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Retaining etch on Damascus???

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by DanGraves, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. DanGraves

    DanGraves KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 5, 2006
    Here is a letter I got from a client after he got a knife made with 1080, 1095, 15n20 and nickel. I would like to know what can be used to keep that dark finish without this problem.

    "I had a client sporting clay shoot yesterday afternoon and the package came in just as I was leaving. I took it with me and opened it up in front of a bunch of my customers. Wow, it was everything you said and then some! The craftsmanship is unbelievable and it sure got a lot of tongues wagging. Unfortunately, I am absolutely sick this morning because I feel like I might have ruined it on the first day that I got it. As it was getting passed around to all these sweaty guys that had just finished shooting, I noticed everyone was touching the blade as they inspected it. I should have said something right then and there, but I didn’t. I figured I would just wipe it down when I got home to keep it from having rusted fingerprints on it. Well, that’s what I did (with RemOil) and all the beautiful black finish started coming off. Now I am just sick about doing that because the contrast is far less than what it was when it came in. Is there anything that can be done to restore that look?
    "

    I sent it to him coated in oil and had not rubbed it hard myself as the dark contrast does get removed. I know how to re-etch to get the contrast back but is there a coating that can be put on the blade that will stay on and keep the oxidation from rubbing off? Anyone know how to retain it? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. JMJones

    JMJones

    858
    Jul 14, 2010
    I typically boil the damascus after the final etch or douse it with acetone and let it dry. I have read that this helps set the etch and it appears to work. Maybe he could use cold blue solution or paste to redarken the blade and hit the high spots with some very high grit paper to get the shine back on the 15n20.
     
  3. A C Richards

    A C Richards KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 14, 2006
    The above will work. What I have begun to do is etch deep and black parkerize the blade in stead of just boiling it. This deposits hard oxides on the blade that will hold up really well under normal use and provides a bit of corrosion resistance to the valleys. I do several series of this process and can actually bring the oxides up to the surface and provide a really smooth blade.
     
  4. rscoffey

    rscoffey

    109
    Sep 12, 2006
    Chuck-
    A short WIP on your process would be a wonderful thing - if you have the time and inclination.

    Thanks,

    Bob
     
  5. Frank Niro

    Frank Niro

    Sep 10, 2000
    Like many, I use a baking soda and water solution to neutralize any acid after the etch.To get a harder more attatched coating I will leave the blade in this solution for several hours and even over night. I remove the blade or parts and wipe them softly. I then librally oil, not WD40, the blade or parts and leave them for another few hours. This little procedure will harden the oxide an allow handling of the blade or parts. you can even go over the pieces with Renisance wax as you please without damaging the surface. Frank
     
  6. DanGraves

    DanGraves KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 5, 2006
    Thanks guys. Chuck, I would also like to see how this is done.
     
  7. A C Richards

    A C Richards KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 14, 2006
  8. sunshadow

    sunshadow

    Oct 2, 2006
    I boil the blade in a water/baking soda solution for about 20 minutes, that sets the oxide so it hardens and neutralizes any residual acid, then I rinse it under hot water, dry it and oil it (usually with Hoppes #9 gun grease) and the oxide stays put even with hard use

    -Page
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011
  9. MT Damascus

    MT Damascus Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 14, 2011
    Thanks Frank, I found that info very usefull. i have had the same question as the OP on my mind.
     
  10. elementfe

    elementfe

    May 3, 2008
    some folks just use brass black- I haven't played with it so I don't know what the prep would be.
     
  11. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    Some folks use black baking lacquer and sand off the tops of the ridges leaving the black in the valleys.
     
  12. DanGraves

    DanGraves KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 5, 2006
    I am still trying to figure out what I can do for a knife already together as on the one my client wrote about in my first post. Any suggestions?
     
  13. A C Richards

    A C Richards KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 14, 2006
    Dan,

    I had to repair the finish on a knife I messed up on marking. I sanded the blade back down to 600 grit again and removed most of the previous pattern. I masked the guard and part of the handle with clear nail polish (any color would do) taking care at the joint between the blade and guard making sure I did not get any on the blade. If you used stainless on the guard you would not need the mask. Then etched as usual. Since the blade was short I was able to parkerize it by holding it in the solution right up to the guard. It was tedious but I was able to save the project and did not have to tear it apart. So if you have a container deep enough you should be able to re-finish the knife.
     
  14. A C Richards

    A C Richards KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 14, 2006
    Oh after I finished the blade I removed the nail polish with acetone and sanded all the fixtures and handle again with 1500 grit then waxed the whole thing with paste wax for the final finish. I marked the blade and sharpened it ready to go.
     
  15. DanGraves

    DanGraves KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 5, 2006
    Great. Thanks Chuck. I was hoping for something like that.
     
  16. Frank Niro

    Frank Niro

    Sep 10, 2000
    What could be easier for a redo without taking it apart than what I wrote? Frank
     
  17. DanGraves

    DanGraves KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 5, 2006
    Frank,
    I am going to try it your way for sure. Thanks.
     
  18. skilldust

    skilldust

    278
    Mar 13, 2007
    Dan, I read a real old WIP post of Kevin Casen's about a sword that he was making. After etching and final finish he put the blade back in the oven for 1 hr @ 400 deg. said that would set the black real hard for a long lasting dark finish.
    Now I am almost sure of the time & temp but you might want to check it out. The WIP post was on this forum--2002--2003 maybe.
    Jerry
     
  19. DanGraves

    DanGraves KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 5, 2006
    Another good idea. I am going to try the baking soda in the morning and may bake it as well. Thanks guys for all the great tips.
     
  20. quint

    quint

    Nov 29, 2011
    Thanks Page, used your method tonight and it worked great. Seems to be very steadfast. My projects came out looking excellent.
     

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