Knife maintenance is like many other sharpened tools. And we want your knife to last.
Just like many tradespeople use a specific tool, they earn their livelihood with these, Use, clean, store it is that simple.
Your knife is a tool, yes a tool…it is however NOT a screwdriver, and NOT a pry bar! Nothing will damage your knife faster than using it as NOT intended, not to mention personal injury can and most likely will occur.
Use the right tool for the job!… Simple right.
Knife maintenance really is simple, use your knife, clean it and store it back in the sheath.
Carbon steel knives will develop a greyish patina over time and use, this is normal and will protect the steel.
I hear it all the time I would buy that knife if it was made from stainless, really, do you know stainless will rust and corrode if not taken care of, mind you typically are not as fast at carbon steel… but to each their own preference… I prefer carbon steel.
I use 2 types of high carbon steel here in our shop. Both are strong, can attain a hardness of 57-59 range, hold an edge like a scalpel.
There are as many sharpening systems out on the market today, some work good some are fantastic and some are a waste of time effort and money.
I made a video on one of the inexpensive bench mount sharpening systems, here is that video.
I use the above system quite a bit, it works well for keeping or changing the bevel angles on a blade. But nothing beats a whetstone in my opinion, and best of all you can carry one with you in your kit.
Why is my blade turning blue or grey?
That is a sign you have a good carbon steel blade, that is a patina and will actually protect your blade, the steel is oxidizing and that is good.
Here are a couple of examples of blades that are at the start of a patina, the Opinel is a greyish going towards black, while the other blade is going blue.
Do I leve the patina on my blade, well I would recommend you do, many have used coffee, vinegar mixes to force a patina on their blades, while others prefer the shine of a new blade to each his own preference.
Now that you know what a patina is and that is a good thing for your blade, whether you have the patina naturally or forced, you will need to strop your blade, the patina (oxidation) will affect the edge of your blade as well, stropping will restore the polish to your edge and keep it keen as ever.
You have all seen the old barbers, in movies or even in their shops… running the razor over a long strap…well the is a strop, and they are stropping the blade. Stropping polishes or flattens out the micro edge of sharp tools and knives. I have several small knives for leatherwork that have not been sharpened in 6 years or more, I use them, strop them and put them away, they are still as sharp or I dare say sharper than when I bought them.
How do you strop?
Here is a video on how to start stropping
Lastly, I use a touch of coconut oil on my knives, one is strictly used for food prep and nothing else, I touch the oil on the end of my finger and rub it over the blade… and then put it away until the next time iI need my knife.
Note: Storing your oiled knife in the leather sheath may cause the leather to soak up the oil.