Knife Maintenance

Caring for your Culinary knives

 

Dishwasher

In general quality cutlery should not be run through the dishwasher for several reasons. The detergents used are very strong degreasers so wood handles will be stripped of their natural oils causing them to split or crack. It is also dangerous in that someone else reaching into the machine may not realize or see the knife and get a wicked cut. The machines are designed to spray water at a relatively high pressure which can jostle the silverware and cause the knives to bang around and dull the edge.

Hand Washing

We recommend washing all knives by hand. I believe hand washing is gentler to the wood handles. The blades can be washed and dried immediately, and then the knife should be stored properly. High carbon (and Damascus) should be lightly coated with camellia, tsubaki, or olive oil and kept in a dry place.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel knives require more care than stainless knives. Carbon steel knives have a tendency to react to highly acidic foods, which cause the steel to turn a dark gray to black if the acids are left on the blade. The best way to avoid this is to rinse and wipe the blade immediately after cutting the highly acid foods, then wipe the blade and go back to cutting. If the acids or water is left on the blade, they may cause some dark spots or even small rust spots. If this happens, it can be easily remedied with a green scotch bright pad and a little soap. First, place the flat of the blade on a flat surface like a cutting board. Next, apply a small quantity of soap on the scotch brite along with a little water. Now you can scrub the blade with confidence. If you scrub the blade without placing it on a flat surface, you could cut through the sponge and possibly cut yourself. Damascus knives should not be polished with abrasive products.

Edge Care:

Steeling your Knife:

It is recommended to steel your knife regularly. This is the most critical maintenance to perform. Turn you knife with the edge pointing up. if you see small glimmers of light on the edge, it has turned over a bit and lost its true sharpness. It will still cut, but not as well as it did.

By Steeling your knife, you restore or realign the edge forcing the rolled spots back into line. We recommend using a ceramic or ultra fine diamond steel. The rods that come with most "sets" are coarse and can be extremely aggressive on your knife leaving small grooves along the knife edge.

Summary:

1. Use wooden or composite plastic cutting boards only. We strongly recommend AGAINST Glass, Ceramic, Marble and Steel chopping surfaces!

2. Dont drop your knives in the sink. It can damage the tip and edge.

3. Dont put knives in the dish washer. Heat can damage blades and handles.

4. Keep your knives clean and dry! Small things make a big difference such as dont let your knives drip dry, rather dry them off with a dish cloth.

5. Dont store knives loose in the drawer. Use a knife block, magnetic strip and edge guards. If using Magnetic strip, ensure its out of reach of children.

6. Dont use your knife as a can opener, screwdriver, crowbar or box cutter!

 

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Know your Knife:

Steel:

The first thing to know about your knife is its composition. Most manufacturers use a steel blend. Stainless Steels, High Carbon, Low Carbon. It is formulated for stain and wear resistance as well as hardness and edge retention.

So depending on the composition, some knives are easier to sharpen (soft steels) than others, but some knives hold their edge better and stay sharper for longer (harder steels).

Carbon steel knives are generally a bit harder and stronger than stainless steel knives and produce a razor sharp edge. However in wet and acidic kitchen environments, Stainless Steel reigns supreme for its corrosion resistance.

Hardness:

We use the Rockwell Scale to grade the "hardness" of the steel (HRC). Softer Steel Kitchen knives tend to be around 52-56 on the Rockwell C Scale. Our collection of Japanese Knives have a hardness of 60-65. That difference means its more difficult to get a keen edge in the first place, but once its there, that edge will last longer and be ALOT sharper than when using the softer steel compound. Since the steel is harder, and more durable, you can get a great edge using thinner blades. Hence why Japanese knives can be much lighter, but still be extremely durable.

The Edge:

By 'Edge' we are talking about the sharpened bit right at the apex. The side opposite to the spine on the blade. Many knives are "Flat Ground" which means the blade tapers directly from the spine to the edge. The most common type of edge is the V-Edge. Axes for example have a convex edge.

Chisel ground edges are commonly found on Sushi Knives. These knife edges can be EXTREMELY thin and sharp.

What is "Sharpness"?

Sharpness is not just a function of creating a super thin edge. It would be sharp but pretty useless. it would more than likely break while trying to cut a chicken bone.Similarly, a thick edge is great on an axe for splitting wood, but would be horrible when filleting salmon.

So we need to ask ourselves: "How do i get maximum performance from my knife under a set of conditions?"

A sharp knife can be defined as one that has a keen edge that can hold up in repeated usage while producing the desired results.