WIP: Frontier Bowie

Knife-makers | | |

Hi all. Been experimenting around with a new etching process I learned about, using Birchwood Casey Super Blue and regular old bleach, to give the blade an artifically 'aged' look. Here are some pics of the process. Blade is ground out of 1095 barstock.

 The blade, ground, hardened, and tempered:


Etched, front:


And the rear, which for whatever reason, etched differently, despite turning it often:


Detail pics:


SteelyJan's picture

beautiful as always...

That is truly beautiful.....the coloration is serene.

gimperfi's picture

Bowie etch

Hi Rad, Wow the bowie looks like it could have been carried at the Alamo. Did your etch solution create what appears to be pitting? Nice file work as well. I've always wondered how period knives got that 19th century look. What cha going to use for the handle Ironwood Curly Maple? How many White Tail you reckin could be skinned out before you had to put the whet stone to it? If I didn't think I'd be committed I'd wear it as a EDC! Keep the pictures coming!

"We can't stop that fella Santee Anntee from commin, but we can shore make him limp goin home" DC

Radharc's picture

Thanks, folks.

Thanks, Janet. I agree, I like it a lot. Yes, Gimper, the etching and pitting is entirely from the bleach etch. I'm thinking antler for the handle, maybe wrought iron for the guard. Give it that authentic period look. I learned some things from this experiment. I normally use Ferric Chloride for etching Damascus, and neutralize it with ammonia (Windex). Started looking into what would neutralize bleach, and discovered from the pH scale that bleach and ammonia are extreme bases, which would mean that FC is an acid. I know that acids etch steel (FC, vinegar, nitric, muriatic), so, as it turns out, anything at either far end of the spectrum, acid or base, will etch steel. Interesting info. I plan to experiment around some more, to see what kind of etch ammonia alone will create, and / or vinegar, etc. Interesting new line of scientific inquiry to pursue, for certain.