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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 07-19-2017, 03:19 PM
ash_a101 ash_a101 is offline
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Heat Transfer Brass Plating. Will it work?

Hey guys,

I just finished watching someone brass plate a big piece of stainless steel with just a torch and a brass stripping brush. The finished product looked pretty cool and was wondering how this might work on a knife and if anyone has ever tried it.

I should mention that at this point I am using 1084 for my knife making steel.

Now I understand that it is not going to be a strong/thick plating, and that it only leaves a small amount of brass on the steel. So I'm aware that from a durability perspective it probably won't hold up on a lot of working edges and things which see wear and tear.

The things I don't know though, is whether or not the heat needed to transfer would be enough to ruin the temper/heat treat of the blade; or just how long it might hold up on blade that's used frequently. Are we talking a few hours/days/months of use before the plating is worn off?

I would be very interested to hear from anyone who's tried this before, whether the results were good or bad.
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Old 07-19-2017, 05:28 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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I've done it immediately after taking my knife out of the tempering oven at 425+ degrees. You simply use a big brass brush and brush hard and fast and yes it will leave a thin coating of brass on the knife. Leave the torch alone you'll mess the temper of the blade that way, if you don't get it the first time put the blade right back in the oven for 10 mins and repeat. I use a big brush, not the toothbrush sized ones and you can do it in one shot.

This is all assuming you have put the final grind on the knife before final temper. I used O1 and two tempers.


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Old 07-20-2017, 06:39 PM
ash_a101 ash_a101 is offline
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Great idea, never even thought to do it right out of the oven, makes perfect sense. Thanks for that. In your experience did the finish hold up alright with use or is this something that's better left for wall hangers?
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Old 07-20-2017, 09:01 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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It holds up about as well as bluing.

The Birchwood Casey Super blue that is, it's worth it if you want an unusual look, but it does wear off eventually about like anything would. To do the brass finish the blade must be hot and this is a process I would warn somebody to think twice about it if they are thinking of doing it to a finished and tempered knife. Maybe 10 minutes at 425 won't change the temper much (it shouldn't), but it may and I wouldn't do it more than once.

I stumbled upon the process by accident by using a brass brush to clean my welds on steel. Got in trouble with some parts that were going to be black oxide or hot blued as it didn't blacken the welded area.

Btw, some stainless steels have a low tempering temp like 440C and you do not want to take it up too 400+ temps. Know your steel before attempting this. Some have 800+ temper temps and this wouldn't bother them.

Last edited by jimmontg; 07-21-2017 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 07-21-2017, 07:19 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Oh ash, it works best with a satin finish as the small grind lines take off more brass, about 400 grit. Also the brushing will remove/cover any coloring by the temper. The blade I did looked like it was made from gold. Even though it is a satin finish it is shiny.


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Old 07-23-2017, 05:55 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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We used to do the brass brush trick when doing blacksmithing demos. Was kind of a pseudo-alchemy joke. We'd forge out an object like a leaf or candle holder, ask some little towhead in the crowd if he had "majic" breath that can turn black steel into gold then have him blow on the object before putting it back in the forge. When pulled back out for the final descale brushing, switch from the steel brush to the brass brush (slight of hand), and whala steel to gold! Kids love it and really messes with some adults as well.
Never did it on a knife blade, as always concerned about final temper, but straight out of temper oven (with some steels) sounds good.....thanks for the tip Jim.


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Old 07-23-2017, 08:49 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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Crex.....That is a cool little trick you guys came up with.

I have never tried this my self BUT I have seen a knife that had this done. However it was a purely show knife. The maker even said he did not even bother with a heat treat because doing this would blow the temper....looked good but again more of a "knife shaped object"....but If this can be pulled off as jim said then it could be a nice little finish not sure how long it would last tho
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Old 07-23-2017, 12:37 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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It lasts about as long as bluing as I said.

Bluing wears off a EDC user fairly quickly, but it will hold on for awhile. Thing about bluing is it is easy to re-apply and the brass trick isn't, but for a knife you use occasionally, I should have added it is OK.

I guess I am correcting myself.
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Old 07-24-2017, 07:10 AM
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It oxidizes and goes pale, not a lasting brassy look. A sealer might make it last longer, never tried one.


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1084, back, blade, brass, clean, degrees, finish, first time, forge, grind, heat, heat treat, hot, knife, knife making, make, making, plating, satin finish, small, stainless, stainless steel, steel, temper


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