A "primer" on soldering...


I’ve been reading with great interest, the threads on DIY cable rolling and such...

I have a decent soldering station and am not afraid of the "act". I just would like to know basic user knowledge on the art of soldering and it’s (do’s & don’ts) for the average DIY’er as it pertains to audio.

slaw
https://www.kitronik.co.uk/blog/how-to-solder-in-ten-easy-steps/

Cheers George
Good article, George. I’ve always used small alligator clips, as heat-sinks, on the leads of whatever I’m soldering. Can’t hurt, to be safe. I also like using solders with low melting points, and silver content. My faves: https://www.parts-express.com/wbt-0800-silver-solder-4-silver-content-1-8-lb--093-586 and http://www.partsconnexion.com/solder_trt.html Note their little blurb, on using high temp(quickly) to vaporize the flux.
Hot and fast. Heat the metal not the solder. Buy a sucker.

The blog post is a good tutorial. At Step 5 - 6 you also might consider touching the solder to the tip of the iron, depositing a very thin film of solder on the tip, prior to touching the tip to the component lead/solder pad. This helps the solder flow more quickly on the joint. Also in Step 9 after the excess length of the component lead has been cut, you might consider very briefly flowing a bit of solder over the bare lead which has been exposed by cutting the excess length of the lead off. Doing this may help prevent the solder joint’s failing over time as a result of the bare lead’s oxidizing. Repeat Steps 4 - 9, starting each solder joint with a freshly cleaned and tinned tip. And it might be worthwhile cleaning any excess rosin flux on the circuit board with isopropyl alcohol and a Q-Tip once all the soldering is complete.

Investing in a solder sucker is is a great idea. Having a couple different gauges of solder wick and a small tub of rosin flux also comes in handy, if you plan to do soldering/desoldering or kit building on a regular basis.
Practice, practice, practice!  I have done it a couple times without practice and the results were not great.
A good magnifier lamp is quite helpful.
Always heat all surfaces to be soldered to the point that THEY melt the solder. A proper solder joint will be smooth and shiny (leaded solder) or smooth and dull (lead-free) NEVER pitted.
If the solder bubbles and pits, turn down the iron's temp.
If resoldering old solder joints, you can use a little flux and or add some fresh solder to rejuvenate the old solder. (preferred method: remove the old solder first).
My Dad always told me to keep my tip clean......
When soldering some connectors e.g. banana plugs and RCA plugs 
- try plugging them into an old component to wick the heat away from the wire/insulation - it also holds the plug stable.

- DO not overheat the insulation of the conductor
- always have spare soldering iron bits on hand and keep the one in use  clean - file down to the copper and re-tin after a few uses
- try to use either Eutectic solder or my preference is high content silver solder like 4% Silver WBT.

For things like spade terminals - crimp the joint first before soldering - you'll save on solder but more importantly it is a more conductive joint.

Hope that helps

Great advice everyone.  My first attempt was an emergency solder job.  A tonearm clip broke off and I had no choice but to repair it. 

It was a Hadcock TA and the leads were about as thin as hair - I got er done but it won't win any awards for beauty!  I have since gotten better with practice.
Thanks for the links and all of the posts so far.

My first experience with tonearm wire.... I was unaware about the best way mate the leads on a RCA jack to the 33ga tonearm wire. I later learned to heat the thick piece first to add solder, then heat the existing solder to add the tonearm wire. (This is correct, right?) The only way I could get it to work.
Do NOT file, scrape, pry, or otherwise forcibly molest the tip of your iron! You will destroy it. Decent tips aren't copper.