All knives and blades require periodic maintenance to keep them looking good and functioning as they should. It doesn’t need to be a daunting or difficult undertaking and with a few simple habits you can keep your EDC and Heirloom knives looking good for a lifetime. Look after your weapon so that one day it will look after you.
Caring for the Blade
When caring for the blade it’s important to first understand some fundamental aspects of blade composition and finishing.
Almost all knife blades are made of steel and all steels can rust. Even Stainless Steels if mistreated will corrode, they just contain elements like Chromium which slow the process and are more resistant to tarnishing. But, it’s important to note that all blade steel will rust and tarnish in some way if not maintained well.
The finishing and/or coating on your blade can also help protect it significantly. Certain finishes like Cerakote are virtually impenetrable and will protect the steel, while finishes like polishing, bluing and etching also protect the blade to varying degrees.
There are some simple habits you can form to help keep your blade looking good.
- Always clean your blade after use. Whether you’re cutting boxes (tape on boxes), food or other materials. Various acids can be found in a multitude of material which will tarnish your blade. Even touching the blade with your fingers will tarnish the steel, especially on polished, un-treated blades.
- Cleaning your blade simply with soap and water is fine. This should be done preferably immediately after use, but at minimum a week after use. Ensure the blade is dry after cleaning. Certain solvents like Acetone are also a good way to clean steel of oils, this can however have adverse effects on some coatings, always check first.
- Once your blade is clean, you should apply a coating of oil. Almost any oil can work. We prefer Choji Oil because it is traditional, but also food safe in trace amounts. But there are many commercially available options you can use.
- Waxes are also a great option for blade protection. Renaissance Wax, also called Museum or Conservation Wax can be applied to your blade and leave a protective layer which can last a while. These are particularly good for Damascus and high polished blades.
- Oils and Waxes should be applied with a clean, soft cloth or swab.
Conservation wax is also particularly good at cleaning and protecting handle materials / components. Synthetic materials, organic materials like bone, horn and ivory, brass, copper and even leather can all be cleaned and restored using Conversation Wax.
Silk Tsukamaki handles can be buffed using a raw silk cloth to restore lustre.
Sharpening should be done by an experienced person as incorrect edge restoration will reduce the life-span of your knife. Remember, every time you sharpen a blade you are removing steel and decreasing its working life.
All our knives are sharpened by hand and we do not adhere to any strict protocols regarding edge angle. On average, most of our knives can be sharpened at a 17 – 18 Degree Edge angle. A 400 Grit Edge is sufficient for a working knife, however it can be polished to higher degrees for better performance and conditioned with a leather strop.