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Step 5: Tin the tip

Picture of Tin the tip
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For a new soldering iron, you will want to melt a thin coat of solder onto the tip. This is considered "tinning the tip." This thin coat will help to provide a base of solder which will help the solder to flow when you actually try to solder things later.
 
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I would like to add that if you have an old soldering iron that is refusing to tin you can use plumbers solder paste to clean the tip and then immediately afterwards add the solder. I introduce the paste when the iron is cold and then again when it appears to be up to half temp. If you must sand the tip never use anything coarser than 600.