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Surface Finish for Damascus Necklace


Aiden CC

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I wasn't quite sure which part of the forum to ask this in, but this seemed like it might be a good place. I recently made a damascus billet for a knife (15n20 and 1095) and had a little piece over, so I decided to make a necklace pendant from it. I'm planning on etching it tomorrow and was wondering if afterwards I should do anything in particular to the surface.

 

On the only other pendant I made, I covered the etched steel in a thin coat of heavy duty nail polish, which has lasted well but doesn't look great. I also made the chain long enough to encourage the pendant to rest on top of a shirt rather than on bare skin.

 

When I looked around, I found advice for rings, which have a much greater degree of skin contact than this likely will. I was wondering if anyone has suggestions for a way to protect the surface from skin and vis versa that would look less "plasticy" than nail polish and gives me more freedom with the length of the chain. Some things that came to my mind were blueing (either with a torch or maybe cold gun-blue), just oiling/waxing it (would 3-in-1 oil be an irritant?), or polyurethane, but this is definitely beyond most of my knowledge in this area so I'm sure there are methods I didn't think of as well.

 

Thanks for your time

 

Aiden CC

Edited by Aiden CC
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I would go for the bluing. You could also try a Ron Young patina as they are very stable over time.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

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OK this will probably sound weird, but I have done this, not on damascus but to preserve the flame patina on tongue drums. Turtle wax for your car. I have drums over two years old that get regular play - sitting in your lap hands all over them - with no loss of color or oxidation past what was put there with the torch. Give it 3-4 coats and rub it in till it shines each time, and your good to go. I've tried a similar experiment with furniture polish, and it works too, but requires it to be redone once a month or so.

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Thanks for the suggestions! I did end up heat bluing it (though stopped at blue-purple rather than grey), which definitely added to the look. I did a test on a piece of scrap, and heat bluing wasn't enough to bring out the pattern without etching, and I think if I completely blued an etched piece, the high spots wouldn't contrast enough with the low spots. I also made a couple of test pieces to try out different surface treatments/finishes. I'll probably do a show and tell thread for it when it's done.

 

Bret, I did try some wax on a test piece, but the feel is a little "sticky." If I were making a piece for myself, I might opt for wax as it affects the appearance of the surface less, but since this is going to someone else, I'm trying to make it lower maintenance.

 

Since it will potentially have a lot of contacts with salts (sweat) and it's intended for someone who won't want to do much maintenance, I want to put some kind of coating on it. Right now I'm applying a few coats of Deft spray on wood finish, which I have found to be removable with lacquer thinner, so if I don't like it I can strip it off and try polyurethane.

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The trick to getting the contrast after bluing is to etch first, then blue, then lightly rub the surface with a really fine (1500+) grit sandpaper on a backer with a very light pressure. This removes the bluing from the high parts (the shiny bits that don't rust easily) and leaves the lower parts dark.

This blade was cold blued.

 

W-pattern Bowie.jpg

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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I see. It makes sense that you would polish the high sections after bluing like you would with etching. I was using the color on the high points as a design feature, but it may lower the contrast too much. I also might switch from the satin finish (turns out it's easily stripped with acetone too) to polyurethane, in a similar way to the process Gary Mulky described in a thread about his most recent dagger.

 

EDIT: I decided that the contrast was too low so I in fact did clean off the high spots with 2000 grit sand paper and am re-applying the finish.

Edited by Aiden CC
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