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Swatsonia's Guide to Mustard Patinas

Discussion in 'Knives' started by Swatsonia, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. Swatsonia

    Swatsonia Loaded Pockets

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    Hi all,

    At the request of Joost Heijnen, I have created this guide to creating patinas, using yellow mustard, on your blades. In this example, I am using an Opinel #6, but you can use any high carbon, non-stainless steel blade.

    The idea behind forcing a patina onto your blade is to create good "blue" rust. A patina is a protective coating of blue rust that prevents the creation of bad "red" rust, which is the red/orange nasty rust you see on old car wrecks and whatnot.

    This guide will be split into two sections. The first section details how to create a rippled pattern, and the basics to create any patterned patina you want, basically. The second part creates similar results to those you would get from an orange/lemon, a very speckled pattern.

    Two key tips about using mustard though:
    a) Remember that it is not the area under the mustard that blues, but the areas around the mustard that oxidises into the patina.
    b) Mustard has a far quicker working time (in open air) than an orange, lemon, potato, onion etc pattern.

    Onto the guide.

    The Rippled Pattern
    The first step is to wipe down your blade, to get rid of smudges, oils, etc. If I intend to do a patterned mustard patina, I give the blade a soak in plain white vinegar for about an hour or so, just to provide an even coating of protection along the blade which the mustard application might miss.

    [​IMG]

    After giving it a good soak, I then arrange the blade so that it presents as much of the blade as possible

    [​IMG]

    The key ingredient. I use French's Classic Yellow Mustard.

    [​IMG]

    To apply a pattern, I typically use a cotton bud or fine point paint brush.

    [​IMG]

    The first layer of our rippled pattern.

    [​IMG]

    At a rough angle of 30ish degrees, I "draw" thin stripes along the blade. It doesn't matter if it's smudged, just don't glob it on.

    Come back in roughly 30 minutes time, rinse the blade under water, remove the mustard, dry the blade, and you get this:

    [​IMG]

    For some, this may be all you want. Rinse and repeat on the other side if you only want a single stripe layer pattern. To create the ripples, we then apply another layer of mustard at an alternate pattern to what we did originally.

    [​IMG]

    Wait another half hour, rinse the blade, clean it down, and admire your finished product (well, at least half the finished product).

    [​IMG]

    Note the blue tinges in the stripes: This is the good rust that we want to protect our precious blades.

    Repeat the above steps for the other side, and you are finished!

    The Speckled Pattern

    You do not need to give this method a vinegar bath, unless you so desire.

    Apply a generous amount of mustard to the blade, but do not glob it on. Using your cotton bud or brush, stipple the mustard to create something similar to this:

    [​IMG]

    Ideally, about half as what I put on. Oops.

    Wait half an hour, and admire your results!

    I botched the Opinel, but here is my Svord Peasant's Knife with the same technique:

    [​IMG]

    Happy Patina'ing!
     
  2. Joost Heijnen
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Joost Heijnen EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Thanks, now I'm going to look for an opinel. I have one, but it's stainless steel..
     
  3. artaxerxes

    artaxerxes Loaded Pockets

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    I have a screwgate carabiner that I love and started using it again for my keychain, but it is made of ordinary steel and had at the beginning a zinc coating, but that has faded away and now it started rusting a little.So, following your guide I currently have it under mustard for patina, but with two differences :
    1.I did not dunk it in vinegar or lemon juice before, because an even coating is not that important here, a small spot can easily be fixed later (plus I'm worried that the oxide might damage the threads and I can't screw or unscrew it afterwards; not to mention the fact that the zinc layer is almost intact in that area)
    2. I cleaned the carabiner before applying the mustard with an old handkerchief and aftershave.
    I'll post the results when it is ready.
    EDIT : I couldn't get a good picture (crappy camera), but the results are inconclusive, anyway.
    Some areas have a blue tinge, others have a dark gold or brown colour and the knurled bolt that goes on the threads didn't take too well to the patina, it seems.All I got on it are some dark spots that don't look too pretty.The carabiner still has a funky smell from the mustard, but I expect this to disappear in time.I'm still going to use it, to see if it is protected against rust after all or not.
     
    Last edited by artaxerxes, Sep 5, 2013
  4. Swatsonia

    Swatsonia Loaded Pockets

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    The blue effect doesn't last for too long, admittedly, but the brown ripples last for ages.
     
  5. xbanker
    • Administrator

    xbanker Geriatric Admin
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    Nice tutorial with helpful photos. Impressive results. Thanks for sharing.
    Maybe time to dig out the "old handkerchief and aftershave" you used initially, and give it another wipe down. :oops:
     
    Swatsonia likes this.
  6. artaxerxes

    artaxerxes Loaded Pockets

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    Well, I don't know what type of steel is in it, but, the mustard, instead of protecting it, made things worse.It started rusting worse than before. I can't help think that maybe the aftershave somehow altered the reaction between the steel and the mustard (even though I thoroughly wiped it down beforehand).
     
  7. ChuckMo

    ChuckMo Empty Pockets

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    so so cool!!!! I have an atwood that im considering trying this on but I have no clue if this even works on titanium... am I an idiot for asking? LOL
     
  8. batteur
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
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    batteur Loaded Pockets

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    AFAIK it won’t work on titanium since it’s rustproof. But you can colour titanium. We have threads about this, for example by JustinJ.
     
  9. REDDEVIL

    REDDEVIL EDC Junkie!!!

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    I am trying this,... I will attempt each pattern on a different knife. I have already started thread tracking my progress
     
  10. Prometheus_9

    Prometheus_9 Loaded Pockets

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    This method won't work for titanium, but you can pick up some pcb etchant from radio shack for around $9, it'll do the trick! Make sure to read up on safe use though, it's much more hazardous than vinegar or mustard, pcb etchant is diluted ferric chloride. :)