Carbon Steel Maintenance

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Hey everyone, im new to blade forms, but i was just wondering about carbon steel. All my life i have stuck with stainless due to the simplicity of care needed to ensure a clean and rust free blade, but i'm thinking of giving 1095 a try, how exactly would i go about maintaining this steel?
 
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Use it daily, wipe dry after cutting something. Oil lightly before putting it away each day. IT WILL STAIN (not to be confused with rust), that's just the way it is. Don't try to fight it, just let it happen. If you do get any rust, remove it with some fine steel wool wet with oil before it gets any worse. If you just use it every day and don't put it away wet then that's really all the maintenence you need unless you want a shiny knife.
 
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thank you for the fast reply! and i already have a few knives that i baby and keep in pristine condition, staining on this knife does not bother me at all! thank you for the information! :)
 
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I've developed a habit of wiping down my carbon steel blades with either Windex or isopropyl alcohol each night, before putting them away. This has been solidly reliable for me. Either one does a great job of cleaning off the finger oils, which contain salts, moisture and maybe acids too; all rust-formers. I don't even oil them afterwards. If you do choose to oil your blades, make sure to clean them first, so the oil doesn't trap any of that dirty stuff on the steel. Beyond that, you should find it a lot easier to manage than you might've previously assumed. Blades rust if they get put away when wet, dirty or both. Avoid that, and you'll be fine.
 
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Oh wow thats great! i was under the impression caring for one of these carbon steels would be a real pain.. haha thank you for the info!
 

boki_zca

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They will not rust if you use it every day....I just wipe it off with a towel, and never had any problems!They stain but its normal and like carbon steel blades way better than stainless ones mainly because they sharpen much easier and are very durable!
 
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They will not rust if you use it every day....I just wipe it off with a towel, and never had any problems!They stain but its normal and like carbon steel blades way better than stainless ones mainly because they sharpen much easier and are very durable!

daily use as in wipe down and clean? or actual use of the knife?
 
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I'll add this:

If you use a leather sheath with your knife, don't store the knife in it long-term. Or even overnight, if either knife or sheath is wet/damp. Let each of them 'breathe' a bit. Normal daily use of the sheath is fine. But for storage, some of the chemicals in veg-tanned leather can be somewhat corrosive (especially on brass pins or liners/bolsters), and the leather can hold & trap moisture, dirt, etc, as well.
 
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thank you for that, i was planning on keeping it in a leather sheath actually lol, so that helps me out a lot to know this.
 
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As to your other question regarding 'daily use', I think the implied answer is that if you use your knife frequently/every day, you'll also wipe it down and/or clean it as needed. Just keeping 'in touch' with the knife is a good way to make sure it's taken care of (as opposed to putting it away wet/dirty and forgetting about it; bad stuff always happens then).
 
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oh thats simple enough! i keep in pretty good touch with every blade i own! haha
 
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also, could you recommend someone inexpensive but good sharpening equiptment?
I see from your other thread, you already have a Smith's 3-in-1 system. For a carbon steel blade (and most others), that'll work just fine. Lots, lots of possibilities otherwise. For 'inexpensive' and effective, my first choice will always be wet/dry sandpaper, used on a hard backing like glass for v-bevels (edge-leading strokes), or on a softer backing like leather, with edge-trailing stroke for convex edges. The wet/dry sandpaper is available in a much, much wider range of grits than anything else, so it'll handle any sharpening task, from total re-bevelling to high polishing of finished edges. It's about the best way to 'tailor' a specific finish to a blade's edge, if you prefer coarse, toothy edges (220-400 grit), or 'satin' finish to varying degrees with 400-800 grit, or to a razor-edged mirror shine at 1000/2000+. You can even use the sandpaper attached to or wrapped around the rods of your Smith's 3-in-1 system, if you prefer the guidance of that system.
 
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I've never had trouble with carbon steel actually rusting. They do stain, especially if used on food, but that's not a big deal and adds character.

The first carbon steel knife I bought was a Mora No. 1, which is now my workshop utility knife. My workshop is my patio. It sits outside in a leather sheath I made, all year long. It is protected from rain but not the humidity, and I have had only a couple tiny spots of rust, and I do not oil it. The spots go away if I use the strop on the flat of the blade. I did mirror polish this blade (or very close to it) which does help prevent rust. My other carbon steel blades (1095, O1, plus whatever steel Opinel uses) stay inside, in their leather sheaths. They still look brand new, except for the ones I use in the kitchen. I don't oil them, but the kitchen ones occasionally get some crisco rubbed on them (I already use the crisco to keep the seasoning on my cast iron skillet).

In short, I'm saying that carbon steel knives are not some kind of maintenance nightmare. It's nothing to worry about. Don't leave them lying in the yard overnight, don't leave them in a wet sheath (dry sheaths are ok in my experience), don't leave it covered with wet debris from cutting. If you want to oil it, even better.

Also, as for sharpening, I agree with ObsessedwithEdges that sandpaper is your best value. I would only add to get a leather strop and some compound. It is pretty cheap and really works well to get that last little bit of sharpness. Plus, you can do most of your maintenance with it instead of dragging out the sandpaper.
 
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[yoda voice] Yeeessss, to Obsessed with Edges, you listen, hmmmmm![/yoda voice]

In other words, that's some real good advice.
 

boki_zca

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I Keep mine in leather sheet and never had a problem......even if you get some rust who cares, take some sandpaper and clean it off.........its nothing special.....
 
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If using the 1095 knife daily: when you wipe down your knife at the end of the day, put a drop or two of Mineral Oil or Hoppes #9 and rub it into the exposed 1095. Don't forget to wipe down the exposed tang (if full tang) and rub oil there, too. If you leave greasy prints or water on 1095, you will have rust and *pits* within a day or two. And then you'll have to spend time polishing those out, so never put the knife away wet, and always wipe off after use.

For long term storage, keep the blade separate from the leather sheath. Clean the 1095 well with rubbing alcohol (or whatever solvent you prefer) and then give it a thin coat of TW25B grease on all the metal. To protect the edge (and people!), store it in a knife roll, knife bag, or with an edge-guard (I recommend this, especially the translucent models by Messermeister: they let you see the blade inside the guard).
 
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I see from your other thread, you already have a Smith's 3-in-1 system. For a carbon steel blade (and most others), that'll work just fine.

do you think i could but a "shaving sharp" edge on a carbon steel with it? not that shaving with it is important, just curious.. :)
 
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also i dont like the idea of using sandpaper on my knives just because i feel as though one wrong move and i completly destroy the edge haha, but in terms of stones or other free hand devices, what is a good replacement for the sandpaper what will put an edge on nicely?
 
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also i dont like the idea of using sandpaper on my knives just because i feel as though one wrong move and i completly destroy the edge haha, but in terms of stones or other free hand devices, what is a good replacement for the sandpaper what will put an edge on nicely?

Conventional stones and systems will work just fine on your carbon steel knives. For very large knives like machetes I use a medium bastard file and straighten the toothy edge up a bit with an old butcher steel. For something more manageable in size, as I mentioned any stones used for stainless will work just as well IMO.

For care, I have a huge spray can of Rem-Oil which I use. A couple of quick bursts on each side, followed by a light wipe down and you're good to go. These are my methods and are no better or worse than others posted above, just easier for me.

I do like the idea of keeping an oily rag with a lot of mineral oil loaded in the fibers. Very cheap and a quick wipe on either side and you have a protected blade - food safe also. :thumbup:
 
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