View Full Version : Protecting heat-colored damascus

Osprey Guy
02-10-2003, 08:23 AM
I've just finished my 2nd ever set of custom bolsters. Like the first, these are an unusual set of damascus from Bob Eggerling. Unlike the first pair, this time I heat-colored and boy are they ever sweet! (I'll post when the knife is finished...still more embellishment work to be done).

My big concern now is how to protect the rather sensitive color treatment. Coloring of any type is a surface treatment and therefore easily scratched and scuffed. I don't intend for my newest "baby" to be an everyday carry, even still, I'd sure hate to try and recreate the unique coloring I've managed to achieve after hours and hours of experimenting...

...any suggestions? If possible, I'd prefer not to go too glossy for a protective finish. But I'll use what's necessary...


Yeah Baby!:smokin

ron p. nott
02-10-2003, 08:30 AM
Hi Dennis .. i dont know of any thing that you could put on those bolster to protect they that wouldnt make they look phoney.. i never heard any of the knife makers doing that ..

Tim Adlam
02-10-2003, 09:00 AM
Ron's right, Dennis.

Any coating, like lacquer, wouldn't compliment the "look" you've achieved.
My only recommendation would be an application of Renaissance Wax, to the exposed surface.
It won't alter the appearance, while adding a certain level of protection from fingerprints and such.

Can't wait to see this piece when it's done!.....:cool:


Osprey Guy
02-10-2003, 09:08 AM
I don't know Ron, seems to me a thin coat of something could go far in helping save the finish without coming across as too obvious. You've seen my pics of the bolsters in question, so you'll understand my desire to keep them safe as possible...

As to its never being done before...if not, you know me...I'm not exactly shy about trying something new. ;)

Hopefully someone out there may have given this a try with some kind of success...

Hmmmm...maybe I'll ask "Mr. Timascus"-Tom Ferry...or perhaps damascus maker/user Gene Osborn...


Yeah Baby!:smokin

Jamey Saunders
02-10-2003, 09:19 AM

I want to jump in here and ask how fragile (for lack of a better word) is the heat-colored finish? I'm pretty sure that your knives will be prized possessions, not to be carried every day. That's fine, because that's the class of knives you produce. If it's not going to be carried every day, but put up on display and handled occasionally, the wax may be the perfect finish.

I have a question: Has anyone ever tried color case hardening on damascus? The color case hardening on guns seems to be very durable, and it seems to me that if you mix in the pattern of damascus you'd really get some wild (yet durable) colors. Anyone ever tried this?

BTW: Can't wait to see the pictures of this one. You keep outdoing yourself, and I'm sure this will be no exception.

Osprey Guy
02-10-2003, 09:35 AM
Thanks guys-

Just a comment about the "phoney" aspect...

There are finishes and then there are finishes...

I've represented some of the finest graphic design firms in the country for over twenty years and one of the "few" things I've learned along the way is that most of the buying public love glossy! Like it or not, for whatever reasons (and I could easily rattle off a few), "glossy" is associated with "fine and expensive"...

Designers, artisans, etc. tend to think of it as tacky, and yet it's absolutely what the public likes.

This is certainly not going to be a user knife, but if I can achieve a little extra protection at the risk of appearing slightly tacky to some...I might be willing to take that risk.

Oh, and Jamey...I think this is going to wind up being my best effort yet!* ;)


Yeah Baby!:smokin

* Just keep thinking... Heavily carved Mother-of-Pearl :D

Jamey Saunders
02-10-2003, 09:53 AM
:D :D :D ;) ;)

Doug Timbs
02-12-2003, 07:52 AM
I have heard of people using a product called 'CLEAR BAKING LACQUER' that is available from BROWNELLS, to protect the finish on metal parts.
I haven't used it because it is not sold in this country,but I think you spray it on and then bake it in the oven.BROWNELLS will be able to give you the correct info.
Hope this helps.


Jim Small
02-12-2003, 08:31 PM

Doug may have hit on the solution to your problem. I have used for a number of years the flat black bake on laquer which is distrubuted by Brownell's. I use the flat black to fill the engraving on stainless firearms and it works better than anything I have used before. Now, Brownell's also carries the same finish in clear....both glossy and flat. The instructions are fairly simple...clean the bolsters....spray on the area you want to cover....let dry for 20 minutes....and then bake at 320 degrees for 1 hour. The finish is tough and resists most, if not all, the solvents associated with cleaning and caring for knives. You might give this a try....of course you must do all this before the scales are applied.
There is one other product you might try. I believe it's called Ceramit or Ceramikit (?) is a low tempature ceramic application used in the jewerly industry. Most jewerly supply houses carry this should not be to hard to find. The product I used a number of years ago came with numerous colors both clear and opaque. Certainly, what you would be looking for would be the clear. I forget the total application process but I do remember that the clear was very hard after the baking time....which could be done in you kitchen oven with a good oven parometer. The tempatures in both the processes I have mentioned are fairly critical so, a good tempature measuring devise is a necessity. My disclaimer is....try it, if it don't've still had fun learning.
Keep up the great work.....I am still amazed at the progress some of you guys have made.....let us see more work!


Osprey Guy
02-12-2003, 10:04 PM
Thanks for the baked lacquer idea...I like the sound of that...

Someone had responded to my question over in Ed Caffrey's forum...suggested I try "Metal-Coat" Epoxy from Brownell's...I already placed the order...

Maybe I'll hold off on using that and order some of the baked lacquer...I'll do a test of the metal-coat first and see how that works.

I'll let you guys know...

Thanks again.


Yeah Baby!:smokin