How to Solder


Step 7: Soldering with a lighter

Everything that I have explained how to do up until now has hopefully been pretty close to how things should be done "the right way" when soldering. Soldering, however, is just a process of joining things together to make a connection. If you don't have all the tools to solder, but still want to learn how to solder something, never fear, with just solder and some wire you can practice bare bones soldering.

Bare bones soldering comes in handy when you're stuck on a desert island and you need to make a repair to your headphones so you can watch the sun go down while being serenaded by your most recent whale songs cd. It's also a cool trick to pull off next time your decide to be MacGuyver for Halloween.

I took some pieces of wire and stripped them with my teeth - the best method for doing this I have found is use my molars. I just grab the insulation with my teeth, try to sever the insulation a bit, and then pull on the wire. It's easiest to do with braided wires, and it certainly takes a little practice to apply the right tension so you don't just rip the wire apart entirely. But once you get the hang of it it's actually a pretty functional method. (WARNING: I do not encourage stripping wire your teeth at all, and it will probably lead to expensive dentistry work if you do it enough.)

Once I had the wires stripped and twisted together I got a lighter and a bit of solder and went to work heating up the wires I wanted to join. It took the lighter about as long to heat up the wires as it did when I used the iron. I then fed a little solder into the joint, continued heating the wire to smooth things out, and then turned off the flame.

It worked just as well as it would have had I used an iron. Of course it's harder, if not impossible ,to use this method on circuit boards, but it sure does the job on wire. I have heard that using matches also works well when soldering wires.

Here is some video of bare-bones soldering with a lighter.

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
Ugifer3 years ago
You can also solder with the "iron" rather than the flame - I once needed to fix a radio with a dry joint but had no soldering tools at all to hand. Heat a skewer in the cooker gas flame and it has enough heat capacity to reheat a joint before it cools. Hold it with a cloth!
works for me too.
northconnor4 years ago
Another technique when soldering with a lighter is to wrap the solder around the wire and then melt it. I'm not sure which works better though.
Mandela4 years ago
id like to see that two wires becoming silver :P
fd935 years ago
i have used both jet-flame(torch) lighters and the el-cheepo kind i have found that the jet-flame ones are easier and safer. they are also similar to soldering torches used by jewelers
baneat fd935 years ago
I'm guessing that with a jet flame you might not even need solder, because it's so hot you can just melt the metal together, no?
fd93 baneat5 years ago
ya but the pressure pushed the mettle too much so it needs to be used more like an ambient heat source so solder is still needed to make a good bond
The_Beast5 years ago
If you already have a lighter way not just melt off the insulation just food for thought
toxic fuems, eww. at least last time i check that stuff is terriable
no not melt it off, soften it and tear off with your finger nail I can see how my comment was confusing
remyzero77 years ago
It's been my (albeit limited) experience that torch-style butane lighters are easier because they burn hotter (fingers have to get really damn close to the wires you are soldering with a bic). "Disposable" (cheap) torch lighters are now available in most mini-marts.

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?


PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!