How to care for knives: cleaning, handling and proper storage

September 6, 2022

How to care for knives

Although high-quality stainless steel is used in the manufacture of modern knives, it is also vulnerable to various external factors. It is impossible to create a metal with ideal characteristics. High corrosion resistance negatively affects the characteristics of the cutting edge of the blade. Very hard steel can break under heavy mechanical stress. Ductile metal tolerates shock and deformation well, but does not hold sharpening well. In the best knife steel, strength, hardness and corrosion resistance are balanced. However, it can be damaged if the knife is used incorrectly. In order for the knife blade to always be in working condition and be sharp, it must be properly looked after.

How to store knives

Basic rules for knife care

There are several basic rules for caring for knives. They need to be applied to any tools – kitchen, hunting, and tourist, army, both folding and awkward.

  1. Sharp the blade timely.
  2. Use knives strictly for their intended purpose.
  3. Store tools separately from each other.
  4. Use a suitable storage stand.
  5. Need to wash and dry the blades after using the knife immediately.
  6. Take care not only of the blades, but also of the handles.
  7. Use the correct cutting board.

When the blade of the knife is sharpened, the owner makes a minimum of effort when performing cutting and stabbing actions. If the knife is dull, it becomes necessary to exert a strong mechanical force on the blade in order to achieve the desired result. Therefore, a knife with a dull blade breaks down faster and loses its properties. Contrary to popular belief, sharpened knives are less traumatic. By influencing a sharp blade, you can accurately predict its trajectory. A dull knife often behaves unpredictably, so it often causes injury.

Pocket knife sharpening angle

It is best to sharpen the blade with an abrasive whetstone. The optimal sharpening angle is 12-15 degrees. Movements should be smooth and sliding. Before use, whetstones should be moistened with water or soapy water. Moistened bar will be easier to slide on the blade, and metal dust will not clog the pores. Knives must be maintained even if they are not in use.

Do not use the knife to perform activities for which it was not intended. Improper use can damage the blade and cause it to lose its properties. 

knife sharpening

How to store knives safely

All knives must be stored separately. They must not touch each other. Due to different weights, blade shapes and steel grades, tools can deform and dull each other’s blades. It is advisable to store knives after use in special stands. Stands should be made of soft material – wood or plastic. Hard materials (metal or glass) can damage the surface and cutting edge of the blades. It is better to use special products for the care of knives.

Hunting, tourist and exclusive knives cannot be stored in cases. Moisture accumulates in the cases, which can accelerate corrosion processes. Knives need to be treated with special oil or wax. Wax will protect the metal not only from moisture, but also from contact with air.

Keep knives clean and dry

Keep knives clean and dry. Tools that are in a room with high humidity should be wiped with a dry cloth, not only after washing, but also for preventive purposes. If the knife was used in seawater, it must be rinsed in fresh water, dried and wiped with an oiled cloth. Knives with wooden, bone and leather handles must not be soaked and washed in the dishwasher. In order for the handle to retain its attractive appearance and water-repellent properties, it must be periodically lubricated with oil, wax or other means that protect against moisture. If a handle made of bone, leather or wood, is not cared for, it will crack and deform. Knives with a bone handle must be protected from sudden changes in temperature.

wax for blade protection

How to care for folding knives

Caring for folding knives is a little more difficult due to the presence of a locking mechanism and a large number of additional parts. The first cleaning of the instrument should be carried out immediately after its purchase. Folding knives go on sale after special processing. They are coated with technical compounds that protect the surface of the blade and parts of the mechanism from contamination and damage. If you use a knife without first cleaning it, its locking mechanism will quickly become dirty. The conservation composition polymerizes, mixes with sand and other particles that have abrasive properties. Such a mixture will accelerate damage and wear of the locking mechanism.

In order for a folding knife to serve for a long time, its metal parts must be cleaned of preservative composition with a solvent as soon as possible. It is better to use special knife care products. The handle can be cleaned with dish detergent. After the cleaning procedure, the surface of the blade must be degreased. White spirit, lens cleaner, or ethyl alcohol will help remove grease particles. Degreasing should be done with gloves so as not to cause new grease stains to appear. A cleaned and degreased knife must be lubricated. It is advisable to use a special weapon oil. Vegetable oil does not retain its lubricating properties for long. Over time, it thickens and becomes the cause of contamination of the locking mechanism.

How to remove rust from a blade

If corrosion spots appear on the blade, they must be removed as soon as possible. Surface corrosion (pitting) can be eliminated with a stationery eraser or a toothbrush with bristles cut to 2/3 of the length. A little fine abrasive car polish can be added to the brush. If corrosion has penetrated into the deeper layers of the metal, special abrasive washcloths or fine-grained sandpaper, as well as phosphoric acid, are used. After removing traces of corrosion, the surface of the blade must be polished. Caring for a knife will be easy if you follow all the steps in a timely manner.

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