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The Damascus Forum The art and study of Damascus steel making.

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  #1  
Old 05-21-2021, 06:45 PM
KenH KenH is offline
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Etching Damascus

Ed has given lots of GOOD info on how to etch Damascus and that's what I follow. I even made a FeCl tank with PVC pipe and cap that's clamped next to my work bench.

My question, with a billet (not HT'd) does it help "set" the black oxide to make it stay "blacker" if the billet is baked for a while - say around 300F or so. Fresh out of the tank the black is so easy to wipe off. I tried baking a billet, then "washed" gently with 1200 grit sandpaper (wet) to bring out the bright of the 15N20 and baking did "seem" to help - was that my imagination? OR, did baking actually help?
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Old 05-23-2021, 09:54 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Why would you etch it before grinding it into a knife and heat treating other than to see how it looks? I wouldn't bother otherwise because it will look somewhat different after you grind bevels on it and it will definitely be baked after HT.
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  #3  
Old 05-23-2021, 10:03 AM
KenH KenH is offline
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Jim, you're right about no reason to etch before finished blade. Other than as you said just to see what it looks like. Since I'm just learning this pattern welded stuff, it's good to see what the pattern looks like. Also, since I'm learning I might not turn the billet into a blade for a while since I'm enjoying the forging and playing with my new 12 ton press.

Later
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  #4  
Old 05-24-2021, 01:16 PM
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billyO billyO is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmontg View Post
Why would you etch it before grinding it into a knife and heat treating other than to see how it looks?
Does there need to be another reason??? Some of us are a little impatient.
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Old 05-24-2021, 03:04 PM
KenH KenH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyO View Post
Does there need to be another reason??? Some of us are a little impatient.
BillyO, So well spoken.
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  #6  
Old 05-24-2021, 03:19 PM
Chris Railey Chris Railey is offline
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Ed has the best way I have ever used for high layer count billets. Step one, over etch the blade in acid. Until you can "feel the topography" of the layers. Step two, spray with satin black Gun Kote and bake. Step three, use a flat piece of something and 1200-1500 grit paper to carefully sand away the black on the shiny layers which will be slightly higher. Step four, coat the blade in flat clear gun kote and bake. Its the best contrast I have ever gotten on a blade. I am currently trying it on a 30 layer billet I made an EDC from this weekend. Ed said it does not work well on low layer counts but I figured I would try.
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Old 05-24-2021, 04:37 PM
KenH KenH is offline
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That does sound like it work work really good. Is this the clear? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B091X4FC6B/

I've not found the satin black, but several other flavors of black. Only flat black and "deep flat black". Satin black is out there as 2401S, just not found it other than WalMart. That stuff isn't cheap - $28 for 4 oz? Is it available in a spray can? If liquid what do you use to spray with?
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Old 05-25-2021, 08:24 AM
Chris Railey Chris Railey is offline
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That is the stuff though I normally order straight from KG. There is a trick to making the coating look right though and again I got this from Ed. You have to apply it with an air brush. Anything else will spray it on too quickly and it will look like plastic. Both Ed and I use the cheapo airbrush from Harbor Freight. I just hook it up to my air compressor, turn the PSI down and spray. The trick is to adjust your airbrush so you can barely see the Gun Kote coming out. Apply lightly and bake at 300F for one hour. The clear also will work for protecting a regularly etched blade too any blade I etch (San-Mai, Go-Mai or layered) gets a light coat of clear if I do not do the black/clear method.
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Old 05-25-2021, 08:25 AM
Chris Railey Chris Railey is offline
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Also, I would assume if you used the flat black and got satin clear the end results would be the same.
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Old 05-25-2021, 10:44 AM
KenH KenH is offline
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I just checked HF and $10 for an airbrush? WOW - no idea the cheap ones where that cheap. I'll have to play around with that. I've read stuff before but never really got too involved since I didn't much care for "pattern welded" blades..... and here I am making them
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Old 05-25-2021, 01:59 PM
Chris Railey Chris Railey is offline
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Kind of like any other "painting" prep work is key. I clean everything twice with rubbing alcohol and then use vinyl gloves (if you can find them). I used to use acetone but if you clean a shiny piece of steel with acetone you can tell it leaves a film on the steel. No good when coating. I bake mine in a toaster oven I once used for cactus juice. Make sure you shake the can well for at least three minutes before applying. All of that stuff is in the directions on their website though.
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  #12  
Old 05-26-2021, 07:17 AM
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Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
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Good catch on the acetone leaving a "film". I suspect that because acetone flashes off so quickly, it's leaving a small amount of whatever contaminate there is behind. That being said, I still use it, but follow it up with windex, followed by making fully sure all the windex is dry/gone.


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