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Tim Cook

Mirroring opinions

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All the knives I have made so far have been gifts or for personal use.  Now I am starting to make some kitchen style knives to sell.  I have done research and read that satin finish knives sell better than mirror.  So the question for all the blade smiths that have sold a lot of knives, is this what you have experienced?  Curious if the real world experiences of blade smiths here coincide with the rest of the internet.  What is everyone's opinion?

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The mirror finish will quickly deteriorate with the patina that will form unless you are going to use stainless that is.

If not, I have not sold that many knives but my customers seem to love mustard patinas. I have a few orders for this sort of finish in the book. I sand to #800 before etching. 

Here's what I'm talking about in case you're never seen it.

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IMG_20181206_113955.jpg

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2 hours ago, Tim Cook said:

All the knives I have made so far have been gifts or for personal use.  Now I am starting to make some kitchen style knives to sell.  I have done research and read that satin finish knives sell better than mirror.  So the question for all the blade smiths that have sold a lot of knives, is this what you have experienced?  Curious if the real world experiences of blade smiths here coincide with the rest of the internet.  What is everyone's opinion?

It could have something to do with the fact that a satin finish looks more "hand made" than mirror. All of the knives I have sold have been satin finished, however some of the knives I've made to use myself, including my EDC folder, have mirror or near-mirror finish because I like the look and think it has some practical benefits. Water rolls off better keeping the knife dryer/making it easier to wipe off, the finish is more corrosion resistant, there is (very) slightly less resistance cutting through food, etc. For me,  I never felt that the time it would take to get a good mirror polish on a blade, particularly something as large as a chef's knife, would add enough to the value to be worth it.

Something I've done recently, especial kitchen knives, is a satin buffed finish achieved by sanding to 600 grit and then buffing with emery. I've found that this finish only adds another 10-20 minutes to making the knife and doesn't alter the look that much while also getting some of the benefits of a mirror polish. A forced patina is another way to give the surface some protection and, as Joël's knives show, can be very attractive when done well.

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Ok tried my hand at a mustard patina.  Went with a wave pattern.  The knife is one of 8.  Going to market them as Japanese steak knives Lol.  Thanks for the help guys!  Lot of experience on this site.  Even more so, everyone willing to share it.  (sorry about the shadow on the photo)

20190309_214624.jpg

Edited by Tim Cook

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Used yellow mustard and laid a big glop on a plate.  Used a q-tip and drizzled the mustard across it in half of a wavy "x" pattern.  Let it set an hour and cleaned it off.  Then went back and finished crossing the x with the same pattern.  Took awhile doing both sides.  Then finished a half hour soak in vinegar to make sure I didn't miss any spots.  Used 000 steel wool to finish.

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What kind of mustard are you guys using? I always thought it was English mustard.

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I use the cheapest yellow mustard I can find. The kind used on hot dogs.

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Thanks Joël. That might be why mine didn’t come out as well as yours. Maybe there is more to this patina than just the mustard part of the sauce. 

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I could be wrong, but I would think its mostly related to the vinegar.  So the higher the vinegar content in the mustard the better the etch?

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Perhaps, maybe there's more than just vinegar, who know 

Edited by Joël Mercier

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Success!  Sold all the knives.  My first knife sale.  Made about 50 percent profit on them (does this mean I am a blade smith now?).  Anywho, thanks for the help with patinas!

Edited by Tim Cook
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