A follower recently asked if I’d explain how I ‘d etched this 01 tool steel knife
I often experiment with different acidic food stuffs just to know what reactions will occur , in the past I’ve used ketchup ,onions , coke a cola, mustard both English and french , Jalapeno chili juice , lemons, limes and pickle to etch blades .
Different grade high carbon and tool steels will react differently some will etch and some just patina and there’s various methods of coating the blades from just dipping them ,squirting it on in patterns to wrapping the smeared blades in kitchen roll and burying in the ground for several weeks .
For this specific knife I de-greased the blade with acetone and then rolled a clump of wire wool around in my hand to form a ball .
Step one is squeezing a dollop of Heinz ketchup onto a plate I dab the wire wool ball into the sauce and then dab it all over the blade creating an abstract pattern .
Then leave the sauce on the blade outside (check its not raining ) until your happy with the pattern ,I tend to leave for at least 24 hours depending on the weather and it should be fairly horrid looking by this stage .
Carefully wash off the muck and check the pattern ,if your happy dry the blade and move to step 2 if not rub it off with clean wire wool and repeat till your happy .
Step 2 is to use a contrasting food stuff in this case Coleman’s English mustard . Mustard tends to give an older grey etch/patina rather than the dark almost black that ketchup can leave .
I repeat the same process as step one and leave for a similar amount of time then wash off the glop mess , if your not happy you can chose to repeat the steps or not and just etch with ferric chloride but its not quite the same effect .
Or if happy with the patterns which should give a good disruptive pattern with light grey over dark , then just a light coat of oil should be fine for using but it will wear off with normal use . The pattern’s can be topped up by repeating the process or will patina naturally with veg and green wood cutting .
Hope this helps and enjoy the experimenting .