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Old 01-16-13, 11:24 AM   #1
rodar y rodar
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Disappearing supply chain

I stopped by my regular welding supply shop last week to pick up and oz of silver and a can of bronze flux- they used to stock both, but not any more. Went by another on my way home and they couldn`t help me either. So, this morning I broke out the phone book and called all five shops in my area with no luck. It looks like I`ll have to order online. And even THAT doesn`t give many options. I see a few places that sell Safteysilv 45, but Google won`t show me anybody selling Allstate/Esap 1113 flux. Is Allstate gone like a Twinkie? Have the rest of you been losing your local purchase options? Do you usually order online anyway? Why so few online vendors of brazing products?
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Old 01-16-13, 11:55 AM   #2
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The stuff from http://cycledesign.org/ is really all you need for bike brazing. Fillers are top notch and the fluxes work better than any other brand I've tried. Not to say Gasflux stuff from HJ isn't great too. But once you've tried Freddy's (rip) flux you'll see what I mean.

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Old 01-16-13, 12:03 PM   #3
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Well my LWS has never had brass brazing stuff in stock since I started 3 yrs ago. They have silver rod and flux. They have ordered ESAB and Harris stuff for me. But since I have to wait in both cases I order the GasFlux stuff. Funny thing Home Depot has powdered flux.
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Old 01-16-13, 12:12 PM   #4
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my LWS insisted that safety-silv would work for bronze flux because they didn't even have the old borax powder standby. I consider this a favor because I know exactly how much expertise they have -- if it's not a gas fitting, they have zero expertise.

Henry James or Cycle Design are your best bet for flux and filler. See the Supplier thread

I never really got used to the Cycle Design stainless flux, I keep intending to try it again. When I'm a little uncertain about some silver brazing task, I use the black Safety-Silv flux. If you burn that stuff, hang up your torch until you can get to one of Doug Fattic's classes. If you're doing it right, the white Safety Silv will stay active for an incredibly long time too, but the black stuff is indestructible.
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Old 01-16-13, 01:37 PM   #5
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Okay, thanks. I was hoping to keep the same in order to not go back to square one again with the learning curves, but it looks like I`ll have to make some changes. Ill order the same ol silver online and try the famous Gasflus Blue from HJ for my bronze. I did already switch from white to black silver flux (actually like the black better than the no longer available white) and the change wasn`t too terribly painful- just a little harder to see what`s going on. Hopefully the change from gray to blue bronze flux won`t kill me either. Fingers crossed.

Heading off to check that supplier thread now, just in case.

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Well my LWS has never had brass brazing stuff in stock since I started 3 yrs ago. They have silver rod and flux.
Yeah, that`s kinda weird, but at least they had compatible flux and filler, even if it wasn`t the flavor you were looking for. For some odd reason, most of the shops here carry LFB filler in a variety of sizes and/or flux for silver, which are completely useless without their respective other parts. That`s like a bike shop only stocking Shimano shifters and Campy or SRAM deraillers.
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Old 01-16-13, 02:48 PM   #6
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It's well worth getting LFB from either HJ, or preferably Cycle Design. The Gasflux bronze is really nice, but the Cycle Design stuff is noticeably better. People report that LWS bronze is all over the map, and this has been my experience. It works, but it really doesn't flow that well.

Last time I looked my LWS had silver and white and black silver flux. They have brass but no flux, unless you count flux covered rods
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Old 01-16-13, 03:41 PM   #7
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If anyone is interested in "pins" like these http://cycledesign.org/pinkit.htm you can buy them here as well for $10 a lb. (a lot of nails in a lb for these sizes) http://www.amazon.com/Maze-Nails-CMH...ref=pd_cp_hi_0






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Old 01-16-13, 09:37 PM   #8
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Half way there. One LWS called me back to say they`d found a 3 TO roll of silver for me. That`ll last me for like five years, but I think I`ll go get it anyway and not have to hassle with it again for a long time.

I didn`t know Parr had a bronze flux. But with either him or with James it looks like a huge shipping fee. Do I just have to eat that, or does anybody know of a more "standard" vendor for the flux? I have a hard time believing that every metal worker in the US has to buy that stuff from bike frame specialists, but it`s starting to look like maybe they do. Google is NOT being friendly on this issue.
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Old 01-17-13, 12:24 PM   #9
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Half way there. One LWS called me back to say they`d found a 3 TO roll of silver for me. That`ll last me for like five years, but I think I`ll go get it anyway and not have to hassle with it again for a long time.

I didn`t know Parr had a bronze flux. But with either him or with James it looks like a huge shipping fee. Do I just have to eat that, or does anybody know of a more "standard" vendor for the flux? I have a hard time believing that every metal worker in the US has to buy that stuff from bike frame specialists, but it`s starting to look like maybe they do. Google is NOT being friendly on this issue.
If three ounces of silver is going to last you five years then there isn't going to be much help available on shipping costs. Buying a single 1 lb jar is absolutley the best way to pay the highest possible unit price for your flux.
Unless they have drastically changed the process since my last order, both Cycledesign and HJ(gasflux) have had quite fair shipping prices in my dealings with them.

The "brazing" market is pretty small relatively speaking and folks building bikes are a tiny share of that market, so single serving sizes are not going to be cheap. The fact that your LWS doesn't carry what you need should act as a small indicator of demand.

Try going to the sources: looks like gasflux might send a sample if you ask nicely

http://www.gasflux.com/paste.html
http://www.brazing.com/products/Fluxes/silver_flux.asp
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Old 01-17-13, 01:10 PM   #10
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I think any large user does go direct, and a lot of builders go direct. But that's not going to work in small quantity. The customers at the LWS either use silver (Heating contractors, I think) or they use MIG/TIG. I don't know that there really ever was a widespread application of bronze that would lead the LWS to carry a decent supply of high quality stuff. At one time, there was better choice of silver, I think that has gone away too now because of TIG.

the good news is that flux and filler last a good long time, although on bronze you should remove the oxides with a scratchy pad. You might have to add water to flux if it has been sitting around for a while. The thing you have to ask yourself is what is the price of frustration?
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Old 01-17-13, 01:48 PM   #11
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FWIW, the guy at my LWS told me they used to carry a lot of the Allstate-11 rod (he still has the booklet that boasts its properties, which mentions framebuilding as a common use for the rod)...
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Old 01-17-13, 03:04 PM   #12
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that's interesting, I bought bronze from the LWS in 1975 and then again in 2010, so there was a pretty big evolution in welding during that time. I probably still have a couple of rods from the '75 batch left, stuff wasn't that great though.
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Old 01-17-13, 03:51 PM   #13
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It's well worth getting LFB from either HJ, or preferably Cycle Design. The Gasflux bronze is really nice, but the Cycle Design stuff is noticeably better. People report that LWS bronze is all over the map, and this has been my experience. It works, but it really doesn't flow that well.
I haven`t had any trouble with the bronze filler I`ve been buying, but maybe it`s one of those "don`t know what you`re missing" things. I`ll order a pound with my flux and see. Will go back to the CD website first and read the fine print- if there`s a way around their Paypal only preference I`ll get it from them. Otherwise, HJ.

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You might have to add water to flux if it has been sitting around for a while.
Yeah, the white silver flux from Harris was really bad for that- got crunchy in no time and I had to pulverize it before I could even rehydrate the stuff. My 1113 gets hard and needs a little water each time, but no mortar and pestle required. The giant jar (16 oz?) of Harris black is still nice and goopy after abut a year since I first opened it.

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If three ounces of silver is going to last you five years then there isn't going to be much help available on shipping costs. Buying a single 1 lb jar is absolutley the best way to pay the highest possible unit price for your flux.
Unless they have drastically changed the process since my last order, both Cycledesign and HJ(gasflux) have had quite fair shipping prices in my dealings with them.
Yup, I get about 1.5 years from an ounce of silver. I go through the bronze a lot faster, but still nothing like somebody who`s constantly working on a frame project. I`m sure you`re right about paying premium prices for small quantities, but it`s still better for me than buying a lifetime suply of anything. Could be I misread the shipping prices on one or both of those websites. Probably should call them both to confirm.

Silver is in hand now. Well, actually in my trunk bag waiting to go to work with me. The guy gave me a cash discount, so it came out to less than the price he originally told me. Whoohoo! Difference of $17, just about what I`m looking at for shipping on my flux.
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Old 01-17-13, 04:57 PM   #14
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you can call Cycle Design
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Old 01-17-13, 05:19 PM   #15
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you can call Cycle Design
I bought stuff from Wade and will again. He offered to come to my shop and coach me on using larger tips and larger filler. Nice guy with great products.
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Old 01-17-13, 05:44 PM   #16
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I haven`t had any trouble with the bronze filler I`ve been buying, but maybe it`s one of those "don`t know what you`re missing" things. I`ll order a pound with my flux and see. Will go back to the CD website first and read the fine print- if there`s a way around their Paypal only preference I`ll get it from them. Otherwise, HJ.

Yeah, the white silver flux from Harris was really bad for that- got crunchy in no time and I had to pulverize it before I could even rehydrate the stuff. My 1113 gets hard and needs a little water each time, but no mortar and pestle required. The giant jar (16 oz?) of Harris black is still nice and goopy after abut a year since I first opened it.

Yup, I get about 1.5 years from an ounce of silver. I go through the bronze a lot faster, but still nothing like somebody who`s constantly working on a frame project. I`m sure you`re right about paying premium prices for small quantities, but it`s still better for me than buying a lifetime suply of anything. Could be I misread the shipping prices on one or both of those websites. Probably should call them both to confirm.

Silver is in hand now. Well, actually in my trunk bag waiting to go to work with me. The guy gave me a cash discount, so it came out to less than the price he originally told me. Whoohoo! Difference of $17, just about what I`m looking at for shipping on my flux.
What I would do... is call Wade, ask him how many 1lb tubs will fit in the USPS flat rate box and order that many.
Get yourself a variety pack of their various flux offerings. Or just the variety you know you need.

HJ would probably do the same if asked.
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Old 01-22-13, 02:16 AM   #17
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Just be aware that borax will start to be controlled in the EU with knock-on effects your side of the pond. Thanks to some ******* who fed it by the kilo (!) to dogs and noticed some effects on their health, it now carries a Cat 2 Carcinogen code in the EU and possibly shortly (if not already) in the States. So that'll diappear sooner or later, or TSCA will probably go the was of the EU's REACH and demand an authorisation to use it, with no sales to private individuals or such.
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Old 01-22-13, 02:44 AM   #18
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Plain Borax? Like the stuff they sell at the health food store, or that cat of fluxes?
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Old 01-22-13, 04:31 PM   #19
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Just be aware that borax will start to be controlled in the EU with knock-on effects your side of the pond. Thanks to some ******* who fed it by the kilo (!) to dogs and noticed some effects on their health, it now carries a Cat 2 Carcinogen code in the EU and possibly shortly (if not already) in the States. So that'll diappear sooner or later, or TSCA will probably go the was of the EU's REACH and demand an authorisation to use it, with no sales to private individuals or such.
Funny this. I had a cat that lived for 19 years, never a day of health concerns (till the end). Yet it ate out of the flux jar during my Winter building sessions. I hear that water is deadly if taken in large enough quanties. Andy.
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Old 01-23-13, 04:11 AM   #20
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You can't account for the gross and spectacular stupidity of lawmakers, especially when they understand even less than the supposedly green lobby who have worked long and hard to have their ear.

Yes, that borax, sodium boate (iii). It's the boron, you see. A kilo of it will kill you. No-one yet has pointed out so will a kilo of table salt, alcohol or apple seeds. Excuse my profanity, but the g*dd*mn *ssclown ****weasels. I have to deal with this profound h*rse**** every day at work.

Last edited by unterhausen; 01-23-13 at 06:31 AM. Reason: please don't defeat the censor
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Old 01-23-13, 05:57 AM   #21
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You can't account for the gross and spectacular stupidity of lawmakers, especially when they understand even less than the supposedly green lobby who have worked long and hard to have their ear.

Yes, that borax, sodium boate (iii). It's the boron, you see. A kilo of it will kill you. No-one yet has pointed out so will a kilo of table salt, alcohol or apple seeds. Excuse my profanity, but the g*dd*mn *ssclown ****weasels. I have to deal with this profound h*rse**** every day at work.
Kids walk to school less than 8' from vehicles going 40mph on icy roads. The supply chain itself in the deadly part.

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Old 01-23-13, 01:54 PM   #22
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you can call Cycle Design
U-Man; Appreciate the lead. As I am about out of all brazing supplies I am going to restock starting with a pound of their new Low Fuming Bronze and companion flux and give it a good thorough trial. The last brass I bought was a 100 pound wooden barrel at an auction a very long time ago (the wood is now completely fallen apart), it will be good to step forward to a better product at a very reasonable price...
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Old 01-29-13, 01:46 PM   #23
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Thought I`d post back and update. I waited around a bit to see if any inquiries at my LWSs would turn up a can of the bronze flux that I`m already used to, but still no luck. I talked to Wade at CD this morning and ended up ordering one pound each bronze flux and 1/16 LFB. Painless. Wade says the transition from one product to another shouldn`t be a big deal either, fingers crossed. Heck, maybe I`ll even be jumpping for joy like the honorable Sean Kanary. Will know as soon as UPS brings my goodies from CD and Wicks because I have a quill stem and a rack project comming up just as soon as the deliveries arrive. Thanks for the help, all.
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