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The "ART" of the potato patina.

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Carl_First_Timer, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. Carl_First_Timer


    Dec 6, 2010
    Recently, my mother found an old knife that my father and I brought back from Japan way back in '89. The tip had been broken, and the knife had been relegated to the bottom rear of a storage drawer.

    She asked if I could do anything with it, explaining that she always had problems with it rusting, and didn't know how to care for it. I took it home rounded off the broken tip with the belt sander, hit it with some 00 steel wool, and went searching for some potatoes for a patina. Well I found some sitting in the back of a cabinet and knew right away the wife would not get mad if I used them. Once I put them on the knife I just had to take a picture, as it inspired my artsy side. :D The patina, actually came out really well, though a bit uneven.

    Also, any help on identification of the blade would be cool. I know I have seen a website link to a Japanese site that helps out with identification, and information.


    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011
  2. fast14riot

    fast14riot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2010
    That potato patina (say that three times fast!) Does look good! I can't help you with identifying the knife, but I can suggest that you clean out your fidge more often! Those 'taters look to be a month old! You can try mustard to add to the patina or to try and even it out.

  3. Carl_First_Timer


    Dec 6, 2010
    Where it took a patina, it looks to be very robust.
  4. Daniel Fairly Knives

    Daniel Fairly Knives Full Time Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 9, 2011
    Looks good!

    Try doing another round if you feel it is too uneven. You could also use citrus for a wilder patina or a warm vinegar soak to even it up. If it won't patina in some spots scrub them down well and give it another go.

    I have a few Japanese Santokus like that, they seem to be quality knives and they are usually inexpensive. Yours looks like an integral maybe, that is a cool knife in my opinion.
  5. tryppyr

    tryppyr KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 5, 2010
    Those are some nasty taters. Good that you used them for knife making instead of dinner.

    That said, I've never understood the desire for forced patination.
  6. silver_pilate


    Oct 30, 2002
    tryppyr, the thought is that it provides some small protection against more aggresive rust. Basically, you create a controlled layer of oxidation on the surface which prevents moisture from attacking the underlying steel as quickly.

    Natural patinas are great if you take care of the carbon blade to prevent rust. However, the reality is that many people won't care for a carbon blade as needed, and a patina helps give them a bit of a cushion against developing rust. So basically, we're just enabling them in their poor maintenance practices :D. Then again, in some enviroments, rust happens so quickly that it's hard to prevent no matter the care taken.

  7. Carl_First_Timer


    Dec 6, 2010
    The patina is because the knife resides at my mothers house. It was a small front line against her knife maintenance practices. I told her from now on, after use, she can leave it no longer than a half hour before washing in hot water, NO DISHWASHER!!! , and a light coating of mineral oil before storage. We'll see how it goes.
  8. shockjockey24


    Jan 2, 2011
    i like how it turned out...the uneven-ness makes it look more natural...i usually wrap mine with a tissue and wet it with vinegar...let sit for 30 minutes and the blade will almost be black...just did my Randall 8-4 and im very happy with the results. :D good work brother.

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