My soldering skills have improved with each successive joint and splice, so anyone undertaking a project like this might want to practice--I wish I had!
Here are a few insights and tips:
- Clean and prep everything on the joint or splice you are about to solder. Emery boards, needle files, and wire brushes are useful for this essential task.
- Use alligator clips and self-closing tweezers to positing everything BEFORE applying heat and solder.
- Position alligator clips and self-closing tweezers as heat sinks to protect nearby solder joints and to focus heat on the joint you are working on.
- A good soldering iron is worth the extra money. I'm using a Weller WPS18MP High-Performance Soldering Iron (got mine at Amazon), which was worth the money and the slight wait. Its ergonomic grip also keeps the hot tip from touching surfaces on which it is resting, and it uses a wall-wart power supply, which keeps that grip light. An on/off switch and ready light are also extremely handy and useful. There's also a an LED light that illuminates the tip.
And still no burned fingers!