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Elements Of Plumbing

More Preparing And Wiping Joints


Materials.—The beginner should continue wiping the vertical round joint until he is able to obtain a symmetrical bulb. A joint should be wiped in each of the foregoing positions for exhibition purposes, so that the beginner can have before him the best work and strive to make the next joint better. This next joint, the 2-inch brass ferrule, is wiped in an upright position. The materials necessary are the 2-inch brass ferrule, 6 inches of 2-inch light lead pipe, paste and paper, 1⁄2 and 1⁄2 solder, rosin, wiping solder, catch pan, and supports.

Fig. 24. Fig. 24.

Tools Required.—The tools necessary for this work are as follows: the saw, rasp, drift plug, dresser, file, soldering iron, bending irons, wiping cloths, shave hook, and ladle.

Preparation.—The lead pipe must be fitted into the brass ferrule. The brass ferrule has to be tinned first. To do this, proceed as follows: file the ferrule for about 2 inches on the tapered end. Do not file too deep, but just enough to expose the pure bright metal. Now measure from the small end 11⁄4 inches down toward the beaded end. From this point to the bead, cover the brass with paste and paper. No paste must get on the 11⁄4-in. filed end. This end should not be touched with the fingers. If paste gets on it, the process of filing must be done over again as the solder will not stick where there is paste. If the brass ferrule is filed while the paper is on the brass, the filing will destroy the straight edge of the paper and an even joint cannot be made. It would therefore be necessary to re-paper the brass. Take some powdered rosin and cover the filed end of the ferrule with molten solder using the rosin as a flux. Do not dip the end of the ferrule into the hot wiping solder to tin it or pour wiping solder on the brass ferrule. This method of tinning the ferrule will spoil the wiping solder. Always use the soldering iron to tin the ferrule as explained above. A little practice will develop the use of the iron in the hands of the beginner so that this tinning process will be done very rapidly. The iron should be put on to heat when the paper is being pasted on the brass; the iron will then be ready for use when needed.

Fig. 25.--Two-inch brass ferrule. Fig. 25.—Two-inch brass ferrule.

Preparing the Lead.—The ends of the lead pipe must be squared with the rasp. All kinks and dents are taken out by using the drift plug and driving it through the pipe. Take a piece of smooth pine stick and start to beat in the end of the lead pipe to fit the brass ferrule. The pipe should be beaten in starting about 3⁄4 inches from the end. It should be beaten in very slowly until it fits the ferrule. The pipe is held in the hand all the time and considerable time should be spent on this as it is the first time the beating in of lead pipe has been called for. The knack of doing this comes only by slow and continued practice. The lead must be "humored" into shape and not "driven" into shape. The end of the pipe is tapered still more by rasping off the end. About 3⁄4 inch should extend into the brass ferrule. With the bending irons, the lead extending into the brass ferrule is beaten against the inside wall of the ferrule. A good way to do this is to wedge the lead pipe in as much as possible at first, then lay the work flat on the bench, in which position it is more easily worked. The sketch should be thoroughly studied and each notation be perfectly understood, before proceeding with the work. Now that the lead pipe is perfectly fitted into place, it is prepared for wiping. The joint overall will be 21⁄2 inches. As we have already allowed 11⁄4 inches on the brass ferrule for the joint, the lead will have to be cleaned that much more. With the shave hook, shave the end of the pipe that has been fitted into the brass ferrule. A space about 4 inches should be cleaned. This will give a cleaned surface free from dirt and grease for the paste and paper to adhere to. Next paste the paper in place. The lead pipe can be entirely covered, or 3 or 4 inches only, above the 11⁄4 inches allowed for the joint. The space between the paper on the brass and the paper on the lead should now be 21⁄2 inches. The paste and paper should now be allowed to dry.

Supporting the Pipe.—This joint is wiped with the ferrule down on the bench. A flat pan is laid on the bench and the ferrule stood upon it. A weight on top of the lead pipe is all that is necessary. If this does not make the pipe rigid enough for the beginner, then a support similar to the round vertical joint support can be used. The beginner is advised, however, to practice the wiping of this joint with only the weight to hold it in position. The beginner will then be required to wipe the joint while the solder is hot, when it does not require a heavy pressure against the solder to wipe it in shape. These wiped joints should be supported in place near the furnace that heats the solder so that the solder will be handy for wiping.

Wiping.—Wiping this joint brings in some of the methods of the round vertical joint. If that joint was thoroughly mastered, this joint will be wiped considerably more easily. The ladle is held in the right hand and the solder splashed on the joint. The catch cloth is held in the left hand and some of the solder is caught and brought up on the top edge. The top edge cools quickly as all the hot solder runs down to the bottom edge and into the pan. As the solder accumulates on the bottom edge, it is drawn up on the top edge, and in this manner the top edge is kept hot. When the solder can be worked freely around the pipe and the edges are hot, the joint is ready to wipe. The ladle is laid down and the wiping cloth is taken in the right hand and the top edge of the joint cleaned on one side. Then the wiping cloth is changed to the left hand and the other side of the top edge is cleaned. Holding the cloth in one hand with the index and the third fingers spread to the outside corners of the cloth, the cloth is passed around the joint quickly. To get an even and symmetrical joint, it is necessary to make two or three passes around the joint holding the cloth first in the right and then in the left hand. The free hand is used to steady the work. This joint should be wiped very slim to allow room for the caulking irons to pass by it and get into the hub of the pipe. Constant wiping on the brass ferrule will result in the tinning on the brass ferrule coming off. The ferrule will look black when this happens and will thus be recognized. The wiping should then be stopped and the ferrule filed and tinned in the same manner as it was done at first.

Points to Remember.

  1. First, material—6 inches of 2-inch light lead pipe and one 2-inch brass ferrule.

  2. Second, tin ferrule, using soldering iron.

  3. Third, use a soft pine stick for a dresser.

  4. Fourth, fit the lead into the ferrule.

  5. Fifth, clean and paper the lead.

  6. Sixth, secure the pipe into position.

  7. Seventh, using the catch cloth and ladle, splash solder on the joint.

  8. Eighth, keep the top edge covered with solder.

  9. Ninth, wipe the top edge first.

  10. Tenth, shape and finish wiping with a few strokes.

  11. Eleventh, tools used.

  12. Twelfth, wipe a slim joint.

  13. Thirteenth, steady the work with the free hand.

  14. Fourteenth, re-tin the ferrule, if necessary.


The 4-inch brass ferrule joint is the same as the 2-inch, except for size. The materials needed for this joint are 6 inches of 4-inch, 8-pound lead pipe, and one 4-inch brass ferrule, one full pot of solder, some paste and paper, rosin, and 1⁄2 and 1⁄2 solder.

Tools Necessary.—The tools required for this joint are as follows: saw, rasp, file, ladle, soldering iron, dresser, bending irons, shave hook, and wiping cloths.

Preparation.Lead Pipe.—With the saw cut off 6 inches of 4-inch lead pipe. This pipe comes in lengths and should be for this work about 8 pounds to the foot in weight. The pipe may be dented badly, but these dents can be taken out as follows: Take a piece of 2-inch iron pipe and put it in a vise. The lead pipe can be slipped over this iron pipe and any dents taken out easily by beating with the dresser. One end of the lead pipe is beaten with the dresser until it fits into the ferrule. The end is then rasped a little. Then, after the brass ferrule has been tinned, the pipe is fitted into it and beaten out against the inside wall of the brass ferrule and a tight joint is made. The lead is next cleaned with the shave hook and paper is pasted on as explained under the 2-inch brass ferrule, the description of which should now be read over.

Fig. 26.--Four-inch brass  ferrule. Fig. 26.—Four-inch brass ferrule.

Brass Ferrule.—The first thing to do with the brass ferrule is to file the end that is to be wiped. When the brass ferrule is filed, it should be done away from any part of the room where the filings are likely to get into the solder. After the filing has been done, paper is pasted on all of it except the part that is to be tinned and no paste must get on to this part of the ferrule. If any paste does get on to it, the filing will have to be done over again. When using paste and paper, neatness must be cultivated, or paste will be spread over parts of the pipe that are supposed not to have any paste on them. Next, take the soldering iron and heat it. Take some rosin and put it on the exposed part of the ferrule. With the hot soldering iron proceed to tin the brass ferrule, as explained before, with 1⁄2 and 1⁄2 solder, using rosin as a flux. Now the lead pipe that has previously been prepared is fitted into the ferrule.

Fig. 27.--Four-inch  brass ferrule. Fig. 27.—Four-inch brass ferrule.

Supporting.—Set the brass ferrule on a catch pan. The lead pipe is upright. A weight placed on top of the lead pipe will steady the pipe for wiping. When the joint is wiped the free hand can hold the pipe if the weight is not sufficient to support it.

Wiping.—Splash the solder on the joint from the ladle, in the same manner as was employed in the two preceding joints. To get the proper heat on the 4-inch joint a little more speed is necessary, also the constant working of the solder around the pipe. The ladle is constantly moved around the pipe so that all parts of the pipe will be evenly heated and come into contact with the hot solder direct from the ladle. When the solder works freely around the pipe and the top edge is hot, the joint is shaped by holding the wiping cloth in the right hand, with the index and the middle fingers spread to the opposite corners of the cloth. The fingers are placed one on the top edge and one on the bottom edge. The cloth is then passed around the joint as far as possible. Then the cloth is taken in the left hand, with the fingers spread, and passed around the rest of the joint. If the solder does not take the shape of the cloth readily, then the solder is not at the right heat. This joint should be wiped very slim to allow room for the caulking tools. When this joint is once started, it should not be left until it has been wiped, otherwise a large amount of solder will accumulate on the joint and will be hard to get off.

Points to Remember.

  1. First, material.

  2. Second, tools.

  3. Third, tin ferrule.

  4. Fourth, use the dresser to fit the lead into the ferrule.

  5. Fifth, clean the lead with the shave hook, and paper.

  6. Sixth, use the catch cloth and ladle.

  7. Seventh, keep the top edge covered with hot solder.

  8. Eighth, wipe the top edge first.

  9. Ninth, make a slim joint.

  10. Tenth, steady the work with the free hand.


Materials Required.—The materials used for this joint are as follows: two pieces of 5⁄8-inch extra strong lead pipe 9 inches long, each; one 1⁄2-inch plug stop cock for lead pipe; paste and paper; solder; 1⁄2 and 1⁄2 solder; rosin; catch pan and supports.

Fig. 28. Fig. 28.

Tools Necessary.—The tools necessary for this job are as follows: saw, rasp, file, turn plug, shave hook, bending irons, hammer, ladle, soldering iron, and wiping cloths.

Preparation.—There are two joints to be wiped on this job and the stop cock is supported only by the rigid fitting of the lead pipe. Therefore the preparation must be thoroughly done. The brass stop will be prepared first.

Brass.—The two ends of the stop cock are filed bright, then papered and tinned. This operation is the same, only on a smaller scale, as the tinning of the 2-inch and the 4-inch brass ferrule. The paper is pasted over the entire stop cock, except the two ends, which are tinned for about 11⁄4 inches.

Lead Pipe.—After the lead pipe has been cut off from the coil, the ends are squared with the rasp. One end of each piece is reamed out a little with the tap borer and spread a trifle with the turn pin. With the rasp, take off the outside edge of the end that has been spread. The sketch will show this and give the angle at which the edge is to be rasped. The stop cock is now fitted into the lead pipe. The brass should enter at least 1⁄4 inch, then the lead is beaten against the brass until a tight joint is made. The other end of the brass stop is fitted into the other piece of the lead pipe and a perfect fit is made. The fitting of these two joints must be rigid as upon them depends the stability of the joint support. When these ends of the lead pipe have been fitted, the pipe is cleaned with the shave hook and paper is pasted on, allowing 11⁄2 inches for the joint. Both pieces of pipe are prepared at the same time as both ends are wiped at the same time.

Supporting.—The three pieces of pipe should be so wedged together that they will not fall apart when put in position for wiping. The bricks for supporting the pipe are placed the same as in the support of the horizontal round joint. The lead pipe ends are laid on the bricks. This brings the stop cock in the center without any support. If it were not for the substantial fit between it and the lead pipe, it would not stay in place. Solder straps can be put over each end of the lead pipe. Weights can be used to advantage.

Wiping.—When getting the heat up for these joints, pour the solder over the two joints and over the stop cock. This gets the heat properly distributed, so that both joints can be wiped while the brass stop is heated. Get the proper heat up on one joint and then the other. Come back to the first joint and wipe it and then the second one. Both joints should be wiped so as to have the same shape. The novice will experience some trouble when wiping this joint in getting the brass edge hot. Heating up the two joints together will in a large degree offset this trouble. Some mechanics take out the lever handle stop to lessen the amount of brass to heat. This is never done by a good mechanic as the two pieces will never fit together again and make a tight joint. If the plug is left in place, both the plug and body will expand equally and the pieces will fit perfectly. When wiping is started on these joints, the beginner must stay at it continually. When the brass is heated, the finished wiping can be tried over and over again. If this way is not followed, the beginner will find that most of his time will be spent trying to get a heat on the brass.

Fig. 29.--Stop cock. Fig. 29.—Stop cock.


Materials Needed.—The materials necessary to complete this job are as follows: 12 inches of 5⁄8-inch extra strong lead pipe for the run; 6 inches of 1⁄2-inch extra strong lead pipe for the branch; paste and paper, and solder.

Tools Necessary.—The tools necessary for this job are the saw, bending irons, rasp, tap borer, ladle, wiping cloths, and the shave hook.

Fig. 30.--Branch joint. Fig. 30.—Branch joint.

Preparation.—The preparation of this joint requires the skill of the beginner more than any of the preceding joints. The tapping of the 5⁄8 pipe for the branch connection, pasting and cutting the paper, require the utmost care and precision. The 5⁄8-inch pipe is tapped with the tap borer in the center. The tap borer is used by grasping the handle firmly and putting the cutting point on the mark and then pressing down on the handle. This forces the point into the lead. Now turn the tool and a piece of lead will be bored out. Continue this operation and a hole will very soon appear in the lead. A hole just large enough to allow the bending irons to enter is made. The opening of the hole is completed with the bending iron, working the lead back slowly into place. Do not attempt to drive the lead back around the hole with a few strokes. One bending iron is inserted and this iron is struck with another iron or hammer. After a number of strokes the opening will be of sufficient size. The bent end of iron is inserted into the hole and the bent part enters the bore of the pipe. This iron is struck in such a way as to force the lead around the hole up, rather than back. Now with the straight end of irons open the sides. When the wall of pipe has been driven up a little the hole can be enlarged by driving back the lead. This procedure will form a collar around the hole to steady the branch pipe. Good workmanship will result in having a good substantial collar around the opening. The branch should now be fitted. Clean the pipe with the shave hook for about 2 inches on each side of the opening. With compasses set at 11⁄8 inches, mark off a space on each side of the branch on the run, or on the 5⁄8-inch pipe. On the sides of the pipe the two lines should be joined with an even and symmetrical curve. A good way to make this curve is with the shave hook. Now take a folded piece of paper and cut out the shape of one-half of the joint, then open the fold and the entire ellipse will be made. When this paper is cut, a sharp knife is used, otherwise a ragged edge will be made and a good finish of joint is impossible. The paper is now pasted and put on the pipe. The surplus paste on the edge of the paper should be wiped off with the fingers before the paper is put on the pipe. This prevents any paste squeezing out on the joint. The branch is now taken and perfectly fitted into the run. The end is cleaned with the shave hook and paper is pasted on the pipe, leaving 11⁄8 inches of cleaned surface for wiping. The paste and the paper should now be allowed to dry. The position for wiping this joint is to have the run horizontal and the branch on an angle of 45° pointing away from the wiper. Figure 30 will bring out the above explanation very vividly.

Supporting.—The run of this joint is laid flat on the table and the branch inserted in its proper place. With one hand hold it in place, with the other, use the bending iron, tap the collar on the run against the branch, wedging it in place good and strong so that no solder can leak through. If the branch is tapered with the rasp as shown the joint can be made very tight. The run of the pipe is now laid on two bricks as was done with the horizontal joint. The branch is laid over on a pile of bricks or wood at an angle of 45°. The best way to secure this joint is to pour some half-molten solder on the ends of pipe and brick, making a solder clamp. This branch does not need any clamp or weight if it is properly entered into the run. A strap of solder can be run over the end of pipe if found necessary. Place the catch pan under the joint and then the pipe will be ready to wipe.

Wiping.—In wiping this joint, the catch cloth is used not only to catch the solder as it drops off from the pipe, but also to hold the hot solder against the pipe to heat the under side of the joint. Test the solder and see if it is the correct heat for wiping. If so, prepare for wiping. After heating the ladle, take some solder in it and proceed to drop the molten solder on the joint. The ladle is moved constantly as the solder is dropped on the run and then on the branch to get the entire joint to the proper heat. As the solder drops off from the joint, it is caught on the catch cloth and brought up on the top of the joint where it is re-melted by dropping hot solder on it. Then the hot solder is held in the cloth against the under side of the joint to get the under side properly heated. The solder is worked around all parts of the joint. When the heat is got up sufficiently and the solder works freely around the joint, the branch cloth is taken and each edge of the joint is wiped clean. Any surplus solder is brought up on top of the joint and then wiped on the catch cloth. This solder is then put on the under side of the joint. With the branch cloth reach way around the joint and wipe each side, bringing the cloth each time to the top and then off the joint. The last wipe is directly across the top, wiping off any surplus solder that may have accumulated from wiping the sides. The difficulty with this joint is in getting the top and bottom to have an equal amount of solder. With a little practice and by watching each motion your faults can be noted and remedied. If the paper starts to come off, it should be re-papered at once. When the joint is finished, it should be left in position until the solder has had time to set and cool, otherwise the branch will break off and considerable time will be lost in correcting the trouble.

Points to Remember.

  1. First, the use of the tap borer.

  2. Second, the use of the bending irons.

  3. Third, do not allow the bending irons to touch the inside walls of the pipe when stretching the opening.

  4. Fourth, secure the branch into the run.

  5. Fifth, secure the pipes into position for wiping.

  6. Sixth, spread the heat on the edges and the bottom of the joint.

  7. Seventh, wipe with the branch cloth.

  8. Eighth, cut the paper.

  9. Ninth, mark the outline of the joint.


When the wiper has mastered the branch joint placed at an angle of 45°, he can proceed to wipe the joint placed in the next position, which is flat.

Preparation.—The preparation of this joint is identical with the preceding one placed at an angle of 45°. If a new joint is to be prepared, it would be well to pay strict attention to the details, such as keeping the paste on the paper only and having the edge of the paper cut perfectly smooth and even. Before putting on the paper see that the pipe is free from all grease and dirt. The paste and paper will stick better if all the dirt is removed. The branch should be well fitted into the run of the pipe so that no solder will get into the bore of the pipe. The branch should not extend into the run of pipe enough to obstruct the bore of it. If the instructions for preparing the pipe are not carried out as detailed, the wiper will experience some trouble that he may find hard to overcome.

Supporting.—The run can be supported on bricks. The branch can be supported on a brick placed at its end the same height as the run. This will bring the joint in the correct flat position. The branch should point away from the wiper. Solder straps can now be poured over the ends of each pipe. If weights are used to hold the pipe firm instead of solder straps, they should be so placed that they will not interfere with the hands when wiping.

Wiping.—The wiping of this joint is more difficult as the beginner will experience trouble in heating the bottom and keeping the solder on the bottom. Solder is dropped on the joint and along the pipe so as to bring the pipe to the proper wiping heat. Some solder will accumulate on top of the joint. This is melted off on the catch cloth and this hot solder held against the bottom of the joint. This operation is repeated until the bottom as well as the top of the joint is heated properly. When the solder can be worked freely around the pipe, the branch cloth is taken and each side is wiped from the bottom toward the top. Solder is accumulated on the top where it is wiped off on the catch cloth and put on the bottom of the joint. Now reach way around each side and wipe the edge and body of the joint, a wipe across the top completing the joint. The bottom can be wiped with a cross wipe also if desired. The top and the bottom should be identical. Notice carefully the drawing of this joint and endeavor to have the same lines. The perfecting of these joints comes only with patient practice. The beginner must not get discouraged because of a burn or two. As soon as confidence in oneself has been gained, the possibility of burning the fingers is entirely eliminated.


The materials, tools, and preparation for this joint placed in a vertical position are just the same, practically, as those in the preceding branch joints. One or two points wherein they differ are mentioned below. To rigidly support the joint for wiping, allow the run of the pipe to rest on some bricks as before mentioned, with the branch looking up. Now take a piece of wood and drive a nail through one end of it about 1 inch from the edge. Let this nail enter the bore of the vertical branch. The wood is allowed to rest on the back of the bench or is braced against the wall. Supporting the pipes in this way will allow the wiper perfect freedom. When wiping this joint, splash the solder on from the ladle as on the upright joint. As all the sides of this joint can be seen, it is not a difficult matter to make a perfectly symmetrical solder bulb. When the proper heat is gained, the top edge of the joint is wiped first, then the lower curved edge, using the branch cloth. The body of the joint is then wiped and the joint finished with a cross wipe, if necessary.


The next position for this joint is to have the branch pipe horizontal and the run vertical. The materials, tools and preparation for this joint are the same as for the preceding ones. The supporting and wiping differ a little.

Supporting.—One end of the run is placed on the catch pan. The other end is held in place the same way as the branch was held in the preceding joint. If the pictures of this joint are carefully looked over, the methods employed to hold the pipe will be readily noted. The branch is best held by inserting one end of a bending iron in the bore of the pipe and placing the other end of the iron on a brick built up to the right height. The iron should be weighted to keep the joint from swaying.

Wiping.—The solder is now dropped on the branch as in the round joint, and splashed on the vertical run as in the upright joint. Sufficient solder is put on the joint to keep the edges covered with hot solder. Solder is worked around the joint until all parts of it are thoroughly heated and the solder works easily, then all the edges are wiped clean. The top half is then wiped evenly and the bottom half wiped to match the top half. A cross wipe in front completes the joint. When this cross wipe is made on any joint, a thick edge of solder must not be left. The edge must be wiped clean. This joint should be wiped first with the branch pointing to the right and then with the branch pointing to the left. It will take the beginner some time to master these branch joints, for not only must they be wiped symmetrically for the sake of appearances, but they must be wiped while the solder is hot to secure a tight joint. A joint that is wiped with solder that is too cold will be porous and will leak when put under pressure. With care the same pipe can be used throughout for all the positions of this branch joint.


Upon the completion of the small sized branch joint in its various angles, the 11⁄2-inch branch joint is to be wiped. This branch joint is wiped in the same positions as the 5⁄8 branch was wiped. The pipe being larger, there is more solder for the wiper to handle, and the edges to keep clean and to wipe are longer.

Materials Needed.—The materials needed for this job are 12 inches of 11⁄2-inch light lead pipe for the run, and 6 inches of 11⁄2-inch pipe for the branch, paste, paper, solder, and catch pan.

Tools Needed.—The tools necessary for this job are the saw, rasp, shave hook, bending irons, drift plug, hammer, ladle, wiping cloths, and tap borer.

Preparation.—To an experienced wiper, the procedure of preparing this joint and wiping it are so near like the 5⁄8-branch joint that a detailed description would be unnecessary; but for the benefit of the beginner, I will repeat the details as they apply to this particular joint and thereby avoid any error. We will take the preparation of the run first. Square the two ends of the pipe with the rasp. Mark off the center of the pipe. With the round part of the rasp, held at right angles with the pipe, proceed to rasp down the crown of pipe where the center mark was made. Do not rasp through the wall of the pipe, but just enough so that the tap borer will enter the pipe with only a slight pressure. With the tap borer, tap a hole large enough for the bending irons to enter. Now proceed to enlarge the hole, first forcing the edges up and then forcing them back, making the hole larger and making a collar around the hole at the same time. Continue to open the pipe until the aperture is large enough for the branch pipe to enter. The bending irons must not come into contact with the inside wall of the pipe, for if they do the inside bore will be marred and be very ragged. As these joints are usually used on waste lines, these ragged places make an ideal place for lint and grease to collect and cause a stoppage. To make the inside of the hole even, a piece of 1⁄2-inch pipe can be used in place of the bending irons. To cut out the oval from a piece of paper to fit the joint, fold the paper and cut out one-half of the oval. Now unfold the paper and the complete oval is obtained. The measurements of the oval are taken from Fig. 30, 11⁄8 inches each side of the branch lengthwise of the run. These two lines are connected with a curved line as shown. This curved line can be made with the shave hook. Take the large edge of the shave hook and roll it along between the lines to be joined. A little practice will perfect one in doing this quickly. The beginner should make a number of these ovals so that he can get them perfect. The graceful appearance of this joint depends upon the neatness with which it is prepared. I do not want the beginner to think that a graceful shape of the joint is all that is to be desired or that it is the most essential point. Further along, perhaps, more vital requirements will be brought out and the beginner will be made acquainted with them.

The ends of the 6-inch piece are now squared with the rasp. The edges of one end are rasped off as shown in the sketch, making a wedged fit into the run. This end is then cleaned with the shave hook. Paper is then pasted on to cover the pipe except the 11⁄8 inches cleaned on the end. This cleaned part forms part of the joint, therefore no paste or paper must be put on it. The pipe is now fitted into the run and the collar beaten against it with the bending irons. The run is now cleaned with the shave hook for about 3 inches each side of the center. The paper oval cut out is now pasted on the joint. The paste and paper are then allowed to dry before they are handled further.

Supporting.—The supporting of this joint, which is placed with the branch on an angle of 45° pointing away from the wiper, is not a difficult matter. The beginner can use his own ingenuity for supporting the pipe if conditions do not warrant the using of the methods previously described.

Wiping.—The solder should now be tested for heat. If the solder is at the proper heat, the ladle is taken and heated. Take a ladle full of solder and drop the solder on the joint. The lead of which this branch joint is made is considerably lighter than any lead that has been used before. Therefore, the beginner must drop the solder on carefully, making sure that the solder is not dropped on the same spot, for a hole can be burned through the pipe very quickly. The ladle must be kept moving, then the solder will not burn through the pipe. The heat is got up on the pipe by dropping the solder on the run and on the branch, catching the surplus solder on the catch cloth and heating the under side of the joint with it. To form the joint, distribute the solder and then wipe it into shape. Notice that I said wipe it into shape. A beginner is very apt to try to push or poke it into shape. This must not be done as it has a tendency to make the joint lumpy. All the edges are wiped off clean first, then the body of the joint is shaped and wiped. When forming the joint, be sure that the bottom and the top are symmetrical. Do not have one-half larger than the other. The last wiping strokes are made swiftly and rapidly. If the wiper will watch his movements and note the results and then try to improve them, keeping in mind that a symmetrical joint is wanted with thin edges, perfection in wiping will come much more quickly than if no attention is paid to the strokes made when wiping.


The materials required for this joint do not differ from the preceding one. If the pipe used for the branch joint at a 45° angle is in good shape, it can be used for this joint by simply changing positions. The tools needed will not be any different. The ladle and the wiping cloths, of course will be required. A pair of pliers can be used to advantage in picking up the hot solder. The wiping cloths should receive a little more oil to keep them soft and pliable. Oil the edges of the cloths well.

Supporting.—To support this pipe for wiping have each end rest on a brick. Each end can be weighted to hold it in place.

Wiping.—To wipe this joint, proceed to drop the solder on the joint. When the pipe is thoroughly heated and the solder works freely around the pipe the joint can be wiped. The procedure is like the preceding one. The wiper is cautioned to move the ladle constantly while dropping the solder.


After a number of the previous joints have been wiped successfully, the pipe is placed in such a position that the branch will be vertical. The supporting of the pipe to hold the joint in this position for wiping is very easily done after handling the 5⁄8-in. joint in this position. The following points may be found helpful: The solder is splashed on the joint from the ladle. The top edge of the joint is kept hot by keeping the solder covering it. When the proper heat has been got up, the top edge is wiped first, then the bottom edges both front and back. The body of the joint is wiped last and a cross wipe finishes the joint. I have found that the beginner in many cases, when this joint is reached, tries to wipe it with many short strokes. The habit is a bad one and should be stopped as soon as noticed. Learn to wipe the top edge with only two strokes, the bottom edge with not more than four, the body of the joint with four, and one cross wipe to finish. This joint should be finished as symmetrically as possible and wiped while the solder is hot.


When the vertical branch has been conquered and the wiper can get a good joint every time it is tried, the pipe can be changed to a different position. The run is placed in a vertical position and the branch horizontally to the left. The catch pan is put under the end of the pipe. Follow the same directions for supporting this joint as were given under the 5⁄8-in. branch placed in a similar position. The wiping of this joint is so nearly like the preceding branch joints that I will not give any instructions at all. This joint is finished at the same point that the other branch joints are finished. However, there are one or two matters that should be kept in mind. Some of the small matters are often overlooked and should be called to mind occasionally. Do not allow the solder to accumulate in the pan. If the cloths are burned, they should be turned, or new ones made. If the paper has started to come off from the pipe, new paper should be put on at once. Test the solder occasionally and see that it does not get too hot. Upon completion of the joint in this position, the branch joint in its various positions is finished. The beginner has found out while wiping these various joints a number of points that were not mentioned in my description. No amount of detailed description will make a good joint wiper. Patience and practice are as important in joint wiping as good preparation and good solder.

Points to Remember.

  1. First, materials—18 inches of 11⁄2-in. lead pipe.

  2. Second, use of tools.

  3. Third, keep bending irons away from the wall of the pipe.

  4. Fourth, make a good collar around the opening.

  5. Fifth, make a tight fit with branch and run.

  6. Sixth, hot solder will quickly burn through the lead.

  7. Seventh, use branch cloth for wiping.

  8. Eighth, cut out paper for joint even and symmetrical.


This joint is another brass to lead, and is the last single joint to be wiped in this course of joint wiping.

Materials Needed.—The materials required for this joint are as follows: 10 inches of 5⁄8-inch extra strong lead pipe; one 1⁄2-inch brass sink bib for lead pipe; one pot of solder, paste and paper, 1⁄2 and 1⁄2 solder,

catch pan, and supports.

Fig. 31. Fig. 31.

Tools Required.—The tools required for this job are the saw, rasp, tap borer, bending irons, file, ladle, wiping cloths, shave hook, knife and rule, soldering iron.

Preparation.—To prepare the lead pipe after cutting from the coil and squaring the ends with the rasp is very similar to the 5⁄8-inch branch joint. The center of the pipe is marked and a hole is made in it with the tap borer large enough to admit the bending irons. The hole is enlarged with the irons. A good substantial collar is made around the hole to hold the bib in place. One and one-eighth inches are marked off on each side of the branch and an easy curve connects the two. The paper is then cut out and pasted on the pipe after it has been scraped with the shave hook.

Fig. 32.--Bib. Fig. 32.—Bib.

The end of the brass bib is filed bright and tinned with the soldering iron and 1⁄2 and 1⁄2 solder. Before the tinning is done, paper is put on the brass, leaving only 11⁄8 inches exposed. The tinning must be thoroughly done, or it will come off and have to be re-tinned.

Supporting.—The bib is fitted into the lead opening and the collar is forced against the bib to hold it in place and prevent any solder from leaking through into the bore of the pipe. The bib must not extend too far into the lead pipe or it will obstruct the flow of water. The lead pipe is laid on two bricks the same as the round joint. The bib is laid on an angle of 45° pointing away from the wiper. Some bricks can be piled up to the right height to hold the bib in place and a solder strap can be made to hold it steady. The lead pipe can be held steady by weighting each end. The catch pan is now placed under the joint and everything is ready for wiping.

Wiping.—When the solder is hot, getting the heat on the pipe is started. Solder should be dropped oftener on the brass bib than on the lead pipe. It takes more heat to heat the brass thoroughly than it does the lead. If this is followed out, little difficulty will be had in getting up the heat and in wiping. Use the branch cloth for wiping and make sure that all edges are perfectly cleaned before making the final strokes. As this is the only position that the joint will be wiped in, practice should be continued until perfect joints can be obtained.

Points to Remember.

  1. First, materials needed.

  2. Second, tools needed.

  3. Third, use tap borer.

  4. Fourth, enlarge hole with bending irons.

  5. Fifth, make substantial collar around the opening.

  6. Sixth, paper the lead.

  7. Seventh, file the bib, then paper.

  8. Eighth, tin the bib.

  9. Ninth, place in position and wipe.


The making of the drum trap will bring out the skill of the beginner. The entire trap is made of lead pipe. The lead will require a great deal of handling. Therefore, care must be exercised in all operations to turn the trap out in a workmanlike manner.

Materials Needed.—The materials needed to complete this job are: 10 inches of 4-inch 8-pound lead pipe; 18 inches of 11⁄2-inch light lead pipe; paste and paper, support, solder, and catch pan.

Tools Needed.—The tools required for this job are: saw, rasp, bending irons, shave hook, bending spring, tap borer, dresser, ladle, drift plug, and wiping cloths.

Fig. 33.--Drum trap. Fig. 33.—Drum trap.

Preparing.—Take the 10-inch piece of lead pipe and hold it in one hand, in the other hand take a pine dresser. Strike the lead pipe with the dresser. The pipe is struck about 2 inches from the end and is beaten evenly all around. The pipe is then struck nearer the end until finally the bore of the pipe is almost closed. This closed end should be rounding and symmetrical. To get this shape the pipe must be continually moved and turned. One side must not be forced in more than the other. If there are any dents in the pipe or part of the pipe is forced in too much it may be driven out as follows: Take an old piece of 1⁄2-inch lead pipe and round one end of it with a hammer; this can be used by hitting the inside of the closed end of the drum and forcing out the dents. The rounded end of the trap is not quite closed and a hole about 3⁄4 inch is left. This opening is closed by shaping the edges of it with the knife, making them smooth and beveled. Then a piece of lead is cut out of some scrap, the same shape as the hole and fitted into it. The top surface of this fitted piece should be a little lower than the surface of the pipe. Strike a circle, using the compasses, the center of the circle being the center of the inserted piece of lead. The lead inside of this circle is shaved clean with the shave hook, including the inserted piece. Paper is then pasted outside of the circle and should cover entirely the rest of the pipe. The inserted piece is wiped on the pipe as follows:

Wiping End.—Stand the 4-in. pipe in a pan with the rounded end of the pipe up. Be sure that the inserted piece is fitted securely. The solder is now dropped on the paper and shaved portion of the pipe. Exercise considerable care not to burn a hole in the pipe. As the hot solder runs off, catch some of it and draw it back on the joint. When the solder can be manipulated freely and the pipe is hot, the joint can be wiped. The cloth is drawn across the joint, cleaning all the edges with one stroke. The joint should be shaped to complete the rounding surface of the pipe. The joint is comparatively easy and will not occupy much time. As soon as it is wiped, cover the solder with paper. This will preserve the freshness of the joint until all wiping is completed.


After the above joint is completed, the 11⁄2-in. branch inlet pipe is prepared and wiped in place. The center of this branch is marked on the 4-inch pipe and a hole is tapped in the pipe, using the tap borer. A hole large enough to admit the bending irons is made. The hole is enlarged with the bending irons, bending the lead first up, then back. A piece of 1⁄2-inch iron pipe can be used as a tool to finish the opening. The iron pipe is larger in diameter than the bending irons and leaves a more finished surface. The opening is made of sufficient size to admit the rasped end of the 11⁄2-inch pipe. When using the irons to enlarge the opening in the pipe, be sure not to bruise any part of the trap. The 11⁄2-inch pipe is now taken. The ends of this pipe are squared with the rasp. The drift plug is then driven through the pipe to take out any bruises or flattened places. The edge of one end is rasped off to fit the opening made in the 4-inch pipe. The beginner must strive to make a perfect fit. The accuracy with which these preparations are made is what helps in a large degree to bring about a successful job. The next operation is to paper the parts not to be wiped. The sizes of the joint should be followed as shown on the sketch. The pipe is first shaved with the shave hook, after which the paper is pasted on. No paste is allowed to get on the joint proper. The beginner should by this time have formed the habit of being neat with his work. Therefore the getting of paste on the joint surface shows that he is not as neat or as far advanced as he should be.

Supporting.—The drum is laid lengthwise on the bench and blocks are put on each side to keep it from rolling, the branch uppermost. The 11⁄2-inch pipe is held in position the same way as the vertical branch was held. The catch pan is put under the drum to catch the surplus solder.

Wiping.—Splash the solder on the branch pipe, also on the drum. The burning through of the drum is an easy matter. Therefore do not keep dropping the solder on one place, but keep the ladle moving continually. With the catch cloth draw the solder up on the branch covering the top edge of the prepared surface. Splashing the solder on this top edge melts the solder already on and allows it to run down on the 4-inch pipe where it is caught with the cloth and again brought up on the top edge of the branch. When the solder works freely all around the joint, the top edge is wiped clean and even. Then any surplus solder is wiped off. The bottom edge is next wiped clean, after which the body of the joint is wiped into shape, together with both edges. The edges are wiped very thin so that when the paper is removed the outline of the joint stands out very distinctly. A thick edge on a joint gives an unworkmanlike appearance to the work. The joint is finished with a cross wipe.

The other joints are prepared and wiped the same as the one just completed. The 11⁄2-inch branch connection taken out of the bottom of the trap is bent. As this is the first time it has been necessary to bend lead pipe in these jobs, I will cover this operation in detail. The pipe is first straightened and the drift plug driven through it. The pipe is marked where the bend is to be made. The bending spring, size 11⁄2 inches, is put into the pipe, the center of the spring coming about where the bend is to be made. The pipe is then heated where it was marked to be bent. The proper heat for this pipe is just so that the hand cannot stand being laid against it. The pipe is held in the hands and on the end nearest the heat is hit against the floor at an angle. The pipe, with the first blow, will start to bend. With a few more strokes the desired bend will be obtained. The bending spring can now be pulled out. Put a little water in the pipe, then put one end of the spring in the vise, twist the pipe, and the spring will come out when the pipe is pulled away from it. The bending spring holds the pipe cylindrical while it is being bent. Without the spring, the pipe would be badly crushed at the bend and rendered almost unfit for service. Another good way to bend pipe is to plug one end and fill the pipe full of sand, then plug the open end. The pipe is then heated where the bend is to be made. The pipe can then be bent over the knee. When all the joints are wiped, the paper should be taken off and the lead cleaned with sand and water. The trap is now complete except the brass clean-out to be soldered on the top. The inside of the trap should not have any rough edges or drops of solder in it.

Fig. 34.--Drum trap. Fig. 34.—Drum trap.

There are two other drum traps to be made. The materials needed are the same as for the above trap except for 18 inches more of 11⁄2-inch lead pipe. The support, preparation, and wiping are the same. The beginner by this time should feel very well acquainted with lead and solder. Therefore, the details of these two drum traps can be left for the beginner to work out for himself. The sketches are very distinct and readable and will be of considerable assistance. The beginner should make these traps.

Points to be Remembered.

  1. First, use 4-inch lead pipe, 8 pounds to the foot.

  2. Second, dresser and spring are new tools. Study their use.

  3. Third, gradually work the trap into shape with the dresser.

  4. Fourth, plug the hole with a piece of lead pipe.

  5. Fifth, prepare and wipe the plugged hole first.

  6. Sixth, prepare and wipe the 11⁄2-inch branches.

  7. Seventh, special care should be taken to keep the work neat.

  8. Eighth, two ways of using the bending spring.

  9. Ninth, wipe thin edges on joints.

  10. Tenth, do not handle finished work.

  11. Eleventh, clean and finish the work neatly.


In the foregoing exercises, I have confined myself to the actual work of making the various joints. Now I will explain the practical use of them.

Soldering Iron.—The soldering iron is a tool that is used in work that requires heat to fuse solder and the parts to be united. Every plumber should have at least two irons in his kit.

The Cup Joint.—While the cup joint is not employed to any great extent in modern plumbing, yet it has its use in the installation of some fixtures. Lavatories, bath and toilets are sometimes connected with a short piece of lead on the supply. The tail pieces on the faucets can be soldered on the lead by means of a cup joint. A cup joint well made with a deep cup and the solder well fused is as strong as a wiped joint in a place of this kind. The evil of the cup joint is that some mechanics will only fuse the surface and leave the deep cup only filled with solder and not fused. This makes a tight joint, but extremely weak. On tin-lined pipe and block-tin pipe the cup joint is commonly used. When making a cup joint on block-tin pipe the soldering iron must not touch the pipe and fine solder should be used. When tin-lined pipe is being soldered, the tin lining must not be melted.

Overcast Joint.—The overcast joint is not commonly used, but when there is considerable lead work to do the plumber finds it very handy in places where a wiped joint would take up too much room. We use it for an exercise for the reason that it teaches the beginner very rapidly the use and control of the soldering iron.

Flat Seams.—These seams are used in the construction of roof flashers, tanks (Sec. 33, Chapter XVIII) and lead safe wastes (Sec. 27, plumbing code). A hatchet iron is sometimes used on these seams.

Wiping Cloths.—The wiping cloths made of whalebone ticking make good, serviceable, and lasting cloths. Oil only should be used to break the cloth in. Moleskin cloths are very good, but they are very hard to get and cost considerably more. A plumber should always keep a good supply of ticking cloths on hand. The cloths are used only for wiping.

1⁄2-inch Round Joint.—This joint is the one most often required in actual practice. It serves to connect two pieces of lead pipe of the same or different diameters. It is also used to connect lead and other materials of which pipe is made. The workman, when he gets out on the job, finds that his work cannot be supported for wiping in such an easy and convenient position as illustrated in the exercises. It will be necessary to wipe the joint at almost every conceivable angle and position. The workman must employ his ingenuity to overcome any difficulties that may arise. Any draught of air should be avoided as it will make the solder cool quickly.

2-inch Brass Ferrule.—When it is found necessary to connect cast-iron and lead pipe, it is done by means of a brass ferrule wiped on the lead pipe. This joint is a very common joint and is found on sink, tray, and bath connections, as well as in many other connections that have lead and cast-iron pipes for wastes.

4-inch Brass Ferrule.—The 4-inch brass ferrule wiped on lead pipe is found under almost every closet. There is generally a piece of lead connecting the toilet with the soil pipe. Therefore, a brass ferrule is wiped on the lead and the ferrule connected with the soil pipe. This joint is also found on rain leader connections near the roof, connecting the gutter with the rain leader stack.

Stop Cock.—When a shut-off is required in a line of lead water pipe, these joints are used. Where it is necessary to joint lead and brass, this joint is required. The art of heat control over the lead and the brass is the essential point in these joints.

Branch Joints 5⁄8 and 1⁄2 Inches.—Where it is found necessary to take a branch from a water pipe, this joint is used at the connection. In practice, this joint may have to be wiped in positions that are rather difficult to reach, so the wiping of joints in the positions called for in the exercises is exceedingly good practice.

Branch Joints 1½ Inches.—These joints are very common and are found on waste and vent pipes. They are also found on urinal flush-pipe connections where the branch often is brass and the run lead.

Bib.—When lead supplies are run directly to the bib on a sink, this joint is necessary. It becomes necessary to wipe in a piece of brass for a brass-pipe connection from a lead pipe, in which case this joint is called for.

The Drum Trap.—The drum trap is used under sinks, baths, showers, and trays.

Next: Laying Terra-cotta And Making Connections To Public Sewers. Water Connections

Previous: Preparing And Wiping Joints

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