A Possible replacement for Gun-Kote 2400

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Trying something new. Gun Kote has gotten difficult to get.... I've had a devil of a time trying to get any of it, so I found another option....at least I think.
https://molyresin.com/

So far I've applied it to 3 test blades that I took out and tortured, a Damascus Hammer, and as I type this I have a Mosaic/410 San Mai blade curing in the oven. Compared to Gun Kote, Everything is pretty close to the same, as far as application and curing go.

The main difference I've notice is that the finished product of the Moly Resin feels "slick" in the hand, versus the Gun Kote feeling slightly "grainy". They seem to hold up nearly the same when hacking/cutting, with either eventually getting some scratches, especially if hacking on "dirty" stuff..... like a chunk of wood that's been laying outside. (chopping weeds outta the fence row and jamming into the dirt) :)

As I get further into testing it, I'll update everyone, but for now, I feel like this is a good alternative to Gun Kote, just seems easier to get. OH! By the way, the only one I use is the Satin Clear version, so I have no idea how the colored versions look, or how they hold up.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
Ed, I will try out the flat black and send you some before/after pics. I have a couple of requests for black blades. Thanks for posting this as I am almost out of Satin Clear Gun Kote.
 

IanF

Well-Known Member
Thanks Ed

Ive never coated a blade but Cerakote is often talked about as well. Do you have any experience with it as well?
Ian
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Yes, I've tried/used Cerakote, and I personally prefer Gun Kote, or this new stuff Moly Resin.

Everybody was telling me how tough the Cerakote is....but when I tested it, Gun Kote held up better on blades.

What I found, at least what I believe, is that Cerakote is actually too hard for blades. Many don't think of "flex" when it comes to blades, but I think that is the downfall of Cerakota on knife blades..... When I tested it, I got "chipping" of the Cerakote/coating, on blades coated with it. The blades did so when slightly flexed during heavy hacking/cutting.
I believe that Gun Kote and the Moly Resin have an element of "flex" and simply hold onto blades better.

In most of my applications, I can't prep most blades as recommended for Cerakote..... or for that matter as Gun Kote or Moly Resin recommend. Most times, a blade being coated in my shop is etched in Ferric Chloride, cleaned, then dried and the coating applied/cured. Cerakote simply doesn't like that, and does not "grip" onto items prepared in this manner as well as Gun Kote or Moly Resin. Now, if I were using Cerakote just to "color" a blade, and using their recommended prep method(s), then it holds great, but again, most of my applications are not like that.
Don't get me wrong, Cerakote is a great product, but it just doesn't meet my needs. Finally, the biggest reason I don't use it..... they don't offer it in a Satin Clear. I've tried all of their "clear" versions in the past, and they all make blades look like they have a heavy "plastic" coating on them. YUK! Stain Clear Gun Kote and Moly Resin, applied LIGHTLY with air brush, do not give that "plastic" look.
 
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EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
No. Most of my Damascus, and especially my San-Mai blades get it, just because from past experiences, clients tend to "over clean" those type of blades, and will usually mess up, and use something wither abrasive in it....and pretty much erase the etch.

I'm working on a new generation of EBKs right now, and am experimenting with it on some varying finishes for those, but for the most part, straight steel blade do not get the coating.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
Not that he needs the backup but I agree with Ed. He turned me on to Gun Coat a year or so ago and now I use it anytime I etch a blade, guards included. Damascus, San-Mai or just an etched blade get it. If not the awesome etch pattern I got tends to go away quickly. I apply it just like Ed said in light coats with a harbor freight airbrush. Material prep is key in getting adhesion. I clean multiple times with rubbing alcohol only. Acetone will leave a film that I believe was responsible for some of my early failures with gun kote. Since I switched to alcohol no film no failures.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Acetone will leave a film that I believe was responsible for some of my early failures with gun kote.
That's great input! My "muscle memory" when cleaning prior to coating is acetone, THEN either alcohol or windex..... and I totally forgot to mention that detail! Thanks Chris!!
What I find so amazing, particularly about the satin clear coatings is that with just VERY LIGHT coatings, it's nearly invisible, and protects like you've fully encased the blade. I still haven't found a preferred way of keeping the coating on the spine or edge....but I'm willing to make that minor sacrifice for the fantastic protection it offers on the blade flats.

I would strongly encourage anyone selling knives that are coated with Gun Kote or the Moly Resin, to inform your client(s) VERBALLY..... I forgot to verbally say it ONCE, and the client did not read the paperwork...... and ended up trying to us Flitz on the blade...... and turned the blade opaque..... like looking at damascus through a shower door! From what he told me, he noticed a "haze" when he first "scrubbed" the blade, and thought he could get it out by scrubbing harder.....by the time I saw it again for repair (which ended up with me building a whole new knife) you could only see the damascus pattern is very strong light. So yes, the coatings will scuff and scratch over time with HARD USE...... but for routine use, it works great. Way back, before I every offered it to clients, or told anyone else about it.... I built myself a mosaic hunter, coated it, and used it for an entire Montana hunting season...... went through 4 different big game animals, lots of upland game birds and waterfowl, and even a few fish, and looked as good coming out of the season, as going into it. That was over a decade ago, and I still carry that knife in my day pack on every hunting trip.

My goal was for those potential clients who walked up to my table at a show, and said.... "I'd love to own one of your Damascus knives, but it's too much upkeep." Well Sir.....let me show you something and explain......... ;)
 

soundmind

KNIFE MAKER
I have an airbrush and a small compressor for it. Although I haven't used it in ages. Is there anything else I'd need off the bat to get into coating my knives?
Also, how much molyresin would you recommend buying at once to get started? Thanks Ed.

Luke
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
At first, I'd buy the least amount you can....at least until you decide if it's for you. Even then, it doesn't "shelf" well. I never buy more than 8oz at a time, simply because I've had it "go bad" on the shelf after just 3-4 months of not using it.

Personally, I would recommend getting a "disposable" airbrush such as this one:
https://www.harborfreight.com/quick-change-airbrush-kit-93506.html
Why? These products are notoriously difficult to thin/clean up. The first time I used it, I used my "good" airbrush, and even though I thought I'd cleaned it well..... the next time I went to use it, the airbrush would not work. When I tried to tear it down, everything was as if I'd left super glue in it! $100+ down the tubes. If you leave either Gun Kote or Moly Resin in the plastic "cups" of any airbrush, it will melt the cup within a short while.
It's just easier and cheaper all the way around to use either a really cheap or disposable airbrush.

When it comes to prepping the blade(s), both Gun Kote and Moly Resin recommend sand blasting, or parkerizing prior to application. While I have done this, I just don't like the sand blasted look on blades.
I've found that as long as you have a finish that the product can "grip" (just about anything except a high or mirror polish), AND provided you apply it LIGHTLY, the product "stays" well.

Beyond that, latex or nitrile gloves, a good cleaning, and then remember.... APPLY IT VERY LIGHTLY!! IF you can actually see the product on a blade....you've applied too much. Acetone it clean again, and try again. If you apply too much, and bake it on, it WILL look like the blade has been laminated with plastic, and the only way to remove it, is to sand it off (which really sucks to do) and go again.

Another challenge for some is how to support/hold a blade while it's baking. Even if the product is dry on the blade, do not lay it on it's side in the oven! You will end up with marks anywhere the blade touches the racks. If it's a single blade, you can use a small (all metal) "C" clamp on the tang, or even a small set of vise grips (300F won't hurt the vise grips) to keep the blade upright....with just the edge touching the rack/tray. I built myself a "rack" out of aluminum.... in an "L" shape, with slots cut to rest blade tangs in. Another important tip..... let the blades cool naturally! I once took a blade out of the oven and put it under running water to cool.... it turned the coating a bit hazy/gray..... lesson learned! :)
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
it's a single blade, you can use a small (all metal) "C" clamp on the tang, or even a small set of vise grips (300F won't hurt the vise grips
I use a cheap welding magnet to hold mine by the tang, because I do not spray the tang. The welding magnet holds to the steel rack in my oven fine. Or you can just stick the magnet to a steel base (anything will do). It works for all except very large bowies and the like. This way nothing will touch any surface you sprayed. Runs are not a problem GK hardens quickly. Like this: these are not coated but you get the idea.
 

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soundmind

KNIFE MAKER
Thanks, ed. That all helps a lot. It looks like a summertime thing. And I would have bought a whole gallon, just to be on the safe side. Also, I have two paasches. Thanks for saving them!
 
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