A few weeks ago I saw this series of videos from Pace (makers of soldering irons) that show how to solder properly. I think most everyone has the right technique when it comes to soldering, but in that series they discuss what a good soldering joint should look like, sizes of tips vs. the size of what’s being soldered, type of tip vs. what’s being soldered, how to solder cables (gave me some good ideas), and some other things I can’t think of right now.
If like me you learned how to solder by picking up an iron and solder and putting things together, then I highly suggest you watch this. For instance, I always used conical tips, but they’re terrible as far as heat conduction goes! It’s a tip! It’s such a small surface area that is shared between the tip and work piece! Now I use a chisel tip (I use a Weller AC powered iron and I believe the tip is 3.17mm wide) and the difference between it and a conical tip is huge. Whatever I solder, I’m in and out within a minute. So yeah, it’s worth a watch.
The other thing I learned this week is that DeOxit should not be used to clean pots. It makes sense because it says on the can “switch and contact cleaner”, so you’d think I’d read that and think that maybe I shouldn’t use it on pots, but I have. I don’t want to blame it all on the guitar stores I worked in, but in both the other techs were using it on pots without hesitation. Still, I blame myself. Luckily, I haven’t noticed any trouble with anything I worked on, and I contacted someone whose guitar I worked on recently (and sprayed DeOxit in the pots) to ask if the pots are alright, and he said they are. Phew. Maybe I haven’t ruined a pot because I spray very little?
Anyway, it sounds like at best it’ll make the pot dirtier, and at worst it’ll ruin the resistive tracks. According to Greg Norman at Electrical Audio, it’s best to clean pots with what the manufacturer recommends for cleaning.