OK, let's open up a can of worms. Having just read the article by Ed Fowler in the Knives 2002 annual, I was wondering how many bladesmiths believe that it is important to etch their blades. What was written about the polished blade being able to hide all kinds of faults made an awful lot of sense to me. It would seem that etching the blade would allow the maker to learn more about how to make the most out of the steel that he has chosen to use. The temper lines let you know if you have heated the blade properly during forging and etching helps you to see this. etching the blade also lets you see the grain structure of the steel better so that over time the maker can see that what he is doing is or is not improving the structure of the steel. When viewed with the right instruments, etching makes it easier to see any micro fractures and faults that could cause a blade to fail. The above statements are my opinion and they were derived from the article by Ed. I am sure that there are those that disagree with this, but it makes a great deal of sense to me. What do you guys think of these ideas? If you disagree please explain why. I want to learn, and through respectful disagreement a healthy debate can can teach a great deal. I will respect all the ideas put forward here and will never belittle anyone for the thoughts they have on this topic. So let the debate begin.