How do i tin my soldering iron and question?

ok so i just got a soldering iron from radioshack. its is adjustable from 20 to 50 watts. I also have leadfree solder from radioshack. so without tinning or cleaning of any sort (im new to this) i made a couple connections. (8? not at the same time) And so i looked up how to solder cause knew how to do it but i wanted to be more informed. So i learn you have to tin the tip, i go to attepmt to do it and my solder was "beading" or "balling" away from the iron and it started to turn the tip black and i attempted to rub the black of with a sponge but nothing. so what do i do? I also may have accidentally tinned it the first time because i know i accidentally touched the iron with the solder and now there is a spot that is shiny and soldering is easier when i do it with that part. DId i accidentally tin it or is it something else?

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texpert (author) 5 years ago
ok so i have tried your methods, but to no avail. what should i do now? new solder? New tip?
Is the iron on its hottest setting ? Lead free solder is much harder to use than tin/lead.

Get some real plumbers flux from the local DIY store and try wiping the iron on a pad coated with that.

Steve
texpert (author)  steveastrouk5 years ago
does the flux have lead in it? cause my dad wont let me get anything with lead in it. Also if i comes to having to get a new tip, does it make a difference if i get the pencil style tip or the chisel type tip? or is it just preference?
Flux doesn't have lead in it, and no-one died from using lead solders - more people will die when planes fall out of the sky, because their electronics were made with lead-free solder than have ever died from the effects of lead solder.

Personally, I always prefer a chisel tip, unless I am working with very fine surface mount stuff.

Steve
Great link
Note: I am ONLY advocating plumber's flux for cleaning his recalcitrant tip !!!

Basically, if you can avoid lead-free, I would do, if you want decent joints with consumer grade tools.

Steve
Rub VERY gently on some wire wool.

Steve