American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Monday, April 30, 2007

When you get a new knife

What do you do when you get a new knife?

If it's a Carbon Steel blade I used to give it a nice patina using cider vinegar. 20-30 minutes soaked with the vinegar gives a nice layer of protection from corrosion and the knife gets that old, used look.

The kitchen guys over at Knifeforums gave me an idea a few weeks ago which I've found to protect the blade with a more irregular patina and provide me with something to eat all at the same time.

Carbon Steel blades tend to patina differently when exposed to different acids and the kitchen guys suggested making some fresh salsa to help give a new blade some color. Dice up some tomatoes, onions, a chili, and a lime and add to a big bowl. Season with salt and pepper and top off with a bit of fresh chopped cilantro. Let the blade sit for about 15 minutes while the flavors in the bowl meld.

Rinse and wipe down the blade, crack open a bag of tortilla chips, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

The only problem I've discovered with this approach is the suspicion raised when my wife comes home for fresh salsa two or three times a week...

Thanks for reading,



At 4:32 AM, Blogger Stephen Renico said...


A cold gun-bluing solution also provides a really nice patina of sorts to a blade. It's so easy to do you can apply it while sitting in front of the television.

I usually let it cure for a day. It ends up being darker than I want, so I take fine steel wool and start lightly scrubbing it until the color is the way I want it.

At 6:47 AM, Blogger American Bushman said...

Great tip Stephen. I've never tried that but would sure be interested in seeing how it comes out.

Can you blue a knife once the handles are on it? Is it a soak or do you just brush it on the steel?


At 7:45 PM, Blogger Stephen Renico said...

Bushman ,

Sorry I'm so long in replying to this.

Yes, you can blue a knife when the handles are already on it. I actually wipe the bluing solution on the steel with a piece of old t-shirt or cotton balls. Do it in a well-ventilated room and wear rubber gloves.

Just tape off the handles with blue painter's tape. :-)

At 5:27 AM, Blogger Stephen Renico said...

Another thing I just thought of: after I blue a knife, I let it cure for 24 hours.

Cold bluing generally goes on very dark and splotchy. So I get very fine steel wool and gently scrub the blade, taking back some of the bluing until it's a uniform color.

At 7:01 AM, Blogger American Bushman said...

That's great information Steve, thanks.

Cold blue is something you can get through Brownells right?

I may have to give that a try just to see how it looks.

Thanks again,


At 4:08 PM, Blogger Stephen Renico said...

I just glanced at the Brownell's site and it looks like they have half a dozen or so bluing products.

I just picked up a bottle at the local sporting goods store for about $5.


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