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Well,,, I did it.

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Well folks, I went down that slippery slope of making damascas/pattern welded steel. And, I read it on here and it was a true statement; it is a rather addictive venture. So far, everything is going very well, welds are solid, no fighting with it, overall, nice results.
The question I will pose is one that I know has been covered.

What is nice simple way to begin with the etching process to bring out the pattern of the material?
I have been just playing around with muratic acid and time and the results are not too bad so far, but I would like to hear how those of you folks with WAY more experience go about it.

As usual, Thanks a million in advance.

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Am I correct in assuming that the longer I let it soak the deeper the contrast will be (for a given set of materials of course), or do you seem to hit a ceiling and that is it? I realize that some material combos will yield a more striking contrast than others. For example, the test run I am in the middle of is a mix of El Cheapo bandsaw blade and steel strapping. Pretty interesting so far.
As an aside, I made a nifty little saex from it, six inch blade. After final heat treat, it had made a tough blade that is holding up well and holding its edge with gusto.

Also, it seems that I need to get the polish pretty well nailed down and finished before I go to the etch. Am I on the right track on that?

Anything else to watch out for?

Again thanks to you and everyone else

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Strong concentrations do not leave as good an etch as the strong solutions etch everything and you want a differential etch. To get deeper etches a weaker solution but with longer time with regular cleaning the crud off the piece works better.

Just to see how the piece is coming along I have used hot vinegar with salt---nice because if you "forget" about it it will not damage the piece. Doesn't leave any Topo though.


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