Almost all professionals prefer carbon steel blades because they have the sharpest edges, stay sharp for far longer, and are easier to sharpen than stainless steel blades. With a modicum of knowledge and a minimal amount of care you too can enjoy the superior performance of carbon steel blades whilst getting a literal lifetime of service out of your knives.
It is normal for carbon steel blades to develop an attractive patina over time. The patina acts as a protective layer over the blade and makes the knife a unique heirloom that tells the story of your kitchen adventures. Different ingredients result in different effects on the patina:
- Cooked meats will give your knife a pleasant blue patina
- Ingredients containing high concentrations of aliphatic acids (onions, cabbage, artichokes, rhubarb, banana etc) will cause a dark-blue to black patina
- Acidic foods such as lemon, strawberry, pineapple etc will immediately create a grey/black patina
- Cut ingredients on a high quality chopping board made of plastic or wood; do not cut on hard surfaces such as glass, metal, or stone
- After cutting highly acidic ingredients immediately rinse the blade under running water
- Use the right knife for the right task; unless the knife is designed to do so, do not attempt to cut bones of any size
- Never put your knives in a dishwasher; you will destroy them
- Gently clean the blade with a mild solution of dish washing detergent and warm water then rinse the blade under running water
- Dry using paper towel or a fresh tea towel; used tea towels will leave water on the blade and promote corrosion
- Prior to storing the knife apply a light coat of food safe oil to the blade like mineral or unscented baby oil
- Store your knife in a wooden sheath, in a knife block, in a dry drawer (with the blade covered), or on a magnetic knife strip
- Do not store your knife in damp places: avoid wrapping in leather, plastic, or other materials that may retain moisture close to the blade
- Do not store knives with their blades touching each other; dissimilar metals in contact with each other over time may result in galvanic corrosion
- A rust removing eraser, such as a Super Eraser, is perfect for removing light to moderate rust
- Wooden handles can benefit from the occasional application of a quality wax (eg. carnauba wax, beeswax)
- Sharpening a blade may seem intimidating at first, but it is quite foolproof when you have access to the right knowledge and a small amount of basic equipment
- Use a fine ceramic honing rod to touch up the blade between sharpening with suitable water stones
- Do not use mechanical methods to sharpen the blade as these will generally produce a poor edge and potentially reduce the hardness of the blade via localised heating; this includes pull through sharpeners
- If your blades have a Western edge, they should be relatively straightforward for even novices to sharpen
- If your blades have a Japanese edge with a micro-bevel, you may want to employ the services of an expert until you are comfortable maintaining the edge yourself
- Most places that sell knife care products will offer packages that have everything you need.
We are more than happy to sharpen, touch up, or repair your knife at a very reasonable price either in person or through the mail. Sharpening starts from $10 and we are also happy to refer you to reputable businesses in your area. We also sell edge repair kits that come with detailed instructions.