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Using Carbon Steel Knives

So, have you ever used carbon steel knives before? It takes a little bit of getting used to, but its not so difficult. A lot of what goes into using carbon steel knives is just common sense and learning how to work clean and be well organized. Carbon steel can be reactive when cutting acidic elements. This tends to be the biggest problem for people getting used to working with carbon steel knives. Learning how to deal with this is pretty simple. One very important thing to do is to keep a damp towel folded up in the corner of your cutting board (right corner if you are right-handed or left corner if you are left-handed). This towel will be used to wipe off the sides of your knife from time to time. This helps reduce food/juice buildup on the sides of the blade. When you cut more highly acidic foods, wipe off the sides more often. Also, the moisture from wiping helps to reduce friction while cutting. The damp towel can also be used to wire off your cutting board from time to time. Its also important to keep a clean dry towel nearby as well. I usually keep it near the top of my cutting board. Every time i am done using my knife, i wipe it clean with the damp towel and dry it off with the dry towel. This way i can make sure i am never leaving it wet or dirty.

If you are planning on storing your blade for some time, you may also want to consider giving it a light coat of tsubaki oil or mineral oil (no food oils... they go rancid... also no oils you wouldnt want to eat... i.e. gun oils, etc.). Carbon steel is also prone to forming a patina (a safe form of oxidation unlike rust, which is a harmful form of oxidation). Some people like patinas and that is fine. Just make sure its a patina and not rust (red/orange are bad colors to see). If you dont like patinas, you can clean your blade with a number of tools... anything from rust erasers (we sell these, but they arent on our website... just ask if you are interested), to non-bleach powdered cleansers, to various metal polish (flitz, adams, etc.). If you do notice some rust, clean it up and be a bit more careful in the future. Thats about it.


Jonathan Broida
Jonathan Broida

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