Patricia's Blog

I have exciting news... I get lots of questions and comments from customers like you here at IMG of Utica, so I've decided to create a blog. This will open up the discussion to our whole etching community.

Together we'll discover the latest techniques in identification, logo, and artistic electro-etching. And, I'm delighted that you'll be able to participate because your input helps improve everyone's etching techniques. (And, so many of you are great fun to talk with!!)

Because of all the calls I get from knife makers, I'd like to start the ball rolling with the various electro-etching techniques that'll help you craft your knives. So, for the next blog, let's talk about your etching work and questions you may have about stencils, solutions, and equipment.

Whether you're just beginning knife making, or are a Journeyman or Master Smith, my advice is free and offered only to help you make the best etches possible. I hope to post 2-3 times a month, and I encourage your participation. So, get those questions and comments in, and we'll be off and running. (And, if knife making leads us to other users of electro-etching, great!)

Also, let me know what you've created using our etching products. We'll do our best to post your projects on the blog. Our customers permanently mark everything from knives to saw blades and from trumpets to scissors. I've seen many of your unique designs and beautiful artwork... if it's OK with you, we'd like to show it off for everyone to see. 

Yes, IMG of Utica does serve the aerospace industry, manufacturers, small businesses, and subcontractors who use our Electrochemical marking equipment and supplies, but our individual customers are important to me. And that's why I'm excited about this exchange of ideas.

I'm really looking forward to our conversation... I hope you are too. It'll be fun, and it should improve your work. Until next time... 


Posted by on July 15th, 2011 at 4:55 AM

Comments (add your comment)

  1. Posted by Ralph on September 15th, 2008 at 6:05 PM

    This Blog is a great idea and will be very helpful to knifemakers. Just a quick question: What is the best way to apply the image to a Damascus knife in order to get the best image in the blade? Thank you,

  2. Posted by Patricia on September 16th, 2008 at 1:03 PM

    Ralph ~ Thank you for visiting my blog, being interested and posting a question.
    Throughout my time of working with different knife makers, I have had the opportunity to work with J. Neilson. Working with Damascus  is a very creative technique that I believe J. Neilson understands perfectly.

    As he explains his technique, The blade needs to be deep etched  before the Damascus is raised. The manner in which you etch at this point depends on your etching techniques, etching in small increments of time , at the same time making sure there is no movement to the stencil or too much bubbling of the solution. After this, he marks his image and then runs a 1500 grit sandpaper over the area to remove any surface marks around the image. I hope this has helped you and good luck.

  3. Posted by Raul on November 14th, 2008 at 10:50 AM

    How I can transfer my graphics to a photographic stencil. I can’t find instructions of that.

  4. Posted by Patricia on November 14th, 2008 at 11:33 AM

    Thank you for contacting me on my Blog.

    Depending on your equipment, most users transfer the image from a computer to a clear film positive, using a desk jet printer.
    If you require small thin characters you will need a higher dpi printer that will give you that clarity and density. Once you have the film positive, You then need to transfer that image on to the stencil material. This is where another piece of equipment is used. You need some sort of light source that will harden the material that is not covered by the black image from the film positive.
    I hope this information has been helpful, and if you have any questions, you can email us directly.

  5. Posted by jfunk on January 15th, 2009 at 7:33 PM

    Hi Patricia,
    Hope you are not finished here! I have a question about photographic stencils – do they require a darkroom or are they only reactive under the proper exposure light?
    Is this the material shown on the stencil page of this website?
    With thanks in advance,

  6. Posted by Patricia on January 16th, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    Hi J:
    If you are asking if the photo-stencil material needs a special room?
    The answer is no, but you do need to work under a safe light ( Yellow ) to keep the material out of the UV light. The UV light will change the properties slowly that allow you to expose the material at the same exposure ~ each time. The more you leave the material in the white light, the less exposure time is available. Some say, fluorescent lights give off a vapor that will also take from the timing of the film material.
    Selling the film material is secret, so it is not listed on the site. We sell this mainly through word of mouth.
    And as for the Blog, It did take me a while to set it up, and now I have been so busy that it’s hard to get a chance to add new entries.
    I haven’t given it up yet!! I will be back.
    Thank you for contacting me.

  7. Posted by lerner on February 20th, 2009 at 4:08 AM

    I would like to blacken the whole blade. Is electromarking suitable? There are other methods (parkerizing, bake-on powders, physical vapor deposition), but I have received negative advice about their cost and/or durability.
    For electromarking, if applied to an entire 4-inch stainless steel blade, would the final color be very black or more dark-grayish?
    Since there is no stencil-made grooving, how durable would you describe the surface? Could a fingernail scratch it off?
    Also, I love the professional, engineering-oriented presentation of the IMG website!

  8. Posted by lerner on February 20th, 2009 at 4:17 AM

    I just noticed the cute dolphin on the main blog page! I assume it’s color was totally electromarked?
    Regarding my previous question of a complete surface covering, could the finish be very matte, or would it be as glossy as the dolphin?

  9. Posted by David on February 23rd, 2009 at 2:13 PM


    Thanks for using the blog for your questions and for the kind words about our web site. Let me try to answer as best we can, first I don’t think electromarking is suitable to blacken the whole blade. This process does a great job with lettering and logos’ but when you have a wide expanse of “color”, variations show up in the mark itself because the area to mark is large and it looks uneven. Also as dark as the look becomes, it still is not really black per say…it is a deep gray or dark brown, looks black to the naked eye, but it’s not. As far as other options available to get an attractive black look, blackening may be the best option, this can be done in a number of ways, but I have a reference book stating that immersing the parts in special blackening salts at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes, this sounds the easiest, and is similar to a gun-metal finish only darker. This process will not come off unless you “scotch brite” or grind it off, you can’t remove it without removing the metal it is bonded to.

    Best regards,


  10. Posted by Patricia on February 23rd, 2009 at 2:19 PM


    The dolphin is a silver piece that actually has a electro-chemical etch on a portion of it.
    It was a token gift for guests. It may look like it’s “colored” due to the artistic photo.

    As David as written in the above comment, the process is made to blacken a small portion of a piece.

  11. Posted by Jaeger on March 28th, 2009 at 3:20 AM

    I’m glad I finally got around to finding your site. Last year I was bequethed an SS-651 from the estate of the master blacksmith I had been aprenticing under. While he was alive we’d done many experiments in the shop using the 651, including electro plating, etching, and anodizing. Unfortunatly, during the despensition of his shop, the leads, markers, consumables and manual all disapeared and all I actually got was the primary power source.
    Is there any way I can purchase replacement leads, markers, etc. so I can continue using it?

  12. Posted by Patricia on March 30th, 2009 at 10:47 AM

    Thank you for making contact!
    If you call the number on the website you can order all the replacement parts you need.
    We carry solutions, markers, pads, power-units, photostencils and more.

    I will send you an email with a price list, that corresponds to our website.
    Thanks Again,

Comment on this entry

optional (will not appear online)
http://yoursite – optional (will appear online)

Important! Please find the letters in the image opposite, then type them into the box above. You are asked to do this in order to verify that this comment is not being submitted by an automated process.

top of page

Questions or to place an order, call us at 1.800.775.3824 or email at

State of the Mark