maintenance of carbon knives

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by snowman12, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. snowman12

    snowman12

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Hi,

    I have one very noob question, please don't flame, but if I can get a decent answer anywhere, it's probably here: I read a lot about high maintenance of Japanese carbon knives... I understand to take this very seriously.

    But I've fallen "in love" with the Konosuke Fujiyama Blue #2 Gyuto, which is a rather expensive carbon knife... So, what I want to know is this: if I maintain it properly, keep it dry, wipe it well each time after (and also frequently during) use etc. and keep it stashed away from moist properly, will it keep its beauty, or will it slowly over time nevertheless develop patina, which will not be possible to remove?   ...I've only ever had stainless knives, so I know this is a very noob question, but would appreciate advise here.

    Do any of you have any photos of your carbon knives after several years of use, but with good (or bad?) maintenance?  ...some photos would be fantastic!

    Cheers!
     
  2. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    3,230
    Likes Received:
    388
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    If you take care of your knife as you describe it will take care of you over the long haul.  But it will stain and gain a patina over time.  It is inevitable.  Think performance over appearance.  If you want a shiny bright knife, then stainless is the way to go.  If you want blazing sharp, then learn to love the patina of a well used carbon blade.

    Pardon the low quality photography... but here are my 3 non-Japanese carbon steel blades.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  3. denverveggienut

    denverveggienut

    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Patina is your friend. That being said, I've heard that, with somewhat more effort, you can keep a carbon steel knife shiny. Chefs in Japan use a hunk of daikon radish and some abrasive powder on the blade after every shift.

    Here's some more info from a similar thread:

    http://www.cheftalk.com/t/60602/caring-for-carbon-steel-knives-in-a-kitchen

    Here's my hitachi white #2 cleaver after about 10 months or so of use:

     
  4. yoshihiro knife

    yoshihiro knife

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    13
    Exp:
    Other
    Carbon knives require a little more tlc, but when you take care them, they will take care of you. Aside from wiping with a moist cloth and drying after cutting acidic foods we also recommend applying a few drops of Tsubaki Japanese knife oil at the end of the day to provide a protective layer when storing your knives. 
     
  5. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,123
    Likes Received:
    185
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    Years ago you could buy from a knife shop something that looked like a rubber eraser and rub your blades with it and it would polish them very nicely. I used to use it on my sabtier knives all the time.
     
  6. chrismit

    chrismit

    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
  7. lennyd

    lennyd

    Messages:
    564
    Likes Received:
    17
    Exp:
    Other
    snowman I found your post interesting since I used to have similar thoughts, and though I still like the look of a fully polished blade (yes I have actually polished more than one lol, but recommend caution to anyone who is thinking to do this as these are knives and can be sharp etc) but more recently have been considering replacing one of those shiny blades for a nice carbon one with that beautiful patina.

    Since the only true carbon knife I own is a hunting knife (puma) and sort of a show piece it still has a polished finish even though it's over 45 yrs old, and the closest I get is my Konosuke HD which I'm still fully loving but is still not 100% as most view it. It does keep the original look though, and I believe is close to a low maintenance carbon as your going to get.

    That said I also like the blue steel one your targeting, and expect it to be on my short list when I'm closer to being ready to buy.

    If keeping the shine is important there are many ways to do this, and carbon steel does polish fairly easy in general, but just remember some methods become very dangerous on a sharpened knife.

    I'm currently on a delayed project of repairing or resurrecting a older Tojiro with the old higher HRC core steel that was a mess from neglect etc, and before I even thought of putting it up to a polishing wheel I made sure it was dulled worse then a butter knife.

    Maybe look at some of the threads on forced patinas and see if any catch your eye.
     
  8. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

    Messages:
    4,344
    Likes Received:
    83
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    I live in the deep south and home boys state that a real carbon blade needs to be stored inside of a russet potato for at least 24 hours.  Somehow it affects its sharpening to a positive bent and degree.  It just sharpens up to a way better degree.   I don't care about the Japanese stuff. That doesn't mean that I don't care for it.

    Home-made american carbon steel rules.  Home-made American-made Schrades RULE.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  9. lennyd

    lennyd

    Messages:
    564
    Likes Received:
    17
    Exp:
    Other
    it would have been great to have close up before and after pics!
     
  10. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    58
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    To answer this question. Yes, it will develop a patina even when it is kept dry. It develops the patina from the product you cut, mostly. But, yes it is possible and very easy to remove.

    For example... I usually keep a patina going for a few weeks to months just from mostly cutting onions, meat, etc... which give it a nice blue color. If I notice yellows (which I don't like) forming, usually from beads of water sitting, I scrub the entire patina off and start over. It will scrub off easily with a nicely worn green scrubby. Hardly any effort involved in this... The next time I cut an onion, the blue comes back.