Forcing a Knife Patina
A high carbon blade can rust if you don’t take care of it. The best way to help protect it, in my opinion, is to force a patina. I’m going to show you how to do it and you won’t need to look any further than your pantry or fridge. The finish will depend on the type of steel your knife is made of and how polished it is. Again, this is for high carbon steel knives and not stainless steel.
Hot White Vinegar – I like using a coffee thermos for this patina. First, you will need to bring the vinegar to a boil and have your knife ready to submerge. Clean the knife very well with rubbing alcohol and make sure there are no finger prints because they will show in the end. When the vinegar has come to a low boil, submerge your knife in the thermos with the vinegar. The longer you let it sit, the darker it will get. When it looks good to you, dry off the knife and add a thin coat of oil.
Mustard Patina – Just the same as the vinegar patina, clean off all the fingerprints with rubbing alcohol. Smear a little of whatever mustard you want on the blade. Use your finger, toothpick, or cotton swab to make some designs and let it sit for a few minutes. You need to remember that it will get darkest where the mustard is thin. Now you can do one of two things: Clean the mustard off and apply your oil or clean the mustard off and add more mustard to layer patterns. The picture above has two different passes with the mustard.
Food Patinas – A natural patina happens with a knife over years of cutting foods like potatoes, apples, oranges, grapefruit, yada yada yada…we can speed up this process by letting some of these foods sit on the blade for a little while. There are lots of patterns that you can achieve from these, so experiment!
These were just a few ways to achieve a “shnazy” pattern or a well loved look to a high carbon blade. The list of things you can try are nearly endless. If you try one patina and don’t like it, all you need to do is lightly scrub it with a scotch bright pad and try another technique. When you apply the oil at the end, I suggest using food grade oil. Personally, I prefer to use coconut oil. Especially if you ever plan on cutting food with your knife.
Be safe. Use wisdom. God bless.