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Old 11-18-2013, 08:32 PM   #1
tweedlestan
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Default How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

First of all, I know I can cold blue a steel blade. But that's not quite the look I'm after.

I just bought a Morakniv Companion with carbon steel blade, and I want to darken it using natural means. I've heard of coating the blade with mustard and that it provides an interesting random pattern.

Since these knives are so cheap, I might buy some extras to test out various methods.
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

you can try heating it up and quenching it in old oil but the heat treat would be gone and it may not work well
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

Maybe try this?

http://www.birchwoodcasey.com/Finish...1-b39c418ed211
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

Cut some fruit with it.
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

Can you post an example picture of what you are trying to achieve?

You could:
Rust blue
Hot blue
Parkerize
French grey
parkerize
etch, with an acid, including vinegar, mustard, phosporic, HCL, etc.
media blast


All depends on what material you have and what you want to accomplish, both appearance and surface finish wise.

Last edited by zkling; 11-18-2013 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

You could anodize it with a battery charger and a bucket of black stuff
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

Google "forced patina". You'll get all kinds of methods on the knife forums.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

My Mora's have all turned a nice black color on their own.
Not sure if gutting fish does it.
Good luck, I think they are the best knives for the money. I have like 5 of them.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

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You could anodize it with a battery charger and a bucket of black stuff
The knife is made of steel, not aluminum.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

Stick it in a potato over night
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

Thanks for the replies. Forced patina is what I'm looking for!

Zkling, I was looking around and one of the first things I saw nearby was a bottle of hot sauce. So I covered the blade with it, we'll see how that works.

I'll do more searching for forced patina techniques in the meantime.
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:15 AM   #12
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

I cut a green persimmon open with a high carbon blade once and it immediately turned black. Obviously its a little late in the year for persimmons even if you live in an area where they grow. Don't know what component is the cause for the darkening , but there has to be some other fruit that would do the same.

To get the contrast in damascus we use a soulution of ferric chloride diluted 4 to 1. The high carbon darkens but if you're doing a folder the blade has to be separate from the knife and a straight knife needs everthing but the blade to be sealed with nothing more than clear nail polish.
Soaking for 5-10 minutes should be more than adequate.
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:32 AM   #13
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

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Originally Posted by tweedlestan View Post
I was looking around and one of the first things I saw nearby was a bottle of hot sauce. So I covered the blade with it, we'll see how that works.
That will probably work quite well actually. Depending on what exact hot sauce it was. Most have a pretty high vinegar content just like mustard. You may want to wash with baking soda to neutralize as it will more than likely etch the surface. Depending on what acid, content and time exposed.

Amitygravel, I'm not real familiar with that fruit, but I would most likely bet that it has a high cirtic acid content and that is what caused your knife to etch and darken. Most fruits, especially acidic ones will cause carbon steel to etch and darken.

Last edited by zkling; 11-19-2013 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:46 AM   #14
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

cutting kiwis (fruit) (the food) has always done it.
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:46 AM   #15
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

Not really sure what look you're going for, but we use this at work:

http://www.epi.com/p/black-oxide/ste...insta-blak-333
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:49 AM   #16
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zkling View Post
The knife is made of steel, not aluminum.
Electrolysis (rust removal) will darken clean metal.
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:52 AM   #17
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RivennHewn View Post
Electrolysis (rust removal) will darken clean metal.
True, but the comment to which I responded, referred to anodizing, which is a process for aluminum and other non ferrous alloys. I should add *typically.

Last edited by zkling; 11-19-2013 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:54 AM   #18
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

zkling

Wild persimmons are about the size of a small apricot.
They are full of seeds about the shape of kidney beans.
The kicker is they aren't edible until they have been hit by a good frost.
They turn pumpkin orange and are usually mashed into a pulp.
Bite into a green one and you'll think you're never going to get your mouth open again !
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:56 AM   #19
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

Well, I was going to leave the blade soaking in the (Louisiana) hot sauce overnight but I got a little impatient and checked it a few minutes ago. I'm glad I did, because it was just starting to turn rusty in a couple of spots.

The pattern on the blade is kind of interesting, I'll leave it as is and let it patina naturally from here on out.

I'll post some photos of it tomorrow.
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:31 AM   #20
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Default Re: How to darken a carbon steel knife blade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zkling View Post
The knife is made of steel, not aluminum.
I read this http://www.ehow.com/how_7155639_anod...el.html#page=0 and assumed it was true
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