The Best Way to Protect Your Chef Knives
If you're looking for the absolute best product to protect your knives, handles, or cutting boards accept no substitutes.
AxeWax is made in Ashland, Oregon USA and is the BEST, food safe, way to protect your knives.
All of my high carbon steel knives ship with an 8oz tin, but if you are in need of a resupply...
Basic Knife Care
Always use a ceramic honing rod when honing your knife's edge.
Always cut on a plastic or wooden cutting board, never on hard surfaces like glass or marble.
Always hand wash your knife. Never put it through the dishwasher.
Always towel dry your knife after washing it. Never let it rest in water, or with water on it.
Always protect your knife's edge when storing. Use a magnetic strip, wooden block, knife roll, or the edge guard it came with.
Caring for Carbon Steel Chef Knives
High carbon steel will rust and tarnish over time. Aside from basic maintenance, like sharpening, I recommend using a food safe rust inhibitor like AxeWax to coat your knife with after use. Keep your blades clean while cooking, especially if you're cutting acidic foods. High carbon steel will darken or appear blotchy fairly quickly from being used to cut anything from onions, to tomatoes.
Part of the beauty of owning a high carbon steel knife is the patina that develops over time. However, it is important to be aware that this will happen otherwise you might be surprised when you see it. Don't be alarmed though, this is part of the process of breaking in your new high carbon steel knife.
Ideally you will clean your knives after every use and store them as dry as possible to prevent them from rusting.
That being said, rust happens. With a light spot of rust you can scrub it away with hot water and a scotch brite pad. If it's sever you can use wet/dry sand paper, start with a relatively high grit (1000-1200) and if you need something more aggressive move to 800 and continue until the rust is gone.
Learning to sharpen your own knives is time well spent and rewarding once you learn how. It takes patience to learn to do it well, but with proper instructions you'll be sharpening your knives like a pro in no time.
If you don't care to learn there are plenty of reputable sharpeners out there that can do it for you for a reasonable fee, a quick google search will turn up a few in your area.
This is one of the better videos I've seen explaining how to sharpen using whetstones. I recommend taking a knife you don't particularly care about and practicing to understand the technique. Then moving onto knives you do care about once you're confident in your newly acquired skill.
How often you end up sharpening your knives will depend on how often, and what you use them for.
Steels are good for knives that aren't super hard, but they only realign an edge, used on a knife that is 61/62 HRC you'll probably put chips in it. So I only recommend using a steel on a knife that hasn't been hardened beyond 57 HRC (relatively low hardness).
For a very hard knife you can use a ceramic honing rod which is good in a pinch, but it's no substitute for properly sharpening your knife.
A leather strop is good for removing the bur from the edge after sharpening, but again not a substitute for actual sharpening.
I do sharpen knives on a machine, but I finish them on stones to get the finest edge. I would suggest staying away from machines and pull through sharpeners as these tend to either do a poor job because they use an extremely low grit or, in the case of a machine, they can heat the blade excessively. If over heated you could damage the structure of the steel.