How to Care for a High Carbon Knife

Here is an insert I include with all of the knives I make.

This custom hand-crafted knife (might say hand forged) is made from 1080 high carbon steel. It has scales made from stabilized  beech which is pinned with brass pins. It has a Hand rubbed oil finish.

The Hand Stitched Leather Sheath was crafted from approximate 8 oz veggie tanned leather.

How to Care for a High Carbon Knife / Maintenance of a High Carbon Knife

A high carbon knife is preferred if you want a knife with the sharpened edge and a knife that’s easy to get back to sharp.

But high carbon steel can be prone to rust, especially when new, so her are the recommendations for maintenance of a high carbon knife.


First, keep it clean and dry. When you’re using it, wipe it down with a dry cloth or paper towel from time to time.

When you’ve finished, wash it with soap and warm water. Dry it well and store it as you normally do.

Every so often oil it.

If it’s a kitchen knife, start once a week, but as it builds a greyish color, that timeframe can be reduced. After a year or so once every months or 6 weeks should be fine. You can use almost any kind of cooking oil. Vegetable oil, or purchase some of the specialty oils sold for just this purpose.

If it’s a hunting knife, oil it with 3 in one oil or gun oil. Your knife can be maintained exactly like your firearms.

For camp and utility knives you can also oil like the hunting knives, but possibly a bit more frequently.

If you have a wood handled knife from me, it will be finished with an oil finish. I like the easier maintenance of an oil finish and I like the patina built from the oils in your hands (the same oils that will rust the blade by the way).

You can simply wipe on a new coat of oil. Wipe it on and wipe it off, let it dry, and repeat if you’d like. Tru-oil, Tung oil, walnut oil or anything similar will work equally well. I do not recommend Boiled Linseed Oil for kitchen knives but can be used for knives not directly in contact with food.

Wax, (like Johnson’s wax, Renaissance wax, or similar) works well for both the handle and blade as well. Wipe it on and buff it.


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