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Farnagus

Beginner Question about Solder

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Hello,

So, not too long ago, I became interested in starting making chain mail as a hobby, creating pieces for my use in a local LARP group, but was having troubles with the rings catching on stuff and pulling apart. I don't have access to tools to weld the rings closed, but I do have a good amount of solder I could use. I was wanting to ask, would the solder be safe for use?

Edited by Farnagus
Forgot to specify subject

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Safe? Yes, modern lead free solder would be safe enough to use, however, the composition of your rings is important. If you're using galvanized steel rings then you don't want to heat them, because you'll end up with the "zinc shakes" from zinc poisoning. Solder won't take on metals like aluminum.

You may just find it easier to use stronger metals (spring steel, stainless steel), or larger gauge rings. For example 3/8", 12 gauge aluminum rings look pretty beefy and resist pulling open better, over time, but butted ring mail is just plain going to need maintenance at some point anyway.

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Solder doesn't give structural help anyway in steel links.  In the special case of silver wire, making a jewelry piece, medium or hard silver solder does help for strength; silver is soft enough to need all the help it can get.

Riveted mail is tedious, taking four times as long to weave as butted, but the tools for it fit in the top tray of an ordinary tool box with room left over.  It's all cold-work.  Scour this site for tips on riveted mail and its fistful of tools.  They include a hammer or two, one big and one small, maybe, but don't feature two  pairs of pliers to open or close links.  Instead, they're snapped together like split-rings or key rings.

This is either for when  you're really motivated for high-performance mail that will resist a knife seriously, or else for when you want all the  bragging rights.

By 'heat' Rob means welding heat, which is enough to vaporize zinc, and breathing that can give you an almighty  headache.  Which goes away -- in about a day.

Edited by Konstantin the Red

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