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View Full Version : exactly how much care is required for carbon steel?



Thirsty
11-09-2012, 07:01 PM
Every description when looking at carbon steel seems to say " for those that dont mind the extra care", but it seems like all the extra care is just to keep the blade towel dry.

I there much more than this? Oil between use? Whats a good oil? Is it easy to remove oil before use? Is this just for a break in period?

Any other maintenance?

EdipisReks
11-09-2012, 07:03 PM
keep it dry, add oil when it's being stored, and you're good. the oil you use is food grade, so there is nothing to do, when it's ready to use a knife again. carbon knives dull quickly when cutting acidic items: get used to using fine stones, a lot.

Lucretia
11-09-2012, 07:25 PM
It depends on your expectations. Do you want a knife that's going to stay bright and shiny? Or are you ok with a patina? If a patina is good with you, they can be incredibly easy to take care of, in my limited experience. I have a Zwilling Kramer in 52100 steel with a forced mustard patina that doesn't take much extra care at all. If I'm cutting something acidic like limes or have a salty crust on a roast, I need to wipe it off before I go eat dinner or it'll get dark spots. And I generally try to wash it right after use. But I've left it without wiping off during a meal after cutting vegetables, cheese, meat, etc, just to see what happens--and it's fine. I don't leave it sitting in water and it gets washed by hand--no soaking in the sink. The blade gets a dab of oil when I oil the handle (when the wood starts lightening up a little). Super easy knife to take care of. My Shigefusa, on the other hand, can start changing color during food prep and needs to be scrubbed down ASAP. It's still pretty new, and I'm hoping it will be less reactive over time.

Canadian
11-09-2012, 07:43 PM
To be honest my maintenance routine is the same with my carbon steel knives as it is/was with any SS knife. Wash and dry after use.

Sara@JKI
11-09-2012, 09:00 PM
I'm a home cook and not particularly skilled in using knives.. but carbon knife is working out just fine :) Other than wiping it really clean and dry, and also avoid super acidic food (not only I don't like patina so much but also I don't want my food to change their color or smell), I see no difference between stainless and carbon. Even if I had stainless knife, I'll still make sure that knife stays clean and dry anyway, so.....

But the common sense differs depending on who you ask. I think that's why people are meticulous to let customers or their friends know to be careful with carbon knives.

JBroida
11-09-2012, 09:06 PM
for what its worth, i wrote this the other day
http://blog.japaneseknifeimports.com/2012/11/using-carbon-steel-knives.html

Larrin
11-09-2012, 09:12 PM
exactly how much care is required for carbon steel?
5 care units.

Zwiefel
11-09-2012, 09:19 PM
5 care units.

is that for white #1 or blue #2?

Benuser
11-09-2012, 10:47 PM
I don't care for the entire blade. Just as for stainless, I wipe of the edge,

keithsaltydog
11-10-2012, 09:36 PM
I think alot of the bad rep carbons get is when they are new and react to certain foods staining or rusting blade immediately.At work I just used them to cut everything because for almost 30 yrs.never even owned a stainless knife.The old Masa's I had were very thin,they made Tads & Kono's look thick.The only blade I have found as thin as my old Masa's is the Sakai Ultra Thin.

Doing banquets in Gardemanger over time cut hundreds of 25# cases of Tomato's for Lomi Salmon & salads.Also a great # of 25# cases of lemons for wedges.Cutting anything & everything my knives turned a dark gray patina.Once a good patina is formed blades do not stain food or leave a metalic taste.

My knives at nite just wash wt. warm water & wipe dry.Carbon works great when it is being used hours on end every day.Just look at Japanese Fishmarket or all those carbon cleavers in chinese kitchens cutting up everything going in the Wok day in & day out.If not using them,better oil them, fine food grade mineral oil,I like a few drops of clove oil,the Japanese knew that clove kept bacteriia fr. growing in wooden sword sheaths.Sayas too.

I always put a damp towel on edge of board,using thin carbons to cut inside out sushi roll Tobiko eggs on top.Nori wrapped Ahi wt. Panko crust try cutting that wt. a stainless gyuto.Razor sharp thin carbon every slice a clean perfect cut.Like Yanagi perfect cuts for sashimi & sushi topping.

smilesenpai
06-14-2013, 03:40 AM
Is any method of patina better than another for resistance purpose?

Carbon is week against acidic items, right? Will a patina protect its edge or will I there be a chance I will have to touch it up on a 6k stone?

Benuser
06-14-2013, 07:29 AM
The agent used to force a patina will eat your edge. Soak a 1095 in hot vinegar and a well polished edge will change in one sharpened on P60 sandpaper.

psfred
06-14-2013, 09:19 PM
Carbon steel takes more care for two reasons:

It is much more reactive than stainless, and will discolor and corrode in contact with many food items. As noted, once it has a good patina this is less of a problem, but leaving any carbon steel knife wet with salty food on it will result in rust and pitting in a few hours. Wash and dry after each use, which is a good habit anyway.

Also, while carbon steel is much easier to sharpen, it will not hold an edge nearly as long. Stainless steel is much more abrasion resistant, and often less likely to have the edge roll over (not always true, depends on the alloy and hardness). However, a carbon steel knife can have the edge restored easily many times with a steel, while a hard stainless knife doesn't respond so nicely.

I like carbon steel, as it's much easier to get a very sharp edge. However, I'm a home cook and it's not a big deal to sharpen a knife any time I wish. Edge retention is much more important to someone who is going to need a nice, sharp knife for hours on end in a professional setting. No time outs for sharpening in the middle of the evening rush.

Peter

tk59
06-14-2013, 11:49 PM
There's no way to protect your edge against acid. With regard to sharpening all the time, there is one consideration that few here talk about: If you like the way your knife cuts OOTB, the only way to enjoy that a long time is to use something that you don't have to sharpen often. The more you sharpen, the sooner your knife will suck. Even if you're great at thinning, your knife will never really cut the way it did OOTB.

jai
06-15-2013, 12:13 AM
no offence tk but most knives ive used have horrid edges ootb and usally need a good thin and sharpen to bring up to a knife nut style standard. but maybe its just the knives i own

EdipisReks
06-15-2013, 02:33 AM
no offence tk but most knives ive used have horrid edges ootb and usally need a good thin and sharpen to bring up to a knife nut style standard. but maybe its just the knives i own

you're using the wrong knives.

Zwiefel
06-15-2013, 03:09 AM
There's no way to protect your edge against acid.Wouldn't different steels respond to acids differently?

Timthebeaver
06-15-2013, 05:03 AM
Depends on the type of carbon knife. For san mai knives, the cladding is often far more reactive than the core steel.

"monosteel" carbon knives don't require any special treatment once a patina is established in my experience.

smilesenpai
06-15-2013, 07:12 AM
Soak a 1095 in hot vinegar and a well polished edge will change in one sharpened on P60 sandpaper.
Sorry I am new to knives. Could you explain what "1095" is?

franzb69
06-15-2013, 07:15 AM
a type of carbon steel mostly found in american style kitchen knives. like old hickory.

smilesenpai
06-15-2013, 07:18 AM
EdipisReks :eyebrow: Is your avatar a nerdy fridge?

So the carbon knives dull faster but get a nicer edge easier... Is this why they are so common used in Japan?
I really want a carbon knife - want to try patina and what not - but sooner or later I will be using it in a profession kitchen. So I am trying to figure out what will be best.
I must be a knife nut, as sharp (not Kono HD sharp) isnt enough for me.

bkdc
06-15-2013, 12:48 PM
Not necessarily. My Aogami Super (blue super) steels maintain their edge with the best of them. It's a carbon steel. But it is more difficult to sharpen.

If it is difficult to sharpen, it tends to hold its edge longer. You're looking for the magic sweet spot in a steel that is tough, won't chip, can be sharpened to steep angles, and is easy to sharpen. Getting the combination is all about compromises.

Benuser
06-15-2013, 01:13 PM
Not necessarily. My Aogami Super (blue super) steels maintain their edge with the best of them. It's a carbon steel. But it is more difficult to sharpen.

If it is difficult to sharpen, it tends to hold its edge longer. You're looking for the magic sweet spot in a steel that is tough, won't chip, can be sharpened to steep angles, and is easy to sharpen. Getting the combination is all about compromises.

I don't find AS sharpening particularly difficult. Some have suggested starting with a relatively coarse stone do deal with the tungsten carbides.

ThEoRy
06-15-2013, 01:17 PM
So the carbon knives dull faster but get a nicer edge easier..

Nope. With any steel, carbon or stainless, it all depends on the forging and heat treatment.

tk59
06-15-2013, 02:37 PM
no offence tk but most knives ive used have horrid edges ootb and usally need a good thin and sharpen to bring up to a knife nut style standard. but maybe its just the knives i own
That's why I indicated "If you like the way your knife cuts..." If you're knife sucks to begin with, then YES. Grind a new knife out of it.

tk59
06-15-2013, 02:44 PM
Wouldn't different steels respond to acids differently?Of course. All the steels we talk about here will corrode in acid. Only the rate changes depending mainly on Chromium remaining in solution. What I'm saying is there is not much you can do, short of greasing your blade down to the edge that will affect this rate. Even then, I would imagine the grease will come off pretty quickly after which you'll get the normal rate of corrosion. Patina is irrelevant and so is cladding because a fresh edge shouldn't have a patina nor cladding. Patina is corrosion, in and of itself so depending on how fine your edge is, once the edge patinas, you've lost some keenness to your edge. How much would depend on the strength, concentration and time of exposure.

EdipisReks
06-15-2013, 02:52 PM
EdipisReks :eyebrow: Is your avatar a nerdy fridge?

it absolutely is.

Zwiefel
06-16-2013, 01:14 AM
Only the rate changes depending mainly on Chromium remaining in solution.

This is exactly what i was looking for, thanks!

psfred
06-16-2013, 08:23 AM
"1095" is a steel alloy, specifically iron with 0.95% carbon. It is one of the most common carbon steel knife materials in the West. Hardens well (although typically more on the surface than in depth, great for knives and springs), sharpens easily, holds it's edge well, and responds nicely to a knife steel. it is also inexpensive.

For example, all old (pre 1980's) Chicago Cutlery knives in carbon steel are 1095 steel. I've seen them sharpened down to slivers from meat packing plants, where they were VERY common.

Typically hardened to around 54 Rockwell, so they are easy to sharpen and easy to roll an edge back up with a steel.

Japanese carbon steels tend to be more complicated alloys with refractory metals added (manganese, vanadium, etc) and are typically hardened to 62 Rockwell and up. Very hard, somewhat brittle, and more difficult to sharpen --don't try to use an Arkansas stone, the blade will simply skate around on it -- but take a razor edge when polished.

Peter