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Knife care

KNIFE CARE     It is always a good idea to look after your knives.  If you paid good money for it, it should outlast you.

1)  Have your name and phone number etched on the blade, so that it can be easily identified if it falls into the wrong hands.  Most of my knives have a serial number which I record.

2) Keep your knife out of the sheath and somewhere dry, preferably hanging up.  The reason for keeping it out of the sheath or scabbard is that the leather often contains residue of chromic acid, which can rust the blade.

3) Keep a good edge on it,

4) After use always clean it under the tap using any washing- up liquid.   Dry and if the blade is carbon steel and oil it lightly with vegetable oil.  It is better not to immerse knives, apart from diving knives, in water for any length of time.

5) Kitchen knives should never be put in the dishwasher.  The heat can damage the cutting edge the glue and the handle material it self.   Keep them in a knife block.  Storing them in a drawer spoils the edge and can result in cut fingers if you are in a hurry. 

Japanese knives well known for wicked sharp edges the one thing you don’t want to be doing is hacking these knives as you will quite likely chip the blade their design is interesting in the far East you will often find a beautiful forged blade with a bamboo handle just stuck on this way of constructing knives is very traditional. You can also find it on older European knives.  

 Quite a few newer knives with a sandwich construction a nice piece of steel in the middle with two pieces of  stainless Damascus steel on either side. these are really beautiful knives but be aware they strictly speaking are not  Damascus steel a bit misleading I think.  the cutting is done with the bit of steel in the middle, also the steel is often brittle because it is so hard so dont be tempted to go cutting bones with the finer edged knives they will chip or break. 

Minding your knives Carbon steel needs a good bit of looking after and will rust brown or black after use especially  if you leave the knife wet expect to come back to a red rusty knife.  Depending on how long the knife has been rusting there may be some pitting in the steel of the blade.  If the carbon steel is good quality you should find less pitting also it wont be very deep. 

If it is extensive it is likely the steel isn’t of good quality.  Pitting doesn’t look pretty but more importantly it weakens the blade. You can clean the blades with a new Brillo pad (steel wool) and hot water this won’t take the pitting out if it is deep but will clean  a heavily tarnished blade 

 Can you get the pitts out?  that really depends on how deep they go. If you have no success with a Brillo pad you can try sand paper.

 Look for the type used in car body shops (ask in the garage or auto factor) which can be used wet or dry grits 120 and 240 are good start with the 120 to take out the heavier Pitts and finish with 240 keep changing the paper so you are not using a worn piece it just takes longer also don’t work with the cutting edge toward you because the blade will sharpen up with the sanding. If you cant get all the pits out don’t worry the knife should still be serviceable.   

 Dry the knife and oil the blade with some kind of cooking oil don’t use other mineral oils or silicone as this will make the food taste peculiar and is not good for you if the knife is in regular use. If you want to store the knife one way is to oil the blade liberally and wrap it in cling film. 

 Carbon steel knives do need more care but many chefs love it for its ease in sharpening and skinny edge so it cuts very well also these kinds of knives tend to be traditional in design often with rose wood handles and brass rivets so have their own unique charm        

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