A few tweaks worked crazy good

Blade after Ferric Chloride


Acid etching Damascus

 I've been experimenting on some Damascus I'm using for knife projects with different acids to bring up the patterns. You see, when I'm grinding blades, any patterning from the folded steels disappears and I'm left with a smooth surface. Many years ago, when craftsmen first folded and forged different steels purely to improve it's functional properties, this would have been fine. But today, with the availability of superior alloys, the use of Damascus is primarily for aesthetic reasons. With this in mind, I needed to find the best way to bring out the patterns created by the forging of dissimilar metals. I've been trying a few mixtures with varied results. I tried Sulphuric acid (battery acid), Muriatic acid (swimming pool), and for these pieces, I used Ferric Chloride (copper etch mordant).
The near side steel pictured is a blend of 1085, 15-n-20 (nickel) and L6. The far side piece is just 1095 and 15-n-20. After a 40 minute bath in Ferric Chloride I got good texture and color. The other acids gave varying results of depth and color, but the Ferric seemed to give the most definition. With future use and cleanings the color will continue to change, so I find it more important to achieve a good surface texture that will become more rich and beautiful over time. The color contrast can be maintained on a show piece that gets no use, but that's not what I do. And neither do you. The natural oxidation, resulting from years of use, is where the true beauty of these pieces will come from. But for now, this is looking pretty kick ass. More to follow...


Gift from Mario of MB Leathers

A fellow leather worker, Mario Burkardt from Switzerland, was visiting my shop over the Holidays. I was admiring this handmade Damascus miniature of a leather working knife he was wearing, and without a second thought, he generously gave it to me as a gift. I appreciated it very much and have been wearing it ever since.
Thanks again Mario....