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Robert D.

Looking for suggestions.

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Ok, so I have this blade, and another one that I am working on. They both came from the same bar of san mai I made ( 15N20 outer with W2 core ) and while I was able to pull of the forge welding and the shaping and all just fine, I seem to be getting " less then optimal " results in the etch. 

When I etched this one, I blacked out the 15N20 with a sharpie, and then etched in vinegar, It worked somewhat well at resisting the etch, but not as well as I had hoped. So I did a bit of cleanup on it and ended up going to far into the transition and lightened up some of the W2. 

So my question is, How do those of you that make your awesome san mai blades handle your etch and polish process. Aside from gluing this up before I etched it is there any glaring mistakes I made with this that I just dont see because of how newb I am?

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Well, 15n20 doesn't etch well to begin with, which is why we use it for the bright line in damascus.  And W2 usually comes out grayish since it has very low manganese.  Try it with 15n20 and 1084 for higher contrast.  The really fancy guys use stainless for the outside, which is how they get even better contrast.

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For some reason I thought W2 etched darker then that, Gah....

 

Ohhh well, glad both these ones are gifts...

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I wouldn't use the sharpie either. Just etch it and then get some instant coffee and do a coffee etch which will darken the core and the 15n20 will stay shiny.

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Its still a good looking knife.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Jeremy Blohm said:

I wouldn't use the sharpie either. Just etch it and then get some instant coffee and do a coffee etch which will darken the core and the 15n20 will stay shiny.

This was going to be my suggestion. Don't even bother with the acid etch using the composition you have. It will only give you blah results. Sand the blade back to about 600 grit and clean it off with hot water and acetone. Then put it in the instant coffee (mix it strong) and leave it there for a few hours. (I do coffee etch for 6+ hours sometimes overnight) See what you get.  Rinse with warm water and lightly sand with high grit (800+) to shine up the 15N20.

Edited by Joshua States
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I just cleaned it up, Once I am off work I will swing by the store on my way home and grab some instant coffee and give that a whirl... 

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. 

 

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Has anyone tried tannic acid?  I know coffee has some tannins, but I'm not sure if that is why it works.  I knew a blacksmith artist who told me he used tannic acid for all his darkening, but I do not know where or how he sourced it.

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The last time that I sourced tannic acid it was from Ebay.

Doug

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I forgot to grab a pic of it this morning on my rush to get my kids off to school and myself off to work, but I put the blade in the instant coffee etch overnight. and HOLY COW did that work exactly how I was hoping for. 

Thanks for the suggestion everyone, I appreciate it.

 

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Coffee etch worked out ( second knife from the bottom ) like this. 

The one just above it is from the same bar of san mai, the transition on that blade is a bit lower on the blade then this one is, but should look just as good, Now I just gotta clean up the 15N20 portion of the blade to get it how I want it. 

Thanks again everyone for the suggestions. I really appreciate it. 

 

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