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Engraving knife blade - before/after quench


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Alright, so I will be doing some engraving and gold inlay on one of my blades, and I am curious as how to go about it...

 

Do I:

1. Engrave the grooves before hardening, and then do gold inlay afterwards? (would get quenching oil and stuff into the grooves, damn near impossible to remove I'd recon.)

2. Engrave and inlay before hardening, and then harden. (will be heating gold and silver along with the rest of the blade, and then quench... *cringe* )

3. Differentially harden the blade, covering the body with clay - creating a soft body that can be engraved and inlayed even after hardening?

4. Other...?

 

Sincerely,

Alveprins.

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I would fully harden the blade, then temper down the spine with the edge in a pan of water.  That will help you get the softest body, moreso than using clay.  Then engrave and inlay.

 

Note if this is a damascus blade, differential hardening/tempering will result in a muted pattern on the softer parts.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

I would fully harden the blade, then temper down the spine with the edge in a pan of water.  That will help you get the softest body, moreso than using clay.  Then engrave and inlay.

 

Note if this is a damascus blade, differential hardening/tempering will result in a muted pattern on the softer parts.

 

EDIT: I was imagining taking the full blade up to quenching temperature, and then quenching the edge only in a pan of oil / water.

 

Pan of water, or oil? These are oil quenchening steels.

 

Multibar damascus actually.. :)

How about I quench the edge  in the pan first, and as the body turns to a dull red - I submerge it in oil... Dunno if this will enhance the pattern much though, without giving it much increased hardness..

Edited by Alveprins
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I "feel" like I get a better etch if I quench and then over temper the steel than if I don't harden it at all.  Before hardening the pattern is not only muted, but looks kind of muddy to me.  This is not based in any quantifiable data, so take with a pinch of salt.  I'm posting this primarily to lure someone more knowledgeable into commenting on it.

 

If it is all pattern welded, I think I would be inclined to cut your lines in before heat treating, but I've never done an inlay so I don't really know what I am talking about.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Brian Dougherty said:

I "feel" like I get a better etch if I quench and then over temper the steel than if I don't harden it at all.  Before hardening the pattern is not only muted, but looks kind of muddy to me.  This is not based in any quantifiable data, so take with a pinch of salt.  I'm posting this primarily to lure someone more knowledgeable into commenting on it.

 

If it is all pattern welded, I think I would be inclined to cut your lines in before heat treating, but I've never done an inlay so I don't really know what I am talking about.

I agree with the pattern visibility thing....

 

I worry my lines will be completely gunked up with oil'n stuff though.

 

EDIT: I've posted this question over at engravingforum as well.. I suppose I'll throw it up at engravers café as well to see if anyone over there has any experience.

Edited by Alveprins
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You might give it a try with a piece of mono-steel just to see how the engraved channels come through the heat treat process.

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1 hour ago, jake cleland said:

Only use hardenable steel for the edge bar.

That train.. I'm afraid.. has already left the station... About 55 hours of forging ago.... :P

1 hour ago, Brian Dougherty said:

You might give it a try with a piece of mono-steel just to see how the engraved channels come through the heat treat process.

Good idea! I will do exactly that! :)

 

I'll put some before and after pictures in this thread just for good measure. ;)

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I have done inlay before on a damascus ring.

I cut the grooves before heat treat, and covered them in anti scale and cleaned up with a metal wirebrush in a flexshaft type tool.

This worked perfectly, you will have to sand the surface back anyway.

The inside of the grooves actually does not matter too much, as long as the dovetail shape is good.

 

In my opinion cutting the grooves after heat treat will be a pain with a lot of broken graver points, and the unhardened damascus will not etch nicely.

 

Alternatively, seek out someone with a salt pot setup, I believe this is wat the makers of completely engraved knives use.

 

 

 

 

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I have done inlay before on a damascus ring.

I cut the grooves before heat treat, and covered them in anti scale and cleaned up with a metal wirebrush in a flexshaft type tool.

This worked perfectly, you will have to sand the surface back anyway.

The inside of the grooves actually does not matter too much, as long as the dovetail shape is good.

 

In my opinion cutting the grooves after heat treat will be a pain with a lot of broken graver points, and the unhardened damascus will not etch nicely.

 

Alternatively, seek out someone with a salt pot setup, I believe this is wat the makers of completely engraved knives use.

 

 

 

 

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I have done inlay before on a damascus ring.

I cut the grooves before heat treat, and covered them in anti scale and cleaned up with a metal wirebrush in a flexshaft type tool.

This worked perfectly, you will have to sand the surface back anyway.

The inside of the grooves actually does not matter too much, as long as the dovetail shape is good.

 

In my opinion cutting the grooves after heat treat will be a pain with a lot of broken graver points, and the unhardened damascus will not etch nicely.

 

Alternatively, seek out someone with a salt pot setup, I believe this is wat the makers of completely engraved knives use.

 

 

 

 

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hm I would just weld on some low carbon steel to the damascus billet or to the spot where the engraving will end up
but that probably will do some weird stuff to your damascus patterns appearance?

what type of engraving tools are you using btw?
pneumatic push gravers?
rotary bits?
traditional, hammer and hand? 

if you're going traditional, im not sure differential hardening will go well,

I've tried to engrave some hc steel that I annealed before and tho it was soft to file, it still was too much for my dainty gravers.

It was doable but terrible!

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