KNIFE CARE TIPS:
In my estimation, Damascus and Carbon steel knives are better than
stainless steel knives, but do require a little care. Here are some tips
to help you care for your knife.
*Never store your knives for long periods in
the leather sheath. Leather can absorb water, which will rust the knife.
*After use, wash the blade, dry it, and use Flitz,
WD-40, vegetable oil, or Vaseline on the blade to prevent rust. Kitchen
knives can be washed and dried without oiling. Carbon steel will change
colors with time but will still perform well.
*Clean the brass and handle metal with Flitz or other
brass cleaner. Johnsonís paste wax can be used on the blade handle and
sheath to protect it.† Birchwood
Casey gunstock wax is another alternative for the sheath, metal parts and
the knife blade.
*Damascus is very easy to clean up if rusted but seems
to be rust resistant. Sometimes Damascus gets dark with age. To brighten
up the blade, sand it lengthwise with a worn piece of 600 grit sand
paper. This just hits the raised portions of the etched pattern and makes
the blade look brighter.
*If your sheath gets wet, donít store
the knife in it if you can help it. The hole on the back of most of my
sheaths is there to aid in drying by letting air circulate in the inside.
If my sheath gets wet and I still need to carry my knife in it, I
liberally use WD-40, Vaseline or vegetable oil. Vaseline is handy because
you can use it on chapped lips, dry hands, rifles, etc.
*If your sheath gets all scuffed up you can simply use
shoe polish on it or leather dye and then use Johnsonís paste wax or
Birchwood Casey gunstock wax.†
Rubbing the edges with beeswax, then rubbing with a piece of
antler, smooth wood, or plastic rod, then buffing with a soft cloth, will
restore and shine the edges.
When the Damascus is put into the acid it is
sharpened first. After the acid etching the blade is resharpened with 320
grit sanding belt on a 1 x 42 inch belt sander. Then it is sharpened on a
600 to 1100 grit worn belt. The cutting edge is placed so that it is
facing the belt Ė the belt is moving towards the cutting edge. After
several passes the blade is stropped on leather, resharpened, stropped
again until it has an edge sharper than a scalpel. Stropping breaks off
any wire edge that is developed on the edge from the sharpening.
This is the state you should receive your
Damascus knife. As the mild steel wears away faster than the other two
high carbon components, a miniature saw is created at the cutting edge.
After a while the minute saw teeth become misaligned a bit. Now, with two
gentle strokes per side on the ceramic rod the knife will be shaving
sharp again. This is done by holding the ceramic rod in the left hand.
Put the heel, near the guard, of the blade on the rod at about a
20-degree angle. Draw the blade from heel to tip gently and slowly with
very little pressure. Do not try to remove metal, just use a light
pressure from heel to tip. Do the other side, and then repeat once
more.† The edge on your Damascus
when you receive it has a uniform angle the whole length of the blade. So
sharpening should be easy. If the blade becomes hard to sharpen this
angle needs to be reset as I do on belt grinder. I recommend you send it
to me for cost of postage and I will resharpen it.
Serrated edges are another story. These should
be sharpened on a triangle cross-section set of ceramic rods supplied by
Spyderco Company. The knife blade should be held vertically and drawn
from heel to tip down the ceramic rod, alternating each side. Each
individual serration does not need to be filed or worked with a stone.
Occasionally, the Damascus blade and the brass
fittings should be cleaned. To clean the blade use a piece of worn 600
grit sandpaper and sand lightly lengthwise on the blade. This will polish
the raised portions of the pattern and make the blade look brighter. I
use Flitz metal cleaner on the blade after it is sanded and also on the
brass and handle tang metal that is exposed. This cleaner will clean all
metals. Any brass cleaner should work on the brass pieces. WD-40,
Birchwood Casey gunstock wax, Johnsonís paste wax, Vaseline, or vegetable
oil will also work on the blade.
I use Johnsonís paste wax on the leather and
When all else fails, or you would prefer, send
the knife to me and for cost of postage both ways I will restore your
knife to new condition.