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Old 25th August 2016, 12:20 PM   #1
Kmaddock
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Default First attempt at etching

Hi
I recently baught the attached Kyber knife
It was very rusty throughout but I decided to put in a low bid on the auction and happily it was mine
Cost was minimal, probably paid as much on diesel to pick it up as I paid for the knife.
The handle is horn and fittings in brass, blade 23 inch long.
I normally do not clean my items but this knife just had to be cleaned, I left the brass and horn un cleaned
I decided to document the process to see if I can contribute somewhat to this fantastic forum
See below the blade in original state
I worked from 000 wire wool with oil up to 2000 grit sand paper
Probably took 2 hours in total
The first set of images are the cleaning in progress
There are a good few pictures so this will take a few posts
Regards
Ken
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Old 25th August 2016, 12:33 PM   #2
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Next step was the etching
I pm'ed mariusgmioc after his recent post on etching to ask about the solution he used
I work in a lab so getting the natal solution he talked about was no problem.
I mixed up 500 ml of methanol with 20 ml of 70 percent nitric acid to produce a 4 percent solution.
I decided to rub on the enchant as I did not have a container deep enough and I did not want to use up too much solution as it can be hazardous to store.

In making up the solution it got slightly warm but if you add to much nitric the reaction can go too crazy and degrade the alcohol, giving off red fumes.
I was prepared if the solution degraded with 5 L of water to hand to dump the solution into

Gloves, goggles and lab coat were worn.

I washed blade with acetone to de grease it.

Then I rubbed the solution using a cotton swab and left to sit for 10 seconds

Then flushed with water in a sink

And dried with tissue

The process was repeated 3 times

Para film was used to protect the handle, this is a lab product like cling film

I could see the pattern emerging in 3 or 4 seconds

Nothing fancy compared to what I see on this forum but definitely a laminate blade, I think!
Results on the next post
Regards
Ken
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Old 25th August 2016, 12:37 PM   #3
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And finally what I have ended up with.
Slightly brown in places but I might have a go at polishing gently the whole blade later on.
Any comments advice welcome
Also if anyone can give an approx date on the knife I would be delighted to hear your opinions.
As I am in Ireland pictures in natural light are hard to get
Regards to all
Ken
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Old 25th August 2016, 01:09 PM   #4
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Hello,

From what I see, you didn't polish the blade sufficiently. It should be up to grit 2000-3000 (mirror polish; some pitting here and there is acceptable but the surface between pits should be mirror polished).

Then try etching.

For lower contrast/difficult wootz I use "reversed etching." More exactly I strengthen my Nital by adding about 10-20% Perma Blue and apply the solution to obtain a uniform blackening of the whole blade. Then gently wipe off the excess black oxidation with cotton wool swabs and Pre-lim.

Good luck!

PS: Are you sure it is wootz?
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Old 25th August 2016, 02:31 PM   #5
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Hi Mariusgmioc
I do not think it is a Wootz blade
Just a standard laminate so the etching is probably as good as it will get
I enjoyed the learning experience all the same
ken
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Old 25th August 2016, 03:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kmaddock
Hi Mariusgmioc
I do not think it is a Wootz blade
Just a standard laminate so the etching is probably as good as it will get
I enjoyed the learning experience all the same
ken


If it is not wootz nor pattern welded, then why etching?!
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Old 25th August 2016, 03:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
If it is not wootz nor pattern welded, then why etching?!


Hello Marius,

laminated means pattern welded, but obviously without a specific pattern. I would call it "wild mechanical damascus".

Imho, just in my honest opinion, a salt like Iron(III)Sulfate or Sodium Persulfate may bring out more details from mechanical damascus than Nital. Nital also has a nasty tendency to penetrate deep into the surface.


Roland
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Old 25th August 2016, 04:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
Hello Marius,

laminated means pattern welded, but obviously without a specific pattern. I would call it "wild mechanical damascus".

Imho, just in my honest opinion, a salt like Iron(III)Sulfate or Sodium Persulfate may bring out more details from mechanical damascus than Nital. Nital also has a nasty tendency to penetrate deep into the surface.


Roland


Roland, I quite like your restorations, could you post images as well?

Nice job, Ken! I need to get Nital.. very hard to get here >.<
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Old 25th August 2016, 05:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
Hello Marius,

laminated means pattern welded, but obviously without a specific pattern. I would call it "wild mechanical damascus".

Imho, just in my honest opinion, a salt like Iron(III)Sulfate or Sodium Persulfate may bring out more details from mechanical damascus than Nital. Nital also has a nasty tendency to penetrate deep into the surface.


Roland


Hey Roland,

Pattern welded is laminated but not all laminated is pattern welded.

Pattern weleded refers to multi-layered laminated steels of diferent compositions such that the resulted surface displays a specific pattern.

San-mai is laminated but not pattern welded (as it involves only three steels) for example.

Japanese Katanas have laminated but not pattern welded blades despite displaying even the characteristic patterns (Hada), as they do not empoy diferent steels with different compositions.

Also some modern blades like for example Helle or Mora knives do have laminated but not pattern welded blades.

So calling any laminate "Damascus" whether wild or domesticated is a little over-stretching in my oppinion.
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Old 25th August 2016, 05:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Roland, I quite like your restorations, could you post images as well?

Nice job, Ken! I need to get Nital.. very hard to get here >.<


Hard to get in Europe as well but I order it online from the US, have it delivered to a friend of mine living there and he ships it to me in the Netherlands.

I simply don't understand why is so hard to get, as diluted Nital is almost harmless being only a little more acidic than lemon juice. But chemistry was never my cup of tea and maybe Ken can explain us more?!
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Old 25th August 2016, 11:19 PM   #11
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Hi
Methanol and nitric acid produce methyl nitrate
In strong ( greater than 10 percent volume/volume) solutions it is an explosive
So I presume this is the reason this is a restricted substance,
If you distilled off the methanol from the etchant you will end up with an explosive mixture.
Used etchant solution which has lots of metals dissolved in the solution is unstable at lower concentrations as the metals can catalyse the decomposition.
Lots on the net if you search" alcohol nitric acid solutions"
I think the advantage of using the acid in alcohol as the etching solution is there is less surface tension in the solution so it is less likely to bead on the metal surface.
Regards
Ken
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Old 26th August 2016, 07:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kmaddock
Hi
Methanol and nitric acid produce methyl nitrate
In strong ( greater than 10 percent volume/volume) solutions it is an explosive
So I presume this is the reason this is a restricted substance,
If you distilled off the methanol from the etchant you will end up with an explosive mixture.
Used etchant solution which has lots of metals dissolved in the solution is unstable at lower concentrations as the metals can catalyse the decomposition.
Lots on the net if you search" alcohol nitric acid solutions"
I think the advantage of using the acid in alcohol as the etching solution is there is less surface tension in the solution so it is less likely to bead on the metal surface.
Regards
Ken


Thank you very much for this interesting information! This also explains why the sellers say that 5% Nital is unstable as the alcohool can evaporate and then it becomes explosive.
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Old 26th August 2016, 12:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc

Pattern weleded refers to multi-layered laminated steels of diferent compositions such that the resulted surface displays a specific pattern.

San-mai is laminated but not pattern welded (as it involves only three steels) for example.

Japanese Katanas have laminated but not pattern welded blades despite displaying even the characteristic patterns (Hada), as they do not empoy diferent steels with different compositions.

So calling any laminate "Damascus" whether wild or domesticated is a little over-stretching in my oppinion.


Hello Marius,

you are right, my definition for "pattern welded" is a little too comprehensive.
It is hard to declare a clear border. For example, there is at least one type of original Katana with pattern welded steel, search for "Mokume Hada" please. On the other hand, the normal "Itame Hada" and "Masame Hade" is not pattern welded.
"Wild damascus" is my translation from the German term "wilder Damast" for every steel which was made from more than one type of steel without a specific pattern.

Roland
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Old 26th August 2016, 01:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
Hello Marius,

you are right, my definition for "pattern welded" is a little too comprehensive.
It is hard to declare a clear border. For example, there is at least one type of original Katana with pattern welded steel, search for "Mokume Hada" please. On the other hand, the normal "Itame Hada" and "Masame Hade" is not pattern welded.
"Wild damascus" is my translation from the German term "wilder Damast" for every steel which was made from more than one type of steel without a specific pattern.

Roland


Hello Roland and thank you for the clarifications!

However, your interpretation of Mokume Hada but also... on second thoughts... my general interpretation of Hada are rather debatable.

The only diference beteween Mokume Hada and Itame Hada is the way they are hammered resulting in different appearance, but the composition is exactly the same. So if we say that one is pattern welded, then the other must be pattern welded as well.

On the other hand, since Hada is practically the pattern resulted from multiple layers of steel laminated together, and the resulted pattern is purposedly achieved, maybe all hada should be considered pattern welded.

Last edited by mariusgmioc : 26th August 2016 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 27th August 2016, 03:37 PM   #15
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I guess for my comfort and clarity, keeping Japanese terms for nihonto and the wootz terms for wootz (or pattern weld etc.) is the best way to go........
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Old 27th August 2016, 03:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kmaddock
Hi
Methanol and nitric acid produce methyl nitrate
In strong ( greater than 10 percent volume/volume) solutions it is an explosive
So I presume this is the reason this is a restricted substance,
If you distilled off the methanol from the etchant you will end up with an explosive mixture.
Used etchant solution which has lots of metals dissolved in the solution is unstable at lower concentrations as the metals can catalyse the decomposition.
Lots on the net if you search" alcohol nitric acid solutions"
I think the advantage of using the acid in alcohol as the etching solution is there is less surface tension in the solution so it is less likely to bead on the metal surface.
Regards
Ken

Thank you so much! I had no idea! (not that I use this solution.....)
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Old 27th August 2016, 08:59 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
I guess for my comfort and clarity, keeping Japanese terms for nihonto and the wootz terms for wootz (or pattern weld etc.) is the best way to go........


I fully agree with your suggestion about terminology.

Regarding your second posting: what etching agent were you using?!
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