Carbon Steel Blades
For anyone new to carbon steel knives, it should be understood that, while the blade quality, durability, and edge holding ability are far superior to stainless steels, they are also higher maintenance. Carbon steel blades are much more susceptible to rust than stainless steel blades. For this reason, it is important to keep the blade clean and as dry as possible. This does not mean that you will ruin the blade if you get it wet…just dry it off afterward! Do not let the blade sit in water or let water drops sit on the blade…it WILL rust.
Try to keep fingers and hands off of the blade as much as possible or make sure you wipe the blade down after touching it as the natural oils in our skin can cause discoloration in the steel. I recommend keeping a light coat of oil on the blade at all times. They make specific carbon steel blade oil but really any good gun oil, mineral oil or even WD-40 will work very well. I often use the soft gun cleaning cloths that are pre-oiled…all you have to do is wipe the blade down with that and you’re all set.
Should rust develop on your blade, don’t panic! As long as the blade has not been rusted for a long time where the metal has begun to pit, it’s an easy fix. I recommend getting a tube of Flitz Metal Polish. It works wonders on every metal surface that I’ve used it on and will even take rust off of a blade with little effort.
A quick note on storing your knife: DO NOT store your knife in the leather sheath for long periods of time (ie: months/years). After a while, the oils and dyes in the leather do not play well with the carbon steel on the knives and they will begin to discolor and oxidize. Unless you order an unusually large blade from me, I will ship your knife in a padded zipper case with the sheath separate. This is how I would recommend storing your knife when not in use.
Any knife is going to go dull if it gets used…that is a fact of life. The quality of the steel and the method of heat treatment can assist in extending the time between sharpening, but if the knife is used heavily, it will eventually dull out. Even ceramic blades that claim to stay sharp forever will eventually go dull with use. The only knife that stays sharp forever is one that is never used!
The steel that I use and my method of heat treatment will ensure excellent edge holding ability on my knives, but when you do start running a bit dull, I can help you out there as well! I offer free re-sharpening of my knives for as long as I can physically do it. Given my age, that’s a pretty good deal! All you have to pay for is the cost of shipping to and from me if you are out of the area, but I will re-sharpen and clean up the blade for free.
I am often asked what the best way to re-sharpen a knife is. I’m going to assume that most people do not have a belt grinder at their house, so if you want to re-sharpen your knife on your own, I recommend using a stone. Either a good Arkansas or India oil stone or a Japanese water stone. Personally, I use the belt grinder to put a good bevel edge on the knife, then move to different grits of high quality Japanese water stones to finish off the edge. If you are not comfortable using a stone, the only other system I have found to work really well is the Spyderco Sharpmaker ceramic sharpener. You can find that online or at any good knife store. Again…each person finds what works best for them. For those who have asked, this is what I recommend…but I encourage you to experiment…you may find something else works better for you!