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topic 6572

Etchant for Damascus knifes


I am making two knife blades from Damascus steel and am wondering what is the best etchant/treatment to bring out the pattern after the blades are shaped and heat- treated...

Bob Rexford
- Seattle,Wa.


Get ye to the Library! A good big one, dig up the Metals Handbook. A nice 7 volume tome by the ASM. It will tell you what you need to know, possibly it might not describe Damascus steel with that phrase. However what is suitable for Mild Steel will work for you. I recall that Nitol would work - very low percentage of Nitric acid with a little methanol plus water. A swab rinsed off after a few seconds and dried. If it's not etched enough try again, under etching can always be redone, over etching needs a lot more work to put right. A question where did the metal to make the knives come from?

Ian Brooke
university - Glasgow, Scotland


Found that a pcb. etchant works great such as sold by Radio Shack mixed 50/50 with vinegar. Check every 15 minutes or so . If you warm the vinegar first, then mix with etchant it will speed up the process. Clean with brush and soap and water then dry and oil with gun oil for 24 hrs.. Use only as much solution to cover piece and move around with plastic or glass stir stick during the process.

Phil Kirk
- Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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