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Thread: Restoring the "Brightness" of Damascus

  1. #1
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    Restoring the "Brightness" of Damascus


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    Hi all,

    So I tried to clean some rust off a Damascus Kershaw Scallion. First I used some WD40, it worked alright, but the deeper rust didn't come off. I got excited and tries some toothpaste; that got most of the rust out but the blade looks duller. I have no idea as to whether either the WD40+toothpaste may have made some temporary cloudy layer on top of the finish or if the toothpaste actually just killed the finish (most likely the ladder), but is there some trick I can try to restore the brilliance/contrast/brightness of the damascus? I know the variance in color is done by dipping the blade in acid, could maybe coating the blade temporarily with some household acidic item do something? Only keeping it on there for a short while (15-60 mins?) so as not to force a patina on the blade, but maybe it'd be long enough for the metal to take on some darkening? Or did I just kill the poor blade's marbled finish?

    Thanks, appreciate any advice

  2. #2
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    I believe I have read about people doing this using vinegar. You could try searching the forums for that and see if you find the threads. PLEASE do not do it until you have researched it though, I'm not sure that that's what they used and I know you have to take it out after a certain amount of time.

  3. #3
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    Radio Shack sells etchant solution for circuit boards that will re-etch the blade.Did you try metal polish,flitz,maas,ect.That might take the cloudiness out.

  4. #4
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    I just ordered some Flitz a couple of days ago - I was planning on using it before I tried anything else. Figured if the WD40+toothpaste somehow did just put a tough cloudy layer on top, or filled in the pores of the blade really well, it would remove it. Just gotta wait for the super saver shipping to get it to my door

    And does that etchant actually work for bringing the damascus finish back, or is it just something to add to my "well, we can try..." list?

  5. #5
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    It works big time.I've sanded the finish away completely and it came back 100%,better than before.It doesnt take long either.

  6. #6
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    Just to make sure, it works to restore the marbled finish of damascus (one steel being darker and the other lighter)?

    If so, mind possibly listing some instructions? Steps, recommended methods, times? Would REALLY appreciate it

    Also, anyone else done this with success?

  7. #7
    FeCl etchant is what most makers use to bring out the pattern on damascus steel. It is usually diluted in water first. You do need to be careful not to etch the blade too deeply as this will affect the action of the folder. Keep an eye on it and go slow. Make sure the blade is super clean first.

    You can play around with acetic acid (vinegar) first, and see if that works for you.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seals View Post
    Radio Shack sells etchant solution for circuit boards that will re-etch the blade.Did you try metal polish,flitz,maas,ect.That might take the cloudiness out.
    Good luck finding a store that carries the solution. It was discontinued here in NE Ohio.
    vineager works but do a search here for instructions. Be sure to cover the pivot areas of the blade with superglue or nail polish to prevent any area's of the pivot getting etched.

    Dave

  9. #9
    Is this a laminate (clad) damascus steel or true folded steels of different composition blade?

    On a laminate or clad blade, I have read Naval Jelly (tm) soaked in a paper towel and draped over the blade works wonders to bring back the damascus contrast you may be looking for.

    This stuff is caustic (intended for rust removal) so keep it away from anything you don't want re etched.


  10. #10
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    Just curious, etch... Refers to... The acid and metal reacting?

    And as far as the steel being laminate or folded, I believe Kershaw uses folded layers?

  11. #11
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    Before using any abrasive polish or etchant, I'd try using a lube and a very soft cloth.

    Rem Oil, 3 in 1, Marvel Mystery Oil, Mobil 1, FP-10, Eezox - really doesn't make a difference.
    Whatever you happen to have on hand.

    My preference, though, would be a synthetic.

  12. #12
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    Tuf glide sound good enough?

    I was planning on using some tuf glide... If still no good - some flitz.. if still no good - no holds barred on this bugger!

    And just wanted to say again, thanks a ton all. Really appreciate the help

  13. #13
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    Welp... Tried some tuf glide - didn't work.
    Tried rubbing it with some hot water - didn't work.
    Going to try the Flitz when it arrives.
    If that doesn't work, time for some evil experiments

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveReb View Post
    Good luck finding a store that carries the solution. It was discontinued here in NE Ohio.
    vineager works but do a search here for instructions. Be sure to cover the pivot areas of the blade with superglue or nail polish to prevent any area's of the pivot getting etched.

    Dave
    I had to buy a "Kit" here.Included a circuit board and some other junk i threw right in the garbage.The solution last a long time and goes a good ways though.Diluted as suggested.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lock1454 View Post
    Welp... Tried some tuf glide - didn't work.
    Tried rubbing it with some hot water - didn't work.
    Going to try the Flitz when it arrives.
    If that doesn't work, time for some evil experiments
    If Flitz and a soft cloth don't give you the results you're looking for,
    try Flitz and 0000 ("Final Finish") steel wool.

  16. #16
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    I'm doubting the Flitz will work to be honest... I think the toothpaste really just stripped off / cleaned off the outer layer of the blade. Picked up some Etchant from Radioshack today, gonna hold off and try the Flitz first in hopes that it does work.

    With the Etchant, can I just swab the etchant+water solution onto the blade (with a Q-tip) and just wipe it off after a while? or am I going to have to take the knife apart and dunk the entire blade?

  17. #17
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    Yup...you can buy ferric chloride off fleabay (same stuff R/S sells as circuit board etchant....dilute it 50/50 and warm it up no hotter than you' d wash your hands in hot water temperature in the sink. Soak it in and out at 5 minute intervals until you get the appearance you want. Be sure to soap wash it and rinse it off well too....maybe put some pink or green rouge on a buffer wheel and go that route too?

  18. #18
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    Sand the blade with 400 paper then clean it off with acetone. Now do not touch the blade with your fingers. Put on latex or vinyl gloves so if you forget and touch the blade you don't end up with your fingerprint etched on the blade.

    Now paint on your etching solution with a Q-tip (ferric chloride and water 50/50 or ferric chloride and white vinegar 50/50). The blade will turn black. Let this set for 5-10 minutes and then wash off with clear water. If you like what you see, wash the blade with soap and water, if not re-etch for another round. Keep re etching until you are satisfied with the etch of the blade. Then wash with soap and water, dry and spray liberally with windex to nutralize any remaining acid.

    After the windex has worked for a few minutes was it off and dry the blade then coat it with a layer of a good oil and let if set over night.

    Good luck.

  19. #19
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    Forgot to add that if you think the blade comes out too dark, use 1200 grit paper on a sanding block and that will remove the oxide from the raised metal and leave it in the grooves of the etched metal for a better contrast.

    Also, use the search function, this has been discussed before and if I remenber right someone, Maybe Kevin Cashen did a great "How to" set of instructions

  20. #20
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    I did do a google BF search for etchant, and all i could really find was people talking about etchants and random chatter about etching, couldn't really find any detailed guide or how to. I'll take another gander and see if I can find it.

    Thanks for the help all, appreciate it

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