Carbon steel knives can be great. They are sharp and they hold their edge. However, if you are outdoors often, you will find that these knives have more of a tendency to gather rust. This looks bad for the knife, and you do not want to have rust rubbing off onto the things you cut, including the animals you skin. It might not be a big deal, really, but if you are like many people, you can’t stand the idea of a rusty knife. It makes it appear as if you didn’t take care of it, even though you did.
Fortunately, you can do some relatively simple things to add a patina to the blade. This will change the look and color of the blade and it will provide it with that extra protection it needs. The following are some simple ways of adding a patina, which you can do right now.
Regardless of the method, the first thing you will want to do is clean the blade and allow it to dry properly before getting started.
The Mustard Method
This is a very fast and easy way to get a patina on your carbon blade. Take a plastic sandwich bag or freezer bag that is large enough to hold your knife’s blade. Then, take some simple yellow mustard and squirt some of it into the bag. You want to have enough that it will be able to liberally coat the blade.
Then, place your knife’s blade into the bag and rub the mustard onto the blade. You can then tie the bag around the blade with a rubber band or some string. Leave the blade in the mustard bag for several hours. Some might want to check on the blade sooner, and in many cases, they will be happy with the patina that it provides. Others will want to wait longer. You can always experiment to find the time that will provide you with the patina you like.
The Vinegar Solutions
Astute survivalists will realize that these methods are quite similar. After all, one of the primary ingredients in mustard is vinegar. It is the method of application that is the main difference here. In fact, you have several different vinegar solution methods you can use.
You could set up a jar of half water and half vinegar and then suspend the knife so only the blade is in the solution. Leave it for up to two days and it should have a nice patina. If the handle for your knife is removable. You could take it off and simply put the entire knife into the solution. Another option is to soak paper towels in vinegar and then wrap the knife in them. You could do this several times to get a darker patina. If you want to add some designs to the knife’s blade, consider soaking some string in vinegar and then wrapping it around the blade of the knife. Let it sit for three hours and then check it.
One of the nice things about adding this type of patina is that it is so easy. In addition, it is easy to remove if you do not like it. You can simply use some light steel wool to remove it and then polish the blade. Then you can add another patina until you get it the way you want it. Adding patinas will protect the blade, and it can be fun.
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