Taking care of your new tool
Caring for your tools correctly is essential to the longevity of your knife, ax or other tools. Here are some things a professional bladesmith can recommend to help you care for your blade.
Sharpening is a skill that takes time and practice. I recommend taking the time to watch my sharpening instructional video for more information. Remember to never use a cheap, pre-angled sharpener. Another key point to sharpening is stropping; finely polishing the edge of the blade to remove any burrs or minor damage to the edge. This is done by using a piece of leather or similar material and buffing compound, such as jewelers rouge. If stropped often enough you may never have to sharpen your knife with a stone. Stropping takes a knife from being pretty sharp to shaving sharp!
The carbon steel I use in my tools inherently has more benefits than other steels. Unfortunately, if not properly taken care of, this steel will rust. The easiest way to prevent rust, put simply, is to keep the steel dry. After contact with moisture, use a dry cloth to completely dry the blade before storing. I also recommend occasionally applying a coat of Blade Balm All Purpose Protectant, or a food-safe oil, such as mineral oil, to protect the metal from rust. Over time, carbon steel will naturally form a grey oxide known as a Patina that also aids in the prevention of rust.
Caring for the handle throughout the life of any tool is important. My handles are designed to be beautiful and strong, but still need to be taken care of. Since I use natural materials for most of my handles, they are prone to getting affected by the elements if not protected properly. If the handle ever looks dry and dull I would recommend oiling it. For knife handles I would use several coats of Blade Balm All Purpose Protectant, or any wood finishing oil. Make sure to let the finish thoroughly dry between coats, then buff it with fine steel wool or a paper towel. For axe and tool handles I recommend using several coats of boiled linseed oil. If properly taken care of, the handles should last a lifetime and maintain their natural beauty.
Leather should be kept oiled and waxed to prevent it drying out and becoming weak. You can use “Blade Balm” all-purpose protectant, or similar oil/wax product to keep the leather nice and supple.