I've just bought this beautiful Bobby Steele Mastodon Ivory and damascus steel linerlock.
I would like this to be a user, but would like to know:
Can the damascus be hand polished to remove light scratching, and would the definition of the pattern be lost?
If it is lost, can the steel be re-etched in a home workshop?
Wondrous knife and I’m glad you plan on using it, I would also like to know the answer to your question, I also care a Damascus knife daily.
Edit to ask, Is yours stainless? mines not
Last edited by Will'em; 12-22-2002 at 01:56 PM.
If you polish out scratches you will remove some of the etch. If you want to replace the etch you would have to polish the whole blade and then re-etch it. If you only polish a small amount of the blade and then etch it again the area that you polished will still end up being lighter than the rest of the blade.
Also, make sure you find out how to etch the blade properly before you start. It is not difficult to do, but can most definitely be screwed up. This is a process that can be hard on steel if you leave the blade in the etching material for too long, or you do not neutralize the blade correctly after taking the blade out of the solution.
My recommendation is to use the knife and live with the scratches until you feel it is time to send the knife back for an overhaul. At that time get the maker to refurbish the blade.
Part of the answer lies in the type of steel and the depth of the original etch.
When I first bought damascus, I asked the maker, suggest you do the same.
I was told to use wax on L6/1095 100 twist damsacus, so I used Rennisance Wax with a little bit of steel wool for rust. The wax works pretty good, but if you use the knife, you need to reapply. I also used honing oil, that works as good as wax and needs to be reapplied every few days. Might not want oil on that ivory, thus I'd stick to wax. The wax is also good for the ivory. I've not had any rust, so no need for steel wool.
My etch is fairly deep, so scratches are not seen. Sometimes the patina gets a little blotchy, I give it a light polish with flitz (old stuff left on the rag, not fresh polish) and that smooths out the surface patina and leaves the furrows dark.
I've never done re-etching, go to the custom forum and ask there. If the knife is worth any real money, I'd have it done by a professional. What I've read on etching is a 50/50 dilution of Radio Shack circuit board etch solution (FeCl2-ferric chloride in water) is a good etching solution. Clean the surface well with acetone (nail polish remover), dip it in for awhile (1 min intervals) rinse or some nuetralize with dilute ammonia and water. I've also read that some people paint with clear nail-polish areas that they don't want etched.
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