Care Instructions - for kitchen knives
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left: said scrubbie sponge w/ green scouring pad on one side.
Good video on how to make and use your own oil/wax finish -HERE
The Blade & the Handle - There is no such thing as a hard impenetrable non-toxic finish that does not have toxic repercussions in the home or the environment. If you want an environmentally clean handle on your fine tool, it has to have some upkeep. The trick is to teach clients about this and keep it easy and simple, which is what this page is all about. You will find that your knife will not only be an easy tool to sharpen/hone and easy to re-finish but also work really well.
I have consciously chosen to use local woods and carbon steel, and have my handles finished with a oil and or wax and avoid chemicals and dryers. The back of my hand, to chemical companies and tropical woods. I can provide fine tools that are affordable and avoid stainless steels and tropical/plastic woods.
My suggestion is to use your new knife, rinse off and then wipe it off with a clean dry cotton kitchen towel. That’s it. That’s all you have to do. All I do is to rinse & wipe my knife off, after it is used. Of course, watch out for the edge, but this is all that is necessary to keep the knife surface and handle clean and spot free. I scrub my knife and handle once every month or so with hot water and soap and refinish with oil/wax.
If you use soap and wash the surface of your knife, then wipe it off dry and then for sure, oil blade. Warm or cold, your choice. To warm blade, get it wet and hold over heat source. Once water starts to boil off, wipe on oil and let cool. But this can be done with a cold knife, also. If a blue color appears on the blade during the warming process, you have just softened or annealed the blade and where the blue touches the edge, it will never hold an edge again. You can still use it but the edge will eventually wear unevenly...
Surfactants in dish soap along with abrasive scrubbing will remove any surface patina on blade, along with any oils on the handle , and will allow air/rust spots. See videos on my FAQ page, if you wish to learn how to remove these rust spots if you run into them. No matter what , sooner or later you will need to re-oil your knife. I usually clean and apply an oil finish and forget about it.
My handles are finished by applying a thick coat of Howard Feed-n-Wax finish. This product has wax and oil in it already. This will repel water and oil. Let wax soak in and dry for a bit, and then wipe off. Simple, clean and easy. You can easily make your own wax finish, so see video on top.
If wood looks dry or feels rough, simply allow to dry (ideally for a day), and use a new sponge's green side to remove or sand down the wood. Then wipe on wax. Take’s very little time and well worth the effort. Wood is like any natural material, a little bit of upkeep always goes a long way.
I have been asked a lot about re-finishing cast iron. If it has rust, you need to first sand it out using any kind of abrasive you have. The rust is usually just surface, so you need to loosen it up and then wash out with soap and water. If there is still rust, do it again starting with a coarser sand paper. Read on...
A new pan or pot: scrub the heck out of it with lots of soap and water. Then oil it up with any kitchen oil except olive, and bake at around 200 degrees for about an hour. Coat sides also. Remove and let cool thoroughly. Then wipe out excess oil, and there you go. If you cook something in it, scour with a bunch of salt and either a wet sponge or paper towel. Do not use soap. If there is food kek on the pan, let soak while hot and in a few minutes clean with salt. Sand works also. You can also use salt to scour a kitchen knife.
Above, the sharpener I use in my kitchen - The Smith's sharpener. Draw blade from back to front, and make sure tobe super careful when inserting the blade, and hold securely. All available in local hardware & sporting goods stores. Video HERE & a different version on this sharpener- video here. The sharpener on the right is used to draw over a knife, the knife stays still.
Personally, I only draw my knife only one way, from back to front and do not bother with the fine ceramic side, which in my opinion does nothing. But if you want to try this technique, it looks like it might work.
Re: above demo. 20 degrees is to much . Try for 15 on my work. This is a hard method to master. It is easier I think to
draw the sharpener over the knife, as you will get more control. This method if done incorrectly (over 20 degrees) will ruin a bevel. One or two strokes at 25-30 degrees will kill an edge also.
Your knives will need to have the edge brightened up every 4-6 times they are used, depending on what you do with it. You should notice, after awhile, that the knife will hold a great edge for a long time. It will be noticeable. If it is not, let me know. This edge holding ability, equals satisfaction with the product which cannot be shown before hand, only experienced over time. The overwhelming feedback I get is that the edge holds really well. The wood handle will last forever, if you will keep it from soaking in the sink. Never place any knife in the dishwasher.
This article written by me has some ideas (click here) , but it also points to some interesting videos. With these videos, anyone can learn to use a stone to hone with. In a sense, a honing is a light sharpening where you only work on the very edge, rather than the bevel and the edge. I absolutely encourage everyone to get the simplest cheapest sharpening tools you prefer and go at it , with NO FEAR. My knives are made to re-edge and with the smallest effort, you can have sharp ready to go knives with little effort. The back of my hand to stone hard exotic stainless knives, that need an hours rubbing to get an edge on.
These knives can be honed with a 3-part electric sharpener, a Jiff-V-Sharp sharpener, the bottom of a cup or 400 grit sandpaper glued to a paint stick, or any way you choose to rub an abrasive along the edge. These are cruder methods than a regular stone sharpening, but they work fine. I like to glue a length of my 2” wide 120 grit sanding belt to a block of wood and use this just like a stone.
Well heat treated high carbon steel knives should ‘brighten up' quite easily and noticeably. I suggest that when you get the knife in the mail, to pluck the edge with your thumb. Do not run your finger along the edge, just pluck it at different places on the knife to get a feel for what a sharp knife feels like. This way, when you sharpen, you can pluck the edge your working on, and so know when you’re done. You can also look at the edge with light from behind your shoulder. If light reflects off the edge, it is still not sharp and
needs more work. If you over sharpen and get a wire, it can be easily wiped off with the green part of the Scrubbie sponge. Just very lightly slice at the green part, and it will remove that wire.
If and when the bevel thickens, you will need to flatten back down with a good sharpening. The knife will feel like it is chopping versus cutting when the bevel is thick or the knife is dull. Sharpening is an easy skill to learn, and once gotten will save you money and leave you feeling empowered. So do not be afraid - learn to sharpen and hone. Hardware stores sell stones for as little as $5. Ask for the one with course and fine in one stone. Use water, rinse off fully when done.
You will find these knives easy to work on. Hone at the proper 10-15 degree angle. As always, if you have any suggestions or comments, please send along here.
Lastly, I should mention that if one looked at a knife edge under a microscope, it would look like the cutting edge of a wood saw. I say this to bring out the point that good knife technique means to saw with the knife, and not just push a knife through something, in only one place along the edge. Many people use the drop/press technique, and wonder why it feels like it is chopping. Back and forth is the right way to use a knife! Use the back of the knife like a paper cutter with the point on the cutting board, to cut carrots, etc.
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