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Hot Vinegar Etching

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi all


I have just bought my first good knife – a Masamoto HC – and I am wondering what kind relationship the have with the carbon steel.  Should I force a patina or let it develop naturally? Or is it better to just scour the blade with baking soda after use (which I understand removes the patina and allows the knife to darken and become less reactive over a longer timeframe)?


I found an interesting video on etching a blade using hot vinegar here:

Has anyone tried this with a carbon Gyuto?  I am tempted to give it a go, but wanted to seek advice before diving in.





post #2 of 6
Hot vinegar is very effective. Dab or wrap into wet tissue. Degrease before with alcohol or acetone. Rinse with the hottest water available, and clean with soap to neutralize. I only force a patina with very reactive blades, and the HC isn't amongst those. Be aware it will dull the edge.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks Benuser.  I was thinking about using the             same technique as the guy in the video; submerging the whole blade in hot vinegar for 5 minutes and occasionally using a fine scotch brite to remove the black film.  Edge dulling aside, presumably this is no going to damage the blade?

Also I’ve read some comments that the vinegar etch is purely cosmetic and will not protect against the elements.  Is this correct?  Is the vinegar treatment less effective than a good patina?

Finally, given the HC is not super-reactive, would you just leave it alone and let a patina build naturally?


Thanks again



post #4 of 6
First, I must humbly admit I did not see the video. I would proceed by little steps. Vinegars may differ a lot, and a hot strong vinegar is quite aggressive and will eat your edge.
That's why I suggest dabbing or wrapping rather than soaking.
There is probably no need to force a patina with the HC. It should appear naturally, little by little. An intermediate solution would be not to clean the entire blade immediately after use, but just the edge, and wait a bit before rinsing -- again -- with very hot water.
By the way, do you like your HC?
post #5 of 6
Oh, I should have added that a patina is a patina. Not just cosmetic. It's a further oxidation of common rust and protects against it. Common -- "active" -- rust is rough and has a red/orange colour. You will see the change when you rinse with hot water and it turns blue, brown, grey or black.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Love it.


I did a lot of lurking around the forums over Christmas looking to learn about different Japanese Knives, and profited greatly from the free education. Started off thinking I wanted a global – actually bought one super discounted from Germany, but sent it back after reading-up a bit in the interim. As I read around the various discussions I narrowed it down to mono-steel and reactive(ish) carbon. And there was near ubiquitous praise for the HC in this category around the forums. Plus I love the look of the well-developed patina in this CKTG example; I think it has been started with mustard and allowed to develop…  (I’ve had to remove the youtube link, but if you are interested put Masamoto hc 240 into youtube and it is the first video)

I considered a Konosuke HD2 yo for its equally nice profile, but decided I was better off with a slightly heftier knife as an all rounder.  Plus, I like the individual character that non-stainless carbon can confer upon a knife.  The Konosuke would have been my next choice though.  Or maybe a Misono Sweden. Lots of nice knifes out there…

I bought directly from Japan, and the supplier was nice and friendly, but there were a couple of flaws when the knife arrived and I was a bit disappointed.  After contacting Masamoto directly (by Fax – cause they don’t have email) they put me in touch with a UK supplier who has been superb. Masamoto asked her reply to my fax because they don’t speak English (which I thought was very good of them).  She has been excellent (Emiko at L’OHIRA) for anyone the UK who is looking for a Masamoto.  Long and the short of it is I’m sending my 240 back, and Emiko is going to send me a perfect 270.  So I’m pretty delighted.

Have you tried and HC yourself?  What is you current favourite?  My partner just doesn’t understand about knives…

Oh and thanks for the pointers about the vinegar being a bit harsh.  I might just let the patina build naturally.  My (returned) 240 got some lovely blues going through cooked tuna.

All the Best


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