Care Tips And Instructions
Caring for Knives
- Keeping your carbon steel knife clean is essential. After using a knife always wipe it clean of dirt and other substances which may hold moisture.
- When washing knives it's important to wash with care. Do not use a dishwasher or any harsh cleaning chemicals. Hand wash with soap and warm water but do do not let it soak in the water. Dry immediately after washing. Do not leave it to drain in the drying rack. Give it a quick oiling and it's good to go!
- Carbon and Damascus steels will rust if not cared for. Apply a thin film of oil to all metal parts - Blade, guard, bolster and the tang.
- For kitchen knives I recommend coconut oil. Coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial properties which will help sanitize and protect the knife until you're ready to use it again.
- All other knives can be oiled with a 3 in 1 oil, Q20, Museum / Renaissance wax or mineral oil.
- Do not use oil with silicon in it as this can cause rust.
- After long use the wood on a knife handle will need to be cared for. Danish oil, boiled linseed oil, furniture wax, Museum / Renaissance wax and even beeswax are great to keep the wood protected. Simply apply it to a rag and give the wood a few coats and a good hand rubbing.
- Do not store in direct sunlight. Over time, ultraviolet light oxidizes woods and the heat bakes the protective oils out of most hardwoods and weakens adhesive bonds.
- Leather conditioner or shoe polish can be applied to leather sheaths to keep them supple. Treat them like you would your favorite pair of leather shoes.
- Do not use oil on leather. This will cause them to soften, weakening their protective function, softening glues, sealants and dyes.
- Prolonged exposure to the sun and heat can destroy leather.
- Keeping a knife sharp is safe!
- Invest in a good quality leather strop. Stropping frequently will touch up the blade and prolong the life of the edge.
- If the blade gets too dull it will need to be re-sharpened.
- Match the angle of the bevel that is already on the blade for best results. This is usually around 20 degrees.
- Carefully take a test stroke on the edge to test the existing angle. Once you find the angle proceed with sharpening. Do not use a low grit or medium grit aggressive stone unless the edge is badly damaged.
- It's imperative to keep oil on high carbon steel blades if they are going to be stored for long periods of time.
- Store in a cool, dry and dark location.
- Oil or wax your blade and wrap it in a soft cloth for storage.
- Do not store your knife in it's leather sheath. The chemicals used in tanning of leather sometimes react with moisture in the air, leading to corroding of even stainless steels.
- Eventually a patina will form on the steel. This is totally natural with carbon steels and gives the knife a hand made look. Don’t confuse rust with a patina or stain that may appear on your knife after cutting something acidic. This is normal and adds to the character of your knife.
- Some carbon steel knife blades are blued. Bluing is a very thin patina that can eventually wear away, leaving a grey metal finish. These are used to lightly protect or cosmetically enhance the blades. They are rust inhibitors, not rust preventatives.
- If rust spots appear, rub the area with a metal polish like Brasso using an old piece of leather.
- Do not attempt to remove rust using steel wool or sanding paper. Depending on the blade finish, this may completely ruin your investment.
Caring for Axes
- Keep oil on the carbon steel axe head when not in use, and wipe the head clean of anything which can hold moisture.
- Use any protective oil such as 3 in 1 oil.
- The axe handles should be oiled every now and then with boiled linseed oil found at your local hardware store.
- If the axe changes climates abruptly a fresh coat of oil to the end grains is highly recommended.
- Never use knives to pry, dig, or chop. Get a pry bar, shovel or axe instead.
- The weakest part of any knife is usually the tip, which happens to be the most abused part! Take care of the tip, and the rest of the blade will follow.
- Never throw knives, unless the knife was specifically designed for that use. (Note: I don't make throwing knives!)
- Damascus and carbon steel knives, axes and swords have been around for thousands of years, so with care, you can own a future antique!