CARING FOR YOUR CARBON BLADES
It’s very important to wash and hand-dry thoroughly after each use. Carbon has a tendency to react with acid, so it’s good practice to wipe the blade with a towel in between foods. As the steel is exposed to different elements, it will begin to naturally oxidize, or patina. Over time, this patina will act as a protective layer against rusting and discoloration.
REMOVING RUST, WATER STAINS OR UNWANTED PATINA
- First, you can take a used 3M™ scrubbing sponge (a new one would be too abrasive) with a little bit of detergent and rub lengthwise*.
- If that doesn’t work, take the same used sponge and use a powdered scrubbing compound like Bon Ami® or Comet®
- If that still doesn’t work, use a NEW 3M™ scrubbing sponge with cleaning compound.
- Beyond that, you will need to use a Polishing Kit.
How to polish your knife at home
You can purchase a Carbon Steel Cutlery Care Kit
from ZWILLING J.A. Henckels that includes a rubberized abrasive to remove stains and rust from your blade.
PLEASE KEEP IN MIND:
Please keep in mind that unlike stainless, carbon is organic and reactive. The temperature of the food, the knife and the vinegar as well as the types of food that come in contact with your knife all affect natural and forced patina. The process described below may not work the same in every situation.
Bob doesn’t like to force a patina to keep the color even. He just cleans and dries his carbon knives and lets the patina develop naturally. Bob finds the slightly uneven color aesthetically appealing.
Supplies: Vinegar (any kind) and a paper towel.
Step 1 – With the paper towel, rub the vinegar evenly across the blade on each side.
Step 2 – Let the vinegar sit for about 5 minutes
Step 3 – Rinse off the vinegar and hand-dry thoroughly
Step 4 – Reapply as many times as needed to generate an even-ish color.
Do not let the vinegar dry on the knife. Rinse it off after a few minutes. If your blade already has a patina in some areas, those areas will be ‘farther along’ in the oxidation reaction (color will be darker).
To keep your wood handle in good shape for many years and prevent dryness or cracking, Bob recommends a polymerized linseed oil like Tried and True Danish Oil. It’s a food safe oil which will harden. You can also use Tung Oil or Danish Wood Oil. Apply a small quantity with a paper towel, and let it soak into the wood for 20 minutes before wiping off the excess. Allow to dry completely before storing.
WASHING & STORAGE
Gently wash with soap and thoroughly dry your knife after each use. DO NOT PUT YOUR KNIFE IN THE DISHWASHER, it will harm the blade and cause the handle to crack. After washing, keep your knife in a universal block, on a magnetic bar, or in a plastic edge guard.
Routine maintenance is essential for a high efficiency knife. Sharpening is simple, fun and the knowledge is free. Read our sharpening page for techniques and step-by-step videos.
Over twenty years ago I opened a small business sharpening knives, which eventually led me into the fantastic world of Bladesmithing. Today, I’ve made the decision to stop sharpening knives— as much as I would like to offer this service, I no longer have enough time. I want to thank my supportive client base for participating in my pursuit to understand culinary knives.
Owners of Kramer Custom Knives
Bob Kramer offers sharpening & reconditioning services exclusively for owners of Custom Kramer Knives. Bob charges $375 per hour for reconditioning and a knife normally takes 4-8 hours to complete depending on blade corrosion. Contact us for shipping instructions
Owners of Kramer House Production Knives
Kramer Knives does NOT offers sharpening & reconditioning services for owners of Kramer House Production Knives. Please contact ZWILLING J.A. Henckels or Shun for assistance.
Zen Blades Mobile Knife Sharpening, OR
Woody Bailey worked with me to learn power sharpening, and is also a teacher at Oregon Culinary Institute. Set up in the Portland area, Woody has a truck that I wish I’d had when I was sharpening. Visit his website or call (503) 816-3913.557
Korin Knife Sharpening, NY
Korin is the first company in the world that was given authorization and certification to re-sharpen and repair knives from Masamoto Shohonten, Misono, Knife Systems (Suisin) and Nenohi. Korin accepts drop-offs or mail in requests. Visit website