Forced patina rubbing off?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Harley Boatman, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. Harley Boatman

    Harley Boatman

    Jun 21, 2020
    Hey guys, I’m new to knifemaking and recently finished my 2nd knife. I used Apple cider vinegar to force a dark grey patina but the sheath gave it these horrible scratches which took off the patina. Here’s the full process, please let me know what improvements I should make-
    After heat treat and cleaning up the bevel I hand sanded the entire surface to 220. Suspended the knife in a PVC pipe of ACV and let soak for 45 mins. Pulled out, sprayed with windex and wiped clean.
    I did forget to tape the blade before molding the kydex, not sure if that would have any effect.
    Of all the threads I’ve found no one has said anything about a forced patina rubbing/scraping off with only a few times in/out of the sheath.
  2. allenkey

    allenkey Gold Member Gold Member

    May 19, 2018
    It will rub off in time unfortunately. The oxide layer that forms is very thin.

    Not much we can do about it unfortunately. Taping your blade up before molding the kydex would've prevented it being rubbed off in parts... During the molding. But as soon as you tested the sheath it would've rubbed off in places.
  3. Harley Boatman

    Harley Boatman

    Jun 21, 2020
    Wow I didn't realize it was so delicate. It's worn down to looking almost satin in the worst parts. Still under 15 or so times in/out of the sheath. Definitely can't sell a product that doesn't hold up..AT ALL. Any advice on what to do different to get that dark look and/or rust protection?
  4. bmilleker

    bmilleker Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 26, 2012
    A kydex sheath will always lead to scratches. Whether its something impregnated in the kydex during forming, or grit falls into the sheath through use. It will happen.It will happen to machine satin, hand rubbed, patina, media blasted, etc..

    If you need a durable, dark finish, I would look into getting the knives coated. DLC, gunkoat, etc.. You could even try a clear gunkoat on top of the forced patina.
  5. NickBoyle


    Oct 9, 2015
    After about 6 kydex sheaths I got so mad over the scratches I was ready to burn down my shop. No matter what I did, what finish my knife was, every single time it scratched the blade. And this was in my beginning so ya know how crappy the finish actually was. Next day I started ordering and buying leather tools and haven’t looked back. Started with Tandy stuff (their leather is junk, buy W&C or Hermann Oak) and have been upgrading since. Ya know what they say, Big or small leather fits them all!
  6. hathegkla


    Feb 3, 2010
    I don't have a ton of experience with this, I normally use ferric chloride for a really dark finish. but I find that the smoother the finish before applying the patina the easier it is to wear off. I'd like to try a media blaster or a tumbled finish to see if that helps holding a patina.
  7. R.C.Reichert


    Jul 26, 2008
    To get a dark patina to last, you need to have some texture to the blade surface.
    Storm W likes this.
  8. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    R.C. is right. Bead blast the blade then etch dark.
  9. Harley Boatman

    Harley Boatman

    Jun 21, 2020
    I had wondered about whether or not bringing the blade to a finer finish would have a bearing on the etch. Thanks for the help guys, all this info SUPER helps me out

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