Knife steels engraveable?

Chujybear

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Hi.
I’ve been around for a while. And seen this question come up quite a bit, with the usual answer being that one should probably not bother. But I don’t know if it has been asked this precicely, so:
How are the steels 1085, 1095, and 15n20 to engrave? Would love to hear from anybody who has worked specifically in these steels. Annealed state, obviously.

I have tried to search the forum, but it seems that the question of knife steels has only been approached generally, not specifically.
Thank you in advance
Gwaai
 

monk

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on all the custom knives i did, i usually didn't know what alloy i was working with. i worked only on annealed blades--- which , even so, were buggers to do. the knife work led me to become really proficient at sharpening.
using a lube is also a great help.
 

flintdoubles

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I don't know about the other steel on your list but 1095 doesn't even cut well on a lathe so engraving even when annealed might be frustrating. I make some of my chisels from 1095.
 

sseib

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A spheroidized annealed state ( spheroidal cementite ) would allow the greatest ease of cold working, it is more than a simple anneal and requires special consideration when heattreating steel in that state. This is the state most purchased flat ground or drill rod tool steel is in for ease of machining. That said, Mike Dubber engraved some 1084 blades for me, I did three normalizing cycles and a simple anneal and he said it was no trouble.

For more info: http://www.cashenblades.com/heattreatment.html
 

jerrywh

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I have worked with all of those steels quite a few times. They all engrave easily if annealed correctly. The problem is many people don't know how to anneal them correctly.
 

JOEYS CARVED ART

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95% of the knives I make are made of 1095 steel. I generally don't have any problems engraving them. I engrave them in the annealed state and I mostly use carbide gravers. I do remember one knife I forgot to do shading lines on part of one side, I didn't notice until after it was hardened and the handle was affixed. The carbide graver cut it but I think it would have been a major deal if I would have to go deep or do a lot of it, it was only a few lines I needed to add.
 

Chujybear

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Great.
Thanks guys. Sorry I’ve been slow to get back to this thread. I’ve been touring through Alaska this past week.
I have a bucket of ash for normalizing. I just don’t have any knife steel beyond some super stainless, and a bunch of mystery scrap (chainsaw bars, leaf spring, rasps, and sawmill blades). I want to order up some knife steel for engraving.
You have helped me cut some corners on this experimental phase.
 

tsterling

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Hi Gwai,

Sounds like you’re wanting to engrave, then harden knife steels? If so, then something nobody has mentioned is scale management during heat treatment...scale formation will definitely ruin your engraving without some serious scale suppression. I’d recommend not engraving the blades.

You’ll have the best luck engraving simple knife steels. I recommend 1050 steel if you want hamons on your blades, else 1070, 1075, 1080, 1084 or 1085 (just naming a few you’re likely to have reasonably easy access to in Canada).

Best of luck!

Tom
 

sseib

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Brownells has two products for eliminating the scale during heattreat on the link below, Brownells Non-Scaling Compound is a powder and the ATP Anti Scale Coating is a liquid. I had good luck with the powder but other folks swear by the liquid, I think there limit is around 1600 deg F. They pop off during the quench and any that doesn't, cleans up in hot water. High temp salts should work well also but I have never have them.

https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-...-coloring/heat-treating-accessories/index.htm

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