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topic 23652

Soldering tin and tin cans


Q. How do I solder tin from tin cans together? Can I use a soldering iron or do I need a mini-torch?

What type of solder and flux should I use? I want to solder the seams of a small (6 inch long) boat that I cut from an old tin can.

Thank you for your consideration.


Walt lysack
- Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Q. Hi:

I'd like to know how to solder tin cans together, also. Could someone please let me know! Thanks!
Phil Smith
- Atlanta, Georgia

Q. I would like to know more on soldering tin.
Auriel Raubenheimer
hobby - East London, South Africa

Q. I am wanting to solder tin cans together. What materials, and heat source is best for this. I am a newbie to metal works.
Len White Bear
White Bear Gallery - Anchorage, Alaska


A. I was looking for what solder could be used for tin and found this. I just wanted to pass it on to everyone here.

Take 4 parts of pewter, 1 of tin, and 1 of bismuth, melt them together, and run them into thin slips. Resin is also employed in using this solder.

Hope this helps.

Mary McCullough
artist - Kutztown, Pennsylvania


A. Ok, well first off there are not many tin cans left in the world. Most "tin" cans today are made of aluminum. If you search the web for "Solder Aluminum" there are a ton of sites. Aluminum is pretty difficult to solder but there are new products that make it a bit easier. New solders and fluxes that will allow the newbie to get fair results.

Good Luck

Paul Caro
- Gilbert, Arizona


A. Tin plate is the easiest to solder because the metal is already "tinned" just use Zinc Chloride or resin paste for a flux and solder with 50/50 solder. These cans are still widely used for soups and vegetables.
When soldering any sheet metal use soldering coppers (iron) and not a torch. Just search the internet for more info.

Barry Blair
- Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

March 13, 2009

A. Hi!
I took a recent workshop on this and here is an answer: First, as previously said, there aren't many actual tin cans anymore. most are aluminum or steel. To check if the metal that you want to solder is steel or aluminum, use a magnet.

Use these instructions to solder steel only --

lead free solder (found in plumbing section in hardware store)
soldering gun (also found in hardware store)
flux (use the kind that works with the solder that you buy; ask which to use)
these supplies can also be found in stained glass supply stores, and these folks can probably help you more than the hardware store people.

to solder:
clean all paint from the seams that you want to join with a file or Sandpaper [linked by editor to product info at Rockler].

make sure that the edges to be joined fit together well... this type of solder DOES fill small gaps, but this doesn't make up for poor craftsmanship.

flux your joints well. try to flux the outside of the seam as well as the inside of the seam.

cut your solder and arrange at seams

use hot soldering gun to direct heat at both pieces of metal as solder will run towards the heat.

The Fine Art of the Tin Can

* Because many soldering guns do not have "ON" lights, plug a lamp (and turn it on) into the same power strip as the soldering gun. only use the power strip switch for power so that you and others will know that, when the lamp is on, the gun is hot.

These are the basic instructions... practice makes perfect and here is a good book for people to refer to:

THE FINE ART OF THE TIN CAN by Bobby Hansson =>

have fun! Mary Slaughter
- Nags Head, North Carolina

February 6, 2010

A. Thoroughly clean both edges heat with a blow torch flux both add solder rub with a cloth. Both pieces are now tinned; you should now be able to solder the two pieces together.

Mos Shaw
- Briton, U.K.

February 15, 2011

A. There is a great deal of information on soldering in this 1919 book fully represented here online. It makes modern soldering look like a dream:

Also, I believe that many "tin" cans are actually tin plated light weight steel cans.

Elaine Hardman
Stone Flower Pottery - Wellsville, New York

April 24, 2011 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I picked up some high-wattage soldering irons recently. They are 175W or greater and couple pounds apiece. I want to try my hand at soldering non-galvanized sheet metal. I do not want the solder joints to corrode so, what type of flux and solder should I use?


Tom Metal
Hobbyist - Boston, Massachusetts

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