The Basics of Knife Maintenance



Lets start with a story. Someone buys a knife of their dreams, and over time, they begins to notice rust stains on their expensive knife. While high carbon knives are more prone to this than stainless knives, some supposedly "stainless" knives can rust as well. As the saying goes "prevention is better than cure" so it is best to avoid the rust in the first place, in saying that if your knife has developed rust it is not the end of the world and it can be fixed quite easily with a litte bit of elbow grease and know-how.



Firstly lets look at what causes knife rust.

There are certain things that you may be doing that are leading to the problem of rust on your knives  – putting your knives in the dishwasher, for example, is a big no-no. And leaving wet knives out overnight to dry is another big mistake. That’s because moisture is the enemy of knives. So make sure that you dry your knife thoroughly after use and if you are going to be storing your knife for a prolonged period of time then it is recommended that you apply some type of coating to your blade to prevent the airborn moisture coming in contact with it.

How to prevent knife rust


The good news is that there are steps that you can take to prevent knife rust. Oil is a great way to protect your knife but our favourite prevention, which has been around since the 1950s, is a secret weapon known as microcrystalline wax.


Unlike oil, which may wipe off quite easily, microcrystalline wax does not wipe off anywhere as easily as oil and therefore forms a better barrier against moisture. Simply put a tiny amount of wax on a cloth or your finger, and then spread it in a thin and even coating. You can then buff the knife with your cloth or finger. Remember when it comes to aplying microcrystalline wax, less is more


How to remove rust stains


But what happens if the inevitable happens and rust begins to appear on a knife blade? Don't despair as this can be fixed quite easily as long as you dont leave it too long thus preventing extensive damage. The best solution is known as a “rust eraser”, this is a little block made of an abrasive containing silicone, and it just sohappens to work wonders on knife rust. Alternatively a fine grit sandpaper can be used to remove rust marks. Also those washing up abrasive sponges can remove light rust. Simply rub along the knife blade untill you get a shine that you are satisfied with.


The key points to take away are:

  • Water is the enemy of a knife blade- always hand-wash the knife and make sure it’s been fully dried out before being placed backinto storage

  • A prevention is better that a cure- think about coating your knife with either oil or renaissance wax.

  • Rust can be removed with a fine abrasive such as: fine grit sandpaper, washing up sponge


So… by knowing the basics of knife maintenance, it’s easy to prevent rust occuring on your knife blades. A fine knife is like any other investment – it requires maintenance, care and respect for the craftsmanship of how it was made. Soon you’ll be on your way to having a knife collection that looks as good as it performs!