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Is the fascination with patina a built-in human condition?

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by Macchina, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. GE Jr

    GE Jr Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 29, 2015
    I figure that I can break out the Flitz or the Mother's at any time...and I have. :D But, I generally just lightly use steel wool (SOS pad) on the handful of my traditional carbon steel pocket knives that I consider to be my users. I don't really like the look when the blade appears all blotchy with stains, but rather smoothed out somewhat into a more uniform grayish, friendly tarnish...that (in my mind) protects it from actual red rust. :rolleyes:

    Hey - I can change all the above at any time. :p
  2. stezann


    Apr 13, 2011
    Talking about patina, i agree with people who don't like the splotchy, stained appeareance of early patina "attacks", but i am compelled to love above any other possible finishes the look of a flat, even, uniform grey patina on actually aged carbon steel.
    That's what makes all the difference and it is something you cannot reproduce with a technique less than involving 20 to 100 years.
    Induced patina, however even and well done it might be, it is not the same stuff i'm talking about, there's something more to it.
    Stainless steel will never get there and carbon steel blades need to be very old....something very exclusive i have a sweet spot for.
    seas165 likes this.
  3. Kohai999

    Kohai999 Second Degree Cutter Platinum Member

    Jul 15, 2003
    I stopped carrying my GEC knives due to general dislike of the process of patina happing, and Flitzed the heck out of 'em.

    Do have some older scout knives I purchased new that have that uniform grey/black/blue finish to the blade that is kind of cool.

    What is cooler is that people like their knives here, and can find something that they appreciate that fits their chosen aesthetic preference!

    No "wrong" knife, no bad day.

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson
    Lapedog, Peregrin and JB in SC like this.
  4. jc57

    jc57 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2012

    I may have left this one soaking in the vinegar a little too long...
  5. Dean51


    Aug 30, 2014
    I just found out I’m not human. :( Well that certainly that explains a lot. :)
    I'm happy to be in the non human crowd, dark patinas just make a knife look like it hasn't been cared for.

    I received my fathers 340T & 770T, they are worn with a patina, there’s a lot of memories in those knives. The memories would be the same if the blades were stainless & scratched. Patina has nothing to do with memories. The simple fact they were Dad's knives, bring back memories. I also have his Leatherman PST, it has no patina but he carried it a lot, that old Leatherman sure brings back memories.

    Macchina "Is the fascination with patina a built-in human condition?"
    So to answer Macchina's question..........No.

    Wanting to connect to your family's history is as old as mankind. But. I believe the fascination with patina is a new phenomenon.
    I can understand a grayish tint for protection, that even makes sense to me.
    I will never understand why anyone would buy a new GEC and blacken it in apple cider.

    I'll allow 1095 to patina but doesn't look like a lot of the pictures I see here. If it gets dark or when it needs sharpening I'll use Eagle One Never Dull to even it out to a light gray.
    I'll think for my regular users, I'll stick to stainless or at least almost stainless. I will say I don't care as much for polished stainless, as ground or satin looks better. At least to me. I have been known to use wet/dry paper & change a polished blade to a satin finish.
  6. Pomsbz

    Pomsbz Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 31, 2015
    I have to wonder whether the whole patina fascination is part of the retro fashion. A fascination with the lifestyle of yesteryear born from how removed the modern world has become from it. I'd say that the use of 1095 in general on pocket knives is a direct cause of that and the patina thing is part of the package, a subset of this subset of the trend.

    Like all trends I wouldn't expect it to last particularly. I'm relatively young but expect that the men of the age used tools as tools rather than believing that they meant anything.

    70 years from now people will wonder at the well used artefacts of our age. They may carry retro iphones and rejoice in the two dimensionality of the screens and pathetic battery life saying that it provides a purity and simple ease of use otherwise unobtainable. They will form forums about them showing photos of the cracked screens and worn out cases. We would have said 'but it's just a bleeding iphone, intended to be used, abused and upgraded'. I have a feeling the people of that age would feel the same about the fascination with old and used tools today. Not as museum pieces or as history but to be copied as modern day fashion items and somehow revered for looking like they came out of the past.

    *ducks* :D
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  7. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    I don't force a patina as I said ... and I definately take very good care of my knives ... but unless you just don't use them high carbon blades will develope patina.

    Mine probably take longer to get there because I don't force it and I do take care of them ... but saying a patina means you don't take care of your knives is not the case at all.

    And everyones different ... SS is what works for some and a patina for others is what they prefer.

    But even SS blades if used show wear ... but doesn't mean you don't take care of them ...

    The best comparison I can give is I have a friend ... been friends since high school and hunt together all the time ... and if he got a scratch on the wood or the bluing faded a bit he was having his gun refinished or trading it for another new shiney one. And now he says all the time how he sure wishes he had held onto this or that gun ... because the memories were made with those guns that got scratched or worn a bit not his new shiney ones.

    And I love the look of a new bright blued shiney gun with well figured wood stocks ... but found out long ago I can take care of my guns meticulously but eventually they show wear ... no rust and not from not taking care of them but bolts show signs of firing thousands of rounds ... bluing wears from handling ... I still love a new shiney gun ... but I have a safe full of well used guns along with some that look new still but only see use on a rare occasion.

    It's just how you look at it ... all in personal prefrence and what you see when you look at a knife as compared to what someone else sees.
  8. kamagong

    kamagong Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2001
    I question your premise that people are fascinated with patina. Some people are sure, but many aren't. Spend some time in other subforums, the folks there don't have near the enthusiasm for patina that many here do.

    Patina is nothing more than visual evidence of a chemical reaction. It's neither good or bad. I don't force it, but neither do I waste my time polishing it off.

    Patina can look good at times. It's like mellowed stag, dark yet supple leather, the silvered edges on a blued firearm, the deep black of a seasoned cast iron pan, or the burnished wooden handle of a treasured axe. They're all marks of a well-cared for and valued tool, one that was made properly and has proven its worth through the years. That more than anything is what I am fascinated by, especially in our modern disposable and throwaway society.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  9. Sabercat

    Sabercat Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 9, 2015
    All of this talk about our knives, and the results of use by either us or our ancestors has me thinking of my grandpa, or great uncles and aunts who lived their whole life on a farm, working from dawn to dusk using knives, and various other tools, and what they'd say about patina.

    I think they'd say "Ryan, it's a tool. Please put down your phone and do something constructive with it."

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  10. akaMatt


    May 10, 2017
    I don't think anyone in my family would ever say that about a knife.

    But that's probably mostly because my name's Matt. :D

    Otherwise, wise words!
    Sabercat likes this.
  11. arizcowboy


    May 6, 2013
    I'm not a fan of patina either. I like my knives to look new. Plus I don't like cutting my food with a blade that has patina on it. Can't tell if it's dirty or not. If I went into a restaurant and saw a cook using a knife with patina on it I would not feel comfortable.
  12. A.L.


    Jun 27, 2007
    I'm bit too tired and bourbon fueled to write anything constructive BUT!
    I do not like when people force patina on their slip joints and then call them "users".
    It bothers me.

    But yea, I have developed taste for natural materials of late years.
    I like how they are more lively. But then again, I still love my more modern stuff too.
    Funnest part is to mix new and old stuff in good moderation.

    Pomsbz and Vaporstang like this.
  13. jrawk


    Jul 14, 2014
    I am the opposite. I love seeing aging, warn handles with pitted steel that is polished and renewed. It reminds me that new life can be breathed into old, forgotten things and the contrast looks amazing.
    jmh33 likes this.
  14. Peregrin

    Peregrin Traditional Forum Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    In my mind there's no right and wrong on this. Just personal preference. My preference is stainless steel with a satin or as ground finish. I grew up with Case and Schrade slip joints with non stainless steels and don't like the look of patina or rust, or the time it takes to keep it at bay.
    Pomsbz, Will Power and JD Bear like this.
  15. Will Power

    Will Power

    Jan 18, 2007
    To answer the question, is it built-in, the fascination? No, it's probably built-up:D

    Patina? Crypto-Rust....;):D:eek::D
    Pomsbz and Lapedog like this.
  16. kamagong

    kamagong Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2001
    I don't worry about it much. I figure that with a modicum of care, even my much carried #73 has a few hundred years left. ;)

    Lapedog likes this.
  17. black mamba

    black mamba Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 21, 2009
    I think that patina, relative to the human consciousness, is purely sentimental in nature. The people who love patina seem to concentrate on the nostalgic memories it conjures up. They speak of forced patinas as fakes. I personally don't see the difference between sticking a blade in an apple for a couple hours and cutting up a couple of apples to eat, but then again, I'm not the sentimental type. If I carry a carbon blade, I usually force a patina with vinegar or coffee grounds (or both together) just for the protective aspect of it. I get full coverage, with a more even color than an "earned" patina. If I don't expect to use a carbon bladed knife hard, I may just leave it unpatinaed and make sure to clean it thoroughly after use. I have found that using a carbon blade with patina in public will get you lots of "yuks" and "oh mys," people thinking the blade is dirty. So I generally carry stainless to work or anywhere else I may share a blade.
    Sabercat likes this.
  18. hamsco

    hamsco Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 30, 2015
    You and I need to buy Flitz in bulk.
    Pomsbz likes this.
  19. jc57

    jc57 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2012
    I have a lifetime supply of Wenol metal polish already. :D
    Lapedog and hamsco like this.
  20. Eric H

    Eric H KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 15, 1999
    Wow! I LOVE that Imperial! (I am OBSESSED with picking up a "Boys knife" like that right now.)

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