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I Forge Iron

How to keep the oxides after etching?

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I am working on a project that involves pattern welded steel and is made from some chain. It looks really good when I pull it out of the etchant (diluted Pheric chloride) but then after I pull it out of the neutralizing solution and wipe of the oxides, the layers all look similar, and there isn't as much contrast as I would like. I understand, it depends a lot on the steels, but when I pull it out of the etchant it looks really, really good and has great contrast. So, is there a way to keep this oxide? One thought I had, was what if after I removed it from the neutralizing solution, lightly dab off some of the water, and let the rest air dry. Then, spray it with some clear coat? Option 1

I had heard that cold gun bluing works well. I may try that on a scrap piece. Does it cause it to have a good contrast, or keep the layers the same color, Or just etch them to different depths? Option 2

In my research that I did, I came up with this on another forum-

"Also, another trick that helps maintain the dark of 1084 for me is to begin by doing a relatively deep etch (I usually do 3-5 10 minute etches, scrubbing with 000 steel wool between each to clear the oxides). Then, when you come out of the last etch, flood the blade with acetone and wait for it to evaporate off. Do not wipe! Then, straight into boiling water with baking soda mixed in to neutralize for 3-5 minutes. Pull the blade out, let the water evaporate off (only takes a few seconds) and then IMMEDIATELY oil or it will take on a brown rust tinge within a minute or so. Then use some 2000 grit on a hard block to shine up the highs."-Deker

I was wondering, if instead of oiling it at the end, spraying with some clear coat? option 3

So, which one sounds best? option 1, 2, or 3?

Thank you guys sooo much! ya'll don't know how much ya'll have helping me!







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