Please ensure that you always only cut onto a wooden cutting board as cutting onto a hard surface such as marble or steel counter tops will dull or damage the cutting edge. Wooden cutting boards are very hygienic, the enzymes in the wood help to prevent contamination.
Never put a handmade or expensive factory made knife in the dishwasher nor let it lie in water in the sink. Wipe stainless steel knife clean after use with a soft cloth and store the dried knife in its box packaging. Kitchen knives should be stored in a wooden knife block. You may occasionally put a thin layer of olive oil on a wooden handle to preserve the wood and keep it looking good. A little bit of care and respect for your knife will go a long way.
Carbon and Damascus steels can rust if not cared for. Here are a few tips on keeping your knife rust free. Firstly, don’t confuse rust with a patina or stain that may appear on your knife after cutting something acidic. High carbon blades are more prone to patina, most stainless steel blades of pocketknives will not take on these characteristics. Patina is normal and adds to the character of your knife. Damascus and carbon steel knives and swords have been around for thousands of years, so with care, your high quality knife should be yours for a lifetime.
To prevent rust on your carbon or Damascus steel knife, do not store your knife in its leather sheath, as the leather picks up moisture and can cause your blade to rust. Rather oil or wax your blade and wrap it in a soft cloth for storage. Use the sheath only when you are using or wearing the knife. Wipe off the oil or wax before using.
Do not wash your handmade or expensive factory made knife in a dishwasher. Wash by hand in warm soapy water; do not let it soak in the water. Dry immediately, don’t leave it to drain in the drying rack. Be careful with stag horn knives as washing them with detergents may remove some of the natural staining on the antler material. Oil the knife with a gun oil or similar when storing or cleaning. Remember to oil or wax the handle too.
If rust spots appear, rub the blade with a metal polish like Brasso, don’t use steel wool as it will permanently mark the blade. Do not use oil with silicon in it as this can cause rust.
Blade damage. Blades are damaged primarily by buckling – compressive force, from being pressed into a hard object, such as bone, ice, or a hard cutting board – and by bending, from sideways pressure. Both of these tend to roll the edge of a blade, due to metal’s ductile nature.
Blades may also be damaged by being corroded by acid (as when cutting lemons or tomatoes) or by high temperatures and corrosive chemicals in a dishwasher.
If a knife is used as a scraper, a pry bar, or encounters hard particles in softer materials or fully, there may be a sideways load at the tip, causing bending damage.
Blade damage is avoided by: using an appropriate blade; using a so
ft cutting surface,; straight cutting, with no side-to-side movement; immediate cleaning. Remember your knives have limitations and are not indestructible. Do not use your knife as a screwdriver, can opener, jimmy, hammer, oyster opener or chisel.
Grinding. Grinding is generally done with some type of sharpening stone. Sharpening stones come in coarse and fine grits and can be described as hard or soft based on whether the grit comes free of the stone with use. Arkansas, USA is a traditional source for honing stones, which are traditionally used with water or honing oil. Lansky sharpeners use various grades of sharpening stone using a ‘guide’ to ensure the correct angle of blade.
Some mechanical grinders are finding their way onto the market. If you intend to use one of these find a reputable sharpening company. Bad sharpeners will use grinders which cause the blade to get very HOT and you may see a lot of SPARKS. Any excess heat will ruin the hardness of your knife.
Steeling Steeling helps maintain sharpness. This process realigns the edge, correcting for dulling causes such as a rolled edge. A sharpening steel is a type of hardened cylindrical rod used similarly to honing stones. Because steels have a small diameter they exert high local pressure, and therefore affect the knife metal when used with very little force. They are intended for mild steel knives that are steeled several times a day, but are not well suited for today’s tougher and harder steels, diamond steels are now available that have an industrial diamond coating and can remove blade metal as well as straightening therefore used correctly can re-profile a knife as opposed to just honing .