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Subject: Repairing a Brass Tracker Bar

From: Michael Gordon

Hello all,  A while back I had a ciphering note and decided to
investigate.  I traced the problem back to the tracker bar, where two
nipples were improperly soldered.  I tried filling the spot with a bit
of solder, but this only made matters worse.

After playing a game of "Whack-a-Mole" with some nipples coming off
every time one went on, almost two dozen nipples ended up coming off
the tracker bar.  After some research, I discovered a cheap and easy
way to re-solder the nipples on without others coming off.

The procedure involves toothpicks, sandpaper, a long narrow dowel
(a shish kabob skewer would work), some solder and drywall putty.  The
toothpicks keep the holes of the tracker bar from filling with solder
and serve to align the nipples with the holes, and the drywall putty
forms a cast securing the nipples in place.

First insert the toothpicks into the front of the tracker bar snugly.
Place the nipples on the back of the tracker bar.

Place the long skewer in-between the nipples to help keep them
staggered.

Smear some drywall putty over all the nipples to be re-attached,
extending it a few inches on either side of the repair site.  Before
the compound is dry, space the nipples evenly with a probe or screw
driver.  Let dry and apply another layer.

When the mold is set and dry, apply flux.  (Don't skip this step,
the flux is crucial for ensuring the solder flows properly!)  Heat the
tracker bar and apply the solder.  Be sure to move the flame around,
so as not to risk warping or buckling.

When the tracker bar is cool, carefully chip or scrape away the drywall
compound with a BLUNT screwdriver or probe.  Rinse with water to get
the hard to reach areas.  When it is dry, polish the front on a buffing
wheel.

To see how this is done, check out my video on YouTube:

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05Vn9ae5_M0

Good luck with your projects!

Cheers,
Michael Gordon
Toronto, Canada

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This page was last revised July 1, 2017 by John A. Tuttle, who Assumes No Liability
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