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JamesK

Etching before or after heat treat?

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So I made a 10 layer Damascus billet from 2 files, a nail spike, and 2 layers of low carbon steel in between (then folded to make it 10), drew it out into a billet and made a hand sized tomahawk head from it, so now it’s more like 20 layers at the edge. I have it nice and cleaned up but no heat treat yet, and I was wondering when I should do that. Is that like the final step? I’ve never succeeded in a Damascus blade so this is a very new thing to me

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Also does anyone have any cool design ideas? I’ve made tomahawks before but none looked as good and symmetrical as this one so I want a nice handle to complement it

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Etching is always the very last thing you do.  If you etch before heat treatment, do it just to see the pattern because it's going to get covered in scale after heating it back up.  also keep in mind heat-treated steel etches more clearly than non-heat-treated steel.  If you do a differential HT (just the edge) you will see the line between hard and soft when you etch.  This is a cool effect, and almost necessary on hawks anyway.  

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22 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Etching is always the very last thing you do.  If you etch before heat treatment, do it just to see the pattern because it's going to get covered in scale after heating it back up.  also keep in mind heat-treated steel etches more clearly than non-heat-treated steel.  If you do a differential HT (just the edge) you will see the line between hard and soft when you etch.  This is a cool effect, and almost necessary on hawks anyway.  

Yea I was going to do just that, thanks for the info!

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