Stonewashing AEB-L

Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
I have seen some questions here and there on how to etch and stonewash AEB-L.
Here is how I do it.
I tried something different on this one. Usually I go to a 400 grit finish but this time I left the flats at 220 and bevels st a 120 grit belt finish to see if I could tell much of a difference. You can see the finish I stopped at in this picture.
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Next I take it to the sink and was it in hot water a dawn soap and rinse off really good. Then wearing rubber gloves I wipe it down the denatured alcohol to remove any oil or residue.
Then into a mix of distilled water and ferric chloride. I leave it in there for 45 minutes to an hour...yes it takes a long time to etch the stainless steel. Here is what it looks like after the slimy black gunk is washed off. Make sure to neutralize the acid with windex or ammonia.
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Now I slather it in wd40 and I spray a bunch in my tumbling media. Here is a pic of the media I use it is from harbor frieght.
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Here is what my tumbler looks like...yep it is just a container and I tumble by hand.
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Here is what it looks like when done. I'm sure a real vibratory tumbler would work better but I think the finish looks pretty cool.
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That's my quick down and dirty way of doing a dark etched stonewash.
 

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opaul

Well-Known Member
That looks nice. I know when I etch my blades, when the grind is taken down to 120 grit, the etching process leaves erratic etching marks along the blade. Does the tumbling cover that up or you don't have that issue?
THanks@
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
I don't know if it would work but I use a product called Lemishine. Its basically Citric acid, mix a tablespoon or 2 with warm water a couple drops of Dawn dishwashing liquid, and the tumbling media in my homemade tumbler, I have a timer I set and run it for an hour or 2 depending how dark i want. It cuts a step or 2 out but I've only used it on 1080, 01 and 1084.
 

Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
That looks nice. I know when I etch my blades, when the grind is taken down to 120 grit, the etching process leaves erratic etching marks along the blade. Does the tumbling cover that up or you don't have that issue?
THanks@
Not sure first time I tried it left at 120grit now that I see it in better light I don't see any of the 120 grit scratches so probably won't hand sand to 400 grit anymore..lol
Here is a close up pic.
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Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
Interesting and good end results. Honestly, I didn’t know Stainless would etch that well. Thanks for sharing.
I didn't either I know one thing if it is not a hardened blade it will not etch worth a crap. I tried it on a sample piece of aebL that was not hardened and after an hour the FC did not hardly touch it.
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
That second pic is much better than the first. I like that type of finish!! I've done a few similar but like I said on HC steel. I like it!!
 

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
Yes I did. It washed it out a little more than I like this time. I think I'm going to try it after the etch and before tumbling next time to see what that looks like.
I'd be afraid it would mess up the etch. I'm going to be trying this AEBL tumble in the coming days, I've got one about ready. I was afraid the tumbler would ruin the mark, but then again I was afraid the mark would ruin the etch afterwards, lol.
 

sgmtino

Well-Known Member
What mixture of ferric chloride and water also do you heat the mixture and how long does the etch take ? How long do you tumble by hand?
 
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