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Carbon steel blades

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by brow_tines, Oct 2, 2011.

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  1. brow_tines

    brow_tines Member

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    Does the vinegar trick really work on the blades to help protect them ?
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    It doesn't do anything to protect them as far as I know.

    It just tarnishes them evenly, before something else does it unevenly.

    rc
     
  3. Spec ops Grunt

    Spec ops Grunt Member

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    Putting a patina on a steel is like Blueing a gun.

    It's basically an aesthetically pleasing, non invasive rust.
     
  4. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    Oxidize

    If you oxidize a blade in a fashion that produces a gray-to-blackish patina, it will act as a natural coating that interferes with the development of red rust, which is the knife equivalent of cancer.

    I have a Case Sod Buster JR in CV steel that has a gray patina from long use. I check it periodically to make sure it hasn't picked up any red rust.

    I have another one just like it, but relatively unused, and it has the "factory shiny" blade, except for a few spots where it was handled by people with salty fingers while it was still on the store shelf. In those spots it developed actual red rust. I [post=4815059]wrote on it[/post] when I first bought it.

    2008_0814-Knife004.jpg


    Later in that thread, I showed it again after I'd had a chance to polish on it for a bit:

    2008_0816-Knife015.jpg


    A [post=4357143]good patina[/post], on the other hand, doesn't have that ugly, rust-cancer look to it.

    2008_0401-Knife028.jpg
     
  5. nevermas

    nevermas Member

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    Besides vinegar, you can also use mustard, gun blue, or just stab a potato and leave the blade in there overnight.

    Generally, patina comes off pretty easily with a rub of Mother's Mag and elbow grease, so if you're not satisfied with the pattern, you can always try again.
     
  6. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Go to Radio Shack and get a bottle of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) etchant. Clean the blade well and make sure that it is free of oil and grease by using a volatile solvent like acetone. Soak the blade in the solution until you get a dark finish and rinse well with running water followed by a good spritz/dip in ammonia solution to finish neutralizing the etchant. Spray again with your volatile solvent to disperse any water and then oil everything well. Rub the patinaed blade with an oil soaked cloth until the dark material stops coming off.

    The patina produces a thin passivating layer that prevents rust from forming.

    There are many other ways that are more effective at protecting carbon steel other than patining but they are more involved and expensive.
     
  7. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    I used to spray with Windex, then scrub with 0000 steel wool. But that was on Damascus - don't know if you need the steel wool part just for a patina.
     
  8. BRad704

    BRad704 Member

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    The last two posts are SPOT ON... And I take my blades to 400 before etching in PCB, and then I do use WD40 and the fine steel wool to buff them back out. Leaves a very nice even greyish coloring/coating
     
  9. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Another detail is that patinas are not as durable as other modern coatings, but not everyone (anyone) has a DLC coating system in the garage.
     
  10. Spec ops Grunt

    Spec ops Grunt Member

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    Gotta Duracoat my Case knives. :p


    You should sharpen after applying a patina, correct?
     
  11. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes
     
  12. JTW Jr.

    JTW Jr. Member

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    Like Don I use the vinegar and steel wool with Windex to neutralize.... this one I ended up dropping the whole finished knife ( yes handles and all , hey Ironwood stinks anyways , why not give it that fresh vinegar smell..also stops others from trying to boost your shop knife ) into a jar of warm vinegar. Think I had two separate 1 hour soaks on this with a steel wool scrub and neutralize in between.

    1095 steel.... this is my beater that I made for myself. I dont work with high carbon that much any more...but think I need to start again.

    Sept7_20090907_0647.jpg
     
  13. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Nice temper line! That's the best thing about getting a patina on a differentially heat treated knife!
     
  14. hipoint

    hipoint Member

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    there's a blacksmith shop beside our farm (actually a couple) that works with nothing but handmade damascus knives. He does his etching in vinegar, but said that it only works if the barometer is rising. Says if it's falling it just eats metal and makes it ugly. Just putting it out there.

    He does make some pretty nifty stuff, all of it old style norse done 100% period correct (aside from his hammers and anvils, although he does make his own hammers). I just can't afford any of it... was in his shop the other day admiring a nice blade blank, asked him a price.... $1200 dollars. at that point I gingerly put it down and excused myself back to my farm work :)
     
  15. SeekHer

    SeekHer Member

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    My blacksmith buddy also makes Damascus steel and uses a mixture for his etching and final temper consisting of female (only) sheep urine (preferably in menses), honey and either beef or sheep fat rendered down...Absolutely amzing finishes to the steel.
     
  16. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    JTW Jr.
    It may be a beater, but looks sweet to me.
     
  17. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    The Shop Manager for Randall knives told me to cut tomatoes with my new carbon steel Randall.

    I decided to leave the blade bright.


    After decades of using carbon steel Russell Green River knives, the only way to prevent deep rust is to wipe them off and use them frequently. Water will pit.

    Long term storage, RIG.
     
  18. hhersh

    hhersh Member

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    Big mistake on Damascus Case blade !!

    I have a few Case damascus bladed knives. I have one, a Case canoe, that I mistakenly used metal polish on and it removed the beautiful lines and swirl pattern of the Damascus blade. You can still see the pattern but only vaguely. The dark finish (patina ?) is gone. Can it be restored ? I would appreciate any help...Thanks, Harold
     
  19. 308win

    308win Member

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    JTW Jr - Your 'beater' has beautiful lines.
     
  20. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Yes, it can be "fixed" by doing what hso suggested - get the echant solution at Radio Shack and soak the blade for a while, checking it frequently. When it's dark enough spray with Windex and rub with steel wool and WD40.
     
  21. JTW Jr.

    JTW Jr. Member

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    Thanks Brian & 308... that one just kind of happened , that was the only piece of steel I had left that weekend and wasn't wide enough to do anything else with , so that is what I made. She cuts well and I don't have to worry about scuffing it up ( though I have never worried about that on any of my knives).
     
  22. sm

    sm member

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    JTW Jr. wrote:


    1. I would be honored to have that knife or one like it made by you.
    2. Yes you do need to work with carbon/tools steels more.

    Damn! Just Damn that is a nice knife sir!

    Steve
     
  23. hariph creek

    hariph creek Member

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    I love carbon steel blades. My current EDC is a Scagel #12 made by Northwoods. I did a vinegar soak for a base. Then took a little paint brush and plain yellow mustard. I applied the mustard all 'splotchy and clumpy'. After cleaning and nuetralizing, it looks really neat. Random and organic looking.

    I use carbon steel kitchen knives as well. I let them develop natural patina with use.
     
  24. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

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    SM favors the use of his beloved Dr. Pepper. I put a patina on my Mora, entirely without meaning too, by slicing up a bunch of tomatos.
     
  25. sm

    sm member

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    Not always...
    You forgot my beloved RC (Royal Crown) cola. *wink*

    And the fact I most often allow a tool steel knife (any tool) to naturally take on its patina with use.

    Examples:

    Wheeler Custom, 01 tool steel, recently obtained, is taking on a neat patina, and I am beginning to see the differential heat treat.

    Mora Classic No. 1, recently obtained, is developing a character all of its own as well, with use.

    Case 32087, CV blades, yellow handles, has a very very dark patina, with everyday use, and when touched up, or stropped, the extremely sharp edges really do stand out!

    DL Knives, Small Skinner, 01 tool steel, has the beginnings of a neat patina, and I like where it is. Since my good friend Don is no longer making knives, I put this one up. It was made especially for me, with a custom leather sheath.
     
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