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Chris Martin
05-06-2010, 07:32 AM
Ok, not really a huge problem. But I cannot get a good even etch. I got this billet from Clint AKA Ironarm. I absolutely love the patterns, but I feel I am not doing it justice with my etch. This is the first time ever etching. I used 3 parts distilled water to 1 part Ferric.

I sanded the Damascus down to 600 grit, rinsed clean in warm soapy water. Then I flooded it with acetone for added measure. First dip in the tank looked horrible.....turns out I forgot to wear my gloves. Ok, pulled head out.....repeated the steps (with nitrile gloves on). Second etch a little better but still missing something.

Cleaned the blade up again, into etching tank for 20 min, checking ever so often. Pulled the Damascus out.....shot with windex, cleaned off with warm soapy water and then hit with WD-40 and let sit in the sun for a couple days. Looks a lot better....but not what I am looking for?????

My problem is I have a streak running through the middle of the blade. This is after I noticed and removed the WD-40 so its kind of light looking now.

Am I missing a step here fellas? This is going to a very cool guy in OKC. He runs a motorcycle restoration shop and wants to show this off in the showroom. I just want it to be up to par:rolleyes:

Here are a few pics for you dogs in hopes you can help me out here:
http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa286/FinalFusion/DamascusEtch002.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa286/FinalFusion/DamascusEtch003.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa286/FinalFusion/DamascusEtch004.jpg

Thanks for letting me ramble on, Dogs.

Any tips would be appreciated!!!

Chris

stabber
05-06-2010, 08:17 AM
Damascus Bread knife?:confused:

Chris Martin
05-06-2010, 08:39 AM
Damascus Bread knife?:confused:

Thinking about making it my new paddle.....Tactical butt spanker....LOL

Thanks for the help, Rickster. Always count on you....LOL2thumbs:bud:

EdCaffreyMS
05-06-2010, 08:39 AM
First I need to know what the material are? (that makes a huge difference in how a blade etches out)

Next, looking at the last photo, it appears to me that the blade isn't completely hardened....that is evident by the light and dark coloration on the blade....lighter gray areas are softer than the darker areas.

If you have lines of streaks....if the streaks are shiny, that is because something was not clean. If the streaks are sharp and dull, that's usually a bad weld or flaw in the steel.

I also think it's important that after a blade is etched and neutralized, and you scrub off the "gunk" from the etch with soapy water and something like #0000 steel wool.

Everybody does it a little differently, and most of the time it's going to require a bit of experimenting on your part to achieve the results you desire.

Chris Martin
05-06-2010, 08:42 AM
Ed,

Sorry about that.

The steel's used are:

1095 and 15n20

The Damascus was heat treated by Peters Heat Treat Inc. I hope its just a step I am missing rather than heat treating??


First I need to know what the material are? (that makes a huge difference in how a blade etches out)

Next, looking at the last photo, it appears to me that the blade isn't completely hardened....that is evident by the light and dark coloration on the blade....lighter gray areas are softer than the darker areas.

If you have lines of streaks....if the streaks are shiny, that is because something was not clean. If the streaks are sharp and dull, that usually a back weld or flaw in the steel.

I also think it's important that after a blade is etched and neutralized, and you scrub off the "gunk" from the etch with soapy water and something like #0000 steel wool.

Everybody does it a little differently, and most of the time it's going to require a bit of experimenting on your part to achieve the results you desire.

Les George
05-06-2010, 09:40 AM
how old is your Ferric?

I etch with 50/50 ferric and white vinegar, but that is mostly for stainless...

Chris Martin
05-06-2010, 09:43 AM
how old is your Ferric?

I etch with 50/50 ferric and white vinegar, but that is mostly for stainless...

Les,

The Ferric is brand new out of the bottle....just opened for this etching. Bought it about a month ago at RS.

I am going to clean off the blade real good again.....then try another etch. I hope it works:eek:

Being so new to this I dont know where to turn....Heat Treat or the Damascus?

EdCaffreyMS
05-06-2010, 10:15 AM
Since 1095 is part of the mix, it COULD be the problem, or it could be with BOTH the 1095 and the heat treat.

To explain: In recent years I have completely stopped using 1095 because of problems with heat treating. When industry start messing with the element content of 1095 several years ago, it has become a problematic steel for many knifemakers. About 4-5 years ago I started getting a lot of calls and email from people who were asking for my help because they could not get 1095 blades to harden. At first I thought it was just the individuals not doing something right, but after about a dozen calls/emails on the same subject, I called a few folks that I know in the steel industry. To make a long story short, it turned out that many companies that produce 1095 decided to "tweak" the analysis so that the grade was cheaper to produce...and for MOST 1095 applications it made little to no difference. (Knifemakers are such a small percentage of steel buyers, most companies could give a hoot less about what we want) However, it did change the way the steel hardened, depending on the specific melt a person got their hands on. In some cases the hardening time curve on 1095 is less than 1 second....which is basically impossible for the average knifemaker to achieve. That would explain the light and dark area in an etch, that is always seems to show up when hard/soft areas are present.

OK, that MAY be part of the equation..... the other part is that compared to 1080 or 1084, 1095 simply does not etch out as boldly.

A "trick" that I learned recently to acquire a good contrast is as follows:

Etch your damascus blade as you normally would. Once you are satisfied with the depth of the etch, take it out of the tank and spray it down with windex.....and use ONLY a paper towel soaked in windex to "scrub" the blade. Make sure the finish is smooth and even because the next step will "lock" that contrast in place...... Next, get some water boiling in a pan large enough to hold the entire blade. Put the blade into the boiling water (I use a small pair of vise grips on the tang so that the blade doesn't lay on it's side in the pan), and boil the blade for about an hour. It will not make the contrast non-removable, but it will keep it on there for anything short of scrubbing it with steel wool and flitz. If you have a finer pattern, after the boil, you can take some 600-800 girt paper on a hard sanding stick and VERY LIGHTLY polish up the high areas of the topography...which will enhance the contrast. You have to be careful, and sand very lightly, otherwise the paper will "reach" down into the low areas a polish those too...which looks terrible. :)

Good luck!

Chris Martin
05-06-2010, 10:36 AM
Ed, my brother. You may have saved the day!!!!! Maybe I will try some 1084/15n20 next time. I do love Clints Damascus....after seeing his Bowie....I had to have some.

I will give this a shot, Ed. Thank you very much for the added "Trick". God I love this place:D

Now, where to find a 20" pan to boil my blade in......LOL

Much respect!

Chris


Since 1095 is part of the mix, it COULD be the problem, or it could be with BOTH the 1095 and the heat treat.

To explain: In recent years I have completely stopped using 1095 because of problems with heat treating. When industry start messing with the element content of 1095 several years ago, it has become a problematic steel for many knifemakers. About 4-5 years ago I started getting a lot of calls and email from people who were asking for my help because they could not get 1095 blades to harden. At first I thought it was just the individuals not doing something right, but after about a dozen calls/emails on the same subject, I called a few folks that I know in the steel industry. To make a long story short, it turned out that many companies that produce 1095 decided to "tweak" the analysis so that the grade was cheaper to produce...and for MOST 1095 applications it made little to no difference. (Knifemakers are such a small percentage of steel buyers, most companies could give a hoot less about what we want) However, it did change the way the steel hardened, depending on the specific melt a person got their hands on. In some cases the hardening time curve on 1095 is less than 1 second....which is basically impossible for the average knifemaker to achieve. That would explain the light and dark area in an etch, that is always seems to show up when hard/soft areas are present.

OK, that MAY be part of the equation..... the other part is that compared to 1080 or 1084, 1095 simply does not etch out as boldly.

A "trick" that I learned recently to acquire a good contrast is as follows:

Etch your damascus blade as you normally would. Once you are satisfied with the depth of the etch, take it out of the tank and spray it down with windex.....and use ONLY a paper towel soaked in windex to "scrub" the blade. Make sure the finish is smooth and even because the next step will "lock" that contrast in place...... Next, get some water boiling in a pan large enough to hold the entire blade. Put the blade into the boiling water (I use a small pair of vise grips on the tang so that the blade doesn't lay on it's side in the pan), and boil the blade for about an hour. It will not make the contrast non-removable, but it will keep it on there for anything short of scrubbing it with steel wool and flitz. If you have a finer pattern, after the boil, you can take some 600-800 girt paper on a hard sanding stick and VERY LIGHTLY polish up the high areas of the topography...which will enhance the contrast. You have to be careful, and sand very lightly, otherwise the paper will "reach" down into the low areas a polish those too...which looks terrible. :)

Good luck!

Les George
05-06-2010, 03:26 PM
something else you can do to bring out contract is etch it deep and blue it. Then polish off the tops like Ed mentioned.

I would say to ask Cliff, since he probably knows better than anyone what's up here..

Chris Martin
05-07-2010, 07:31 AM
Thanks for the tip, Les.

I am going to run with what Ed has stated here and see what happens. I am hoping its on my end and it will turn out!

Hmmmm, blue you say huh. I wonder how cold blue would work? I have a bunch left over from when I blued my old Dan Wesson 1911. Now...where did I put that stuff.....LOL


something else you can do to bring out contract is etch it deep and blue it. Then polish off the tops like Ed mentioned.

I would say to ask Cliff, since he probably knows better than anyone what's up here..

Les George
05-07-2010, 08:54 AM
Thanks for the tip, Les.

I am going to run with what Ed has stated here and see what happens. I am hoping its on my end and it will turn out!

Hmmmm, blue you say huh. I wonder how cold blue would work? I have a bunch left over from when I blued my old Dan Wesson 1911. Now...where did I put that stuff.....LOL


I cold blued the bolsters on this one and dusted the top off with 1000 grit, cold blue from Walmart! :)

Chris Martin
05-07-2010, 09:12 AM
ETA: Cant stop staring at them bolsters....;-0

Holy Moses brother. That looks fantastic. great....now I have to experiment with CB now...haha I really like how the patterns turned out on them bolsters2thumbs

I have the Brownells Oxhpo-Blue.

What was your methods buddy? Shoot me a PM/email or post here if you like. :D

cmknives@cableone.net


something else you can do to bring out contract is etch it deep and blue it. Then polish off the tops like Ed mentioned.

I would say to ask Cliff, since he probably knows better than anyone what's up here..


I cold blued the bolsters on this one and dusted the top off with 1000 grit, cold blue from Walmart! :)

Les George
05-07-2010, 10:39 AM
the way I did it was...

Get the bolsters just right, and put them in the etch for a quick look, before final fit up and real etch.

Forget they are in the ferric and go to the beach (remember mine is full strength and distilled vinegar 50 / 50)

Come back 2 hours later and remember them! :(

Try to clean them up, and fail, thinking they are ruined.... (crying on the inside is optional at this step)

Smooth the edges down a bit since there is a topography that rivals the big island of Hawaii.

Bead blast, and cold blue as per direction on the bottle

dust the tops with 1000 grit

wax

*your mileage may very...

Chris Martin
05-07-2010, 10:55 AM
Its awesome when a so called mistake our ouchy happens and then it turns out as yours did. I hope I can get the same results in the blade. I dont have a sand blaster though, but I think a good clean detailed sand job might take care of it?

I will just play around with it and see what happens. Good or bad...its how we learncool 1


the way I did it was...

Get the bolsters just right, and put them in the etch for a quick look, before final fit up and real etch.

Forget they are in the ferric and go to the beach (remember mine is full strength and distilled vinegar 50 / 50)

Come back 2 hours later and remember them! :(

Try to clean them up, and fail, thinking they are ruined.... (crying on the inside is optional at this step)

Smooth the edges down a bit since there is a topography that rivals the big island of Hawaii.

Bead blast, and cold blue as per direction on the bottle

dust the tops with 1000 grit

wax

*your mileage may very...

Les George
05-07-2010, 11:56 AM
I dont have a sand blaster though, but I think a good clean detailed sand job might take care of it?



Yeah it should be fine, I just thought that the blue would hold better to a bead blast, but it probably doesn't need it.

Chris Martin
05-07-2010, 12:21 PM
Yeah it should be fine, I just thought that the blue would hold better to a bead blast, but it probably doesn't need it.

Cool! If not this blade....I am going to have to give this a try. I will experiment with a small EDC necker in Damascus I am working on. I cant wait to try this out!

Kevin Cross
05-07-2010, 04:12 PM
I put a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in the boiling water and this seem to set the oxides on the steel very well. As a bonus the baking soda definately neutralizes the ferric chloride.

Somebody told me to do it this way but for the life of me I can't remember who so I can give them credit (Kevin Cashen maybe?)