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Pimp Your Knife: Another Look at Acid Etching

There are endless possibilities when it comes to pimping your knife, but one of my favorite modifications is acid etching. A little over a year ago, I did this post about the ins and outs of acid etching—what materials you need, how to get started—and I showed this sweet acid-etched Kalashnikov from one of our own here at Blade HQ:

Spencer is the guy you can idolize for this sweet knife. He’s actually acid etched several blades since this one, so I wanted to show you some of the other stuff he’s done. Take a look:

This first knife was done with vinyl—just like in my first acid-etching tutorial—but Spencer also buffed it to make the blade shiny. It’s a Kershaw Skyline fixed blade with the scales removed.
Here’s a closer look:

This blade was done a little bit differently though:
To give your blade a sweet paint-splattered look like this Cryo, you’ll need some nail polish. That’s right—nail polish. Sometimes it’s used on fingernails and toenails, and sometimes it’s used to make your knife look even more intense. Any color will do—you’ll be removing the nail polish later.

How to Get a Paint-Splattered Look with Acid Etching

Before you do anything to the blade, you’ll need to dissemble your knife (dissembling will void any warranty associated with your knife) and remove any coatings that might be on the blade. If the blade has grease or anything on it, clean the blade before continuing.
To make your blade look like this, you’ll probably want to go outside. Put the blade on a large piece of cardboard on the grass. Make sure you’re far away from any sidewalks or anything else you don’t want covered in nail polish. Get some nail polish on the nail polish brush and splatter the polish onto the blade using a flicking or throwing motion. Make sure you avoid critical parts like the pivot and lock face. After the nail polish is completely dry, carefully turn the blade over and do the same thing on the other side of the blade.
Once that side has dried, complete steps 5 through 7 of this post. Then use nail polish remover or acetone to take off the nail polish, and you’ll be left with an awesome, acid-etched pattern in its place.
Finally, you can wipe down the blade with gun oil or WD40 to make the blade look a little nicer.
It’s not too complicated of a process, and anybody can do it.

Get your knives from Blade HQ and give them some knife love whether it’s with paracord, some form of pimping, or just through everyday carry. What knives have you pimped?

4 thoughts on “Pimp Your Knife: Another Look at Acid Etching

  1. Good read. I love it personally. It’s cheap and easy. And the risk factor is minimal. Plus there’s a lot of variation you can create without even using a whole lot of imagination.
    I decided to pimp my TOPS Tracker knife as my first ever. Aside from doing a scale pattern, I gave it a 400grit satin finish and then did a flame pattern acid etch. Also nodded the butt of the handle into a glass breaker.

  2. I’ll pass that along to Spencer! He’s definitely got some serious skill.

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