I need a brazing hearth and after look around at what I could buy I settled on making one.
The core of this build is fire bricks for a wood stove. You can buy sheets of Vermiculite online, but I saw these on ebay and after a rough sketch with regards to size they looked just the job.
Vermiculite Villager Stove fire bricks 9″x4.5″x1″(230mmx114mmx25mm)
The fire bricks were roughly £25 for 10off which is enough to make 2 brazing hearths.
I decided to use long woodscrews to fix the bricks together.
I′m a tad worried that the screws will get hot and expand, this may move the bricks apart, but this is a try and see.
The bricks are a bit lick very soft chipboard in texture and have a tendency to flake, this means you do have to be careful drilling and tightening screws.
Checking screw diameter to then drill hole same size as the core of the screw. As you can see from this measurement the core of the screws are just over 3mm in diameter.
I pre-drilled the holes with a 3mm drill bit to try and mitigate any tendency for the screw to split the vermiculite.
Deep threaded woodscrews go into the fire bricks really well and you can tighten the screws and they appear to get a good purchase.
2 screws in each corner.
I countersunk eack screw using a normal countersink bit that you would use for wood.
I trimmed one of the bricks down and used this part at the top of the hearth as a trap for when I need to get a lot more heat into the work piece. I used my Record BS250 bandsaw for this with a fine wide blade – probably better to use a bit coarser blade to clear material away as the blocks are quite soft.
The base is raised 1 brick thickness high, I did this to give strength and to allow air to circulate underneath, might be a problem with large or heavy parts – will see how this works over time.
The design gives a good working area and uses standard blocks. One trimmed down block is used, but you could ignore this and just go for a straight simple design.
When making this you just need to take some time and carefully mark and drill the holes. The blocks are soft and will not take too much force before they start to crumble.
Nice and simple design with a fire brick each side, the rear brick goes between the sides and is fixed to the sides with 4 screws.
This view allows you to clearly see the screws holding the base bricks.
The result is rather cool, now need to see how well it performs over the next couple of months and will let you know.
The hearth works really well for silver soldering parts – here you can see me using it to braze phosphor bronze bushes into steel bearing blocks.
I arranged the parts towards the back of the hearth to take advantage of the overhang to concentrate the heat and reflect anything back into the workpiece – this saves a lot of gas and time and allows me to work with what is otherwise just a small portable torch and gas cylinder all-in-one.
The bricks themselves do get warm and so best to place the hearth on an old piece of board rather than directly on a nice workbench. The screws holding the blocks together get very hot and so allow the hearth to cool down before moving it as the heat from the screws is likely to burn.
Price: approx £25 – you can make two hearths for this price.
This really worked well for a couple of silver soldering jobs. The overhang area is essential to help concentrate the heat and has allowed me to silver solder a 2″ diameter piece of mild steel roughly 1/2″ long with a portable torch and integrated gas canister.
Cheap to build, roughly £12.50 per hearth plus a few woodscrews.