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Re-etching / maintaining Damascus.
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Thread: Re-etching / maintaining Damascus.

  1. #1
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    Re-etching / maintaining Damascus.

    While fixing some ootb grinding issues, I ended up mucking up and needing to restore the damascus pattern on a Tanaka blue petty. I followed Daves’ etching tutorial using a mixture of vinegar and muriatic acid (couldn’t find the radio shack stuff) and after several tries, got the damascus pattern looking ok. I may do it again cause it came out a bit bolder than I had hoped for.

    Q1. Is there a way to preserve the look of the damascus, while inhibitting the carbon natural desire to rust and reactive to acidic foods at the same time?

  2. #2

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    The etching will leave a lot of microscopic voids in the steel that goes dark. These voids will collect moisture. Oiling the blade with some food oil will seal off those dents and will make the blade less prone to rust and discoloration.

    DarkHOek

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    Yup, the rust is coming from the black lines. I put a light coat of veggie oil on it, but will I have oil it on a regular/ ongoing basis?

    I didn’t experience any rust issues or need to oil - prior to etching. i just wiped the blade dry.

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    It's the micro pitting caused by the etching that hosts moisture and shait and causes the rusting. Washing the blade in hot water and drying it afterwords will get the blade dryer as the hot blade will vaporize the water in the pits faster. After a while of careful use, the blade will build a patina, but that will dull the contrast in the damascus as well I am afraid. Solution is stainless damascus...

    DarkHoek

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    SpikeC's Avatar
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    Muriatic acid will leave chlorine residue inYou need to properly neutralize the metal or it will continue to be problematical.
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
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    PierreRodrigue's Avatar
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    I have been told windex will neutralize FC, I know a couple other makers that will boil a freshly etched blade is a heavy concentration of baking sode and water. It seems to "set" the oxide formed, making it less likely to rub off. it seems to work, I do this as well. Others have mentioned useing a food grade dry silicone spray, I'm not sure of this one... just a wee bit leary of surface treatments on kinves.


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    I think that the baking soda is the best way with this.
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

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    Delbert Ealy's Avatar
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    Since I have been making damascus for over 24 years, I have tried almost everything imaginable. The reason a lot of people use windex for a neutralizer is because it contains ammonia. I have used baking soda as well. For re-etching and neutralizing the baking soda and hot water can be problematic because of the handle, if you are doing a full re-etch. I use ammonia and water as a neutralizer. For full drying afterwards use a hair dryer. As for the final finish, oils wash away too easily, I have found that waxes(food-safe of course) provide a much better finish and they fill in all that rough micro surface.

    Laminated metals specialist, Kitchen knife and gadget maker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delbert Ealy View Post
    Since I have been making damascus for over 24 years, I have tried almost everything imaginable. The reason a lot of people use windex for a neutralizer is because it contains ammonia. I have used baking soda as well. For re-etching and neutralizing the baking soda and hot water can be problematic because of the handle, if you are doing a full re-etch. I use ammonia and water as a neutralizer. For full drying afterwards use a hair dryer. As for the final finish, oils wash away too easily, I have found that waxes(food-safe of course) provide a much better finish and they fill in all that rough micro surface.
    Yet another use for Dave's bored butter!

  10. #10
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    I did neutralize the Muriatic acid with some windex, and also gave it a long soak in a hot water/ baking soda solution – just in case there was some leftovers. I use it to clean the patio and know the stuff is pretty nasty. The fumes alone ate some paint cans.

    A damascus carbon blade reminds me of a black colored car – looks great when freshly detailed, but the upkeep is pita. Eventually I’ll just let it go and build a patina or baking soda polish like regular carbons.

    In the mean time, I wouldn’t mind trying to re-etching again and was wondering…
    A) Would presanding to a higher grit (>1000) created a smoother textured finish?
    B) What would cause some lines to come out crisp while others are blurred?

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