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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 04-16-2013, 09:57 AM
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smithy smithy is offline
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Soldering a guard

The first rule of soldering is that cleanliness is absolutely necessary. Use soap & water first, followed by alcohol. The second rule of soldering is that the parts must fit together perfectly. Solder will not fill a gap. The third rule is that both pieces to be soldered must reach soldering temperature at the same time for the solder to flow. Solder will always follow the heat, so first heat the pieces together by directing your flame all around both pieces to get them hot together. When the solder melts, quickly direct the heat to where you want the solder to go. If you have applied the solder in snippets around the joint, bring your flame to the opposite side to draw the solder through the joint.

Some notes on "soft" soldering,ie lead based solder that melts at about 400 degrees F as opposed to "hard" soldering which is based on a silver or gold based solder which melts from 1050 degrees:

1. Do not use too much solder. If you are using soft solder, flatten the round solder wire flat and then "snip" off what you need. I use snippets of solder aprox. 2mm x 2mm when soft soldering. I use about 3 snippets per side.

2. If your flux turns brown or black, stop and clean it off and start over. The flux is shot and you will not get a good joint

3. When soldering, keep your torch moving about the joint continually or you will get hot spots where the solder will melt in a glob and not flow throughout the joint.

4. Be careful of the flux that comes with most soft solder. If you apply too much and it runs over your blade, a stain on the steel may happen. I use a Q-tip to remove any excess flux
from the joint.

5. DON'T TRY TO RUSH--it only causes problems.

I am really new to knifemaking and I have a question (not trying to hi-jack this thread). If anyone out there "hard" solders the blade and guard, do you do it before or after H/T? ...Teddy

Don't take life too seriously-----you'll never live through it.
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  #2  
Old 04-16-2013, 10:17 AM
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Eli Jensen Eli Jensen is offline
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The only time I have heard for doing that pre HT is David Boye's method of using say, brass fittings and brazing it on with brass brazing rod. Hard solder won't work because it will melt in the HT. It either has to have a higher melting temp than the HT, or lower than the temper. Anything in between will not work unless its done seperate the blade, such as on the pommel.

Btw I've heard a heat gun works really well for 400F solder, rather than a torch.
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  #3  
Old 04-16-2013, 10:37 AM
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It's best to use solders and fluxes suited to steels knifemakers' normally use.
I don't use solder anymore, JB weld does just as well if joints are tight and a lot less trouble.
As Eli said, not likely to find any solder that will stand up to the heats required for heattreating serious blade steel. Brass/silver brazing are even marginal at most HTng temps.
Good heat guns will work with the low temps like Sta-Brite. Not all "low" temp solders are lead based.


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  #4  
Old 04-16-2013, 12:42 PM
Imakethings Imakethings is offline
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Teddy,
I actually did that on the Kukri that I made for the guards, and I did it after HT and tempering.
My trick is to have a massive heat sink on the blade so you don't distemper it, a wet rag between a couple of 1/2 steel plates does the trick for me. If I'm going to fix a guard to a knife I'm going to either solder the guard, pins, or both to the blade, I don't want it wandering off on me.

Also, just to be contrary, you can fill in smaller gaps (1/8" at the MOST, and then it will look like butt) with solder.
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  #5  
Old 04-16-2013, 01:55 PM
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1/8" gaps with solder?! I need more convincing
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  #6  
Old 04-16-2013, 08:35 PM
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If you are relying on solder to keep your guard intact, you need to rethink your fitting procedure.
I'm with Eli, an 1/8" gap filled with solder would be difficult, but most important....why?


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  #7  
Old 04-16-2013, 08:47 PM
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I'm with Carl on this one. I prefer pinning, friction or pressure fits, or epoxy (usually in combination). Don't use solder much anymore. I 've had a few headaches with solder. I sometimes get oxidation around the joint. No matter how much I boil the blade in water and baking soda, scrub it with soap, rinse and dry in the oven - after a few weeks there are rust spots where the blade meets the solder joint. Electrolysis is another possible problem when soldering. Those soft solders contain lead, tin, antimony and other metals which are quite high on the galvanic scale meaning that they will cause steel to corrode in a "condusive' environment. Raw meat and some acidic vegetables are really bad for that. I never use any sort of solder on a knife which comes in contact with food. That lead oxide is a real b****h. Wiped out an entire civilization (Romans, that is...)


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Old 04-16-2013, 10:00 PM
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TexasJack TexasJack is offline
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Your point is well taken, Chris, but a technicality here: lead didn't wipe out the Roman civilization. That was a popular story often told, but it's just not true. Lead pipes didn't contribute enough lead to do any real damage. Some bodies analyzed showed extremely high lead while others didn't. Further research indicates that the wealthy Romans had a drink made from boiling down wine in shallow lead vessels until it became a syrup. That was then added to wine to make a thick, sweet drink. It was, unfortunately, sometimes given to babies to help with colic. The point of all this is that the tiny amount of lead in a guard solder joint is not going to poison your dinner.

Modern epoxy works so well - esp. combined with pinning - that soldering has really dropped off in popularity.


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Old 04-16-2013, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crex View Post
It's best to use solders and fluxes suited to steels knifemakers' normally use.
I don't use solder anymore, JB weld does just as well if joints are tight and a lot less trouble.
As Eli said, not likely to find any solder that will stand up to the heats required for heattreating serious blade steel. Brass/silver brazing are even marginal at most HTng temps.
Good heat guns will work with the low temps like Sta-Brite. Not all "low" temp solders are lead based.

I don't normally solder but I have tried it on occasion and not with good results! So my question is what solders and fluxes are best suited to steels knifemakers' normally use?

A link to such materials might be very usefu
l!

Crex, thanks for any info you can share on where to get the proper solder and flux and which solder and flux are best to use!!!!!!!!!


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With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down !
If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner!

C Craft
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:36 AM
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Haven't used solder in a long time, so probably get better advice from makers' that still do. I used Sta-Brite back when I did, but like Chris, found it a royal pain...when spots came up long after finishing the knife. There maybe new product out now that has resolved these issues.
Paying more attention to tight fits with good seal of epoxy solved this for me. My knives are constructed such that their handles have to be destroyed to remove the guard.

Your dad was a smart man.

(How's the fishing in your area?)


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  #11  
Old 04-17-2013, 07:25 AM
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Texas, it wasn't the lead pipes that killed them, it was the lead oxide they used in place of sugar or honey as a sweetener. It's a white, sweet powder easily manufactured and was therefore available year-round, and cheap. - At least that's what they taught us in culinary school... here in Canada lead-containing solder was prohibited for use on potable water pipes back in the nineties. You are right, it's unlikely that the lead in the solder on a knife would poison your dinner, but it's the perception.


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  #12  
Old 04-17-2013, 09:32 AM
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Eli Jensen Eli Jensen is offline
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I believe stay brite is lead free . . . .
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  #13  
Old 04-18-2013, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crex View Post
Haven't used solder in a long time, so probably get better advice from makers' that still do. I used Sta-Brite back when I did, but like Chris, found it a royal pain...when spots came up long after finishing the knife. There maybe new product out now that has resolved these issues.
Paying more attention to tight fits with good seal of epoxy solved this for me. My knives are constructed such that their handles have to be destroyed to remove the guard.

Your dad was a smart man.

(How's the fishing in your area?)
So Crex, what do you attribute the spots too??????


And thanks for the comment about my Dad. He has been gone for a while now but there isn't many days he is not in my mind one way or another!

Fishing is pretty good fresh and saltwater I don't do much of it anymore because you pretty much need some kind of a boat, and you know what they say about a boat. The two best times you have with a boat is when you first get and then when you get rid of it!!!!!!!


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C Craft Customs
With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down !
If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner!

C Craft
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  #14  
Old 04-18-2013, 08:48 PM
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ALways blamed it on the flux, but maybe Chris's explaination about galvanic corrosion is the cuprit.
Doesn't matter to me now as I don't solder guards. I do use soft, medium and hard silver solders for what little jewelery work I do from time to time. Much different ball game.

Yeah, miss my Dad a lot as well. Have had the opportunity and good fortune to talk to several WWII vets lately at a monthly local meeting my close friend set up at his bookstore - called The League of Honerable Gentlemen. Been a true blessing to hear these heros speak about their experinces. A couple served in the same theater and battles as my Dad.

If I get a working trailer up under my boat any time soon, I might give you a holler. I love fishing skinny salt.


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