A method is described for making electrical contacts to metallic materials which, because of their hardness and reactivity, can be very difficult to attach leads to using other techniques. These metals, including some of the heavy fermion materials, form inert and tightly bonded oxide layers which hinder the use of ordinary soldering methods. It has been found that a simple modification to an ordinary soldering iron, involving the replacement of the standard copper tip with one made of tungsten carbide, enables these oxide layers to be penetrated and electrical contact to be made without the use of flux. The size of the resulting contacts can be very small and their electrical resistance very low. Other, less viable, techniques for making contacts are also discussed, and a means of holding samples in place during soldering is described. © 1995 American Institute of Physics.