Carbon steel is an awesome material to make knives out of. It’s easy to get sharp and stays sharp a very long time. But this comes with a trade-off - It will rust if you let it.
To avoid “bad” rust (orange rust) Wipe the knife dry with a dry cloth after use. Over time, the blade will begin to protect itself with an oxide layer (grey to dark grey “good” rust), this will slow the reaction time but not inhibit the rust entirely. Maintain the good habit of drying off your knife.
We've compiled a bunch of helpful articles and resources to get you started here.
Patina is a tarnish in colour on the outer surface carbon steel. Through the formation of patina, the steel protects itself against the corrosion that naturally occurs. It is similar but diferent to the seasoning that occurs on a cast iron pan.
The best and easiest way to get a patina is to use your knife! Keep a cloth near your work surface, and when you notice the steel changing colour, give it a wipe before it turns orange. Just like a leather jacket your knife will wear in and develop a patina with time. A strong patina is earned, a badge to be proud of!
After use, wash the knife by hand with regular dish soap, rinse with hot water and dry by hand immediately. Dishwashers are very bad for knives. - even worse for carbon steel knives.
If you see orange rust, remove it. The scrubby side of a sponge can do the trick. If it’s still not coming off try baking soda and water mixed into a paste or a product called Bar Keepers Friend or one our handy rust erasers.
Got rust on your knife? Not sure what patina is? Don't worry! These common concerns are easy to fix. And you'll be enjoying your carbon steel knife in no time.
If you're a collector who likes to experiement with different looks on your knives, or a chef in a busy kitchen without the time to baby carbon steel, you can force a patina on your knife, skipping months of maintenance to get right to the good stuff!