How to Use Silver Solder in Knife Making

Silver solder is often used to attach the hilt or guard to a knife or blade. Working with silver solder is much like working with resin-core solder in an electrical circuit, but care must be taken not to overheat or destroy the integrity of the silver solder.

Knowing how to work with solder in making knives will allow you to repair broken guards, install a new hilt, or build a knife from parts.

Things You'll Need - silver solder, flux, soldering iron, acetone, cotton towel, metal pick, soldering brush.

  1. Thoroughly clean the blade and guard using acetone. Rinse with hot water, and wipe dry using a clean cotton towel. Do not touch any areas to be soldered with your bare hands. This will leave oils and residues that could affect the integrity of the solder joint.
  2. Apply flux around the blade where you will install the guard. Do the same to the inside of the guard. The flux will help provide a clean surface for the solder to bond with.
  3. Wrap the blade of the knife with a damp towel. This will keep the heat from the soldering iron from spreading over the blade and damaging it.
  4. Fit the guard to the blade, and use a soldering iron to apply heat to the joint to prepare the area for solder.
  5. Apply solder to the top of the heated joint. You do not need to apply heat directly with the soldering iron; the solder should melt from the heat you applied earlier. Silver solder is actually mostly tin with a bit of silver mixed in. It is rated from soft to hard depending on how much silver is in the solder. The less silver, the easier it is to melt the solder.
  6. Use a metal pick coated in flux to spread the melted solder evenly around the joint. Remove excess solder with a brush when still melted.
  7. Allow the joint to cool, and inspect the solder. Touch up any weak points by applying heat, and spread a bit of additional solder with your metal pick.

Tips and Warnings!

  • If the solder turns black, you have overheated it. Brush it off before it cools, and start with fresh solder.
  • Soldering produces toxic fumes. Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area, and do not inhale the fumes directly.

(Article courtesy of eHow.com)

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