Pimp Your Knife: Stonewashing

This is the fourth in a series of posts about knife modifications you can do yourself, A.K.A. pimping your knife.

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(Click images to enlarge)

Background Info & Important Reminders

Stonewashing is a super easy knife modification you can do at home. The stonewashed knife above and the instructions you see below are provided with the help of (can anyone guess?) our trusty knife modifier, Parker. He really is the king of knife pimping.

I don’t doubt that other people have different ways of stonewashing, but here’s how Parker does it using materials that are common and accessible. Before we jump right in to stonewashing, though, here are some important things you should know:

  1. Dissembling and/or customizing your knife will void any warranty associated with it.
  2. Stonewashing your knife will damage the blade’s edge. You’ll need to re-sharpen your knife after stonewashing it.
  3. If your knife has a thumb stud and it’s not removable, be aware that the thumb stud may loosen up during the stonewashing process. However, you can easily compress thumb studs using pliers or other tools.
  4. You can stonewash any steel, but coatings should be removed first. However, different finishes will show the stonewash differently. It’s sort of difficult to see the stonewash on Parker’s knife because there’s not much contrast there. A stonewash finish will be easier to see on an acid washed or DLC blade, so if you’re wanting to see more contrast on your blade, those are a couple of good options for you.

On to stonewashing! 

 

Supplies:

  • Knife (anyone surprised by that one?)
  • Large plastic jar like a mayonnaise jar, or something similar
  • 7–12 small rocks that are no bigger than your whole thumb, but preferably half that size*
  • Nail polish
  • Clothes dryer
  • Large towel
  • WD-40, or dish soap and water
  • Tools to dissemble and reassemble your knife

*Parker gathered some rocks from a stream, which he recommends; rocks from a stream tend to be smoother than ones you find above ground. Parker also said that dense rocks will be best because they will give you more of the dings in your blade that are associated with a stonewash finish than rocks that are less dense. He also tends to use about 7 rocks.

 

Directions:

***Again, remember: dissembling and/or customizing your knife will void any warranty that is applicable to your knife. Don’t dissemble, stonewash, or modify your knife if you’re planning on returning it.

  1. Dissemble the knife.
  2. Put nail polish over parts of the knife you don’t want stonewashed, like pivots. You can remove the nail polish after you’re done stonewashing the blade—just use nail polish remover.
  3. Place your rocks inside the plastic jar along with the blade. (If you’re stonewashing additional parts, like a pocket clip, you’ll need to do that separately from the blade. Just do one part at a time.) Spray a little WD-40 in the jar with the rocks, or a little soap and water if you don’t have WD-40. Put the lid back on the jar and make sure the lid is secure.
  4. Wrap the jar in a large towel and secure it so the towel won’t come unraveled. Large rubber bands work great for this.
  5. Put the jar in the dryer on the setting that doesn’t use heat (air tumble, air fluff—it’s called different things on different dryers). Leave it in there for 10–20 minutes. Ten will give you a lighter stonewash while 20 will be a fairly heavy stonewash.
  6. Take the blade out of the jar and rinse it to clean off any residue.
  7. Reassemble the knife and re-sharpen it.

 

That’s it—easy peasy. If you have any knife modifications you’d like to see, let us know and we’ll see what we can do. (Or any other topics, for that matter.)

Thanks for stopping by the Knife Blog. See ya next Friday.

 

4 comments

  1. Hi Kaylene, this serie of post about blade finish is amazing. My favourite is the acid etching one. Now, you could think on handle personalization …

    • Mark,
      Thanks for the suggestion! I imagine there are some people around here who have done some awesome handle pimping, so I’ll see what I can do!

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