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Thread: Forcing patina?

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Forcing patina?

    Hey guys,

    I read an article in Blade magazine where some people speed up forming patina on knife blades by sticking the blade into a potato and leaving it overnight, coating it with mayonaise, and other ways involving food. In addition to changing the appearance of the steel it supposedly creates a corrosion barrier on the steel preventing another kind of oxidation (rust).

    I've been thinking about this since I now have an M4 steel blade. I've read where M4 isn't stainless but it's not a pure carbon steel either. Has anyone ever tried to speed up the patina process? Does patina prevent corrosion? That is really what I'm wanting but I also like the look also. Any info or advice is appreciated.

    Jack

    My EDC for a while. Stretch with carbon fiber handle, Chaparral 2, Dragonfly 2 with kirinite MOP handle, Manbug with bolster/red bone handle. Super blue/420J1 blades on all three (except Chaparral).

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User tonydahose's Avatar
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    i believe the patina will help prevent any further oxidation from happening beneath the patina i.e.. rust. at least that is how i think it works. i have read mustard and pickle juice can be used to force a patina.
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    I bought some cold blue to try out and plan to use it on one of the super blue mules. When I get around to it, I'll let you know.

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    I put a patina on an opinel pretty easily using some vinegar. It doesn't take too long to get a dark finish.

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User The Deacon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonydahose View Post
    i believe the patina will help prevent any further oxidation from happening beneath the patina i.e.. rust. at least that is how i think it works. i have read mustard and pickle juice can be used to force a patina.
    Help is the key word Tony. As with bluing on firearms, a well done patina will increase a blade's resistance to rust, but it's not a panacea. You still have to take more precautions than with a good stainless steel, or the item in question will rust, just as most stainless will rust if you neglect it badly enough.
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    Yeah, I haven't done it to my Bradley yet, but from what I've heard it only helps, and apple cider vinegar will take care of it for you...

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    I think that there is a thread where there aer pics of forced patinas on a GB...
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User gunnut35's Avatar
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    Mustard works really well.

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    bought some new kitchen cutlery that said super stainless-stuff colored over a second after it touched mustard-was supposed to be german steel

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User phillipsted's Avatar
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    Here's the thread from dbcad about the patina on a Super Blue Mule.

    TedP

    http://www.spyderco.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48201

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User DMgangl's Avatar
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    Like this?


    Use Mustard. There are several advantages to using mustard. Since its thick its easier to use on the blade without getting any on the edge which will dull the knife. You also get different colors which IMO is nicer looking then strait vinegar, which will just give you a dark grey/black. When you put the mustard on let it dry before removing it, this will give you the best results.

    For the blade in the pic. I soaked the blade for about 6 hours in a vinegar soaked rag. The problem was the vinegar pooled in some areas were you see the dark spots. Also since I didn't have anything on the top the other side of the blade pushing the rag down that side wasn't as dark. To cover it up and just to experiment I did stripes of mustard.

    If I were to do it again I would just use mustard cover the edge in a thin/meduim layer if mustard and let it dry.

    DM
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
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    I've been tempted to try this with my Caly 3, just to see if i could get the ZDP layer to patina and leave the 420J2 part polished. I think it would work since the 420J2 is a lot more stainless.

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  13. #13
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMgangl View Post
    Like this?


    Use Mustard. There are several advantages to using mustard. Since its thick its easier to use on the blade without getting any on the edge which will dull the knife. You also get different colors which IMO is nicer looking then strait vinegar, which will just give you a dark grey/black. When you put the mustard on let it dry before removing it, this will give you the best results.

    For the blade in the pic. I soaked the blade for about 6 hours in a vinegar soaked rag. The problem was the vinegar pooled in some areas were you see the dark spots. Also since I didn't have anything on the top the other side of the blade pushing the rag down that side wasn't as dark. To cover it up and just to experiment I did stripes of mustard.

    If I were to do it again I would just use mustard cover the edge in a thin/meduim layer if mustard and let it dry.

    DM
    I covered my M4 blade with mustard for about 4 hours last night. It left a very consistant change in color where the mustard was. There is a difference in color close to the handle where there wasn't any mustard. The edge was dull to the point it wouldn't slice paper cleanly but a little stropping took care of that. I'm probably going to do it again tonight to get a little darker color. I've also thought about taking the blade out and getting a patina around the pivot area also. If patina helps to prevent rust I was thinking the inside of the knife would be a good place to have patina. Has anyone ever done this and if so, were there any negative side effects to performance (stiff in opening or closing, etc.)? I really want this knife to last (Manix2 w/M4). I wasn't aware I would be as concerned about long term corrosion as I am since M4 isn't a stainless steel. This is my first non stainless steel knife. I keep all my knives and tools oiled as needed so I may be overly concerned for no reason.

    Jack
    Edit: I like the look of your GB blade and I think I'll try to put a pattern of some kind. Stripes or something.
    Last edited by jackknifeh; 05-21-2011 at 07:04 AM.

    My EDC for a while. Stretch with carbon fiber handle, Chaparral 2, Dragonfly 2 with kirinite MOP handle, Manbug with bolster/red bone handle. Super blue/420J1 blades on all three (except Chaparral).

  14. #14
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
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    On most knives i would think that patina like the GB just looks filthy and neglected, but it looks damn good with the carbon fiber. Are you guys taking them apart and doing the pivot areas too? I would be concerned about rust there more so than on the blade.

    SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Creepo's Avatar
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    First of all patina, corrosion and rust.
    Oxidation can form as spots that with longer exposures lead to pitting, tiny black holes where the oxidation reaches deeper in the material. Getting rid of pitting is tricky and it can spread once the reaction has started. Then theres the uniform oxidation layer referred to as patina.
    For more oxidation to happen oxygen is needed to be in contact with the material, when there is an even coating of oxidation, the oxygen can't get in direct contact with the metal. Through diffusion it will still seep through the layer but this is VERY slow compared to direct contact. The layer of patina will thicken slightly over long periods of time (darker color) and exposure to corrosive substances but deep pitting won't form, at least easily.

    Now for the pivot, I highly doubt the action will be as smooth as it was without patina. The smoother and polished the tang area, the smoother the action. With the patina I'm sure you can still achieve a reasonably smooth opening if you wear it down a bit but it won't be as smooth.
    Where the washers and lock are in contact with the tang the oxidation will also wear down, perhaps completely. If you force a patina in the tang I would recommend you polish the patina off from the washer, pivot hole and lock travel surface area. Just keep the pivot oiled after this and it'll be fine, thicker better oils will stick there longer so invest in a good lube.

  16. #16
    Spyderco Forum Registered User toomzz's Avatar
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    Hi, I did some forcing on my two GB's as well. With mustard, my own blood (when I cut myself accidentally) and Birchwood gun blue (see picture). That last option worked well, but by using the knife the effect wears off. Since there is a death-head on the package of the Birchwood I don't wanna use it for foodprep anymore, so I removed the patina and stopped using it.

    I never left a Spydie overnight in mustard, a patato etc. I learned my lesson when leaving a lemon on a antique (Gunto) japanse katana for a few hours. Ouch....it left a permanent mark.....

    Beware of sudden popping up black pits. Oil that M4 once in while, especially when you do forcing patina's!

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User gunnut35's Avatar
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    Here is a example of using mustard to force a patina.
    This one is a #9 opinel that i use everyday in my kitchen and i cant remember when i did it.


    This is another #9 that i just did. Just put the mustard in whatever pattern you want.


    I only leave the mustard on for 15-20 minutes and the rinse with water. The longer you leave it on the darker and wider the lines will be. The outer edges of the mustard forms the lines.



    You then can add a little mustard to a paper towel and lightly coat the blade to darken then wipe off. Then i put mustard drops all over the blade for about 10min and rinse. The end result will be a cool effect that gives it almost a anodized color to it.
    Sorry for the poor quality of my pictures.
    Last edited by gunnut35; 05-21-2011 at 10:03 PM.

  18. #18
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    That is a pretty awesome effect! Looks really great...
    On the hunt for...

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User gunnut35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeathBySnooSnoo View Post
    That is a pretty awesome effect! Looks really great...
    The key is to lower the time on each coat of mustard, that way it gives it depth and color instead of just gray lines.

  20. #20
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Great info on forcing patina. The first thing I did was put the blade in a potato for a few hours with some but little effect. Then I tried vinegar. Again, little effect. Then I used mustard and that made a bigger difference than the others. The edge was a little dull so I stropped it to get the edge sharp and bevel shiny again. Then I used mustard again trying not to get any on the very edge. Some mustard did get on the bevel though. As soon as the mustard was dry I washed it off. There were 5 small pits on the bevel like Toomzz mentioned. I was able to remove the darkness inside the pit that I assume would have turned to rust and further damage.

    Then I remembered that I always coat knife blades with Tuf-Glide. When I started with the potato the entire blade was treated including the edge. I am thinking the Tuf-Glide prevented patina from forming as fast as it would without it. I say this because after I stropped the edge and bevel I assume there was no Tuf-Glide there. Tuf-Glide advertises that it can't be washed off but I'm sure sharpening/stropping does remove it since that is removing steel. Then the pits formed because the mustard was on bare steel. Since my goal was to prevent corrosion with a little patina I think my goal has been satisfied. I would love to try creating the beautiful designs that Gunnut35 did but if I do that it will be on other knives first. I have a consistant change in color on the blade except for the tang/pivot area. I'll leave the inside area of the blade alone like Creepo suggests. I'll just keep it oiled properly.

    I appreciate all the info you guys provided.

    Thanks,
    Jack

    My EDC for a while. Stretch with carbon fiber handle, Chaparral 2, Dragonfly 2 with kirinite MOP handle, Manbug with bolster/red bone handle. Super blue/420J1 blades on all three (except Chaparral).

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