Best Soldering Vice/extra hand


Nov 18, 2009
Pacific NW, USA
Omg! I would LOVE to visit in person. We used to have a similar place called Wacky Willys here in pdx just not as well run
I miss Wacky Willys.... got a lot of cool stuff there. But once, sadly, while buying some vintage desks for "How to Succeed" - someone stole one of the vintage desks off the truck while we were loading them....
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Well-Known Member
Apr 26, 2009
Dallas / Fort Worth, Texas
The need for six hands always seems to come up, however, my experience has been that if the connector is mounted in a dummy socket as suggested by MNicolai, then you fill the solder cup (one hand for the iron, one hand to feed the solder), then as a part of prepping the cable (stripping, sliding heat shrink tubing over the leads, etc.) you tin each lead that will eventually go into a solder cup (one hand for the iron, one hand to feed the solder -- the cable is just overhanging the workbench with a slightly heavy object (a small sand bag works well) resting on it so it doesn't move around).

Then when you get ready to actually solder the wire to the connector you are only holding a soldering iron in one hand to heat-up the solder cup, and the cable body in the other hand. If you need to go back and add a dab of solder, you have probably under-filed the solder cup and/or under-tinned the wire. Practice. Lots of practice. And maybe a pair of needle-nose pliers for that stubborn wire.

Oh, and get a vapor sucker to keep those fumes out of your lungs, and a good aim-able LED work light with a glare shield (light your work, not your eyes !) so you have a 100 fc of light on your task without baking you. Light is your friend. Especially if you are in the middle of a job site on not at a work bench.

If you normally wear (or think you should wear) reading glasses to work at a computer screen or read books, then make sure you have them with you and wear them when you are soldering. It is the same type of detailed task. Don't fry your eyes straining to focus on your work point.

Side Tip: ALWAYS use a drop cloth under your work area, be it in the shop or at the job site. NOBODY wants to clean-up spattered solder blobs, wire jacket strippings, and the fine, hair-like particles of 36 gauge copper strands off the floor and out of the carpet (especially out of the carpet !). A few minutes to use a drop cloth can save hours of clean-up time. TIME = $$$.

Last point: Don't grab the hot end of the soldering iron ! o_O