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laquering steel


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I give quite a few of my carbon steel blades a heat blue finish on a mirror polish, but this is only any good for display knives, as the finish is very fragile, and even on knives which aren't used, the blue is very vulnerable to fingerprints etc. I think the colour looks fantastic, however, and was wondering if anyone knew how to make it more hard-wearing. I was considering using metal laquer coating, and any advice or comments would be appreciated,

 

cheers,

 

Jake.

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I have done a lot of heat coloring on sword fittings in the past and gave it up because of the thing you have already discovered. The heat coloring looks best, longest, if it is applied to a surface that has texture. Finely polished steel looks fantastic with different colors done by heat but it doesn’t have much durability. I used to use a variety of things to increase the durability. Surface texture, wax (like Renaissance wax or even Johnson’s paste wax), lacquer, super glue, or clear epoxy.

 

The epoxy and super glue/lacquer will give a plastic like look and feel that might be unwanted but there are few ways of making the heat coloring permanent and durable without covering it with something that keeps abrasion off of the colored oxide coating that makes the heat bluing look so nice. I never did try and heat color a whole blade but did heat color a groove in a blade which looked really nice after I then filled the colored groove with super glue and polished it.

 

Good luck!

 

Brian

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Thanks Brian,

how do you go about getting an eve coating with superglue? i would imagine that brushing would leave marks and probably bristles, and can't think of anything to spread it evenly that wouldn't leave fibres etc. behind.

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If you use the thick CA (ZAP makes good stuff!) you can kind of just drop it on so the drops run together. Application is the hard part but once it dries you can polish it/level it just like paint, lacquer, or epoxy. I use little sticks and paddles made out of cut up plastic drinking straws but if you work quickly you can use little paint brushes. Super glue/CA adhesives clean up with acetone. Be warned that even a teenie, tiny bit of acetone in a bottle of CA will touch off the *wHoLe* bottle and it will bubble and smoke and scare to crap out of you. Ask me how I know. :banghead:

 

 

Scott Slobodian uses those lint free lense wipes to spread super glue. You can build it up in multiple coats till it is as thick as you want and then polish any tool marks off the surface with fine abrasive paper and Flitz or Simichrome. It loos like glass after it is hard.

 

A little experimentation will show you the right way. Single drops of plain old super glue on wood or fabric dry instantly almost instantly (like it does on fingers.. :o ) but some of the better glues will stay wet for hours if applied thickly on steel and spread with plastic tools.

 

Not gluing the object being coated to the table is the hardest part. A thick coat of super glue over stained wood or steel is a really awesome finish and can be polished and worked like plastic...which it is. The dryed super glue finish is acrylic plastic. Steel fittings with heat coloring (I like that cool purple...) covered with thick CA are really schwanky looking and glossy and neat feeling.

 

Play with it. You'll like it. :ylsuper:

 

2 part clear epoxy is pretty cool stuff as well and doesn't stink or burn your eyes and some of those clear lacquers they use for covering fishing flys are positively outstanding for protecting blued/colored surfaces on steel.

 

Brian

Edited by Brian Vanspeybroeck
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