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knife care experience

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by James T Thomas, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. James T Thomas

    James T Thomas Well-Known Member

    Today I did some cutting of meat for my little dog Mariah with my old Browning fixed blade knife.
    I washed the grease off the blade, and realized that some of the water was on the blade at the junction where it enters the brass guard. The clearance there is quite small, perhaps 1/64 of an inch between the blade and the guard. A small seam or crack, if you will.

    The bade is carbon steel but has a chrome plate on it. The shank may be unplated for all I know.
    My concern is that water will enter there and begin rust.
    So, now I am thinking: Should I place the knife out in the sunlight for a few hours to warm and evaporate any enclosed water, and then seal that opening with varnish? Sort of like you would seal a window frame with a bead of caulk.

    Might I just be sealing in moisture for corrosion?
    The handle is a beautiful walnut wood, with a varnish coat, that has some internal moisture within it, I'm sure.

    Or should I leave the seam open to "breathe," and just take care when cleaning the knife?
  2. Old Grump

    Old Grump Well-Known Member

    Not in the sun

    air hose if you have one or on a rack in the oven set to warm, actually pilot light if the oven is old is sufficient, then oil it with something like olive oil if you use it for food cutting.

    Sun will do bad things to your nice looking finish and the wood underneath
  3. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus


    Once you've gotten the moisture out (oven, low heat, or whatever), and the knife is clean and dry, you can seal that small gap.

    One guy I know is very fond of the plain vanilla Mora (Swedish) with wooden handles. The handles are good wood and well treated/seasoned, but the fit at the ferrule (where the blade enters the handle) is often gapped. His solution is to carefully fill the gap with epoxy (although he told me he's also used hot glue).

    Once it's properly sealed, the whole hidden rust and/or bacteria thing goes away.
  4. CWL

    CWL Well-Known Member

    I've used gap-filling superglue to do the same thing. There's one called "zap-a-gap" that's specifically designed to fill cracks.
  5. sm

    sm member

    How are you with Soft Solder and Flux?

    Running a bead of soft solder is a consideration.
  6. James T Thomas

    James T Thomas Well-Known Member


    I don't know SM.

    I have soldered -plumbing and from what I learned doing that, I would expect the solder to adhere to the brass guard, but perhaps not to the chrome plate that is on the blade.

    You know more about this than I do, but I would be concerned about haveing the applied heat effect the temper of the blade. This is what I mean: the soldering I have done; not the electronic kind, but pipes, required input of considerable heat to "wet" the solder into staying upon the surface, or as I called it "adhering." And too, I think the shank may be epoxied in the handle and that the heat would effect this too.

    As you can tell, I want to go about this judiciously and not do any damage or mar that beautiful walnut handle.
  7. sm

    sm member

    Mr. Thomas,

    I can appreciate your concerns and respect your honesty in not being comfortable.
    I know you would treat me the same way, and I would want you to treat me as such.

    There are some very good "adhesives" on the market today.

    Back in the day, an old trick that still works , it to apply graphite from a No. 2 lead pencil to keep solder from going where one did not want it to go.

    Just draw a border, to keep lead out. Like repels , opposites attract. *smile*

    Plumbing solders, as you know, run different percent of compositions,and you know from experience, the temperatures vary.

    Remember low temperature Bismuth Solder flows?
    Some knife folks and similar craftsman use it.

    Another old time trick was using Plaster of Paris, which is what some of the old hollow handled knives used to keep tangs secure.

    My advice?

    I will only use 24 hour, or 5 minute Epoxy that the two components, (hardener, resin) comes in a metal tube, metal jar, or glass jar.

    I will not use epoxy from a plastic container and especially from a syringe dispenser.

    Still, the epoxy applied correctly to a properly applied surface, will resist moisture, including many chemicals.

    Mr. Thomas, feel free to PM me, in regard to epoxy tips I use.

    I just don't want folks messing something up.

  8. Jason_G

    Jason_G Well-Known Member

    A good epoxy or solder. You can dry the blade out with compressed air, then fill the cracks. On the knives I make, I usually solder the blade and guard together, but obviously this isn't done on most commercial knives. If you don't want to do the solder thing, you can do the epoxy with the exact same end result. I think the solder looks better though.

  9. Tom Krein

    Tom Krein Well-Known Member

    I would recommend a hair drier set on low to dry the knife up. DON'T over do it. Simply warm the blade up and then let it air dry.

    How to keep moisture out...???

    First I would recommend AGAINST low temperature silver solder. It sounds like you don't want to mess up the handle and I am going to assume you don't have the inclination to remove and then replace the handle.

    I silver solder the guards on my hidden tang knives. I feel this not only looks better, but it totally seals the blade/guard junction. It really needs to be done prior to putting the handle on and odds are you will need to refinish the blade a little. You also run the risk of getting the blade to hot and affecting the temper/heat treatment.

    That leaves glues. If the gap is fairly small you can use super glue. If it is a bit bigger you can use some epoxy. A little goes a long way. If you don't get enough you can always apply a little more.

    Good luck!

  10. James T Thomas

    James T Thomas Well-Known Member

    way to go

    After reviewing your posts, I may go with one of the epoxies.

    Thank you all just the same. All the posts have good info which I will keep in mind; especially the recommendations about epoxies that come in glass or metal containers vs. foil envelopes, using a hair dryer -why didn't I think of that?

    I'm not familiar with low temperature Bi solder, though I know of something similar being used in fire estinguisher valves.

    And the correct solder would give a better appearance, but the seam is very minor. I think I can smoosh or press in an epoxy; better than s.glue, and then strake or smooth it like you would a mortar joint.

    Thanks too Tom for the experienced info about this being done usually during assembly and not after, and the chance of some slight marring, etc.

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