Damascus Polishing

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Receiver52

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Hello folks.

I’m pretty new at polishing to get that out of the way. I have a couple of carbon clad Damascus knives that I’d like to bring out the Damascus finish on. The natural stones I have are pretty good at giving a Kashmiri finish but that’s not what I’m looking for with the Damascus. The knives are not overly scratched but I have managed to put a foggy type kasumi finish on them through inexperience.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

SeattleBen

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Look up acid etching, that sounds like what you want.
 

Receiver52

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Yeah, I kinda thought I might end up there but hoping for some other alternatives if there are any.
 

Midsummer

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This may not be of help but....People etch with vinegar and coffee as well. I have tried a number of natural stones in the past and I have etched with vinegar and ferric chloride. I had a few finger stones that did a wonderful job. Unfortunately they were a few out of a group and there was no way to get more of the magic ones. I believe that those stones were acidic by nature. There is too much, difficult/ seemingly impossible to access, information on polishing and blade finishing. Good luck finding your answer!
 

DHunter86

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Some finer and harder JNats would bring out the contrast you are looking for sans the scratch marks. By nature, these are either acidic or alkaline, depending on the stone. Also, they vary greatly in terms of reactivity to the damascus cladding. Another method is to use natural stone powder made into a thick slurry.
 

tcmx3

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Some finer and harder JNats would bring out the contrast you are looking for sans the scratch marks. By nature, these are either acidic or alkaline, depending on the stone. Also, they vary greatly in terms of reactivity to the damascus cladding. Another method is to use natural stone powder made into a thick slurry.
I like this method. Get a chunk of weirdly shaped uchigumori or narutaki/nakayama and an atoma 140, go to work and apply to a felt pad, thinly sliced cork, etc. then lemon juice, nugui, etc.
 

iandustries

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any advise on removing scratches from damascus? is using increasingly finer grits of sandpaper the easiest way, and if so, what grit would you start with if you re just trying to spot remove a scratch vs the entire blade?
 

branwell

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Hello folks.

I’m pretty new at polishing to get that out of the way. I have a couple of carbon clad Damascus knives that I’d like to bring out the Damascus finish on. The natural stones I have are pretty good at giving a Kashmiri finish but that’s not what I’m looking for with the Damascus. The knives are not overly scratched but I have managed to put a foggy type kasumi finish on them through inexperience.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Not knowing how the original finish was created I'll offer the following.

Its very common for carbon steel Damascus knives to be etched with Ferric Chloride mixed with water 50/50 ish. Ferric is available from Amazon. Its cheap and easy to deal with.

Now the thing is..... there are a million different ways to finish carbon Damascus knives. How deep to etch. How much contrast. How much shine or matt. There are almost endless variations and each finish has steps taken before and after the etch so its a learning process.

I can share with you how I finish many of the Damascus chef knives I make and maybe that will be helpful to you.

I sand the blades up to between 600 and 2000 grit depending on the knife / pattern and buff with green compound to an imperfect mirror finish. I then clean well with Acetone and denatured alcohol and then etch in ferric to a point just before where one can feel topographical changes in the pattern. After that I buff again so there is a semi shiny and matt finish. I find this works great for kitchen use. High contrast finishes can look cool but any true darkness in the finish is something on top of the steel as opposed to the actual steel color so scratches become much more visible and depending on what is making the dark color, it can effect the taste of the food one is cutting.

Couple notes on etching.
The blade needs to be oil free before etching. Do a short 30 second etch to make sure the etching is even. If its not even, clean the blade of with 1500 and then etch for several short 3 minute sessions cleaning between each with 1500 to get the etch depth to where you want it. Once done, dip in a light mix of baking soda and water and then rinse with HOT water and pat dry. Once more or less dry, spray down with WD40 to displace any remaining moisture. The steel will be sensitive to rust when first coming out of the process hence the WD40. Couple hours later I'll clean the blade of and do the final finish which is often just hitting it with 3000 and a light buffing.

Like I said, a million different finishes. It might seem daunting but it can be fun to play with finishes and have what appears to be a different knife all the time :)
 

Receiver52

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Thanks everyone. I’m going to do some experimenting on a test knife until I get the results I want.
 
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