on meaning soldered, brazed or welded steel rod filler.
At any rate I think the preferred method is to silver braze the mag-funnel on, DONE CORRECTLY it isn’t coming off. I use the Brownells Silaloy 335 silver solder .005 ribbon and 1/32” round wire. I would not use soft solder 475 degrees. The .005 ribbon is sliced and sandwiched in between the frame and mag-well and then heated to 1205 degrees, a dull red. If there is stress in the mag-well sometimes the rear will spread when the heat is applied. I made a C-clamp with two ¼-20 screws turned to a point to clamp the rear of the funnel tight to the frame. The Silvaloy 355 is some powerful stuff, I use it to braze carbide inserts on lathe bits, treading tools etc…they hold-up very well in spite of the tremendous tool pressure. One big problem the smith may encounter is the solder quickly running in the checkering. I solved this problem by using my top secret “Yellow Ochre Powder” (which isn’t top secret any more) purchased from Jantz 1-800-351-8900 catalog # JHOP made by Grobet the file people, Jantz has many knife and gunsmithing supply and is a good outfit to deal with, their catalog is a must. Mix the powder in a bottle cap with water to a paste, careful it is deadly poison. Then I paint it on the first 3 or 4 rows of checkering under the mag-well, paint it on thin using a twisty tie for a paint paddle, dry with a hair drier and build up to about a 1/16 th above the checkering, it will take about 3 layers. This stuff will stop solder flow dead in its tracks, heat paste is useless in my book. Then carefully flux the solder area careful not to disturb the Yellow Ochre, remember the solder won’t stick if you contaminate the solder area with it.
It is a little difficult to hold the mag-well on, flux and keep the ribbon solder in place so I made a little hold down fixture that consist of a spring loaded rod that extends through the mag-well and through the frame to hold things in place till it is soldered on. Brownells sells some other stuff called “Silver Solder Pastes for the practical gunworker” its powdered solder mixed in flux, they make 3 flavors and I’m not sure which to try, for $25.38 a once I’m chicken to buy all 3 and have it not work properly for my application. Soldering is a real mess when things go wrong. Maybe someone out there has tried it and can give us some input if it’s any good.

I tig welded a mag-well on for Blindhogg but I just ran a bead of welded under the grip panels, so the weld will be covered by the grips, he was pleased. It would be a heck of a lot of work to tig weld around the whole circumference on the inside of the funnel and clean it up. Hope you picked–up a tip or two, Metal Smith

Hi Harley45,
Sorry I don’t have a camera or I would take a picture of the mag-funnel fixture for you. ArmySon had taken the photos posted when I was working on his pistol. Now I know what it means when they say a picture is worth 1000 words (in this case 1231 words). I need a camera.

Your right when you said your taking on some advanced gunsmithing, these solder jobs are a lot of work but they are very satisfying when complete. Good luck, you have been warned!

The jig to hold the funnel in place while soldering is rather simple and is of my own design.
I could measure and give you exact dimensions but my jig is kind of fudged together. I suspect you will have to do the same because you may not have the exact materials on hand that I have. No big deal, use whatever you have on hand to fabricate it. Below I will give you the basic concept. You can probably make your fixture simpler and nicer.

To fabricate: I used a ¼ inch round rod long enough to go through the mag-well plus an extra inch on each end. If I made another fixture I would probably use a 5/16-rod but a ¼ works.

Mill a 1/8th-inch slot about ¾ inch long on one end of the rod. Next you need a piece of bar-stock 1/8th thick x ½ wide x 1-1/2 inch long, this will go through the slot to hold the funnel down in the soldering position. Chamfer the bar to a knife-edge where it contacts the mag-funnel to minimize the heat that will run up into the bar when soldering. (The first one I made I drilled it for a 1/8th inch dowel pin and the heat bent the pin before the job was done).

The opposite end is threaded for ¼-20 nut, drilled & slotted for a 1/8th-inch dowel pin so when you tighten down on the nut it pulls the bar down tight on the funnel.

Start by slotting the rod for the ½ x 1/8th inch bar-stock and then place the rod through the frame. Line-up your spring & nut on the other end of the rod and mark where your 1/8 inch dowel pin should be drilled & slotted.

Now to get a little fancy I installed a spring loaded nut on the end that clamps tight to the top of the frame rails. With light spring tension you can raise the funnel and slip the strips of solder under. If you put the spring at the funnel end the heat will ruin the spring.

I made a nut out of a piece of ½ inch in diameter brass round stock ¾ inch long and bored a hole through it large enough to accept the spring and deep enough so a few coils are hanging out to provide the desired spring tension. Before I start to solder I tighten down on the nut so the spring is full compressed inside the nut. I’m tightening the fixture down hard with the nut, not the spring.

OR A BETTER IDEA; instead of slotting for the dowel pin, use a washer on the rod instead of the 1/8th inch dowel pin to butt-up against the frame, your spring & nut will butt-up to the washer, this method should be easier to make and work better

Next tip: when the strips of solder are in place push the funnel TIGHT to the rear towards the mainspring housing and then tighten your clamp. Make SURE there are no burrs on the frame or funnel to prevent it from fitting-up snug and square.

I only lay the solder strips on the frame flats and the flats on the sides at the mainspring pinholes.
I DON”T try to put a small piece of solder in the corner where the funnel contacts back at the mainspring housing web. If you put a piece in there you will have a solder joint the thickness off the solder strip (.005 minimum) or larger. I fill the corners with the 1/32 Sivaloy round wire from Brownells order # 080-538-432,10 feet for $10.21.

DON’T be cheesy putting on your flux, put it on like you aren’t pay’n for it! Thoroughly paint it on all the way down to the trigger guard. This will keep the frame from oxidizing and changing colors from the heat. If the flux is a little stiff (order # 080-5380-050 Ultra Flux) mix with a little bit of water so it paints on nice.

DON’T contaminate the jar of flux with a dirty brush, make sure the whole frame is thoroughly clean so you don’t pick-up dirt or oil off the frame and dip it in the flux container.

It is VERY critical to have everything set-up properly and have everything you need readily at hand before you start applying the heat, this is a one shot deal. If you mess-it-up you’ll damn near need a blow torch to get the funnel back off and a heck of a lot of clean-up to get it right to re-start the solder job over again!

You will also have to cut a ½ moon piece of ribbon solder to go around the frontstrap radius, cut this thin about a 1/16th wide. I do this in 2 halves (1/4 moons) scribe a line around the ribbon solder with something approximately 5/8 to ¾’s in diameter and trim it out with a pair of scissors. Just as the solder is ready to start to flow I apply the heat on the inside of the funnel to draw the solder to the inside of the mag-well to reduce the flow to inside the checkering.

DO NOT over heat to the point where you start to burn the flux, to much heat is no good.

Everyone seems to have their own methods of silver soldering; this method works best for me. By all means he you come-up with a method that works best for you stick with it, very little is carved in stone.

One thing that I use out of convenience is 2 portable Burns-a-Matic Mapp gas torches that you can buy at the big hardware stores or Wal-Marts, K-Marts. Mapp Gas burns hotter then Propane and last a long time. Before I start to solder I light both torches at the same time and keep one on stand by in case I need more heat quick. Burns-a-Matic also make a small rig with an oxygen-propane set-up that comes with a small hand held torch. It looks perfect for the advanced hobbyist that doesn’t want to invest in a full-blown oxie acetylene rig. I bought this rig and used-up the bottle of oxygen before I got the funnel soldered on. A new bottle of oxygen cost about 15 bux and they feel like they are empty when you buy them. I scrapped the rig, don’t waste your money on one.

I will edit my old post and add the above to it. For anyone wanting future reference go to the “HOW TO” section at the beginning of the “Form Board”. If you don’t see it there you may have to click back to page 2 or 3 to find it.

Hope this answers your questions on the subject, if not feel free to contact me directly.

Pete


[This message has been edited by Metal Smith (edited 09-06-2001).]
 

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The paste is great. I don't know about the paste in Brownell's, hadn't noticed it. I have two kinds, one has a little less poisonous juju in it but both are easy to use, in most cases it beats scissoring out a little pice of the silver shim and all that. You can make some too, ol' Dad showed me how to do that before I ever knew it was available commercially (maybe wasn't back then but prob'ly was). With a new, clean and dry file just make yourself a little pile of filings and mix it with flux. Nah, better to buy it. I will look in the AM and see if I can make a correlation between what I have and what Brownell's has and get back to you.

As to keeping it out of the checkering, I just say out loud before I start, "Boy, I hope that silver flows into the checkering OK", and it never does! Works the other way too: "I'm screwed if I can't get that front sight off after the silver melts", and voila, that sight is on there for life!

[This message has been edited by Ned Christiansen (edited 05-22-2001).]
 

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Hey guys,
I have a couple questions. I've been thinking about making my own mag well out of some steel i have laying around. I figure the hardest part would be to make the hole for the pin for the MSH.
Anyways, i'm assuming it is a much better idea to check the front strap before putting the mag well, would that be a fair guess?
Also, which would be sturdier, soldering or tig welding? Which is less trouble?
 

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Metalsmith, looks like the stuff I have is the same brand and everything, to what they have in Brownell's. Going by the picture, it shows Fusion 1000-650. One that I have is LHK-1000-650. Another one they're offering is "STL 1205". My other one is LHK-1205-650". They both work great, like I say, one has more cadmium, I think it is, and therefor the fumes are more poisonous. They are selling it in 28 gram jars, well, mine are 1 oz which is a gram. The jars are 1" diameter and 1" tall, doesn't seem like much but that'll last you quite a while. I had some years ago that went bad-- there is a certain shelf life to it but it's not short.

Ned
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi Ned Christiansen,
Thank you for the speedy responce, I guess I'm going to bite the bullet and buy a bottle, very clever filing the solder into dust with the flux, wish I'd thought of that, but you can't think of everything, what do you think about this solder Pistolwrench? Metal Smith
 

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Metalsmith, do you worry at all about heat migration? If the frame is heat treated, anything over about 400+/- will begin to effect final temper. The heat range indicated is also high enough to aneal the heated area.

Do you use heat control paste or other heat control methods when heating the frame to such high, near critical temps?

Im not questioning your expertise, far from that, just pickin your brain ;-)
 

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<I tig welded a mag-well on for Blindhogg but I just ran a bead of welded under the grip panels>
Thanks again for doing that again Pete. It was a Brown Maxi-well I had done for my brother. I really hated returning that gun. Pete just ran a Tig bead under the grips on both sides. All I had to do was releive the grips on both sides on the inside bottom corner for the weld and it worked out great.
I had originally soft soldered it on but it did not stay put after several range sessions so decided to give it to a pro.


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Dad was so right we he said of silver-brazing, "Preparation is 9/10 of the battle". Looks like you did your preperation fine and then the actual silvering was a breeze, right? Great looking job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Mr. Lamey,
To answer your questions: No I do not use heat paste, I've had no luck with it, I do use copper heat sinks often. 400 plus degees maybe critical in something like knife blades Rockwelling in the high 50's or 60's.

As I’m sure you know when heat-treating a piece of steel we must know the exact type of steel to obtain the proper heat-treat and we must have the chart for the proper temperatures to quench and draw back.
It is rather difficult to find out what all these gun steels are, most manufactures don’t advertise it, but we have general knowledge, hardness testers and can we can speculate.

Most 1911 frames are not heat-treated nor do I believe this is absolutely necessary. Some newer manufactures are heat-threatening their frames and they been holding up very well although I would not let this influence my decision on purchasing one over the other, example: I’d rather have a nice dimensionally correct and machined frame not heat-treated than one that was heat-treated and not machined correctly.

When we silver braze the solder flows at 1200 degrees (a dull red). If the frame is relatively mild steel, say 1040 and not heat-treated, by heating to 1200 and letting cool slowly we’re not changing anything for all practical purposes, maybe a point or two in hardness if that.
If the frame is heat-treated most manufactures shoot for a RC-28. Lets say the frame is 4140 chrome-moly, just guessing not looking at the chart, after it was quenched to maximum hardness say a RC-64, heated to 1200 degrees, air cool slowly and it will draw back to about a RC-40, we are still along way from RC-28. If we do change the heat-treat it would only be a point or two.

Generally speaking applying this much heat doesn’t worry me because I have Rockwell tested heat-treated frames anywhere from RC-15 to RC-41, most will hit from RC-24 to 30 which is good.
Some smiths are leery about putting this much heat on a frame or slide and I can understand this. But when the steel is cooled slowly it should return to the same position like a rifle barrel, unless you heat it so damn hot it starts to melt and bend (I have seen this done). I look at it this way; the frame was red when they made it, forged or cast.

What I would be leery of is re-heat-treating the whole part. When the steel is quenched the abrupt change in temperature can cause the steel to warp depending on the stress in the steel. This is why some manufactures machine after heat-treats. This step is more costly because the harder steel is much more difficult to machine and harder on tooling.
Some steels warp less than others when quenched. Generally the faster the quenching method the more warpage. Water or brine quenching being the fastest as in W-1 (W for water hardening), oil harden as in O-1 is slower (O for oil, 4140 CM is also oil hardening), air hardening A-2 and A-6 (A-for air, S-7 also air hardening, S for shock) being the slowest and less wrapage, A-6 being a higher grade will hold dimension better. If you thrown a red-hot piece of oil or air hardened steel in water the quench would be so fast it will crack it. To throw another wrench in the fan when you quench the steel the thinner areas (like the dust cover on a frame) will cool faster than the thicker areas making the hardness uneven. So you see with all these numbers, letters and sizes you really need to know what you are working with.

Well I’m just rambling on now, hope I never over answered your question and enlightened some on the subject, Metal Smith

Thank you Ned for the compliment, it means a lot coming from you.
 

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I tend to agree with your view on the heat effect of brazing a magwell on. Especially in that part of the frame, heat treat is not critical. And done as you describe, I don't think the Rockwell is changed a significant amount, although I admit I am going by how it files as opposed to a gen-yew-wine Rockwell test. Something like the job you showed I will generally just let it air cool at a natural rate-- I'll try to let it cool with the hot part up just to help keep the heat from conducting elsewhere.

Certain other areas, I might be more concerned about welding or brazing having an effect on heat treat, but it hasn't really come up. My biggest concern with heat on a gun is that with welding, since the heat is much higher but very localized, you tend to get more of a Rockwell point spread and in a smaller area, so it'll tend to show. I've had pretty good luck reducing this effect by doing a little localized annealing sometimes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi TedK,
Sorry for taking so long getting back to you.
What I do is drill the hole after the mag-well is soldered on. Before you install the mag-well you need to make a fixture to relocate the pinhole. The fixture must be a gauge fit and repeatable. Here is one way to do it: Use a plate of aluminum or steel the size of the frame and clamp in mill, measure the distants apart of the grip screw bushings in the frame, bore to the large diameter of the bushing flange about .282 to .284, locate and drill the plate for the 2 bushings. Make 1 bushing hole a gauge fit and the other larger buy about 5 or 6 thousandths to accommodate different size frames.
Next rotate the frame clock wise to remove the little bit of play in the oversize hole and clamp frame with some type of hold-down clamp.
Next indicate the 5/32-pin hole and lock the table.
You should be able to remove the frame and replace it rotating it clockwise and have it relocated within .001.
Next solder on the funnel, put frame back on the fixture plate, spot a flat with a 5/32 end mill, center drill and then drill pinhole to 5/32 or sometimes I use a # 21 .159 or # 22 .157 drill.

There are other ways to do this, I think someone sells a 5/32 offset pointer to go in your spindle and locate the pin hole from the inside of frame after the funnel is installed. This method is a little cruder but is sufficient to do the job. BUT if your holes are clogged with solder your out of luck with this method. Once installed you can’t go back and relocate the hole my way.

Hope this answers your question, Metal Smith
 

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What about the heat affecting the very thin points of the checkering whether welded or soldered? I've had no luck with that. Always have to file off the last 3 rows because they get so soft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi BBBBill,
Never had that problem, maybe your putting on to much heat, soon as the solder flows I hold the heat a few seconds and then back-off slow. Metal Smith
 

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A third method is put the frame in your mill vice. put a parallel under the rail that is against the fixed jaw. Some edge finders are .200 (or a .200 gauge pin) most slide stop holes are .202 ish
pick up the slide stop hole. Zero your read out. (or your dials and start counting)
and move to the main spring housing hole.
write down in your note book the x and y
location.
you can weld or soilder the well on (1911 or para) and go back any time and just re pick the slide stop and move the same x and y moves to the hole again.
hope this helps
geo ><>
 

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This is great stuff, even if I only understand half of it! I'd love to watch you guys work sometime. Cheers.

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Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (Who Shall Guard the Guards?)

The person formerly known as Covert Mission.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for the tip George, why didn't I think of that? Metal Smith
 
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