How does ferric chloride etch steel?

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Monday, September 19, 2011, 3:00 p.m.

Be careful when etching Damasteel in too little concentrated Fe3Cl soup - I had to experience it several times before I believed it and totally messed up a few finished, satin finished blades. With too low a concentration of old soups I had a uniform gray color on the Damasteel after about 10 minutes - so the "acid-resistant" part of the Damasteel was also etched - probably due to the long duration ... with zero contrast. So better short and concentrated.

Basically, I also mix the stuff with a high percentage of the like, in order to achieve the shortest possible etching times - i.e. after a maximum of 2 minutes, for example, Damasteel should be very rich in contrast, but not yet blunt. With 1.2379 or 1.2519 this should be darkest gray after 30 seconds. For the sake of simplicity, I warm up by putting the whole water glass in which I keep it in a metal sink and pouring hot tap water into it, so that after a few minutes and stirring a little, the Fe3Cl is also warmed up.

The best way to store the solution is in glass and the remaining granules are airtight, otherwise they will remove moisture from the air in the room and after a short time they will no longer be granules but sticky mass!

For the mixed soup I use tall glass cylinders ... so you can completely immerse longer blades with relatively little liquid.

Oh yes: Be careful with various cleaners etc. - this can produce toxic fumes - so don't mix something yourself that you shouldn't mix.

AND: Degrease well beforehand ... eg with acetone, otherwise there will be stains!

Greetings, C.

This post has already been edited 1 times, last by "enrico" (Sep 19th 2011, 3:02 pm)