Problem with Electro Etching?

Hi again!

Thanks for the help on the last problem. It seems that thinking annealing the knife was a better substitute for normalizing did cause the cracking problems.


This next problem I have had for a while. (Sorry if this is the wrong section.)

2YPnqi7.jpg


I electro etch my knife using a home made etcher done from Red Beard Op's design. I buy stencils from TUS Technologies. I just dump a bit of table salt into a bowl and put warm water over it. Don't measure any ratios, just wing it. I used to use a brass marker + felt, but I switched to using disposable Q-Tips. It seems to give me better control and accuracy. Both gave me the same problem.

The problem isn't the corrosion.

The problem is that the corrosion bleeds through for ~3 days or so. I.E. If I clean it off now, it'll still come out in a few days.

Am I doing something wrong? Should I be getting stencils from somewhere else? These ones seem rather thin and I get a lot of moisture bleed through to the back side of the stencil. Should I get some dedicated etching fluid?
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Are you neutralizing the etch when complete? Even though it's salt water..... I see Heikki just mentioned the same thing while I was typing
 

Bühlmann

Well-Known Member
Use less etchant and neutralize. Also, don't tape your stencils on all four sides. Give your stencil a place to vent and drain.
 
Use less etchant and neutralize. Also, don't tape your stencils on all four sides. Give your stencil a place to vent and drain.

Most of the time I only tape on one side with electrical tape and pull it flat. Then I often check under the stencil and wipe away extra fluid and such.
 

Bühlmann

Well-Known Member
Maybe I'm misunderstanding your issue then. To me it looks like your electrolyte migrated under your stencil and etched your blade where you didn't want it to.

I'm not understanding the "bleeding corrosion" part of your question. Corrosion doesn't "bleed", but if your blade isn't neutralized and completely dried after your etch, then I suppose active electrolyte that is held up in the rough etched surface of the mark could bleed out over time and stain the blade around it. That would have to be an awfully deep etch I think, though. If that's the case, then neutralizer should be your fix.
 

fitzo

Gold Membership
I understand frugality, but when your results look like that, I'd strongly recommend a bottle of commercial etchant proper for the steel you are using. And then I'd use quite a bit less than I did on that etch above.
If that keeps up after those changes, I'd take a look at that home made machine and make certain everything is the value it's supposed to be.
Just my 2 cents, but that's what comes to mind looking at that mess on that blade.
 
Maybe I'm misunderstanding your issue then. To me it looks like your electrolyte migrated under your stencil and etched your blade where you didn't want it to.

I'm not understanding the "bleeding corrosion" part of your question. Corrosion doesn't "bleed", but if your blade isn't neutralized and completely dried after your etch, then I suppose active electrolyte that is held up in the rough etched surface of the mark could bleed out over time and stain the blade around it. That would have to be an awfully deep etch I think, though. If that's the case, then neutralizer should be your fix.

What I mean is that if I clean up around the mark immediately after I etch it, the stain will come back in the next day or 2. If I wait a few days and then clean it up, then it's fine.

But like I said. I ordered some official electrolyte and neutralizer. I'll try that once it gets here for the next batch of knives.
 

chrisstaniar

Well-Known Member
If it's coming back then I would definitely neutralize after you are done etching, lightly sand, and then oil.

I've done the saltwater and homemade etcher and they work just fine. But you have to stop the etching process and it sounds like it is continuing.

Not to get into debate over makers marks but you should consider having a mark that people can definitively identify with you. A picture without a name makes that very hard.
 
Not to get into debate over makers marks but you should consider having a mark that people can definitively identify with you. A picture without a name makes that very hard.

My mark is getting very popular at the local craft fairs where I do the vast majority of my sales. I've even had a few people ID what it is without me prompting them. Plus now you'll remember it forever, too.



First try with the new electrolyte and neutralizer and it went great! The electrolyte wasn't near as aggressive or quick as the old salt water, but it was clean and crisp. And no stains (yet) after using the neutralizer. It seemed to be a lot more gentle on the stencil, too.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
My mark is getting very popular at the local craft fairs where I do the vast majority of my sales. I've even had a few people ID what it is without me prompting them. Plus now you'll remember it forever, too.
Would you mind me asking what your mark is? I've looked at it several times over the last week or so and still can't determine what it is.

Perhaps with the next stencils you have made, get your name on top line, with your image just below? With your name a person could google the name with knifemaker and perhaps find you to purchase a knife?
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
Would you mind me asking what your mark is? I've looked at it several times over the last week or so and still can't determine what it is.

Perhaps with the next stencils you have made, get your name on top line, with your image just below? With your name a person could google the name with knifemaker and perhaps find you to purchase a knife?
Ken, his mark is obvious. It's the warning sign for trucks approaching a steep downgrade. Sheesh!
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Hey, we've all had a bit of fun about the mark, but I would seriously like to hear from the OP about the story behind the mark. Depending on the part of the world he's in the mark might make good sense.

Some the stories behind marks are interesting.
 
Hey, we've all had a bit of fun about the mark, but I would seriously like to hear from the OP about the story behind the mark. Depending on the part of the world he's in the mark might make good sense.

Some the stories behind marks are interesting.

It's my take on the classic 1970's windsurfing logo. I have a bad habit of picking up expensive, dangerous and very difficult to learn hobbies. Putting that logo on my knives shows that you can really fly if you keep at it.


I also got the same symbol on an award from a sailing camp. They gave me the award because I never did what I was supposed to be doing, and instead just went sailing all the time. So it's also in recognition that if you keep at it, they'll still get mad at you, but decide that they can't stop you anyway.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Thank you for the backstory on the symbol. I was also a windsurfer in my younger days. During the '90s when I lived the the Lake Charles, LA area I carried my board and stuff in the van all the time. When the wind would come up I'd leave work for 2 to 3 hrs and "go play", then come back to work and stay late to make up for the missed hours. Since the wind was mostly during the winter months I had a dry suit.

Yep, I can relate to sailing - I lived on a 40 ft sailboat for 27 yrs before swallowing the anchor and buying this place.
 
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