My goodness, time flies! A couple months ago, I started a short series of blog posts about custom engraving and promised a third post detailing the two different types of engraving we can offer for personalization of your chef or steak knives.
One method is chemical etching and the other is laser etching.
I must admit, I was dubious about chemical etching at first, but over many years of seeing knives that have been engraved and seeing the difference in engraving, I am now a firm believer in chemical etching for your chef or steak knife blades!
Why? Because chemical etching is very versatile, holds up with lots of daily use and washings, plus there are lots of choices available for size, thickness and style of font available.
A solution is sprayed onto the blade, left to sit overnight, then the engraver applies the text and font onto the chemical, wash and presto, you have a permanent black dye engraving.
Laser Scratch Engraving
Laser scratch type engraving is a more traditional look and works on any type of metal, therefore can be used on stainless, nickel-silver or brass bolsters. It looks great on bolsters and also on chef knives where a more subtle look, similar to the bladesmith's kanji, is desired.
The only downside to scratch engraving is that is can and will wear off if it comes in contact with fingers a lot. We saw this once where scratch engraving was added to restaurant steak knives by the restaurant after receiving the knives from us.
After a couple years of heavy use, some of the bolsters (engraved with the restaurant's logo) were so worn, you could barely see what it had said.
Pros and Cons
Chemical etching is our recommendation for chef knives, especially if they will be used a lot and/or if the chef is pinching the blade while using the knife.
Cons of chemical etching. Unfortunately, chemical etching can ONLY be used on stainless steel. It does not work on carbon steel, brass, copper or nickel-silver.
Laser scratch etching is our recommendation for bolsters unless there will be a lot of constant contact with fingers rubbing the etching, which is likely on a chef knife that gets a lot of all day use. However, for steak knives or etching on a pommel end cap or bolster that will not see a lot of rubbing, this type of engraving is beautiful, available is lots of fonts, and adds a traditional, elegant and personalized look to the table setting.
Cons of laser etching. Will wear off if rubbed a lot.
Have questions? Give us a call or e-mail and I will be glad to help.
Telephone: 808-883-0128 (Hawaii time zone)