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Bad case of stinky knife

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Lucretia

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Got a new knife--1084/15n20 damascus--and was going to let the patina develop naturally, but it STINKS. Thought I had some bad chicken last night, and it turns out it was the steel. So this morning it's getting treated with hot water, vinnegar, and mustard (with baking soda applied between) to force a patina and it still smells bad enough to knock a buzzard off a sh*t wagon. Please tell me it will get better! Or are there better things to neutralize the smell?
 

kalaeb

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Yes, it will get better. Have no fear. Once a patina sets in you should have few issues.
 

Justin0505

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Sounds like someone got a carbon Damascus blade! Where are the pictures?!

Yes, the smell will get better and eventually go away. It's odd though, I have a blade with similar composition and it never really smelled that bad.

One of the things that I usually try to do with new and reactive blades is set my cutting board by the sink so that I can frequently splash it with hot water and pull dry with a towel. Basically every time the knife leaves my hand it gets a quick rinse & wipe. This cuts way down on the smell and also seems to get the patina started faster. It's a bit tedious until you get used to it, but after 1 or 2 sessions blades are usually much less reactive and don't require the same fuss.
 

stevenStefano

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Dr Naka recommends rinsing new knives with very very hot water to lessen their reactiveness and some forum members have said it works so maybe that's worth a try
 

dschonbrun

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I would suggest putting the blade in boiling water for a solid minute.
 

tk59

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That's puzzling. I've used a fair number of carbon steel knives (even those that I've freshly ground as well as those made of cheap, dirty steel) and I have never noticed a significant stink from the reaction of carbon steel with meat as you describe. I would suggest also, wiping your blade more often and as everyone else said already, the stink should eventually go away completely.
 

zitangy

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apart from metallic smell, what could be the cause ot the smell? Sulphur in the steel?
 

Justin0505

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What exactly does the "stink" smell like? Is it just a metallic / rusty smell or does it smell sour/kinda funky like something spoiled? Based on your comment about the chicken, it sounds like the latter.

The only time that I've smelled something like that was on a yellow steel blade. I know that yellow steel is less pure than others and, in particular, contains more Sulphur. So my guess is that's where the smell is coming from.

Someone (like one of the resident MS's or metalurgists) can speak to this better, but it's my understanding the purity and content of even the same type(lable) of steel can vary quite a bit from batch to batch. Which might explain why your experience with this knife is different than others' with the same steels.
 

tk59

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1084 can have trace amounts of sulfer in it.
That's why the Hitachi and Swedish steels are so sought after for kitchen knives. Other sources of carbon steels generally stink a lot more.
@Justin: I hadn't thought of that but maybe it is a stinkier batch...
 

zitangy

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the edge will be abrade more or when sharpening and thus the metal will always be exposed ( cant be patinaed) ., thus a small amout of this "unpurified" steel will be exposed and hopefully, the smell will not be noticeable. There are people that will be more sensitive...

Isn't the imputiries supposed to be removed during the knife making process?

rgds
d
 

tk59

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...Isn't the imputiries supposed to be removed during the knife making process?...
Not usually. In general, all of the purification happens before the steel ever gets to a knifemaker.
 

Lucretia

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The first nastiness may have been sulfur combined with just a regular chicken smell. Now after a day of mustard/vinegar/hot water it just kind of smells acrid/metallic. If you've ever cleaned silver with boiling water, baking soda, and aluminum foil, it's kind of like that--so probably some sulfur involved. Maybe I'm just lucky enough to be sensitive to it--hubby isn't getting much smell off of it, where for me it's bad enough it gets in my mouth and coats my teeth--kind of like when you get an amalgam filling drilled or chew tin foil. Dammit. There are some nice blue and purple tones showing up, at least.

Pull my finger Justin.
Sorry I have been waiting a long time to do a proper forum pull-my-finger joke ;)

k.
Don't get the correlation--for me that smells like roses. :hoot:
 

ajhuff

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1084 can have trace amounts of sulfer in it.
Yup, key word: trace. All of the carbon steels have trace amoults of sulfur, white, yellow, blue, 1095, it doesn't matter. I call BS on the sulfur in steel story. I am amazed how the sulfur content of the onion, which is higher than that of the steel, is consistently. Ignored as the source of odor.

-AJ
 

ajhuff

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Even chicken probably has more sulfur than the steel.

-AJ
 

Andrew H

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Yup, key word: trace. All of the carbon steels have trace amoults of sulfur, white, yellow, blue, 1095, it doesn't matter. I call BS on the sulfur in steel story. I am amazed how the sulfur content of the onion, which is higher than that of the steel, is consistently. Ignored as the source of odor.

-AJ
What do you think it is AJ?
I would have said sulfur but that argument makes sense.
 

Lefty

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It's been proven that women have a better sense of smell, so it could be coming into play here.
 

zitangy

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Not usually. In general, all of the purification happens before the steel ever gets to a knifemaker.
OOh.. I am under the wrong impression then.. i thought that during the forging and hammering process, imputiries would be removed.

so women shld stay away form high carbon knives becasue they have more sensitive olfactory sense?

thanks.
 

tk59

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...I call BS on the sulfur in steel story. I am amazed how the sulfur content of the onion, which is higher than that of the steel, is consistently. Ignored as the source of odor...
Obviously, the reason the sulfur content in the onion is ignored is because the amount of stench produced given a particular onion varies among different blades. You can literally wipe the patina off of some blades with an onion.
 

tk59

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... during the forging and hammering process, imputiries would be removed...
That's true. However, most knives aren't really forged much. These aren't samurai swords.
 

ajhuff

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I think in 15n20 it is far more likely that the Nickel content is reacting with sulfur compounds than the 60 ppm or so of sulfur is being released from the steel.

-AJ
 

Ordo

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All carbon steel knives smell. May be more, may be less, but they smell.
I stopped fighting it. Very few people feel the smell in the food, if none.
 

sachem allison

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Lucretia, have you been sick lately? taking antihistamines or had a runny nose or dry nose. All of these things can make your receptors overly sensitive once you get better. Plus the whole super woman sense of smell thing.
 

Eamon Burke

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I'd be interested to know how the reaction happens, both with sulfur and whatever is in the onion, and the sulfur in the onion with the nickel in the steel. Some knives give off a funny, metallic smell(my shig, my parent's sabs), and others give off a stench(my cck).
 

boar_d_laze

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The number of competent chemists contributing to this thread is overwhelming. :dazed:

BDL
 

rsacco

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Have you tried Summers Eve for Damascus - when your knife has that 'not so fresh feeling'?
 
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