The Knife Network Forums : Knife Making Discussions

The Knife Network Forums : Knife Making Discussions (
-   Fit & Finish (
-   -   Vinegar Etch Old Hickory (

L33 08-08-2005 09:49 PM

Vinegar Etch Old Hickory
Picked up a few Old Hickory kitchen knives and decided to try a vinegar etch on them. I wanted to do this for two reasons, one I had never tried a vinegar etch and two hoping to increase the rust resistence. Old Hickory are notorious for rusting if you look at them wrong. They were etched for 24 hours in plain white household vinegar. They were wiped off then hand sanded with 1500 wet/dry to remove the excess etch.

Does the etch color look correct? I am not convinced the steel took a good etch.

Unfortunately the vinegar wicked up the blade and into the wood, turning a portion of the wood black. This occured even after sealing the wood with a Danish Oil finish. Several coats of Danish Oil finish were applied to the handles with sandings in between. I finsished with a final sanding at 1500 and a hand rub. A final coat of Briwax was applied. Even the cheap wood on the handles turned out fairly decent and glass smooth to the touch.

The metal has been wiped down in a mixture of pharmicutical grade mineral oil and carnuba wax. About 2 oz. of oil to 3 pinches of carnuba flakes. This produces an oily wax that wiped down nicely and seemed to fill the etch grain well. I made a patch saturated in the mixture for my wife to use after washing the knives in the kitchen. I like the mixture so well that I made a slightly less oily version, by adding more wax, for use on my pocket knives.

Fun experiment anyway. If anyone can tell me if the etch looks correct I would appreciate it.

Best, Lee

hammerdownnow 08-13-2005 07:55 AM

I book marked this last week and have been meaning to get back to it. I love that Old Hickory Chef.

Vinagar is a gift from the Gods. Anywhere a mild acid is useful, a safe, healthy, gentle one to use is vinagar. Some people believe vinagar is the key to longivity, and I don't doubt it a bit. I do know vinagar, old hickory's and the kitchen is one three way that can keep all parties satisfied.

I think what you are looking for is a "patena" rather than an "etch". A patena is like a controled, neutralized rust, that prevents or slows the formation of the red type that just keeps on eating at your steel. Etching is a more aggressive type of removing steel, layer by layer. To see how much steel is removed from your blade by etching you can put something on the blade to "Resist" the acid. Then etch, then remove the resist and see and feel how much steel you have etched away.

Everyone can get their hands on a bottle of fingernail polish and a bottle of fingernail polish remover. First, clean your blade well. Wash it down well with the fingernail polish remover(straight acetone is better) to remove all oil, wax and fingerprints. Then wash with dishsoap and rinse well. Some polish removers have lanoline in them to replenish oil in the nails that the acetone depletes while removing the polish. Washing the blade well with soap removes that oil that could ruin or slow down your etch.
Take the little brush in the polish bottle and write your initials, name, a number or do a design on a smooth part of your blade. Drop it into a glass and fill with white vinagar and soak for 8 to 24 hours. Remove from the vinagar and rinse and wash off the black sludge. Remove the nail polish with the remover or acetone and look at your creation. where ever the polish was resisting the vinagar/acid, it will be raised proud of the surface of the blade. Many interesting effects can be done with a resist and vinagar.

A patena on a blade can be done in a much shorter time. A ten minute soak will color your blade enough to resist rust, but not sacrifice steel. Also wrapping the blade in a vinagar soaked papertowel for ten to fifteen minutes will do a nice patena and is much easier to keep off your wood. (Experiment with times due to tempature and other factors)

Vinager is a natural antibacterial. Wiping your kitchen knives down with it, (then rinsing in water) can keep you healthy. Vinagar has the added benifit of polishing stainless steel, copper and brass. Ants and roaches hate it. Wiping your counters and cutting boards down with vinagar killls germs and repels insects and eats away mineral deposits and soap scum. I keep a spray bottle of vinagar on the kitchen sink. Try spaying a fly,ant or wasp with it and see what happens. They act like you sprayed em with like, acid or something....oh DID! BUhahahahhahah!!!!!! :eek:

hammerdownnow 08-13-2005 08:34 AM

I can't say enough about vinagar. Some people think taking vinagar regularly will prevent cancer. I say, hey, it couldn't hurt. I do know I get cramps in my fat belly from coughing and a sip of vinagar relieves them instantly. Sure a bananna will do the same thing, but I don't always have them on hand. I give my little boy vinagar, sugar and water when he wakes at night with leg cramps and he goes right back to sleep.Regular intake of vinagar is said to relieve arthritus. Sore back muscle pain can be the bane of the knifemaker from standing at the grinder. Try it next time sore back muscles keep you up at night. Hey, it couldn't hurt.

Warning, drinking straight vinagar can take your breath. mixing with water is recommended unless you are use to it. It's like doing a shot of whiskey. Don't breath till the fumes have settled...heehee

Dodd 08-13-2005 08:38 AM

OH, I so totally needed to hear about this. I've bought a Bark River Knife and Tool Evolution One.....well, okay, I bought 3. The one I've actually used got some rust spots within 30 minutes of placing it in a leather sheath. I freaked. It's made from D-2 tool steel and is "semi-stainless". My precious now has a small rash scar. I was advised to patina the blade in vinegar thereby turning the rash into a 'tan' to continue the metaphor. I didn't know how long to soak for. If you think 10 minutes is enough, that suits me fine. If doing so until a darker colour appears, I can try that. I fear removal of metal from the blade, as it is so very precious to me.

In fact, I may just etch something like " I am precious, respect me so, until death us do part" in elvish. The latter half of that sentence was terrible to translate. I haven't begun the first half yet.

Anyway, I have a question:
Can one use vinegar rather than ferric chloride to 'etch' pattern-welded steels such that they discolour without actually altering the blade's topography? Would it work with stainless 'damascus'?

I'm thinking about trying my hand at making a san-mai broken back seax with about a 22" blade; )very ambitious considering I haven't yet managed to successfully forge weld yet on my jury-rigged forge.) and would rather have pre-cut bands of the various patter-welded stock already EDC'd into the right shape. I figure this ought to allow me to get away with completing something with less skill and help me to build the skills in the process.

Thanks for reading;

- Andrew Dodd

hammerdownnow 08-13-2005 08:53 AM

Vinagar can be used to etch damaskus to any degree of depth you want. From just being visable to feeling it like the topography of West Virginia. It works pretty much the same way as FC, but much slower. Also, FC is a type of salt and vinagar is an acid. Slower can be better when new at it. But slower can result in forgetting you have something soaking and you could ruin a blade by leaving it in vinagar for say, a week. Don't ask me how I know. Also soaking in vinagar overnight removes scale from a forged blade.

AwP 08-13-2005 03:19 PM

Another great thing about vinager is that it makes a great black dye for leather and some woods. You get some dead vinager (used up etching steel so it won't etch anymore) put it on the wood or leather, and apply a little heat to dry it. It actually changes the tannic acid in leather and some woods into a black color, so it won't make your hands black or leach out of the leather/wood.

Dodd 08-13-2005 06:19 PM

not THAT was a good set of replies. an acidic etchant (while I didn't think about ferric chloride as a salt (which I should have noticed) I did think it was possibly very basic....maybe not) and a cheap ebonizer in one.


- Andrew Dodd

L33 08-17-2005 05:03 PM

Howdy Hammerdownnow,

I'm also sorry for not getting back quickly. My son was in town. He is a Submariner who is in the middle of a PCS. So, I wasn't online for a while.

Using a paper towel had run through my mind but since the threads I had read to date espoused emmersion I didn't do it. I bet the paper towel will also be useful for touch ups. A thought I've had since is to coat the handle and tang area in a thick coat of rubber cement. Hopefully, that would stop the wicking and should peel off easily.

My son was trying to help do the dishes and stuck the two paring knives in the dishwasher. Grrrrrrrrr, good thing he had already hit the road again lol. The metal and patina came through fairly well, but it completely stripped the wood. Going to have to re-apply the Danish Oil and wax coat.

BTW, the mineral oil + carnuba mix seems to be doing an admirable job. The single 12ga cleaning patch I saturated in the mixture is still going strong also.

Thanks for the tips! Lee

hammerdownnow 08-21-2005 11:47 PM

Thanks for that wax recipe. Sounds like a good one. I wonder how much wax we eat in a year without knowing it?

L33 08-23-2005 08:16 AM

Agreed, great replies. The black dye color can be seen in the picture. The handles turned black at the blade end.

I am sure we eat quite a bit of wax lol. I know carnuba is used in some pills as a binder. My next use for it is as a 'dry' lube for a folder. Got hunch it will work.

BTW thanks for the paper towel tip. It worked great for fixing the two that went through the dishwasher. The patina appeared more even and seemed to work faster than straight immersion.

hammerdownnow 08-23-2005 08:30 AM

Glad it worked well for you. I do use it quite a bit, even tho it seems I can't manage to spell it. :D

hammerdownnow 09-14-2005 04:09 PM

I too noticed the paper towel method worked faster. I wonder why? Maybe the evaporation factor or possably that there is more oxygen present?

hammerdownnow 09-15-2005 08:50 PM

Can anyone tell me the difference between these two knives?

hammerdownnow 09-22-2005 05:58 AM

Well, I guess everyone sees thu my trickery and knows it is the same knife. Second pic is after cleaning, re-patena and oiling. :lol

AwP 09-22-2005 03:15 PM

What is the light grey area in the middle of the top pic, just scratches?

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:42 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
The Knife Network : All Rights Reserved