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Blackening Blades

Discussion in 'Fit & Finish' started by ahlsy, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. ahlsy

    ahlsy New Member

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    Hi guys,

    I think I'm getting hooked on this hobby of yours. I have 2 knives ready for heat treating (happening tomorrow or the day after) and a set of carving knives well on the way. I'm already thinking about the next knife. I would like to make a nice camp knife for myself. But I want the blade to be blackened. It doesn't have to be shiny or dark. I'm thinking a matte dark grey finish. Ideally something that will help prevent corrosion, as the weather here can be pretty moist most of the year. Blade will be O1 steel.

    I've been considering parkerizing, but I haven't made up my mind yet... Anybody have a secret recipe that they would like to share?
     
  2. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    Muriatic acid will etch the blade grey and give a nice texture for holding oil or wax.

    I have used cold bluing on a couple knives and the first one was a year ago on a camp knife that has seen some use and the finish still looks good and oily needs a light oiling to prevent rusting.
    On my kitchen knife the blade I blued has been in use for almost a year and only ever been washed and dried for the most part, about once a month when I think of it I give the blade a light coating of mineral oil.

    For the Cold Bluing I get a little over board possibly:
    Mirror polish blade
    wash blade in soap and water, acetone, then alcohol. It has to be sterile for best results.
    heat blade until to hot too hold
    apply cold bluing
    wash and rinse to neutralize bluing
    hand buff finish with 0000 steel wool

    Repeat the above up to four times if needed.
    when done and finish looks like you want then I very lightly buff the knife on the powered buffer with pink compound once a single pass has been made over the entire surface it gets washed and scrubbed to remove all compound then it gets a coat of min-wax floor paste wax.
     
  3. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    If you just want a simple patina to help protect the steel, you can just stand it in a jar of fruit juice for a couple of days, or until you like the look. (I like a mix of orange and pineapple).
     
    dancom likes this.
  4. ahlsy

    ahlsy New Member

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    I'll have to look into muriatic acid a bit. That's what I'm looking for. Something that will hold a little oil and help keep the rust away...
     
  5. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    Muriatic acid in 35% concentration is available at local hardware store as concrete cleaner
     
  6. CaptainDevlin

    CaptainDevlin New Member

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    I've soaked a blade in vinegar over night and it went from an almost polished finish to a very dark gray I really liked.
     
  7. Brad

    Brad Active Member

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    There is also mustard, bleach, nitric acid. Basically anything that will speed up the corrosion process. Once you have the finish you like use an ammonia based cleaner (windex) to halt the oxidation. Then lots of oil like a mineral oil to help protect your knife. My suggestion is to heat treat a couple pieces of O1 and try a bunch of different things.
     
  8. bobbybirds

    bobbybirds Best New Maker

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    Put a little Frenches mustard on it while making a hotdog! Leave it sit until dried and wash it off and presto!
     
  9. ahlsy

    ahlsy New Member

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    I've seen some blades that had that done. It seemed rather patchy... I was thinking about a more even finish...

    I keep coming back to parkerizing. Not just for blades. I do some work on guns as well. And a homemade park setup is not that expensive or hard to build...

    Too many projects and not enough time. I still haven't finished my first knife, and I'm already planning my fourth...
     
  10. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    I have done a few patchy blades deliberately but the even color looks nicer. Just finished up one the was mirror polished, soaked in muriatic acid for five minutes, then heated and applied the bluing. Results were much nicer than the first couple I did as the acid bath helped get the steel real clean after multiple buffing steps and the rougher etched surface helps the bluing do its job.

    The bad part is I may have buffed with pink compound after the acid bath but pretty sure I only buffed after four coats of bluing. Really need to write things down when just randomly attacking a problem.
     
  11. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    I hear that John. I'm the same way. My brain gets going and my body just does it... try this, do that, bada bing, bada boom. You get a cool result but no idea if you can do it again. Last fall I bought a couple of cheapo notebooks and some sharpie pens just to make notes as i go. It has sorta helped. I now record various angles for knives and have some notes on grinding that's helped me. Or, you could film yourself working. The bonus of that is, if you want to start a youtube channel later, you have all kinds of footage. : )
     
    John Noon likes this.
  12. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    Videos and cameras are something I get in front of every ten years or so and even rarer if my name is tied to the picture. Some stuff is just to hard of a habit to break and meeting a Spetsnaz who had my picture for years really didn't help matters.

    But the notebook is going to happen once I figure out where I put it after a cleanup
     
  13. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    What?!? Why would a Russian special forces dude have your pic? Why would he keep it for so long? What did you do to get on their radar? So many questions... flooding in... can't hold them back....
     
  14. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    LOL my job was to protect EOD guys who had a very important job during an invasion, during an attack they needed me gone quickly and vice versa. For me it was easy, anything within 1500 meters I would persuade to leave but they needed to ID me because we only needed a short time to perform our job.
    Bunch of Cold War fun & games I try and forget for the most part, most interesting day was training on the New Anti Aircraft guns that they decided I could use for reaching over to the nearby town. Sniping with a 40mm had a few of us laughing pretty damn hard at the time and seriously reconsidering the term Military logic and just who came up with the idea.
     
  15. Grahamm

    Grahamm Active Member

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    For those that have tried a blackened blade, how do you handle applying scales? I did one with a blackened or vinegar darkened blade but when I added the scales and then sanded them flush with the tang I ended up with a shiny tang between the scales and dark blade. I added mustard to the tang for a while (because it was thick and I could control where it went better) and while it did darken it a bit, it was not as much as the blade and sort of looked off.

    How would you handle fitting up the scales while protecting the colour you are looking for?
     
  16. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    A stabilized wood is pretty safe from acids but even then I wax really well and tape if I am the least bit concerned
     
  17. Grahamm

    Grahamm Active Member

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    Thanks John. I'm still working with plain old wood, the kind that grows on trees. Haven't tried the stabilized route yet but probably should. I've looked at stabilized burl blocks and they are beyond what I want to pay for the quality I'm making today. But now that I have all of you to help me get better maybe we will be looking closer at nicer scales.
     
  18. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    Plain old fashioned wood is preferred by many, give it a dozen or so coats of drying oil then repair the darkened surface.
     
  19. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    I'm a fan of plain old fashioned wood. It has a great texture that you just can't get from anything else. You put a scratch or a knick in a micarta handle and it sticks out like a sore thumb. On a nice old piece of wood, it's character. I know it sounds like BS but it's really true.

    Plus, there's something about the colours in real wood that you just can't replicate.
     
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  20. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    tried to double like :) I like the texture of wood enough and it provides such a nice grip that I will take a stabilized handle to 400 grit then buff. Buffing only for presentation sake and it goes away fast leaving you with a nice feeling handle
     

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