View Full Version : The finish on my knives

Delbert Ealy
07-09-2011, 08:21 PM
I didn't realize I hadn't posted about this until I saw the thread that Pensacola Tiger started about the petty he got from me.
One of the things I have noticed about all the damascus knives I have seen other than my own are etched very shallowly. I etch my blades a little more deeply to provide a bit of texture in the steel as well as durability to that patterning as well. All sharpness on the surface of the steel as a result of the etching is polished down in my process. You can think of the etch as a patina, as well as having some topography.
When I did my first kitchen knife I thought about this for quite a while. I realized that the surface of the blade may be able to harbor small food particles and as a result bacteria if I did not do something to prevent it. I wanted something food safe but also something that would last.
My answer is as a final step to heat the blade after it is etched and cleaned and apply beeswax to it, and while the wax is still molten wipe off any excess. This wax will seal off any of the samll spaces that food might hide and provide a protective finish for the majority of the blade. It will also greatly diminish the reactivity of the blade. You should be able to cut any of the normally reactive foods, such as lemons and tomatoes without any taste or color change on the food at all. Neither should the blade change color, except at the edge.
Another benefit is that although a soft wax it is very durable. I have been using my personal knife since september of 2010 and there is still no reactivity and no color change in the blade at all. It can be removed, but I advise against it, it was put there on purpose.

07-09-2011, 08:32 PM
Isn't beeswax a little soft for something like this? Have you ever thought about using Carnauba wax, it's the hardest non-synthetic wax and has a much higher melting point (~85 C to ~63C of beeswax) and is perfectly foodsafe since it's used like beeswax in many food products/sweets.

Delbert Ealy
07-09-2011, 08:38 PM
At first thought is might seem to be, but as I stated mine has been in use for 10 months with no change.

Salty dog
07-09-2011, 10:38 PM
I think the non reactive argument is strong but I have to wonder about food particles becoming embedded in the beeswax in the cavities?

Delbert Ealy
07-09-2011, 10:50 PM
I think the non reactive argument is strong but I have to wonder about food particles becoming embedded in the beeswax in the cavities?

There really isn't much beeswax on the blades and cavities might give the wrong impression. When talking about steel I often think and sometimes talk in the microscopic level. I did say that the etching was deeper than most other makers however in reality it is less than .0005 inches, or .0125mm at its deepest. The coating of beeswax is much less than that. No moisture laden material would become imbedded(which pretty much covers all of the food products cut with such a knife) and any dry material would most likely just scratch it.

07-09-2011, 11:09 PM
I like conservators wax for similar reasons. Del, have you, or anyone else used a spray on, food safe silicon spray? I found one that is dry after aplication, and have tested it a bit. Just wondering....

Salty dog
07-09-2011, 11:29 PM
I'm assuming you say that because the wax is water repellent. What about particles being "jammed" into cavities by product or whatever? I don't know, just asking questions and maybe being devils advocate. But I do like the results of the wax on my knife BTW.

07-09-2011, 11:37 PM
Conservators wax is a microcrystaline wax used by museums in preservation, and restoration. It drys hard, and 100% clear. http://www.conservators-products.com/conservators_wax.htm The cavities as Del alluded to, are darn near microscopic. A good wax will fill these, I would think as safely as useing board wax on your cutting board.

Delbert Ealy
07-09-2011, 11:50 PM
Thanks Salty,
Your questions help clarify the matter and I am grateful for them.
Pierre brings up a good point about boards and board wax. The "cavities" would be much smaller than the pores in the wood used for cutting boards, and my use of the wax is similar to how and why you would use it on your cutting boards.
I have not used the silicon spray, the beeswax seems to work well and hey if its not broke.
It is nice to see that we think in a similar manner on this issue.

07-12-2011, 12:28 PM
I often use very hot water to rinse my knives and have probably rinsed some or all of the beeswax off mine. You can see some patina shining through from the previously silver portions of the damascus etch. Even still, I don't have any issues with reactivity.

Eamon Burke
07-12-2011, 04:04 PM
I would think that home users would not wear off the wax in quite some time, and pro users will burn through it very quickly. But Pros also accept that their knives will see a little more abuse and wear and need extra maintenance.

I approve of the beeswax, cause it's something I have not qualms about eating.

Pensacola Tiger
07-12-2011, 04:19 PM
I would have been happy to leave it on, but as I mentioned in my petty review, it came off on food as a rather unappealing black smut. Hence the removal with camellia oil. I will also say that the damascus Del makes is remarkably non-reactive compared to that used on the Kagayaki Aogami Super line or even the Shigefusa kitaeji.