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Playing with integrals, question about etching.

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by weo, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. weo


    Sep 21, 2014
    Hello all. As the title mentions, I started to play with integrals and made a steak knife out of 1084/15N20. (Feel free to critique/provide suggestions.)

    My question is about the difference in contrast of the bolster(?) to the blade. I know that hardened damascus etches bolder than unhardened steel, so how do y'all harden the thicker bolster portion? Or is there another trick I need to learn to get a bold etch there?



    Thanks in advance.
  2. A.McPherson

    A.McPherson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 27, 2012
    Don't know for sure, but in gonna throw a guess in and say a faster quenchant.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. Salem Straub

    Salem Straub KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 20, 2008
    You can harden the whole thing, to increase contrast in the bolster. If all you have is a forge, and the bolster is tough to get up to heat without overheating the blade, you can run an o/a torch with your left hand onto the bolster, to heat it up to critical faster. This takes a little coordination, but not as tricky as it may sound. It is best to heat it all at once in a kiln though. You'll need a fairly fast quenchant as noted above.

    The other way, is to parkerize. You can leave the bolster unhardened, as well as the back of the blade if you should wish, as long as you etch the whole thing deeply. The oxides in the unhardened areas won't be very dark, but parkerizing will make it all quite black and the transition will barely be seen, if at all. That's what I mostly do with more complex integrals.
  4. erik markman

    erik markman KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 13, 2007
    Stick the blade backwards in the forge first to preheat the tang and bolster. Quickly turn it around and heat the blade.
    Pevents overheating the front part of the blade.
  5. weo


    Sep 21, 2014
    Thanks for all the replies. Any thoughts on the shape/design?

    I use Parks 50. Is there something faster?

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