Damascus steel is a popular steel type that is used to manufacture blades nowadays. Its mysterious and fascinating patterns provide additional beauty to blades. However, there is always a question that either the Damascus style knife you are looking at is the real Damascus knives for sale or a fake one and in the current era where frauds and scams are at such a peak, it is slightly difficult to find the answer to this question. We’ll look into it too but first let us see that how can you manufacture a Damascus knife yourself, right in the vicinity of your home.
The Steps for Manufacturing a Damascus Knife
Manufacturing an Damascus Knife is a fun process and you can actually produce those striking and fascinating contrasting colored patterns of Damascus steel if you do the process right. Let us have a look at the steps that will lead us to the formation of a fine and perfectly Damascus knife.
The first step is sanding in which you have to perform a grit finish of about four hundred to six hundred on your steel. You can either choose stainless steel or carbon steel for this purpose. You can perform a 1200 grit but leaving it at about four hundred or six hundred grit will also be good enough. However, if you want to use ferric acid later for immersing the steel, then just keep it a grit ranging from four hundred to six hundred. If you want an even etch, then here is a little tip for you, do not buff the steel as it closes the pores in the steel and then it doesn’t absorb the acid properly.
The second step is washing because the steel must be properly clean before you go any further in the process of manufacturing an Damascus knife. To clean it, you must wash your steel with alcohol and then dry it with a clean and dry piece of cloth. However, do not use chemicals like acetone or stuff for cleaning the steel as they residue which messes up with etching. Also, remember to not touch the steel as it will not produce a finely Damascus knife.
The third step is the dilution in which you have to choose an acid and the most commonly used acid for this purpose if the Ferric acid. Never use acid in its concentrated form, therefore, you must dilute it by adding some distilled water in it in a 50/50 ratio. Keep a check of this ratio and avoid using spring water, tap water or filtered water and always make use of distilled water. Using any type of water other than distilled water will result in some problems which we need to avoid at all costs in order to get an evenly Damascus knife. Also, the distilled water you are using should not be kept still for too long i.e. for one year or more. Ferric acid needs dilution and some acids may not. So, always make sure before proceeding any further.
4- Warming the Acid
Now, after diluting the acid, you must warm it. For ferric acid, this step needs to be done and the temperature which you should set for this purpose must be between seventy degrees to one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, which is close to room temperature. For this, always make sure not to warm the acid in a microwave. It’s extremely dangerous, therefore, avoid it at all costs. Secondly, for warming up the acid, you can put the beaker containing the acid in a large bowl full of warm water and then wait until the temperature of the acid reaches to room temperature.
In this step, you have to submerge the piece of your steel inside the acid in a way that it is hung upside down and does not touch the bottom of the container having the acid or its sides as well. The purpose of this submersion is to allow the acid to penetrate deep into the steel and to make sure that this happens, you can slightly swish the steel sideways or you can use the brushing technique which is by far the best to produce a finely Damascus knife. Also, you can use a stick or a brush to gently stroke against the steel hanged in the acid to remove any dirt particles that you might have missed during cleaning and to also remove the residue resulting from the immersion of steel in acid.
The next step is to neutralize the acid and for this, you must take out the piece of still you immersed in the ferric acid, out of it and then place that piece in baking soda solution for almost five minutes so that acid can be neutralized. Then take it out and clean the steel with some alcohol and then dry with a clean and dry cloth. The deepness or fineness of etching depends on the times you perform this neutralization step. Generally, it is done for about five to six times to get a finely Damascus knife.
Some people mask some part of their steel because they do not want to etch there. In such a scenario, remove the mask completely, clean it and then apply the mask again, before you perform the submersion and neutralization step again. This is considered as a good practice because most of the times the acid goes through the masking and performing submersion and neutralization for the second time, might ruin your work.
The last step is polishing which marks the end of this process of manufacturing an Damascus knife. If you are using stainless steel for this purpose, use sandpaper to brush on the part of steel which is slightly raised resulting in a dark and light contrast etching on steel. This is because, in stainless steel, there is one layer on which the acid produces no effect. The polishing determines the type of contrast you want to give your blade, therefore, you are free to play around with it. You can also perform submersion and neutralization steps again to produce a strong contrast or you can immerse the blade in WD-40 for this purpose.
So, the above-mentioned steps can help you produce a finely and perfectly Damascus knife in no time at all and with the simplest resources. When are you going to try this?