I Think I've figured out this Etching thing


"The Montana Bladesmith"
After more than a year of trying to figure out just how to get a crisp, clean mark with an electro-etcher, I think I've finally figured it out....even for Damascus!

Previously, I had always left the etch/mark as the very last step, once the knife was completed. That always had issues, and just never worked well.

Today I considered something different. I'm building an EBK out of Mosaic, and due to the tapers/thinness of the blade, stamping wasn't possible. I decided to try etching the blade prior to etching the Damascus and see what happened. I hand finished the blade to 600 grit, then gave it a good cleaning with acetone.

I prepped the blade as normal. I then cranked the etcher (Personalizer Plus) to it's highest on the ETCH setting. I held the pad on the stencil for a count of 10, lifted it off for a couple of seconds, then did it again, for a total of 10 cycles. This "burned" the mark in deeply. I then switched the etcher to MARK, and did the same thing.
There were black halos around all the letters, but the mark was deep and clear. I lightly hand sanded the blade with 600 again, then cleaned and etched.....it worked out great!

I'm going to finish this one out with baking lacquer, and if my thought pattern is correct, the mark will fill with baking lacquer, and once it's finished out, the mark should look even better....we'll see.

After all of my stumbling around with etching, all it took was to change WHERE in the process I etched the mark on the blade. Damascus is always the most difficult material to get a good mark on, so I would imagine that straight steels will be super easy now!

johnny warner

Well-Known Member
Ed, which electrolyte are you using. I have used Marking Methods for 20+ years and I gave a bottle to Dan Graves and this all he uses and very happy with his etched logo! Hope this helps!


"The Montana Bladesmith"
I've tried several different electrolyte solutions, but I personally like the SC-E1 from Electro-Chem Etch the best. I didn't have good luck with the Marking Methods electrolyte.

I HAD to finish the blade up this morning just to see if things were going to work like I expected.....YEP!! I like the results....



Well-Known Member
Nice crisp etch that still shows the texture of the mosaic damascus. Looks like a really nice option to use instead of the unetched window on a blade. I think it looks nicer to not break up the pattern in that steel.

Take care, Craig


"The Montana Bladesmith"
How does the stencil fare?
I've not had any issues with the stencils....but I do clean the stencil after every mark. My guess is that with this method it would be a requirement to clean the stencil and let is dry/cool at least every 3-4 marks. Since the stencils I use have a number of them per sheet, I just use two stencils, and rotate them for every mark....while I'm using one, the other is drying/cooling, and is ready to go for the next mark.

Diamond G Knives

Well-Known Member
Somthing Ive done i the past on some of my nicer pieces, was to gold fill the etch. I use the Gold Fill kit from Brownwells then sprayed the logo with clear coat a few times. sand everything down, then etch. Really made the logo pop.


Active Member
Please refresh my memory. I built my own etcher. Which setting is for etching the mark AC or DC and which setting is for darkening the etch? Thanks in advance. Been out of the loop for awhile.


Well-Known Member
Like you Marking with the machine was the last thing I did.
A few years ago I ran out of marking Methods Etch juice and had a show here in town the next day. I had a 10 plus that were still not marked.

I thought about for a few and then when and got the Morton table salt round box. I dumped about a 1/4 of a tsp into a cap of water from the bottle. Worked great!

This was on Ats-34 and 440C stainless blades as I make most Culinary in the big city!
One of the most concerns around here is, Can I put this nice knife you made for me in the dishwasher?

I reply that it's a Dish washer! Not a Knife washer!

I have done similar on the few Damascus blades I make per year with good results. I don't really make enough Carbon/Damascus blades to really fine tune it.

A maker like you that B.Y.O.D's could do some fine tuning with plain table salt!

Just though I would add this to the thread.

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Active Member
anyone etch a logo with a dura kote coating, or something similar? I wanted to put a logo on a blade that had one of those coatings.