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Powder Metal Production Methods/Knife Steel Strength
June 01, 2017
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Knifemaker's Secrets

Producing a cool-looking stonewashed finish is a good way to improve the appearance of your custom-made knives. Stonewashing gives the blade a weather-worn appearance.

Stonewashing of your knife blade can be easily achieved with just a few easy steps.

First, you will need the following items.

Ferric Chloride
Tall Container
Rock Tumbler
Tumbling Media

The blade must be clean of all contaminants, oils and/or fingerprints. Thoroughly clean with blade by wiping it down with acetone to remove all contaminants.

Pour some ferric chloride into a tall container, deep enough to submerge the length of the blade. Put a wire through a hole in the blade to facilitate hanging it from the top of the container.

Submerge the blade into the ferric chloride and affix the wire to the top of the container. Your blade now should be hanging, fully submerged into the ferric chloride.

Leave the blade hanging in the ferric chloride for a time of 5 minutes to 60 minutes, depending on the desired depth of the etch. A longer time in the ferric chloride will develop a darker etch.

After the desired time in the ferric chloride, carefully remove the blade and rinse it in water to neutralize the ferric chloride.

Dry off the blade and place it in the rock tumbler with tumbling media. Different types of tumbling media will produce different results. Rotate the blade in the tumbler for a period of 5 to 60 minutes. Again, the length of time in the tumbler will produce a more pronounced stonewashed effect.

Play around with various times and media types to produce your perfect etch.

Valuable Information only available at Simply Tool Steel.

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Toughness, wear resistance, hardness and red hardness properties of tool steel

Secondary properties of tool steel

Tool steel terminology and alloying elements

An introduction to the tool steel industries and uses

Proper heat treating of tool steel

Proper design, machining and grinding of tool steel

The methodology behind choosing the correct tool steel

Tool steel comparison charts and data sheets for common tooling grades

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Chipped Blades

Chipped knife blades can be very dis-heartening. Hours are spent working on your design, grinding and heat treating the blade and fitting the handle. You are beaming with pride as you admire your new knife.

You are excited to try it out. You chop into a piece of wood a couple of times, when you notice that the edge of the blade has chipped out.

"Oh NO, it can't be", you say to yourself. What could have gone wrong?

Often times chipping of the knife blade is due to overheating of the blade during grinding. Many tool steels have a low tempering temperature, below 500F. It is very easy to overheat the fine edge or tip of a blade during final grinding. When the blade is overheated, above the tempering temperature, you end up with a grinding burn.

The affected area will appear brown, bronze or blue color. Grinding to remove the discolored area, only removes the coloring on the surface, but the damage to the microstructure of the blade extends much deeper.

Once a blade has suffered from grinding burn, it is very difficult to properly fix the blade. A significant portion of the blade may need to be removed in order to remove the damaged microstructure.

The best way to avoid ruining a blade is to avoid grinding burn all together. Especially during the final grinding of the blade, dip the blade in water after each pass across the grinding belt. Keeping the blade cool is vital to the longevity and usefulness of the blade.

Improve the quality of your knives.

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This PDF download is written in an easy-to-understand format, providing the reader with a thorough understanding of tool steel and its' role in the knife industry. The custom knife maker can now improve the quality of their knives and reduce the learning curve.

You can expect to learn about:

Toughness, wear resistance, hardness and corrosion resistance of knife steel

Machining and grinding of tool steel

Proper heat treating of knife steel to assure a high-quality blade

Steel comparison charts of common knife steel grades

Knife steel data sheets for many common knife steel grades

“Programmable” heat treating

10 Knife making tips for high-quality tool steel knives

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