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Ed Caffrey's Workshop Talk to Ed Caffrey ... The Montana Bladesmith! Tips, tricks and more from an ABS Mastersmith.

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Old 05-18-2012, 09:33 AM
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Etching Name/Logo Experiments

Every since I started using an etcher to put my name on some knives, I've been plagued with issues of varying results on getting the etched mark to stay nice and black in the bottom.
I've figured out the depth part.....it's about how much etchant you have on the pad, and the time/number of cycles you use. Personally I set a timer for 2 mins, start it, then place the pad on the stencil for a count of 5, lift it off for a count of 2-3, then back on for 5....repeating this process for the entire 2 mins. (this step is done with my Personalizer Plus, with the dial set a "4", with the toggle in the "ETCH" position.)

I then turn the dial all the way to "5", flip the toggle to "MARK" and repeat the above process for 1 min. (I also tried this for 2 mins, but it produces a pretty significant "halo", and doesn't improve the color at the bottom of the mark)

The mark is nice an deep....sometimes well blackened, other times spotty.

A couple of days ago I got a "brain shower" and thought I would try to find something to "fill in" the bottom of the mark, but yet would be resistant to chemicals, and especially etching (which I do to the majority of my blades). First I tried a regular old Sharpie felt tip marker....just scribbled over the mark, let it dry, then lightly hand sanded it off. Looked great, but when I etched the blade, the etch "spots" it up.
Next, I tried a felt tipped "paint" marker, used for marking metal. This worked better, but unless the depth of etch is very deep, you can take it out in final clean up.

I went to the internet in search of something...and found that Sharpie produces a "Industrial" marker that is suppose to be resistant to chemicals and UV. HHMMMMM??!!
I found them at our local Staples and gave them a try.....BINGO! After etching my mark, and cleaning/drying, I filled in the mark with the Sharpie Industrial marker, let it dry for a few minutes...then lightly handed sanded to only leave the marker in the etched mark. I cleaned the blade with windex, dried, and tried the ferric chloride etch....came out great! The Sharpie Industrial even held up under my final step, which is to go over the etched blade with Wenol (just another type of flitz) and #0000 steel wool.

FINALLY! I've found a way to make the mark look as good as the knives! This method is even easier if you'r ending with a hand rubbed/satin finish.

I had also considered baking lacquer, but that would add the process of spraying it on, letting it dry, baking, cooling, then hand sanding......I'm sure it would work well, but it would just add too much time for my likes.

Anyway, I thought I'd share that tid-bit......I'm sure I'm not the only one who is or has been frustrated with getting an etched mark that is "just right".





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Last edited by Ed Caffrey; 05-24-2012 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:50 AM
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Great info Ed , I have also struggled with my mark. I am going to try this as well.

Thanks


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Old 05-18-2012, 10:45 AM
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That's a cool tip Ed. I like the idea. Gonna have to get me an etcher and start practicing.


Oh....and..........lets see some pics of the new mark or else it didn't happen.


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Old 05-18-2012, 11:31 AM
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OK John.....just for you..... I added pics.

But your gona have to supply your own crayons!


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Last edited by Ed Caffrey; 05-18-2012 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 05-19-2012, 06:05 AM
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Ed, I've often used Van's Instant Bluing with a Q-tip on my stamp, let dry, then sand off the top surface. It actually oxidizes the lettering black, Black, BLACK and isn't just sitting on the surface. It becomes part of the steel.


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Old 08-12-2012, 02:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl B. Andersen View Post
Ed, I've often used Van's Instant Bluing with a Q-tip on my stamp, let dry, then sand off the top surface. It actually oxidizes the lettering black, Black, BLACK and isn't just sitting on the surface. It becomes part of the steel.
Hmm the blueing idea seems pretty good! I'll have to give that a shot after I get/build an etcher.


Ed, those marks look great! Do you make your own stencils?
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:40 AM
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No, I know better than to try to make my own stencils. I purchase mine from:http://erniesknives.com/knifemaker_stencil.html His stencils are the best quality I have ever come across, he's great to work with, and is quick on delivery.


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Old 08-12-2012, 10:10 AM
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Thank you Ed I'm just trying to figure out if I should make an etcher or buy one. I don't want to fool around with making stencils so I sent Ernie an email.
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Old 08-12-2012, 11:58 AM
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Karl, where do you get Van's Instant Bluing?
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:57 AM
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Karl, where do you get Van's Instant Bluing?
Sorry to hijack your question to Karl but any cold blue should work and pretty much all gun shops carry it.
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:37 PM
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This must be cool information you shared and I like the engrave of the name since it comes from you. I guess, I have to practice mine too and follow what Ed says in here and having our stencils is such a good idea.

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Old 10-21-2012, 05:48 PM
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:59 AM
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I agree with using the bluing IF your doing a hand rubbed/satin finish. Many of my blades are etched, and that's where I was having problems.....etching my name prior to etching the blade(s), caused a "washed out" look. Etching my name after etching the blade(s) meant having to do some light hand sanding, which would mess up the blade finish......so I had to find something that I could darken the name etch, THEN etch the blade without the ferric eating whatever I used to highlight the etched name/mark.
After going through a number of different "paint markers", I stumbled across the Forney (#70819) Black Paint Marker. It's about the only one I've found that is "ferric proof"....meaning that the ferric doesn't remove it. So far it's worked great. I etch my name fairly deep, clean it marked area well, then apply the paint marker. Let it dry for about 30-45 mins, then lightly hand sand the overrun off with 600 (or whatever grit you finish with prior to etching), Clean the blade well with windex, being sure to dry it off completely, then etch the blade in my ferric tank. That's how I get the deep black in my name etch, but still get the etched blade finish without a ton of work.


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