Questions about makers mark

Wayne Bensinger

Well-Known Member
Hi guys, I'd like to start adding a makers mark to my work. I know as many of you stated that it is an absolute must as you move forward in the trade. I really think I would prefer a stamp that I can press into the blade rather that etching because I've seen and heard of so many issues from etching that seems to point out that they fail or are hard to work out on every piece/type of steel. Seems to me that if I had stamp and an arbor press, every time it would work, no matter what steel I was using. Guess my questions are 1. Am I right thinking this way? and, 2. How much would a stamp cost and where would I get one made? I already have a 25/1 ration arbor press that can easily handle the job, so I think I'm half way there. Thanks for the help.


Wayne
 

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
Wayne, I haven't tried a stamp, but the etching method isn't bad at all. I think its popularity with so many makers is probably proof of that. You can build a homemade etcher and get some stencils waaaay cheaper than a stamp. Another nice thing about the stencils is you can order them in different sizes. You might want a 1/8" tall logo for a folder and a 1/2" tall logo for a big chopper. I got 4 sizes on the stencil sheet when I ordered mine.

But, I do like the way stamps look! I've been stamping serial #'s on my blades and the crispness of the stamp does look good. If you do get a stamp made, please share the whole experience, I'm very curious about it too.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
A stamp will cost in the range of $100 to $175 for each stamp. One down side to the stamp is having only one size and one logo. With etching, with just a few bucks you can have different sizes. Also, if you wish to stamp the alloy steel used i.e 14C28N, AEB-L, etc, you'll need a stamp for each type of steel. The size stamp used on a paring knife or folder will be a good bit less than size used for a Bowie or chef knife. I'd expect with a stamp you'll wind up with more money invested than with etching. There is some trial 'n error in etching, but that can be learned on scrap steel. Once you've got it pegged, your success rate will be VERY high.

One thing I like about etching vs stamping - etching is the very last thing done to a blade, while stamping must be done before heat treat. I've not used an actual stamp, but achieved similar result by engraving with CNC machine. I use both, CNC for wife's hen image, and etching for lettering. I think all total, etching will be the least expensive option, especially if you make your own etching machine. Nothing to them, just DC and AC voltage supply. Done properly there should be NO different in a home built vs commercial etching machine.

Ken H>

Ken H>
 
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slatroni

Well-Known Member
I bought a stamp. I was stamping my knives before HT. Then when I would go back to the grinder to finish the blade, I would sometimes grind off my stamp. I etch now and use the stamp for my leather work.Damascus bowie and sheath3.JPG
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
Wayne, when I started making knives I used an etching system. that was a long time ago, before the internet. the machines used for etching nowadays are a lot better than what I was using. that being said, the reason I went with a stamp is because once I had a knife that I etched my mark on and before it left my shop it gat a scratch near the mark. well I tried to buff it out and messed up my etch, and at that point I didn't see any way of putting the stencil back on exactly where it needed to be, so I switched to a stamp and haven't looked back. I'm not saying a stamp is any better or worse and don't want to start a mark war here but you sound like your on the fence and I'm throwing in my two cents here. the one down fall is if you make folders or need a smaller mark, in my case I have a pantograph and engrave smaller marks for those. I also have a clamp fixture that I use and once the knife is put in it you can hit it today, tomorrow and next week and the blade doesn't move, so you don't get a shadow stamp mark. I've heard of people using arbor presses but I can't say what kind of results you'll get. here's a few pictures of my set up, the one pic has a heat treated blade in the fixture just to show how it works...



 

Wayne Bensinger

Well-Known Member
Wow, a lot of very valid points to both sides of the coin, I guess I have some thinking to do. I never thought of the size issues, but man, that makers mark on your "Miller" knives looks crisp and permanent! Thanks to you all!

Wayne
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Steve, that sure is a nice stamp you've got. With 60Rc hard stamps it would stamp pre-HT'd blades really good and last a LONG time. I can make strong points for stamps and for etching also. I have a feeling cost is going to be very close to same, "IF" a person buys a commercial etching machine. Good prices on the stamps on the link you gave - thanks for link.

Ken H>
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
I got to ask this because I don't know!

I remember a thread one time where there was discussion as too whether a stamp causes stress factors at the stamped area of a knife.

Do you know if there is anything to that and have you ever had a problem with a knife breaking in the area of the stamp??
 

Dennis Morland

KNIFE MAKER
I got to ask this because I don't know!

I remember a thread one time where there was discussion as too whether a stamp causes stress factors at the stamped area of a knife.

Do you know if there is anything to that and have you ever had a problem with a knife breaking in the area of the stamp??

C Craft

From my personal experience, I have never had a knife break at the stamp (around 90 knives - mostly 1095). I broke a stick tang one time because of a bad filing on the tang during heat treat. KNOCK ON WOOD!

DeMo
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
C Craft

From my personal experience, I have never had a knife break at the stamp (around 90 knives - mostly 1095). I broke a stick tang one time because of a bad filing on the tang during heat treat. KNOCK ON WOOD!

DeMo
DeMo, at what point of the operation do you do your stamping, I assume it must be while the 1095 is still annealed???
 

Bruce Bump

Forum Owner-Moderator
I got to ask this because I don't know!

I remember a thread one time where there was discussion as too whether a stamp causes stress factors at the stamped area of a knife.

Do you know if there is anything to that and have you ever had a problem with a knife breaking in the area of the stamp??

I watched a utube vid once where Jerry Fisk cracked a small Damascus blade with his stamp and had to make anothr
er blade.

Personally I like the stencil method. I buy my stencils from Ernie and have several to use depending on the size of blade or if it's damascus, carbon or stainless. I,ve had stencils made with names, dates, anniversaries, weddings and bible scriptures. I also have a set from 001-100 for marking my slip joints. I do have a stamp from Henry Evers that I use on my file guides only because it is always crooked on a blade. Also I like to surface grind before and after heat treatment which usuall wipes out half of the stamping. With a stencil I can put my logo on last thing before final assembly.

Given my etcher was not cheap as it's an industrial grade from Marking Methods but there are less expensive etchers that work just as well for a fraction of the cost. Check with Tracy here.
 
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EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I watched a utube vid once where Jerry Fisk cracked a small Damascus blade with his stamp and had to make anothr
er blade.
Been there....done that! I did it trying to stamp a "cold" blade with a little press that I'd made with a hydraulic jack.....last time I ever stamped anything cold. I stamp most everything that will allow it (thickness, etc) but its always done during my last thermal cycling heat prior to quenching. There is certainly a "touch" that must be learned when hot stamping.

I also etch, but thats reserved for those blades that don't lend themselves to stamping.....ie: too thin. Nothing worse then stamping a thin blade...having it warp like crazy from stamping....then trying to straighten it. :sad::sad::sad:
 

Dennis Morland

KNIFE MAKER
DeMo, at what point of the operation do you do your stamping, I assume it must be while the 1095 is still annealed???
I cannot add anything that Mr. Bump and Mr. Caffrey have not already provided. But, to answer your question I stamp after sanding to 400 grit while still annealed and just prior to heat treat. I have bent a few thinner blades like Mr. Caffrey alluded to . . . you have to watch that. I hate that.

DeMo
 

Freds Edge

Well-Known Member
I have stamped and etched , I think I would have done more stamping if I had a better method , I like Mike's set up and think I will build a similar jig . On smaller blades I will continue to etch .
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
I've never had any damage to stainless blades from stamping but I have had damascus folder blades warp when heat treated, "one" and don't stamp small, thinner Damascus blades any more. now I either engrave my mark on the blade or inside on the back bar. as for stainless, I've never had a problem because I think that your not actually wacking the day lights out of the stamp, it's just a good hit or two.
I stamp my blades after grinding so I can better line up where I want it to be.
 

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
I prefer an etching for both stainless and Damascus carbon steel. On the stainless I etch my avatar that you see and on Damascus I type out, www.rhinoknives.com and etch it on the spine so the logo doesn't detract from the Damascus pattern.

I was at a few Saturday open door deals at the late Mr. Bob Loveless;s shop in Riverside and when asked, Stamp or Etch.
Is there a chance of stress risers when stamping, his comment was,
"Why risk it? Just etch your logo and be done with it. Also you can put numbers and Logo's on if you like very easily… I cancelled my plans to buy a stamp and have been only etching since about 96-97.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Cliff, since the stamp is before heat treating, any stresses induced should be releived during heat treat. I don't think it'd be possible to stamp anything after HT. Remember, the stamps are about 60-61 Rc, and most blades run about the same. I'd think that would ruin a stamp in short order.

Ken H>
 

Bruce Bump

Forum Owner-Moderator
Cliff, since the stamp is before heat treating, any stresses induced should be releived during heat treat. I don't think it'd be possible to stamp anything after HT. Remember, the stamps are about 60-61 Rc, and most blades run about the same. I'd think that would ruin a stamp in short order.

Ken H>
I flattened out my first stamp by trying it on a hard blade. $165 boo boo
 
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