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Care Instructions ~ caring for the edge, the surface & wood handles


Cleaning a high polished handle – take care of your fine tools, so can serve you well.
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Cleaning a knife handle, that is not high polished – wood and brass 

⇓High polished kitchen knife with wood handle. ⇓
⇓ Click photo to enlarge
Sometimes a handle will allow me to give the brass and wood a ‘high polish’, which is jewelry like. This means most scratches are removed ‘to the eye’. Most woods do not allow this type of polish. The grain must be very tight, like Cocobolo wood {see photo to the left}, or the polish will get into the grain and ruin the surface. This means re-sanding. A high polish means, that after sanding to 400 grit, I use a high speed wheels with waxes and a polish to mirror it up. 
At home or in your restaurant, to clean these high polished handles, just use a clean {moist or dry} a scrubbie sponge abrasive side, a piece of 320 grit sand paper/block or dry 4 or 5-OH steel wool. Steel wool is sold 1-0h to five -oh. One Oh being the coarsest. I recommend 4 or 5. Any of these will clean the handle {wood/brass} surface but scratch only a little bit. Once you get the sponge, abrasive block or steel wool, store in dry place when done. It should take less than a minute to take a thin skin off the surface. This is very light work. I like to work on a clean towel, unless your doing just one knife. See my ancient poor video, below, to help clarify.
**Immediately after cleaning handle, wipe off. I then recommend a wax be applied. You can also use mineral oil, as well. I would not recommend a paste wax you use on an auto if it has ‘chemicals’ in it. This is because the chemicals will work their way into YOU, eventually.
Lastly – if you want to clean brass or copper only, ketchup works great. Leave on for around 20 minutes, then wipe off. See ketchup use video  HERE,with warning to TURN OFF VOLUME – loud !   
Just below here, find an embedded short video demonstrating the use of Howard Feed-N-Wax finish.
Lastly, see this link to a you tube page for wax recipes to make your own wood wax with natural ingredients. I used to make my own wax before I found Howard’s.

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In the video below, I’m use a scouring pad w/o a sponge attached and I also show a scrubbie sponge (sponge and pad together). Use whatever you like to get the very top layer of finish and kek off the surface. One does not need a heavy abrasive at all. This is an ancient video, sorry for the poor quality.
Use a cloth towel to lay the knife on. You can tape the sharp edge  with masking tape for extra safety if your extra cautious and new to this but it is not necessary. Do not be afraid to do this. You really cannot hurt anything. It’s really empowering to have a knife handle after that is fresh and ready to go. Now get busy on your dusty wood furniture.


Hone (not sharpen) a knife edge – made easy as pie

see info vid – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEfnldpL2MA

The carbon steel knives I make will need to be honed only, not sharpened. Honing means brightening the micro edge only. Sharpening means readjusting the angle of the bevel on each side and then honing the edge. We have all seen the person using that steel rod whisking the edge back and forth. This should hone the edge only but be warned: almost all people ruin the edge by honing it, not sharpening it. They roll the edge with the steel hone, dulling it with each stroke.

Best advice: when you get your new knife, first thing to do is pluck different places along the edge with your thumb. Do not drag your finger across the edge (SLICED !). Simply move your finger before you pluck, a couple three times. This will give you a very valuable muscle memory feel of what the edge should feel like when your knife is razor sharp and ready to roll. If you have used your knife a bunch and you notice it is not performing well after plucking, well then it’s time to take 30 seconds and get out the ole Smith’s sharpener (should be called a honer) and take 3 swipes – to hone it. You are maintaining a fine tool. Dull edge tools are dangerous and do not work. One of the most empowering things a human can do it get a knife sharp. It never ceases to amaze me and might save your life someday.
Your knives that I make will need to have the edge brightened/honed up every 4-6 times they are used (or more), depending on what you do with it. You should notice, after awhile, that the knife will hold a great edge for a long time. It will be noticeable. If not, let me know. This edge holding ability, equals satisfaction with the product which cannot be shown before hand, only experienced over time. The overwhelming feedback I get is that the edge holds great.
In my kitchen I use Smith’s sharpener (no kidding!). Carbide used in these, is very very hard – harder than steel. Smith’s uses opposed carbide, which when drawn over the edge, shaves a tiny bit off the edge on either side. Three swipes and it is ready to go ! Carbide is way harder than steel and very strong. Smith’s dual carbide head is adjustable and replaceable. It is available in local hardware & sporting goods stores. I prefer the yellow unit on the left, shown below. There are cheaper Chinese knock offs around, but these should be avoided, as they use easily ‘crack-able’ ceramic, instead of real carbide.

38 second graphic Video ⇒HERE⇐ shows how to use it.
This method takes 5 seconds to hone, and edge is always wicked sharp. It does make the bevel a little steeper than it would be using stones, but it is fast and has worked for me for 25 years, perfectly. I always hold the knife with the back against something solid, exposing the edge. Hold and draw the sharpener square to the edge, back to front. I draw it only one way, from back to front, and do not bother with the fine ceramic side, which in my opinion does nothing. I find this method safe and reliable. Attach a float if you take it on a boat.They are sold on Amazon and most hardware stores.


Care of the surface of a kitchen knife – remove water spots, flash corrosion and more

45Far left: 180 grit sanding block. Keep in kitchen and use on ovens, pot washing, etc. Very useful tool. Also comes in 240 and 400 grit.

⇐ Left :  Scrub sponge w/ green scouring pad on one side. Scotch-brite is twice as durable as all other brands and I highly recommend it, although it also costs more. 

As far as the blade/surface portion of the knife is concerned, I generally rinse and wipe it off with a clean dry cotton kitchen towel after I use it. That is all I do, and the blade stays silvery gray. Then I leave it to air dry in the dish drain. I am not overly concerned as I know how easy it is to polish up the surface with my sponge if any marks form.
Paper towels really dry off all the moisture completely, as opposed to a dish towel which almost always leaves a film of moisture behind. While cooking, you can wipe off pretty consistently between food types throughout the process with a dish towel, and do a rinse wipe when finished with a paper towel. I generally hang a towel over my shoulder when working, but many pull a towel through their belt or apron string, ala “Chef Pepin”

If I cut something that sticks to the surface like cheese, or if I cut raw meat, I use hot water and the green side of a scrub sponge to abrade clean surface of the blade and then “wipe it off” dry.
You can also use salt (Kosher is the best) to clean off the wet surface using a rag or wash cloth. This will allow the built up surface patina to stay put while removing all else. Soap will clean as well, but if you wash with soap, thoroughly dry with cotton or paper towel and let air dry. You can also (optional) warm blade up and oil surface, but I never do this as there is no need. I am not using the surface to cook on and the oil will not stay on over time. In the ‘old days’, people used sand where available to scout dishes and knife surfaces or brick dust as well.

Other ways of cleaning a really abused knife surface is using sand paper grits of 120, 180, 240 and then 320. This is very heavy duty, to be used only for the worst kek and rust on a knife.  Rinse when done and as always, dry off surface completely.  Any knife you have, no matter how funky and crusty, can be renewed back to the surface with a bit of work. Tip for deep cleaning a wood cutting board. Spray or soak surface with bleach and let soak in. Then use your sharp kitchen knife to scrape the surface, moving only in one direction. Kitchen knives make excellent scrapers.

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