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Re-Etching a Damascus Blade Question

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I bought a used Damascus/ Titanium folder For daily carry & it had issues.

scratches in the Damascus & a rolled edge.

the edge fixed I noticed the etched makers mark coloring 1/2  removed.

being a daily carry piece I polish the blade but in doing so I lost (in areas ) some of the lines of the Damascus.

I can order some Ferris Chloride and good that route but is it possible to use boiling vinegar to bring back the etching of a polished Damascus blade ?

i gave gallons of vinegar on hand. If not no big deal but I thought I’d ask.

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To re-etch your knife, get the whole blade to the same wear level. Doesn't have to be perfect, but close enough that you don't end up with an uneven, blotchy finish at the end. The scrubbing side of a sponge is often enough to make things uniform. After that I would fix the rolled edge, but you could do that at the end if you prefer.

Next, while wearing gloves (the oils on your hands may be left on the blade otherwise, resulting in an uneven etch) thoroughly clean the blade with acetone, glass cleaner, or anything that will strip any oils from the blade without leaving a residue. Then apply nail polish to the cutting edge and pivot area so they aren't damaged.  

Ferric is the most commonly used etchant, but a very very strong cup of instant coffee also works well. I have never used vinegar, but in my experience metal tends to rust pretty quickly after coming out of vinegar so I'm not sure I would recommend it. I have heard of people using mustard for etching and I'm guessing that is somewhat like using plain vinegar, but still, I'm not going to assume one way or the other.

If you're using FC, leave the blade in there for 2-3 minutes and take a look. Different suppliers mix it at different concentrations or recommend diluting it before use so your etch time may vary, depending on the concentration, how deep of an etch you like and what steels were used in the blade. If the supplier recommends dilution, then follow their instructions as you can over do it.

If you're using instant coffee it takes a lot longer sometimes ~30 minutes sometimes a couple hours to get it where you want it.

After it comes out of the etch the darker steel will be very dark. For me, almost black. Neutralize in baking soda and water. Then I take a piece of very worn 2500 grit sandpaper and lightly wet sand the surface. I just do single pulls all in one direction so one area doesn't get sanded more than another.


Disclaimer: Different companies use different steels that may have different processes. This is how I have always done my etch on damascus I have made using 1095 and 15N20, and once used on a fixed blade that I bought online. Your mileage may vary. 

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I'm not sure whatever remains on the steel after it dries is enough to neutralize any meaningful amount of FC when it's immersed, but I see your point I suppose. I have used it in the past with no detriment to the finish, but let's just say acetone or a streak free cleaner then. 

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Or , in this case, the previous owner was an idiot. It’s an Artisan Cutlery Archaeo Titanium with carbon fiber inlay & a VG-10 Damascus blade.

I don’t know what metal object he ran across but back 1/2 could have been used as a scraper.



Otherwise it’s a nice knife & now it’s sharp again.

Video didn’t seem to load so I added it to my YouTube page.




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