Care of "Carbon Steel" knives
I've queried about my vintage (sadly rusted) Sabatier 4-star knife found at an estate sale, but now I would like some advice about caring for it after I restore it (carefully).
This is my first high carbon knife; I've only ever had experience with stainless until now. I did a Google search on caring for it, and turned up information on "patina." Can anyone tell me what that is/looks like? How do I care for it? What is a good patina and a bad patina? (This one is coated with rust which, I imagine, falls under "bad".
Thanks in advance!
A patina is protective of the more oxidative orange rust that will form on a carbon steel knife. As long as you clean your knife gently and dry thoroughly a natural patina will develop. Both are forms of oxidation but they are different.
I make a habit of drying my knives after use carbon or stainless. Just a good habit to get into.
Without a patina a knife is susceptible to rust if left wet and or dirty. With a nice patina it will take considerably more time for the knife to rust if left wet.
In the course of sharpening you will remove the protective patina from the edge but it will return. You can force a patina with different acids. Some people cut an onion or potato and wait to clean it so a layer of oxidation forms.
I have about 14 carbon steel knives ranging from a 3" parer to a 12" chef's and pretty much everything in between and all the extra ones too. Just wash and dry before storing, and wash and dry immediately after cutting citrus and other acidic foods.they will turn a blotchy gray, but won't rust unless left sitting around wet. if the stains get to be too much for your esthetic sense, youy can give them a rub with BKF and a little oil will delay the gray. They are incredibly easy to get to a deadly sharpness.( and if you keep them touched up with regular steeling, you dont need to sharpen any more than a stainless
A good way to spruce up a carbon knife is to make a slurry paste out of BKF, and use the clean end of a real wine cork as a scrubber. The knife will come out beautiful. Rinse and dry and then hit with a think layer of mineral oil.
Good to go.