High carbon steels are prone to staining and rusting if not properly taken care of. It is a good habit to keep a clean rag on hand to wipe the blade with after each use. A daily washing with soap and water is recommended. Wipe the knife dry after washing do not leave water standing on the blade. In addition, a light coating of mineral oil for both the blade and handle applied weekly will help to keep the knife looking its best. After a while your knife will develop a lovely patina. This coating is actually protective and will help prevent rusting. All knives were like this prior to Sheffield’s introduction of stainless steel in 1920. Stainless does not hold an edge and require frequent sharpening. This softness of the metal coupled with the high cost of good stainless and the extra time and expense and special equipment required to make stainless knives is why we make knives out of high carbon steel.
Recently we have begun to make knives out of AEB-L stainless. AEB-L Is a relatively new stainless that is also high carbon. It has the minimum amount of chromium to be considered Stainless. This knife like all stainless knives is not rust proof. You steel need to take care of them they will resist staining more than carbon steel but you should take care of them the same. This steel is more expensive because of the cost of manufacturing and the additional equipment and processes we have to go through to heat treat it.
Always use a cutting board. Never throw the knife into the bottom of a sink or dishwasher. Keep the knife in a stand, block or sheath if possible, rather than in a kitchen drawer.
If properly maintained a high carbon steel knife should hold and retain an edge far longer than its stainless counterpart. Cape Cod Cutlery will sharpen any of our knives free of charge.
Regardless of what your knife is made out of the actual cutting edge is a microscopically thin bit of metal. You really can not see with the naked eye. That being said taking care of your knife by always using a cutting board and avoiding the aforementioned sink and drawer and dishwasher are of paramount importance to keeping the edge sharp.
Steeling a knife should be done properly so as not to dull the edge. The purpose of a steel is not to sharpen a blade but to straighten that microscopic edge out when it gets folded over. Misuse and even good regular use of a knife can cause that edge to get rolled over a bit. The steel is meant to straightness it out again. Sharpening involves actual removal of steel from the blade.
Cleaning your knife with a green scrubby sponge and baking soda will neutralize any acids and keep the blade clean. This will prevent any staining of vegetables from residue of continued etching to the blade caused by any acids left on the blade.