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How to Blacken Stainless Steel
An ongoing discussion beginning in 1995 . . .(1995)
Q. Hello, I'm looking for information on the processes available for blackening stainless steel. If you could direct me to any publications or services, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks,Terry H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
UC Santa Barbara, California
A. Hi Terry. The Metal Finishing Guidebook lists 3 formulations of blackening baths for stainless steel. The one that sounds simplest to me, although I can't comment on its efficacy, reads:
Proprietary processes are also available. Although we don't discuss or suggest particular brands in the forum, the forum is supported by advertisers who offer proprietary blackening products =>
There are also stainless steel anodizing processes and stainless steel black passivation processes. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Your question did not specify what purpose the blackened stainless steel is to be used for.
Some of the components inside a TV tube must be "blackened" using a process of heating and cooling in a controlled atmosphere.Leslie R Williams
Ed. note: Please appreciate Leslie's point, folks. People get the fastest and most rewarding answers to their questions if they employ the reporters' creed of "who, what, when, where, & why" when posting their question :-)
I am interested in blackening of stainless steel surgical instruments. The finished product is used in laser surgery, aka laser finished instruments. The final product should be a high quality, durable black satin finish.
More information will be greatly appreciated.Andre Keeve
- Atlanta, Georgia
A. For Black color in Stainless steel surgical parts only PVD coatings are recommended such as TiCN or AlTiN ( Titanium carbo nitride or Aluminium Titanium Nitride). There are other colors also possible. These are Thin film coatings and suitable for all surgical and Body implants.C.Lokanathan
PVD shop - Hosur, Tamilnadu, India
Q. I am also interested in blackening of Stainless steel. I make etching in knife blades as is covered with Wax. The stainless steel I use is RWL34. The color method must not destroy the wax layer, as it is only the lines as I have drawn in the wax as shall be black.Lars Tougaard
- Faaborg, Denmark
A. Dear Lars,
Consider doing your artwork on a paper stencil and using an electrochemical etch to create the black markings on the steel. The cost of the markers is fairly low and the paper stencils can be made inexpensively. If the wax is a "hard" wax applied thinly, and does not move under pressure, it may work as well as the paper in keeping the chemicals from these areas of the steel.
Try looking for "electrochemical marking" with your favorite Internet search engine to find commercial suppliers for the equipment and chemicals.
The depth of penetration should be between 0.010 mm and 0.100 mm, depending on the chemical and the polarity of the electricity you choose. AC is less, DC is more.Dave Hass
- Oklahoma City, USA
Q. I have started to produce jewelry (Rings) using stainless steel and want to blacken the surface. Any suggestions would be gratefully received. I would prefer a dark, matte finish.
Burt, please visit our web site - there is a picture of the black finished stainless steel spoons. Quality of the picture is not perfect: the spoon from the right is matte black, the very left one is bright dark blue. In the middle is bright black.
Q. How do you prep stainless steel to accept oxidizers that will color it black in the field for example elevator interiors or doorways and entrances at high-rise office buildings.
#2: What type of chemical will work if not oxidizer?
- Brisbane, California, USA
RFQ: I am looking to have my Smith & Wesson Stainless Steel Revolver blacked. I had the process done to another of my SS revolvers over 12 years ago. Their site mentioned that it produced it's "black coatings on stainless steel and alloy steels by a "conversion" process. The chrome in the stainless steel is involved in a chemical reaction with the oxidizers in the solution producing chrome-sulphide." The finish has held up exceptionally well but that shop no longer offers blackening of Stainless Steel. Please email me with any information.
Thank You,Adolph Alvarez
Hobbyist - Vista, California, USA
^- Sorry, this RFQ is outdated
View Current RFQs
Q. I need help blackening or darkening Stainless Steel,
Parts are approx. 20'x 6" x 4"
These pieces need to be welded on site.
Should parts be treated before or after installation?
Will welding affect pre-treated parts?
What Process can be used to do this?
Grateful for any help!
Casting Foundry - Beacon, New York
Q. I am looking for the process which causes the surface of stainless steel to go black. Does it affect the corrosion resistance?Robert Wark
Alstom - Pymble, Sydney, Australia
A. Simple and cheap way to blacken stainless:
Oil it very sparingly (any edible oil),
then heat it slowly to max. 400 °C
Repeat if needed.
Good luck!Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia
September 14, 2011
A. If you heat stainless with an oxy-acetylene torch (neutral flame) until it has an orange glow uniformly, then let it cool naturally it will remain black. Polishing with steel wool and metal polish enhances the finish. This is for cosmetics only. It is a very hard finish but will scratch with sharp objects. It is black about .002" into the metal.
Repeat the process again with a warm water quench and some stainless will harden. The blackening occurs because the chrome and nickel are being burned out. The remaining metal seems to be the same strength, toughness, etc.
- la mesa, California, USA
October 17, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread
Q. Is there a simple way to make chrome steel rods black in color?Worth Hayden
- Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
A. Oil it very sparingly, and then heat it to 200 - 400 °C (slowly). Any edible oil or fat can be used, but linseed is the best. You can use hot air gun as source of heat. Hope it helps and good luck!Goran Budija
- zagreb, Croatia
Blade blackening for knife makersSeptember 3, 2014 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread
Q. I am a small-shop knife maker. Is there a reasonable way to blacken hunting knife blades?
(1) carbon steel ,
(2) stainless steel
... in my shop? It should be effective as a corrosion inhibitor (carbon steel) and should not wear off when used under normal conditions.Fran Varnum
Knife Maker - Luray, Virginia USA
^- Privately contact this inquirer -^
A. Hi Fran. We appended your inquiry to a thread where Goran answered the question with a method that should be so simple and low cost that you ought to be able to try it and get back to us. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey