How do you stonewash a knife?


Stonewashing will give your knife a rugged or distressed look. It’s often used as a mask to hide smaller nicks and scratches. Many knife makers simply enjoy its unique look. It goes without saying that this process should be done before you put the final edge on your blade. If it’s too late for that, your knife is going to need a serious resharpening after this process.

There are many methods, but in any case it’s quite simple to do:

  • Collect some smooth river rocks and put them in a plastic container with your knife. You’ll want to leave enough room for the rocks to be able to knock around inside the jar. Alternatively, you can use ceramic media instead of rocks.
  • Add in a little bit of vinegar or ferric chloride so that its acid will etch in and increase the effect of the stonewashing. (See article on Forcing a Patina for more on acid etching).
  • Wrap the jar up with a towel and secure with string or elastics.
  • Put the jar in a cement mixer or dryer and tumble the jar around for 10-20 minutes.
  • That’s it! Thoroughly clean and rinse off your knife and then resharpen if need be.

Further Reading: [1] [2] [3] [4]

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