Welcome to the high carbon club! Now you are ready to cut like a pro. Though with a great knife comes great responsibility. The three keys to maintaining your shiny new friend are how to keep your knife sharp, how to clean your knife, and understanding what a patina is.
High carbon steel is amazing steel because it gets ripping sharp and can maintain an edge for a while, as long as you allow it to. A Maclaren is fast and performs beautifully...only if you know how to handle it. There are books that could be written about knife sharpening (or videos that may be coming soon.) but you are probably chomping at the bit to get using your new knife, so a few key points to follow are;
If you would not use your teeth on an ingredient, don't use your knife on it. Think avocado pits, lobster shells, marble countertops… Steel is hard but at the same token, it is brittle. Use your knife only on foods that you would feel safe using if you bit into it. (disregard the thought of actually eating the items, I am talking about texture in theory here.)
Use the right race track. Back to car references, a Maclaren is designed to be driven on smooth paved roads, if you take it off-road, you’re going to have a bad time. The same applies to cutting boards, use wooden, preferably end grain, cutting boards. This will maintain your knife’s edge for a much longer time.
When you notice your knife has started to dull with use, us a ceramic honing stick or “steel” to realign the edge. Do not do what you see in movies and shows of running your blade along it a million times and looking like a professional. Hint, professionals do not do that. It only takes 1-2 strokes on either side of the knife’s edge to bring it back to life. This is not sharpening your knife but realigning all of the microfibers of the edge itself.
Over time you will need to resharpen your beautiful knife, this is great, that means you are using it! When sharpening your knife it is worth the investment of getting a whetstone or better yet an Edge Pro to avoid messing up the angle. The bevel angle for most of my kitchen knives is between 18-20 degrees, think of the angle of a matchbook. For a good instructional video check out wet stone sharpening instruction
Always remember: A sharp knife is a safe knife.
Clean, but not with a machine
High carbon knives are not like your everyday knife, let alone a handmade one. Maintaining your investment takes minimal effort but does take a little TLC. Your knife will last a lifetime with the proper care and attention to detail.
Rule #1 - Never wash your knife in a dishwasher. This level of heat and chemical will break down the components of the knife, weaken the structure, and ultimately truly messing your knife up.
Rule #2 - Don’t let anyone use your knife. If you have someone that is deep in your trust circle you can let them, but I wouldn't do so without giving them the crash course on the above keys and rules.
Rule #3 - Use regular dishwashing soap and a soft sponge or towel to clean your knife by hand immediately after use. Then dry your knife by hand. We provide a wooden Saya cover to help protect your baby but make sure the knife is fully dry before putting it to bed. Even a few drops of water left overnight will turn into surface rust that can be removed easily with a rust eraser.
Rule #4 - Occasionally oiling your knife when not in use will pay dividends in extending its life. Use neutral, food-safe (duh) oils.
Patina, your knife's life story.
Ah the "what the hell is happening to my knife?" moment. A patina or discoloration on your blade is not a bad thing, it is your food journey being written on your knife. It is in fact, a very good, natural protective layer that high carbon steel obtains with use from a chemical reaction to the food (acidic) it comes in contact with. The result is typically an "antique" type darkening of the blade. This layer aids in corrosion protection from rust, tells the story of your knife, and generally builds character and looks badass.