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Patina question

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by BOrrell, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. BOrrell


    Oct 23, 2008
    I'm, just getting back into "traditionals" and have been to the for sale forum; have seen a number of folders I have liked but have also seen some I might have liked but they had forced patinas; now to each his own but a natural patina I can understand but vinegar, etc. just makes little sense to me. Yes, I know if I don't like it don't buy and I don't but will listen to the rationale for forcing patina on new knives(or any knives.
  2. arizonaranchman


    Jan 1, 2012
    I'm the type who doesn't force it. I just "let it happen" however it wants to.

    Now those who force a patina? Some just like the look and want to hurry along the process and don't want to wait 6 months to a year or more for one to develop. Others do it because it does sort of give the knife a more rust resistant property once the patina is set.

    To each his own.

    My #55 with a natural aging... Its been 4.5 months as my nonstop EDC. The backspring especially has taken on a dark gray color.

  3. herektir


    Aug 27, 2010
    A thin forced patina can be quickly removed with very high grit sandpaper so you can naturally set one yourself.
  4. okbohn

    okbohn Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    May 26, 2006
    I usually just let it develop. I cut a lot of limes, so they turn quickly.
  5. jon_slider


    Aug 24, 2010
    imnsho a forced patina is no different than one that develops over time.
    I have wrapped this blade in a vinegar soaked paper towel and gotten it really dark.
    I have stropped all the patina back off and let it develop from cutting steaks and tomatoes. It got just as dark. I then stropped all that off too, just because I can.

    moral of the story, if you see a knife you like, and it has patina, you can shine it back up easily, with the exception that you will never get the blade etch back that came when the knife was brand new.


    vinegar wrap


    a few iterations later

    here you see the result of highlighting with a strop

    too much creative stropping (did not like it so took all the patina off an started over)

    different day, different patina

    a fresh start

    steak patina again

    all gone again, stropped and also polished with Sunshine Cloth. Armas Blancas:
  6. r8shell

    r8shell Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jan 16, 2010
    I would like to let a patina develop naturally, but I haven't had a lot of luck with that:
    I rarely cut fruit with a traditional, since I find it gives a metallic taste. And I don't want sticky stuff gumming up the works. When I just handle and carry a pocketknife, rather than an even patina, it gets 'pepper spots' little specks of pitting and rust. Maybe my sweat is acidic or something.
    At this point, I'll give up and force a light patina with warm vinegar. I like the way it looks and seems to protect.
    I think you could remove it with a metal polish like Flitz without scratching up the blades too much.
  7. mnblade


    Feb 7, 2000
    Not forever. Once a decent patina forms, the metallic taste will lessen, then go away completely.

    Go for it! :thumbup:

    Indeed you could. A Miracle Cloth works well too.

    -- Mark
  8. sitflyer


    Mar 10, 2011
    For me , I use cold blue on some that get occasional carry and aren't used on any food. It is humid and hot where I live, and my sweat will rust an unprotected blade in a day or two. It is simply a matter of providing " some" protection, although it is somewhat limited...
  9. VictorLouis


    Mar 6, 2000
    Is this really true? If so, to what extent. I have seen spotting on my VG-10 knives exposed to my pocket perspiration, it comes right off, but that's ONLY because I catch it in time. Has anyone done a test on two like knives, like CV Cases, or Opies? One patina'd and one in -the-raw?

    Jon_Slider, thank you for the excellent photo array. I didn't have to ask the question about losing 'the etch', LOL.
  10. Shotgun


    Feb 3, 2006
    I haven't done any scientific testing but I had an Izula 2 on my belt when I got dumped in a canoe a few summers back. The canoe had to be bailed out so I was sitting in the water with the knife submerged for over an hour. When I got to shore and checked my gear I had rust on the polished edge but not on the flat where it had a nice vinegar patina on it. So in my opinion it does.

    As to forced patinas in general I usually don't like them because a lot of guys use mustard and it just comes out all wrong. It's too stark of a transtion where you can see where the globs of mustard were. I much prefer the even approach like joh_slider's:thumbup:. Not that you can't do a mustard right. Sorry for it not being traditional but the top knife in the pic was done with mustard. The pic is a bit washed out so it's not as dark. It looks like storm clouds in person. In the end it's what you like. I for one think damascus is fugly so it takes all kinds. :D
  11. Double Ott

    Double Ott Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 3, 2011
    I think this is an excellent question. I have wondered myself, just how much protection from rust can be expected from a patina, natural or forced?
    I also think that cold bluing a blade is really just another coating, much like a forced patina. I would be surprised to see if it offers any protection. I believe that it is more of a cosmetic treatment than a protective one.

    Have there been any actual tests of patinas and cold bluing to establish them as a protection from rust?

  12. VictorLouis


    Mar 6, 2000
    Glad you and your knife made it to shore! Neat to hear.
  13. arizonaranchman


    Jan 1, 2012
    Great treatise pics jon_slider, thanks for sharing. And that steak pic is killing me! :) Oh and wanted to ask... The vinegar doesn't effect the wood (what about bone?) apparently?

    In my statement of the patina giving a rust resistant protection, this is minimal and not meant to mean it won't rust. I intended to mean staining and discoloring are not as noticable generally once the steel has darkened. I still give my blade a quick wipe after each use, as even oils from the hand can rust steel if left there. Some people's hands will do this more than other's. What use the blade is put to is a major factor in how it takes on a patina over time. Sorry if any confusion was caused.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  14. BRL

    BRL Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 27, 2011
    Remove a patina with high number sandpaper. It would probably be difficult for a backspring with a heavy patina.

    And a patina does not equate to no rust ever. My GEC#33 had a heavy natural patina and has rusted. I'm guessing though that it would have been worse brand new.
  15. rachet197


    Jul 16, 2011
    I have butchered two deer with old hickory knives (it will be five this year), and they are as bright as when I got them.......:confused:

    I might have to hide the minerial oil, rem-oil, and wd-40.:p
  16. herektir


    Aug 27, 2010
    It is a little protection from rust not alot. Meaning i can use my knife for something and not have to wipe it off right away if its already has a layer of FeO. Bare steel blade may start rusting in 2 hours in a humid environment while one with a patina could go half a day for example. Many good stainless blades would sit there happy and spot free for a week or 2 or.. however long depending on alloys.

    In use i oil the pivots, not the blades as they dont rust on me but then i dont seem to have very acidic sweat or skin oils.
  17. jon_slider


    Aug 24, 2010
    I have not noticed any damage to the Ebony. In fact, I think there is potentially a slight ebonizing effect. But I think it is safer not to vinegar the handles. Im just brave, or ignorant, or both. http://www.instructables.com/id/Ebonizing-Wood-Study/?ALLSTEPS

    I did a full vinegar wrap to my soupbone charlow also. There was no noticeable effect from the vinegar on the bone, but, the bone GEC uses is soaked in plastic (stabilized with acrylic), so that may limit the damage that might be caused by vinegar on raw bone. Vinegar does dissolve eggshell, so I suppose it will dissolve bone too. Do not copy me :).

    I know of one Charlow that was damaged by Charlie submerging his bone handled Charlow into boiling vinegar. He calls it old boiley.


    regarding whether patina prevents rust, maybe:

    and thanks to everyone for the kind words, I really enjoy posting pictures here.


    I recently sought confirmation from GEC regarding their use of stabilized materials. Apparently I had misunderstood an earlier conversation. GEC informs me that:
    "The only thing we use that is stabilized is Primitive Bone. All the rest of our bone is not stabilized nor are most of the woods"

    I will be preparing several delicious servings of figurative Crow, no birds will be harmed during my re-education. I apologize if anyone was misled by my earlier posts that claimed all GEC bone is stabilized. At this point I dont even know if the CheChen is stabilized or not. Feel free to just ignore anything I say until I graduate from knife materials 101, sometime next year maybe.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  18. cards94


    Jul 23, 2013
    i wonder if they thought about patinas this much years and years ago. :p
  19. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000
    A natural patina will build quickly if you use and carry the knife.

    Personally, I don't care for the "forced patina" style. It just looks fake most of the time, as the patina is perfectly even and 'flat'; a well-earned patina is lumpy, random, and uneven.

  20. Pipeman


    Dec 2, 2004
    I personally think that vinegar is not a good idea on wood or bone. However I can't see it hurting if applied for a short time other than possible dye reaction. Vinegar desolves the calcium in bone and i've had it remove dye from bone.

    Best regards


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