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I Forge Iron

how to you turn carbon steel red?


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Yes, Red paint! But I suspect thats not the answer you wanted to hear. The only things I can suggest are rust,a product called japanese brown,, which gives a sort of burgandy look to steel if done right. Or something along the lines of copper plating, followed by a patina.
I know that some knifemakers are getting vivid reds from hot dip blueing thier knives, but I have no Idea how.

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Leaf the red is rust..depending on where you live it may happen really fast on its own or if you live in a dry area you can speed the process with agents. Salt water will speed rust. as will bleach, So will acids such as muriatic for pools. Basically if you have some pieces of scrap that are the same steel and have been heat treated the same. remove all oil from the piece. Wet them and let dry. Rub with fine steel wool and water and see if it what you want. I would suggest salt and water as you will likely have some and it is not hard on tissues like lungs and skin. You may have to repeat the process a lot of times to make it reddish brown. It is a cool almost antique look when done right. But not what I would call bright red. Have fun

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If you burnish your knife with a piece of copper (or a copper brush, if there is such a thing) it will impart a tint to it. Obviously the finer the polish, the less tint you get. And it might also be a bit close to pink for your purposes!

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reporting back:
i've tried all except the paint and copper plating.
rust changed the color pretty good, tho it's not really the color i wanted. copper burnish worked too, and it made my scrap shine with a tint of copper red. but i think the greatest success is in tempering, or "blueing". the steel turned into shades of bright purple-ish red just before turning blue.
i shall have some pictures up eventurally, right now i couldn't get my camera to capture the shininess of it... =

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 7 months later...

Enamle. i'd suggest silicon sand fire fused Enamle:

Wight sand-1 1/2 cups (hardwear store)

red: iron oxide- 1 cup (pottery shop) green/blue: copper oxide- 1 cup (pottery shop)

salt- 1/4 cup (walmart)

baking soda- 1/4 cup (walmat)


PS: this mode of Coloring will ruin your temper

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