Acid Etching - A cool blade mod!

Scott M

Member
Hi, I would like to discuss acid etching your knife blade. It is an excellent way to get a neat and cool design etched on your knife blade!!! The process is done by cleaning the blade with acetone to eliminate oils on the blade, then using a "resist" such as nail polish, you coat areas on your blade with nail polish according to your design. After it dries, your ready to submerge the blade in the acid. I use muriatic acid for this process, which you can purchase at a pool supply store. You can also use ferric chloride acid which you can purchase at radio shack. Soak in the acid solution for about an hour, then wash the blade off, remove the nail polish with acetone and then polish the blade. You will be left with a nicely etched blade according to your design and it is really cool and your friend with think so also. I have a few tutorial videos on my youtube channel of this process. You can view the tutorial video here: http://youtu.be/5ddDkyCNnFU Thanks and happy etching!!! Here is a clip from the video of the flame etch design: acidetch.jpg
 

Scott M

Member
Hi Keith, Good question. So far I have tried it on 1760 stainless steel and also non stainless steel and had excellent results with both.
 

GHEzell

Well-Known Member
Ferric chloride works well on carbon steels, but not so well on stainless. I use spray lacquer for a resist, and a 1 1/2 hour etch works well on W2, but varies based on temperature and FC to water ratio.
 

Scott M

Member
Ferric chloride works well on carbon steels, but not so well on stainless. I use spray lacquer for a resist, and a 1 1/2 hour etch works well on W2, but varies based on temperature and FC to water ratio.

Thanks George, Ill have to try ferric chloride, so far I have been using non dilluted Hydrochloric acid with some good result, Thanks for the tips, I like the resist idea you have, any brand in particular for the resist?
 

GHEzell

Well-Known Member
I think my FC is cut 1 part FC to 3 parts water... this gets a good clean etch, and works well for damascus too. FC is good because it is not as toxic as hydrocloric acid. I'm not sure what brand lacquer I'm using, standard home depot stuff....;)
I'm still experimenting with resists, I'm hoping to find something that will not lift or chip... the lacquer does chip pretty easily if it is fully dry. The trick with it is to cut the design while the lacquer is still slightly tacky, which is good for small stuff but not if I wanted to get fancy...
I remove the lacquer after etching with acetone, a clean rag, and elbow grease.
 

John Barker

SUPERModerator & KNIFE MAKER
I would add one thing. It would be a good idea to put the resist inside the pivot hole and the path of the detent ball. The path of the detent is not as important as the pivot hole. Very cool.
-John
 

Scott M

Member
I think my FC is cut 1 part FC to 3 parts water... this gets a good clean etch, and works well for damascus too. FC is good because it is not as toxic as hydrocloric acid. I'm not sure what brand lacquer I'm using, standard home depot stuff....;)
I'm still experimenting with resists, I'm hoping to find something that will not lift or chip... the lacquer does chip pretty easily if it is fully dry. The trick with it is to cut the design while the lacquer is still slightly tacky, which is good for small stuff but not if I wanted to get fancy...
I remove the lacquer after etching with acetone, a clean rag, and elbow grease.

Thanks George for the great info. You may not believe this but I know of a friend of mine on youtube whom uses scotch tape to cover the blade then he uses a razor blade to cut away the areas where he wants etched. I just saw a video of a geometric pattern that he did on the blade with very crisp and sharp lines with an excellent etching result. Just thought I would pass it on to you. Next time im at home depot ill pick up some spray lacquer and give her a shot. Im also thinking of trying scotch tape. He is using FC acid. I wonder how both these resists will do with Hydrochloric. Ill post some pic results soon!
 

Scott M

Member
Yep, making sure to cover the pivot and detent. Also where the washers rest against the blade as well. Thanks John
 
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