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Beater Bentley (My First Carbon Steel Knife)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I just got my first real adult apartment, and lately I've been looking to upgrade my knives. Don't get me wrong, I've been cooking at home, and I've already learned not to leave your knives in drawers or water. I also know better than to go and blow my furniture budget on a brand new Damascus Kresser or whatever the current favorite is, so I've been looking at some gently used knives. I'm sure that makes some of you cringe, but right now I just want a knife I can learn good habits with and not be upset and out $300+ if I destroy it.

Finally to the actual point: What good habits do I need? I feel a little swamped by all the "rules" of nice knives. Wet, dry, oil? Sharpen every day or just send it to a professional? There's so much opinion, and I don't trust google all the time. I'm pretty sure I want a European style knife. It looks like the blade style and maintenance of the softer steel are best for me. What is a solid, no frills, budget way to maintain this blade? I'm willing to learn to sharpen, but as I'm going to be ironing out my technique and probably making some mistakes, it doesn't need to be hair splitting sharp, just pretty darn good.

I heard I shouldn't hack apart chickens or squash with a carbon steel knife like I do with my Victorinox. Is it crazy to have a beater chef? Do I need a different set of maintenance tools for stainless steel?

Any help would be appreciated, even if it's just pointing me in the right direction to a manual. Do knives come with manuals?? (JK)
post #2 of 14

What gently used knives are you looking at? Local shops? For 60-ish bucks you can get a nice new knife with a good quality steel and appropriate hardness for kitchen usage.

 

-Maintenance - Rinse and wipe dry after usage. For carbon steel knives - Wipe periodically when cutting acidic/reactive foods. Rinse with hot water and wash well. Dry thoroughly with a towel and then leave out for a few minutes to let the residual water on the blade evaporate before storing or sheathing. Oil should not be necessary unless you are storing it away for a long time (weeks to months).

 
-Sharpen when you feel the edge needs it. Certainly shouldn't be every day in home usage. But throwing out a number without knowing your tools and usages isn't going to be particularly accurate. You'd be one of the lucky ones if you have a good professional in the area to send it to.

 

-If you are willing to go through the learning curve - freehand sharpening is pretty no frills. No wait time on sending knives to a service, no gadgets or jigs, and (depending on the stones) you can just take out your stones and go at it when you want. For a used carbon knife, you can get an oilstone or a 1000 grit or so waterstone and keep it going, adding a coarse or fine stone later as needed. Hone by stropping on the stone. This is dependent on how well the previous owner maintained the blade...it could take some heavier work to get it to a good shape. Flatten with extra coarse sandpaper or drywall screen on a flat surface. A clean medium grit edge will be far better than what likely what most people have ever consistently experienced.

 

-You can do squash fine as long as you don't slam or twist the knife which will damage the edge. Having a beater is a good idea. No additional tools needed to maintain stainless.

post #3 of 14

To expand just a bit on Foodie's words of wisdom: the issue with hard squash and chickens isn't so much a function of carbon steel blades. It is an issue with very hard steel, very small edge angles, and bad knife technique such as twisting, using inappropriate cutting boards, slamming to chop, or trying to break bones rather than cut between the ligaments.

post #4 of 14

Beyond Sabatier old old carbon steel, I hear nothing.  For the blade must have some surface pitting to get my respect.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #5 of 14

Has anyone used any vintage Forgecraft or Lamson carbon steel blades? I was looking at some vintage knives seller on Ebay yesterday and toyed with the idea of getting an old American carbon. Not particularly cheap though from that seller...almost in the range of some J-knives I still want to get.

post #6 of 14
My traveling kit:



Not particularly expensive, either, especially if one is a patient shopper.
post #7 of 14
... And some "no name American" that get frequent use. 10 and 12"

post #8 of 14

That 12inch looks a whoooole lot like a Lamson I was eyeing.

 

@BrianShaw where/how do you shop?

post #9 of 14
At of that, except the knife satchel, was eBay shopping over the years.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Good to know I'm not being entirely dumb with the eBay. @BrianShaw, those are some pretty knives. On the second image, I'm guessing those spots are patina and not corrosion? I'm in an area close enough to the coast to get some salt air. Is there anything I can do to help prevent corrosion other than keep it clean? Should I run the other way if there's a small spot or two already on a knife, or can it be dealt with?

@foody518, that's exactly what I needed. No frills, just method. Do you have a recommended source to learn to sharpen on stones? I'm certain I'll be awash in pro sharpeners, but that doesn't sound very budget friendly to me, and I think it would be a cool skill to learn. Should I keep the stainless on a similar honing regimen?
post #11 of 14
Patience.... Lots of patience, and a willingness to buy quickly when the right item appears at the right price! I don't recall how much I spent on each, but I'm so thrifty that I assure you it wasn't much!

I'm in a dry area so I don't need to know much more than the basics (keep it dry) on rust control. All of those marks are patina not rust.

I would not run away from minor rust. It can be brought under control. Deep rust puts are worth running away from, though.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
There's a honing steel in the same shop that matches the Sabatier. is there any need to get more complicated than that? I was reading about diamond and ceramic steels and it all kind of just went over my current level of knife knowledge/experience. Any reason not to get a super cheap one? This one is the same price as the Victorinox and 10 inches. I asked if it was made of anything funny but haven't gotten a response to that one yet.
post #13 of 14
At some point you'll need to put any knife against a stone. Hones align an edge but stones sharpen. For non-Japanese blades a rather affordable tri-hone works quite well. There are expensive tri-hones and affordable ones. I use an affordable one and find it quite effective.

See top item (this is just one of many vendors for similar products. I've done business with them several times with great satisfaction):

http://www.naturalwhetstone.com/productssharpening.htm
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by RittenRemedy View Post

There's a honing steel in the same shop that matches the Sabatier. is there any need to get more complicated than that? I was reading about diamond and ceramic steels and it all kind of just went over my current level of knife knowledge/experience. Any reason not to get a super cheap one? This one is the same price as the Victorinox and 10 inches. I asked if it was made of anything funny but haven't gotten a response to that one yet.

Don't get a diamond steel. Fine ceramic hone is fine, smooth steels should be fine. But honing steels can be made unnecessary in a home use environment if you have a stone, so if it were me, I'd just put the money towards a stone.

Honing steels don't sharpen (or rather, they shouldn't). 

Stainless and carbon get touchups when you feel the edge needs it. They can largely use the same tools. A Bester 1200 will keep you going for a long time provided the knife doesn't immediately need a fair bit of repair work.

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