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Embossed screen etching
Screen etching of a pattern on the blade of your knife is not just a decoration, attributive symbolism or an emphasis on the individuality of the product. This is primarily a protective coating of the blade, especially if it is made of rusty steel - carbon or quick cut. Namely, blades that are highly susceptible to corrosion have higher consumer qualities in terms of resistance to blunting, aggressiveness of cut, etc. than their chromium-containing counterparts. Therefore, by etching your blade from rusting steel, covering it with a protective layer of blackening and at the same time getting a pattern on it, you improve both the aesthetic and operational components. Etching a pattern on a stainless steel knife blade can also give it not only artistic value, but also add comfort in use. For example, in order to prevent the product being cut (for example, hard cheese) from sticking to the blade of a knife, but falling off in evenly cut pieces, air pockets are made on the blade in the form of recesses or random forged dents. But the etched pattern can also perform the same function, but the knife will look much more interesting than with a banal row of semicircular recesses or brutal dents from forging.

There are many technologies for drawing a pattern on a blade, ranging from manual drawing to various methods based on photoresistive films, which migrated to knifemakers from electronic technologies for creating printed circuit boards. All of these options have both their pros and cons. For example, for manual drawing, you need to have perfect artistic skills in order to depict something more or less sane, and the use of technologies used for printed circuit boards implies trouble-free application, basically, only on a flat, equal surface, which is far from always found on a knife. .

Screen etching in the entire list of methods for obtaining a pattern on the blade will be optimal, both in terms of labor costs and the need to use various equipment and materials, time and, ultimately, the quality of the final result. The advantages of screen etching are:

- ease of drawing, practically independent of the human factor - skills, experience, skills - you only need a little imagination;

- the clarity of the lines of the resulting drawing - if everything is done correctly, undercuts along the contour and patina in the drawing are practically excluded;

- trouble-free and easy creation of compositions of any complexity;

- Possibility of depth etching of a multilevel 3D pattern. In this case, etching is carried out in several stages. Before each subsequent stage, a part of the screen stickers is removed. The stickers removed last will cover the drawing that comes to the foreground, and the stickers removed with the first approach (after the first mordant) will be in the very background.

- the minimum number of necessary accessories for the work. All you need is the stencil itself, an etching container, an electrolyte solution (it can be either a common salt solution or a ferric chloride solution, etc.), and also, if you want to speed up the process, any low-voltage power supply (any, from phone charger to car battery charger). The rate of etching and the purity of the resulting etched surface depend on how much current your power supply can deliver (the lower the current, the slower it will be etched, but less irregularities will be created on the metal surface).

The main stages of screen etching:

    Polish your knife blade. The better the polishing is done, the clearer the pattern will be.
    Degrease the blade surface with any organic solvent.
    Warm up the blade a little (up to about 60 degrees Celsius).
    Apply the first layer of your stencil elements (this will be the topmost, most prominent layer in the final drawing). Mark it, for example, put the number "1" on the stickers with a permanent marker.
    Apply a second layer of stencil. If this is, for example, a popular composition such as fallen leaves, then the second layer is applied randomly overlapping the first. Although the stickers of this layer are above the first, the picture created by it will eventually be lower (in the background). Regular compositions are also possible, for example, in the foreground a skull pierced by an arrow; on the second - a sword stuck in the ground, a quiver with a bow, grass; in the background is an old castle.
    Pour into the prepared container (preferably glass) a solution of ferric chloride (1:3 by weight - 1 part of ferric chloride to 3 parts of water). Ferric chloride dissolves more rapidly in water at elevated temperatures, so it is desirable to heat the water to about 60 degrees Celsius. Optimal for most cases will be to use a 250 gram package of ferric chloride. Deviation from the exact proportions is allowed, it does not particularly affect the final result.
    Immerse in solution electrolyte your knife and wait until the ferric chloride has etched away the part of the metal that is not covered by the screen film. Please note that depending on the composition of the steel, the pickling rate can be very different, up to complete inertness to ferric chloride. Without the use of a power supply - electrolysis, i.e. etching under the influence of electric current, only rusting steels will be effectively etched - carbon steel, quick cutter, etc. (although electroetching is highly recommended for them). Therefore, before working with the main blade, it is better to do a test etching.
    If it is necessary to use a power supply - etching with the supply of electric current - the plus is connected to the blade, and the minus is connected to an additional electrode. As an additional one, you can use, for example, an ordinary nail or any metal plate. There should be active gas evolution (bubbles) at the negative electrode. If gas is released in the area of ​​the blade, then the polarity of the electrodes is reversed.
    After the first mordant, the potential is removed from the blade, the knife is removed from the electrolyte, and the etching products are removed from the surface of the blade in running water using a soft sponge and soap solution.
    Carefully remove screen stickers with the number "2". It is especially necessary to look carefully so that there are no remnants of the adhesive film from the stencil on the surface of the blade.
    The etching process, similar to the first one, is repeated again.
    After the end of etching, the blade is disconnected from the power supply, washed in running water, the stickers under the number "1" are removed.
    In principle, the knife is ready. But if you don’t like that the top layer is shiny and the bottom layer is patented, you can pickle the knife again without any stencil stickers, and then lightly go over it with a fine-grained sanding paper, for example, P2000 to create a clearer depth of relief.

Finally, a couple of general remarks about the process. Ferric chloride is the optimal electrolyte for screen etching. But you need to work with it observing the general precautions - in rubber gloves, preferably in a respirator and with a hood or in the open air. Ferric chloride has strong coloring properties. It is difficult to wash your hands from it, and even more so a sink or toilet bowl. This must be taken into account in the work and when disposing of the used solution. Stencil etching eats up part of the material on the blade - it's literally a couple of tenths of a millimeter, but some operations, for example, fitting the bolster to the blade evenly, as well as sharpening the knife itself, should be done after etching, and not before.
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