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Achieving mosaic damascus colors on steels

I have a customer that would like some mosaic damascus that is finished in colors that range from pink, brown to greens. I do not know how to achieve these colors on steels. Help!

Julia Marks
mosaic damascus - Breaux Bridge, Louisiana


You can try this solution:
selenic acid........10 gm
copper sulphate.....10 gm
nitric acid.........4-6 ml
water...............1 lit
temp. 20-25 C

Colour sequnce:yellow-red-purple-violet-blue

You must lacquer it! Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb , Croatia

First of two simultaneous responses -- 2004

I certanly hope that they are willing to pay through the nose for this piece, because it is going to be a royal pain in the butt for you to do.

In order to get the range of colors this fellow wants you are going to have to use several different steels with hugely different properties. Consider it this way, mild steel tempers at one color, high carbon at another, and wrought iron at another, cobalt tool steel another, and so on. You may even want to see if you can do forgewelding on some steel alloys (yet even more temp/comp variance).

This is something I've never attempted myself, so I'm just throwing a educated guess your way. I think it may be a royal pain to make it work and you will have to get a lot of experimenting in to get it right.

Marc Banks
- Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Second of two simultaneous responses --

How about bake on lacquers? I've never tried them but I have heard that they do work well. Browns you can probably achieve with blueing salts (another technique I don't have experience in).

If someone doesn't come by here and answer your question you can try going to click on custom knives link...then on forums. there are some skilled mosiac damascus artists there they have discussed this very subject.

Jason Aube
- Flint, Michigan

Asked a few folks on about your question their suggestion was to include nickel (pure nickel, nickel silver will melt in the forge). "you can also slip in some mild steel. it will turn grey when etched, the high carbon steel will turn black and the 15N20 should stay bright." -Woody

Let me know if this helps.

Marc Banks
- Elizabeth City, North Carolina

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