Inherited Sabatier knives - how to handle/clean/etc.?
I just inherited 5 Sabatier knives from the 60s - one 12" carver, one paring knife, 2 utility knives and one chef's knife. I had them sharpened at Sur La Table and bought a recommended Wusthof sharpener to use with them. BUT - they have not been used in ages, and have some rust on them.
I know these are treasured and wonderful knives and I want to use them, but they need a good cleaning, and good future handling. Any advice you can provide would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Short of doing it yourself, I'd find a good, old school knife shop or indie knife sharpener in your area and have them serviced/cleaned. Once they clean them they'll be able to give care instructions. A chef/food pro or restaurant supply place might have some leads.
When I used a carbon steel knife which was subject to rust etc. We would just scrub with a piece of steel wool and a bit of oil to take of the crud. Being diligent about careful drying is a good thing to do but sometimes you just get the rust from humidity etc. So try the steel wool and oil. Scrub with a good detergent afterwards and dry carefully.
I have many old Sabatiers of the same vintage. The best way to clean them is with some scouring powder (Comet, e.g.) and an old wine cork. Use just a little water and make the cleanser into a paste, then rub with the cork. If you have a champagne cork, the mushroom shape is a little easier to hold. Restores the steel to almost like new.
I join in stressing the importance of prompt drying. As for storage, instead of an expensive, space-filling block, I buy plastic knife guards at the hardware store and use them consistently, so the good knives go in the same drawer as the measuring spoons and the bench scraper etc.
I can vouch for the wine cork trick ... didn't think it would work, but it did ... blew my mind.
Working it back and forth thru a large onion helps as well. Something in the onion juice that works as a cleaning agent. You may wish to let it sit in the onion for an hour.
(Tips courtesy of Linda Cobb's TALKING DIRTY WITH THE QUEEN OF CLEAN)