Patina and general care of a carbon blade ?

Joined Jan 5, 2010
Hello everybody.

I've got a Sabatier Canadian style knife just ordered ( the kind of one you can get at "the best thing" site ), and as I'm a total newbie in the world of knives, I'm posting to get some advices on the general care of this knife.

Let me give you more informations:
-the knife is a 8" chef knife
-the blade is from that pre-war steel ( or so I hope )
-I cook at home, so the knife won't suffer overheating due to infinite preps :)
-I normally use plastic boards
-I'm pretty carefull with things, the knife shouldn't be an exception
-I've ordered a shiageto whetstone #1500 ( japanese chef knifes site ) hoping I could get the common sharpening tasks done with it.

So my questions are:
-what about the artificial patina one can apply to a carbon knife ( is it usefull, how to do it ...) ?
-when it comes to sharpening, what kind of angle does the knife support ?
-I also own a Global G5 vegie knife, should I use the same sharpening technic for both ?
-what about honing ? I have no steel , should I buy one ? if yes, which model could fit my two knives ( and those to come :) )

Thanking you in advance,

Joined Feb 13, 2008
Hi Goku,

Maybe, maybe not. They've been around for awhile. There are a couple French Sabatier manufacturers selling Canadians, all of which apprear to have come from a common stock. Thiers Issard, who sells them through The Best Things, claims they're post World War I, while K-Sabatier who sells them direclty claims they're post World War II. I own two, which I received as a gift in the early seventies, and my guess is that K-Sabatier is somewhat closer to the truth. Not that it matters. They're very thin and rigid (considering how thin they are). They take edges very well. They're "age hardened," and act as though they were in the HrC 56-58 range more than the 53-55 range they were probably actually hardened to.

Wood is better for your knife. "End grain" is better than "edge grain."

Carbon steel doesn't need much extra care, but the bit it does need, it needs immediately. If you leave your knife sitting in the sink overnight, you'll pay for that with a lot of extra work in the morning. First rule: Rinse and dry it immediately, not after dinner.

It's a decent low-medium waterstone for the price. It's not an ideal setup for your knife, though. You want a coarse stone for repair and profiling; a low-medium such as the one you bought for basic sharpening; and a high-medium to medium-fine (5000# JIS to 8000#) for polishing. You can't do everything on one stone -- but if you're only going to have one stone, the one you chose is a good choice. Also, old Sabatier carbon doesn't need waterstones, it will do very well on oilstones -- which are less expensive and require less maintenance of their own.

It is useful, and there are several ways to go about it. I have quite a few carbon knives and don't use a forced patina on any of them; instead scrubbing with baking soda and a Scotch Brite.

There are a lot of other questions in your post, which are going to require a lot of bandwidth. If you want to know more about forcing a patina, ask again in a separate post where we can go into some detail.

I find a 15* flat bevel on both sides, with asymmetry around 60/40 or less to work very well.


If you're not going to buy knives longer than 9", get a 10" Idahone fine ceramic (a bit more than $20), but if you're going to have a few knives 10" or longer, get the 12" Idahone fine ceramic. The operative word is "fine." Don't get the coarse.

Joined Jan 5, 2010
Hi Boar_d_laze, and thanks a lot for this quick response !

Regarding the patina of the blade, I'll create a dedicated post.

About the other points:
Hopefully on monday I manage to speak with someone from the TI factory and get some more precise informations about the age of the blades and also where they're from.

Another gift on next year's papa Noel's wish list :)

This is more or less the way I already treat the Global I use. As I got 2 little children, I don't like the knife hanging aroung in the kitchen, so immediatly after use, I clean, dry and put it back in the cubboard. Everyone at home feels better that way.

Yep, the price :) . This site provides a very good way of having a first whetstone for little money.

I already have a dirty little coarse stone I found in a tool shop, and the fine to extra fine stone is also on the wish list :p .

I was also thinking of taking care of the Global knife with this stone. Don't tell me I need a stone per knife :/ !

I think I'll get myself a low end quality knife such as the one they're selling in ikea ( you can google 'GYNNSAM ikea' to find out ). The steel is molybdène/vanadium, polyacétals inox, and this should be fine to train my skills on a stone.

I really wanted to buy a victorinox forshner fibrox chef knife for that purpose, but I couldn't find a way to get it shipped to europe for a decent price. Here they sell the black handled one, but it's so ugly I can't convince myself to buy it. And the yellow one, wich I find aesthetically decent, is nowhere to find in europe, for what I saw ( I even mailed the victorinox client service in switsserland, but no one answered :( )

I need to find an equivalent here in europe. The problem is that for what I've seen, the sellers take no consideration of the fine or coarse caracteristic of the steel when it comes to sell it on the web. I'll dig deeper and let you know what's the offer is . You might be able to help me even with the european models and references.

Thanks a lot again ,
Joined Feb 13, 2008
As long as your knife started reasonably sharp and well profiled, you can get away with just the 1500 for awhile.

However, as your skills develop you'll want to add at least two stones. One for repairing your knife when it gets chipped (it happens), and also for re-profiling your knife -- which it will need every year or so.

Small stones are "doable" for an 8" knife, but far less than ideal. Since coarse stones are very inexpensive (at least in the US), getting an 200mm by 50 - 75mm stone shouldn't be an issue.

In order to get anywhere near the performance old, Sab carbon is capable of giving, you'll want to polish the knife to 5000# or above -- I polish mine to 8000#. You can get a King or something else inexpensive for around 25E (incl. VAT).

They're certainly not the only source, and may or not be the best; but take a look at Dieter Schmid: Japanese Waterstones and other Sharpening Tools

Since your knife probably shipped with an indifferent edge geometry; you don't own the right stone to profile it; and you don't have the skills to do a good job yourself yet, even if you did; it might be a good idea to have it sharpened by someone who knows what (s)he's doing.

You'll want to find a knife sharpener who's done a lot of Japanese knives, or perhaps a woodworker. A couple of people have told me that many European "professional" kitchen knife sharpeners only have the equipment to sharpen to 20* or 22.5*, and that's it.

You don't need a set of oilstones and waterstones. With Sabatiers and Globlas, either are fine. You've already headed down the waterstone path, and all in all, they're probably the best choice anyway. Not to nag, though, but you'll want at least a three surface set pretty darn quick.

The idea of buying a "beater" knife to practice on, is a good one. Ikeas are a good choice, but have some limitations, because you can't really learn to polish on them. Keep your eyes open for used old knives as well. Just because it's too beat up to cut with, doesn't mean it won't make an ideal practice knife.

You might want also want to take a look at Mora knives. Much better steel than Forschner.

Speaking of steel and Forschner -- nearly every major European knife manufacturer makes good honing rods (aka "steels"). The trick is picking out the appropriate ones. Forschner makes very reasonably priced "fine" and "smooth" metal hones -- either or both of which is appropriate for your knives. F. Dick "Dickoron" hones are as good as money can buy -- and they cost a lot of money. The MAC "Black" is also quite good, but not inexpensive. There are some other good Japanese ceramic hones as well -- too many to discuss each of them by name.

From what you've said, Forschner would seem to be your best choice. Whatever you get, be sure to get a "fine" and/or "smooth."

Regarding a patina -- for the time being get a big box of baking soda, and use it along with a the sort of pad you use for cleaning non-stick pans to scrub the knife every day for a few days, then every week or so. In the meanwhile, make sure you scrub and dry the knife well between uses.

Until recently, that's been the professional cook's regimen of choice for many decades. It will impart a sort of dull-slivery, well-used tool glow; and really slow down reactivity. If you don't like it, you can always force a patina later.

Joined Jan 5, 2010
Good evening !

thank you for the link ! I have once been there while looking for glass stone, but didn't find it back before ordering to JCK . The wide #6000 king is at 39,9€, which the best value I found so far. When I get skilled on the 1500, I'll take the step to very fine polishing with this kind of grain or finer ( #8000 )

I really have no idea where to find those guys. As I'll try to call the TI factory tomorrow, I'll see if they can give an extra care to the blade before they ship it to the reseller.

but they are cheap (15€) and do have a polished edge ! A Fibrox Forshner here costs 30€ (43US$) . At that price, I won't get any good knife, but it's a bit too much for me just to treat it badly on a stone .
I'll also try to find some Mora knife you named.

I certainly didn't explain myself clearly. When I mentioned forshner, it was about those fibrox knives I could get as some "beater" knife.
About the honing steel, the only clear references I found on the european net about grain is a #1000 ceramic wusthof, and a Kyocera rod .
The kyocera looks ok, but only the previous buyers from amazon say it's a fine grain. The wusthof explicitly informs about the #1000 grain.

According to the patina, I'll check my other post to review the complete set of advices you guys gave me there.

Thanks for all those informations, but I'll gladly have more if you have some :)

Joined Jan 5, 2010

A little complement of information...
I called this afternoon the TI factory, and talked to the boss (G R), a very kind person .
He told me that the carbon steel he uses for nogent or Canadian blades are from just before WW2 , and that they came either from the stock TI had or some stocks that they bought from other Thiers factory who bankrouted.

Also he explained that his knives came very sharp ootb. He went to a show in the US some 10years ago, and he was surprised to discover that people expected him ( and not the reseller or customer ) to sharpen his knives. So he took note and now his knives are razor sharp when they leave the factory . That's good news for me as I won't have to search for a professionnal sharpener in order to build the edge of my blade.

So now, I'll just have to wait for the postman to deliver my new toy :) !

Joined Jan 5, 2010
Hi !

Me happy, my Sabatier Canadian Massif arrived this afternoon ! I find it very nice :smokin !
You can check here:

It came pretty sharp ootb, but not evenly . The top and bottom part of the edge are sharper than the center .
The handle is large and seems very comfortable. The knife isn't too heavy ( it's a 8" one) and I think I'm gonna like it, even though I already can sense some kind of 'sh**, isn't it a little small ?' ... But anyway, as I might never developp great knife skills, with this size I'm sure to keep the knife in control.

There is also this oxidation thing that is pretty impressive: instantly after gliding through an onion, the exterior part of the onions that got cut turned brown. And after cutting 2 grilled egg-plants, the tip of the knife I used to do so turned to a nice shining blue . But I think I shouldn't get to obsessed with that patina stuff, because it disturbs me from the actual cutting :D .

So now, I think I'll get myself a beer to celebrate :lol: !

Joined Oct 10, 2005
Best way to remove the "patina" is with a half a potato and sprinkle of baking soda. Don't know how or why, but it works.....
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