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Cold blued, not for food prep?

Discussion in 'Becker Knife & Tool' started by codycash, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. codycash


    Jul 1, 2013
    Just checking on something I've heard. Is it true cold blued blade can be toxic for food prep? Considering it creates a chemical reaction and does not stay on the steel in anyway I can't see the issue. Am I wrong? I've used my blued green river for 30yrs without issue. I blued my newest BK and wanted to find out for sure.[​IMG]
  2. Cody4x4


    Feb 27, 2013
    I'm curious about this now as well - and if it is in fact bad for use with food, what would be best? Bare steel? Forced patina?
  3. codycash


    Jul 1, 2013
    I know food based patinas are very safe, but they work in the same fashion as cold blue creating a base layer.
  4. Dexwithers


    Mar 27, 2012
    Yes sir, that is true. You do not want to use a cold blued knife for any type of food prep or gameprocessing.

    Toxic and can cause serious damage or even kill you from what I have heard.

    I called the Manufacturing company of the cold blue I used to use as well as the brass black and they gave me a very adamant NOT on knives for food under any circumstances.

    I asked all the questions like what about after I wash it and clean it real good after the blueing, and they got a little pissed, and gave me the answer NO!

    So I am taking a guess here and saying no. Lol. After I got off the phone with them, I promptly went into the garage with my 3 or 4 blued knives, and spent the afternoon sanding off all traces of the blueing.

    I haven't looked back and don't miss blueing one bit.

    But that's just me and there are plenty of people who don't mind taking the chance of death and use blued knives for food prep everyday.

    Just my two cents. Blue at your own risk my friends.

    And this is one of the main reasons I invested into Parkerizing. I eat with almost all my knives, or at least process game.

    and also, just smell a blued knife. And cutting on certain foods, I noticed the blueing turning the food colors. Not good. It is way different than a patina especially since most patina are applied using food safe items such as vinegar, mustard, hot sauce... etc.
    if you drink gun blue, you die. Period. And it is a chemical reaction not a forced natural type of oxidation, patina.
  5. JDMiller


    Jul 3, 2015
    Good to know.

    I was gonna call birchwood casey and ask also

    Ive never even used that wipe on type blue on guns or anything

    I have done some rust bluing with Gun Goddess.
  6. Cody4x4


    Feb 27, 2013
    Wow thanks for the heads up guys - looks like a patina is going to be my top choice for the next project
  7. codycash


    Jul 1, 2013
    Makes sense, guess blueing will be reserved for other things and now that you mention it I can recall my Green River leaving color behind carving a pumpkin one year.
  8. orezona


    Feb 13, 2015
    So you're saying I should put some gun blue in a beer bong and chug it, right?


    The thing about forcing a patina with natural acidic foodstuffs is you get an interesting and different result every time! Sort of fun that way.

    Parkerizing is very cool too and there's a reason why a lot of military blades are done that way.

    For certain blades, bluing is probably totally fine because some people have a clear delineation between "all-around-use" blades and strictly for cutting non-food/game tasks.

    I always want my blades available to use in a pinch because if I have to choose between a knife, fork or spoon (or spork), a knife wins every time.

    Great advice Dex.
  9. jius


    May 13, 2014
    You'd make a good Gaucho (Argentinian Cowboy) they eat everything with a knife, except to drink yerba mate.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  10. orezona


    Feb 13, 2015
    I've been camping before when we brought beer, steaks, plastic forks and more beer and nobody had a knife except me... Guess who had the easiest time eating their steak?

    I should say that I do really like the epoxy finish on Beckers as-is but once you get a few of them, the itch to strip and patina one becomes too much to handle.
  11. cschol


    Jan 6, 2013
    Who goes camping without a knife?
  12. orezona


    Feb 13, 2015
    Idiot stoners I was friends with back in high school. We didn't go camping as much as we went underage drinking out in the woods. Fun times.
  13. codycash


    Jul 1, 2013
    Been there! One time a kid showed up to our kegger and wondered off looking for mushrooms, it was a 2 day party and we didn't realize anyone was missing until a spare car presented itself. We drove around until we found a ranger and took him back up to the camp. In a couple hours we had a full s&r mission, red cross, helicopters the works. Police gathered us up and wouldn't let us leave, put all my knives and axes and shovels out on a big evidence table and then, because I had all of these things, and no one else did I quickly became a murder suspect or something. Long story short, kid walked 35 miles in 2 days and came out in Evergreen, CO on the highway where he was picked up for public intoxication....he was tripping balls lol
  14. adnj


    Aug 15, 2006
    This is an interesting question. I typically put a patina on my knives by using fruits from my yard so I never thought of cold bluing but I have seen some custom knives with the finish. Apparently, cold bluing is done with a selenium dioxide solution. I do know that the solvents are hydrochloric acid based and that can't be good. I'm no toxicolologist but I did get this from Wikipedia:

    "Selenium is an essential element, but ingestion of more than 5 mg/day leads to nonspecific symptoms."

    That's a whole lot of selenium. I doubt that you can get that much on a blade.
  15. zzyzzogeton


    Feb 17, 2013
    It's not the selenium so much that gets you,although how well the bluing attached to the metal and therefore how easily it came off would be problematic. Chronic selenium poisoning takes a while to build up to toxic levels. Acute selenium poisoning starts exhibiting symptoms within 2 weeks of ingestion. Chronic is when the symptoms take more than 2 weeks to begin showing up. The symptoms of the 2 types of poisonings are the same. The difference is how fast the symptoms show up.

    A lot of the old time warnings about cold bluing toxicity wasn't really aimed at the selenium dioxide. It was the cyanide and/or mercury that was in the mix in the older compounds used for the process.

    Where ever you got that 5 mg (milligrams) quote is incorrect. 5 mg = 5000 μg or MICROgrams. Someone didn't know what they were reading when they posted that. Someone probably saw the μg or "mu"g and read mg. The recommended upper daily dose limit of selenium is 55 MICROgrams, a really tiny amount.
  16. wesmanthetiger


    Apr 28, 2015
    Awesome story!
  17. JDMiller


    Jul 3, 2015
    :D .... :highly_amused: .... :highly_amused: ............Eat mushrooms ?:eek:
  18. JWheel


    Jun 18, 2015
    Too much selenium makes horses' hooves fall off. Don't ask how I know.

    ... and that was my random factoid for the day.
  19. zzyzzogeton


    Feb 17, 2013
    And humans. :D One of the symptoms of selenium poisoning is discoloration/brittleness of nails. Severe selenium poisoning results in hair loss and nails falling off. And the hair loss is not just head hair - total body hair depilation occurs.

    It's amazing what kind of random BS is running around in my head due to 24+ years of taking continuing education classes for EMT cert/re-cert/general training.
  20. JWheel


    Jun 18, 2015
    Yeah, I knew a guy who started losing his hair back when there was some scam going around about "colloidal minerals." It was this lecture on tape that people passed around but it all actually pointed to this product that was NOT properly regulated. Way too much selenium.

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