Etching Damascus Blades

Grizzly Bear

Well-Known Member
How's it going guys? I have a question about etching a name on a custom presentation knife I'm working on and have a question about
etching Nichol's Stainless Steel Damascus.

Since Damascus is made from pattern welding of two different metals, will the rate of etching of the two different metals be the same?
I am worried that one metal will etch more than the other and make for a fuzzy signature. What do you guys think? I would hate to
ruin such an expensive blade. I sure won't be able to sell it to my customer.

Thanks for your input.

Grizzly Bear
 

GHEzell

Well-Known Member
You may be able to do a few tests to see how it will etch on the tang, where it won't be seen. I've ran into this problem myself, it seems the faster the etch occurs, the better the results for a clear logo, it is only with a slow etch that the metals are able to react at different rates... but I cannot say for certain with a mix of steels I've never used.
 

Frank Niro

KNIFE MAKER
I've used several of Chad Nichol's stainless patterns.What you can do is paint the area you are going to place your name on with fingernail polish, and then etch the blade. Of course it would be best to do a test piece.
Frank
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
What you can do is paint the area you are going to place your name on with fingernail polish, and then etch the blade.

That would be my suggestion as well. Often times electro/chemical etch on etched damsascus doesn't work out very well.
 

Calvin Robinson

Moderator Christian Forum
Here is an example of how I etch my name on Damascus. Before etching the Damascus in acid I hand sand to 1000 grit,then I use my electro etcher to do a deep etch with AC voltage then blacken it with DC voltage.I mask off all the areas I don't want acid etched with fingernail polish,three or four light coats instead of one thick coat,then I let dry overnight. The deep etch of my name is completely filled with fingernail polish,I take a razor blade and slice off any polish that is around and above the surface of the etch,I then use a jumbo black sharpie marker and put a thick coat of that ink over the fingernail polish,let it dry ,then LIGHTLY sand over that with a perfectly flat steel sanding block and fresh 1000 grit paper to remove the excess sharpie ink. After etching the Damascus in acid I place the blade in acetone to melt the fingernail polish.
 

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Calvin Robinson

Moderator Christian Forum
Here is another way to do it that looks good on bigger blades. I hand finish my Damascus to what ever grit I desire then I use foil tape and cut out the shape of my logo area,stick it on the blade then etch the Damascus. After the acid etch I peel off the foil tape,usualy only the glue is left, then electro etch my name inside this unetched window I have created.
 

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Calvin Robinson

Moderator Christian Forum
Calvin, is the sharpie step just you can see where your sanding? Or does it help some other way?
Anthony,
The sharpie is a good resist by itself but I don't trust it alone after putting so much work in a blade. The sharpie ink is really thin and fills any microscopic cracks that may be around the edges of the logo etch. It's kinda like wearing a belt and suspenders to play it safe.
 
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