I'd like to remove some old copper flashing to repair the rotting wood beneath it. My plan was to de-solder the old flashing joint (I'd like to reuse the flashing when done). So I bought a used copper hand iron and heated it for half an hour with a propane torch. Before hand I cleaned the joint with steel wood and ruby fluid. I also cleaned the iron and with ruby fluid before and after heating it and tinned the iron. But the hot iron didn't make a mark on the old solder.

Does anyone know how long I need to heat it to get it hot enough and how to tell when it's hot enough (glowing red?). Or is there another way to remove the flashing without destroying it? I'm concerned that using an angle grinder would be too delicate a job and there are some places it probably wouldn't fit.

1 Answer 1


Copper is good at taking heat away from the area you want to heat so I would heat the joint directly with the torch and as the solder melts separate the sheets.

Take care that you don't set the wood alight.

Perhaps consider just cutting the sheet off then looking at how you solder it back on after.

  • Will a hardware store propane torch be hot enough the melt the solder without holding it in place too long to be safe for the underlying/surrounding wood?
    – StepByStep
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 21:42
  • If you do the direct heat, see if you can get heat shields between the copper and the wood. Have a fire extinguisher and a plan. A helper with another fire extinguisher wouldn't be a bad idea. Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 0:40
  • a hot-air gun might be a slightly lower ignition risk than a propane flame. but if it does spark a fire it could fan the flame.
    – Jasen
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 3:04

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