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Shane Harvey

Etching Cable Damascus

10 posts in this topic

I have a billet of cable damascus that is not etching very well. I am currently using a Ferric Chloride solution that is cut approx 5 to 1. I am using the basic process outlined in http://www.dfoggknives.com/etching.htm.

 

I suspect the solution is too diluted but I have no idea what kind of metal the cable was made from either (image attached) and that may be a factor. If anyone has any input on getting better results I'd appreciate it. Cheers.

 

Shane Harvey

photo.jpg

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Though I'm not an expert, I have dealt with cable a bit. I do believe your solution is a bit weak. To get by this you might be able to get better results by heating up the solution. A warm solution willwork faster than a cold solution.

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hay how did you heattreet it did you harden the hold blade or just the eged of blade I have herd that cay caoting will work

just what I think any one got some thing beter chim in.

good luck Al High

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I forgot to comment on the steel itself. As long as it is not galvanized, it's okay to use. some stel cable has a rope/cord center and that should be avoided as well. What gives you the contrast in cable damascus is the decarburisation of the individual strands. The silver borders of the grains is where the carbon has been burnt off. I think it was Don Fogg that mentioned this only happens when borax is used as the flux. So, perhaps it is not strictly based on carbon. Either way, it appears that your cable is perfectly fine to use.

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Gents,

 

Thanks for the feedback. The solution was a bit cool at about 55 degrees (sitting in a cool garage) and it is probably too weak as you've suggested. I'll warm it up a bit and make it stronger.

 

Thanks also for the observation on the steel as well. With luck I'll have some good results to share. Cheers.

 

-Shane Harvey

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Hi guys,

I just finished heat treating my 1st Damascus knife, and am about to etch it. I am wondering if the etching solution is reusable?

I'm going to split the difference for what Don specified and go for a 3:1 with multiple cycles. I'll post results.

VK

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Cable can be lousy knife steel and etch beautifully or not at all.

Cable can be good knife steel and etch better when soft than hard. Etch first and heat treat later.

Cable can be good knife steel and etch better when hard than soft. Heat treat first and etch later.

 

 

You won't find these things out until you go all the way through the process for each step.

Edited by Mike Blue

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Cable can be lousy knife steel and etch beautifully or not at all.

Cable can be good knife steel and etch better when soft than hard. Etch first and heat treat later.

Cable can be good knife steel and etch better when hard than soft. Heat treat first and etch later.

 

 

You won't find these things out until you go all the way through the process for each step.

 

Mike,

 

How do you pull off "Etch first and heat treat later"?

 

Mike

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Same way that you normally heat treat anything with the tools you have. There will be some surface losses due to scale if you have to use an open fire. I used some heat treatment foil for a few occasions before realizing what a pain that particular piece of cable had turned into. Now that I have high temperature salts, I suppose I could go back to it sometime, but if I had my choice, I'd rather find the cable that I heat treat first, then etch.

 

I've got a ton of old fence that's one inch rope core. It sparks well. It makes a decent blade, but does not etch well either pre-HT or post. I thought I'd gotten a great deal for a little work pulling it out of the field. Hah. It reinforces the idea of knowing your materials.

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