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.
very easy to clean up if rusted but seems to be rust resistant. Sometimes
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 me any
knife you have bought from me, and †for the cost of postage and I
will resharpen it if you are having trouble..
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
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.