Knife Care and Maintenance
Congratulations on the purchase of your hand crafted blade. With some care and attention your blade will last a lifetime. Below are outlined some of the most important guidelines to follow to get the best from your edged tool.
If you read no further remember at least the golden rules:
Regular sharpening is much easier than letting a blade dull completely before redressing.
Carbon and Tool steel blades will rust if not dried after use and oiled. Patina or darkening of the steels exterior is still expected over the life of the tool.
Occasional sealing of the handle timber with danish oil, beeswax or other polish will help protect it from reacting to the atmosphere and expanding or contracting. Not soaking handles in water for extended periods will greatly reduce the occurrence of cracks or dimensional instability.
Different blades are designed for different tasks, cutting wood with a kitchen blade no matter how expensive the steel was or how good a heat treatment it received it will not have the edge geometry to do the task. Swinging hardened steel into rocks, concrete or other steel can be as dangerous to your own safety as it is to your knifes.
Currently In my shop I use “3 in 1” oil from the hardware store on both knives waiting on the work bench and finished pieces. I find it both cleans the steel and protects from moisture thus preventing rust. Any light machine oil will work in most cases. Primarily the oil just needs to provide a barrier to the atmosphere and moisture. Food oils can be used and on kitchen knives it is recommended. However for long periods of storage olive oil, peanut, canola and vegetable oil can all go tacky and require a lot of work to remove often leaving behind stains.
This is best done in fresh clean water. Dishwashers are to be avoided with the utmost diligence. The combination of hot water, detergent, salts and other hard objects make a harsh environment for a quality knife to maintain its finish in. Handle materials are also likely to warp from moisture intake, just feel the tolerances on the handle pins of other blades cleaned in dishwashers.
I recommend naturally coloured Dubin available through most places that sell shoes or other leather products. I do not advise using products like coloured shoe polish as these will tend to rub off onto clothing. Resolene can also be purchased through leatherworking supply stores which will offer colourfastening and water resistant properties to the leather. This is how I treat the leather as I am working on it.