Many people don’t actually know the full importance of looking after their knives.
Carbon steel knives are one of the most popular choices worldwide, which is why Heinnie Haynes are going to highlight the importance of how to take care of your knife and how you can make your collectable last for many more years to come.
What Are The Properties Of Carbon Steel?
For anyone who owns a collection of carbon steel knives, or looking to create one, it is important to know that carbon steel knives and blades are highly prone to oxidation and rusting.
To explain the purpose of this simply, the higher the carbon content is, the faster the oxidation process occurs onto the blade when in contact with oxygen and liquids, which can include water, food acids and even simply the moisture that comes from the air.
However, a great advantage to carbon steel knives, is that the high carbon content can provide a range of benefits, as they are known to be easier to sharpen and provide fantastic edge retention.
The Key Areas You Need To Focus On
When looking to preserve the life of your carbon steel knife, we like to focus on the importance of keeping your blade dry and how it is vital to clean it on a regular basis.
What Is The Importance Of Keeping My Knife Dry & How Can I Do This?
The main reason that it is so important to keep your blade dry is because if it is exposed to contact moisture, then it will cause corrosion to the steel. However, if you have thoroughly dried the steel, you will then need to seal it, as this method helps to prevent moisture from the air making contact onto the blade.
Nearly every team member at Heinnie Haynes who has a carbon steel blade will use olive oil as a sealant (Yes, olive oil.)
There are numerous reasons that we do this, firstly, is a completely natural source, and with all of the properties in olive oil, it will not taint your food after if you are using it for preparation and it is simple to remove if you don’t want it on your blade.
To remove the oil off of your blade, you can simply use a cloth to wipe off the oil, but other people have a different preference on the oils they like to use, but that is completely fine, as long as it acts as a seal to the blade and barriers the steel and the air.
If you would prefer to not use oils, then you could look at a wax or greased based alternative that will work in the same way to help seal your blade. In particular, brands such as Sentry Solutions provide an amazing array of synthetic options for you to choose from.
The Problems Faced When Not Cleaning Your Knife Properly
If you don’t clean your knife often or thoroughly enough, it can lead to problems that may be irreversible. Here are some of the problems you could be faced with –
- Discoloration – If this happens it shows that the oxidation process is happening, but if you make sure you begin to clean the knife properly and thoroughly, it should help to prevent it from turning into rust.
- Corrosion Of The Metal – Essentially the oxidation process. You will find steel corrosion if you simply leave it exposed in the air and can proceed to rust.
- Rust – The process you don’t want to see happening to your knife. Rust is a noticeable red/brown color that appears prominently on the blade. This can be harmful as the rust can cause contamination to what you cut and should be avoided. A bad sign for any knife.
How To Clean Your Knife
Every time you use a knife, you should put yourself into a routine of cleaning your knife after use.
Luckily, nowadays, you can find an extensive range of knife care products are available, which include the likes of Frog Lube products, but you can even use home remedies, leaving no excuses for cleaning your knife.
Alternative remedies you can do to look after your knife, is using chemical solvents, such as nail polish remover, Acetone and alcohol, but you need to make sure you use these with care as some may be prone to damaging your knife handle, which is why you need to take extra caution with your knife cleaning, but specialist knife care products can leave that worry behind.
When cleaning your knife, make sure to clean the entirety, which includes the blade, pivots and locking mechanism, then use the technique of covering your knife in oil, or a wax/grease alternative to help prevent the oxidation.
However, if you are to find rust on your knife, depending on the severity, it can be helped.
If you are to find a light rust, then this can commonly be cleaned with oil. Or, if you find a heavier amount of rust, this needs to be cleaned with a much more abrasive action, using cleaner, polish or a plastic cleaning pad.
Whether you are looking to purchase a knife for cooking purposes, or for your adventures, it is vital that you help keep them protected. We hope our advice can help you keep your collection pristine