Types of steel and alloys
We currently produce knives with three different types of steel in the blade:
1. Carbon steel, so-called C100 steel, alloyed with 1% carbon. Usually 58-60 HRC
2. Laminate steel (laminated steel) as per AISI O1 with approx 1% carbon in the core. 58-60 HRC
3. Stainless steel, 12C27. Usually 56-58 HRC
All non stainless steel blades will oxidise (rust) and be affected by damp and corrosive environments. It is therefore advisable to dry the knife and preferably oil the blade after use. Clean and dry the blade with care to avoid personal injury. Some knife owners even go as far as to create their own patina to make the blade less sensitive to rust.
A patina can easily be forced by sticking the knife into fruit for a few hours or simply treating the blade with hot vinegar. You can find several good tips and advice on the subject on internet knife forums in general and on YouTube in particular.
Please note however that forcing a patina is always done at the owner’s own initiative and risk.
Knives in carbon and laminate steel must not be washed in a dishwasher under any circumstances. The aggressive dishwasher etergent will react very badly with the blade.
Knives with stainless steel blades do not require any special rust prevention care. However, get into the habit of always rinsing the blade under hot running water, preferably with mild detergent and then wipe dry, if the knife is dirty after use. Even if the blade is stainless steel, you can get salt spots etc. that can be difficult to remove if left. Stainless steel knives ought not be washed in a dishwasher.
The aggressive dishwasher detergent has a clearly adverse effect on the blade while sharp knives can damage the fittings inside the dishwasher during the washing programme.
There is also a greater risk of personal injury from a sharp knife when loading and unloading dishwashers. However, the high temperature of the dishwasher will not cause a problem. We know, for instance, that our knives are used in post mortems and then sterilised in hospital autoclaves that run at up to 120°C.
Our Bushcraft Black has a carbon steel blade with a black scratch resistant surface finish that protects against rust almost as well as our stainless steel blades. The 3.2 mm thick blade on our Bushcraft Black is annealed slightly more to 56-58 HRC to better withstand stress on the blade when batoning. The edge angle is therefore slightly greater (~27°) to stand up to tough treatment better.
The axe contains boron steel, 52-54 HRC. Boron steel oxidises as readily as other carbon steels and should be cared for accordingly, i.e. as advised for carbon steel and laminate steel (see above).
Honing or grinding knife blades that have lost their sharpness requires knowledge and experience.
Sharpening the knife blade with a fine whetstone (carbon steel and laminate steel only) or a diamond sharpener (all types of knife) can be learnt quite quickly, although it always takes a certain amount of practice. Always work at the same angle the blade was originally ground to, usually 23°, but this can vary depending on the model of knife.
If you wish to use a knife sharpening machine, we recommend Nirey machines.
For food knives, we also recommend sharpening machines from Nirey.
It is absolutely crucial to sharpen cold, i.e. using water to cool the edge to avoid compromising the blade’s tempering (hardening and annealing). If the edge has turned blue or discoloured, this is a sign of overheating. Polishing away such discolouring will not help, you will only be sweeping the visible evidence under the carpet.
Never use carbide type edge sharpeners where you draw the edge along a V shape as they remove a lot of the metal.
All prices are in AUD.