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Japanese Kitchen Knife Care & Maintenance

 

General Care Instructions | All Japanese Kitchen Knives

- Japanese kitchen knives are generally sharper than other styles of kitchen knife and made of harder steel, they will cut better than other knives but do have their limitations. Some care is recommended to minimise damage.

(think of it like an exotic sports car, they are the highest performing cars, but only when used correctly and in the correct environment. Taking a Ferrari on an off-road track for instance won’t go well, nor will crashing it into a pole 😊)

- Be careful of what you are cutting, and where. Try not to cut on stone, glass, bamboo, steel, ceramics or hard plastic surfaces. End-grain timber, soft solid timbers, or soft plastic surfaces are recommended. There are many variations of plastic chopping boards, be careful that yours are not the hard variant.

- Avoid cutting bones, frozen foods or anything as dense.  

- Use a straight and smooth cutting action. Do not twist the blade or apply lateral edge pressure. These knives have high perpendicular strength but will chip or crack if the blade is twisted or hit from the side.

 

Care Instructions | Stainless Steel Japanese Kitchen Knives

- Although stainless steel kitchen knives are easier to maintain than high carbon steel knives, rust spots may occur if left in water or damp environments for extended periods of time.

- Hand-Wash Only: the heat & chemicals in a dishwasher can damage your knife and degrade the steel. 

- Dry Thoroughly: paper towel is preferred as kitchen cloths or tea towels can leave residue.

View our stainless range here

 

Care Instructions | Japanese Kitchen Knives (Carbon Steel / Stainless Clad)

- Stainless Clad Carbon Japanese kitchen knives have a stainless steel cladding (or body) and high carbon steel core (exposed on the edge of the knife). High carbon steel naturally develops a dark grey patina over time, this is normal and aids in protection of your knife. Rust may occur however if left in water or damp environments for extended periods of time.

- Hand-Wash Only: the heat & chemicals in a dishwasher can damage your knife and degrade the steel. 

- Dry Thoroughly: paper towel is preferred as kitchen cloths or tea towels can leave residue.

- Apply Tsubaki Oil if your kitchen knife will not be used for an extended period of time.

View our stainless clad range here

 

Care Instructions | High Carbon Steel Japanese Kitchen Knives

- High Carbon Japanese kitchen knives are crafted completely from high carbon steel. Carbon steel is generally sharper than stainless steel and easier to sharpen, but it can chip and/or rust if used incorrectly or not cared for.

- Carbon knives will naturally develops a patina over time (generally grey, dark grey or blue), this is normal and aids in protection of your knife. If you take a little extra time caring for your carbon knives when you first use them, you can build a patina which will help protect the knife long term and reduce the amount of care required. If you see any red or orange on the blade, this is rust, and should be taken off as soon as possible. You can use a rust eraser to do this, but any mild abrasive will work. High grit sand paper from a hardware store, barkeepers friend or even metal polish like AutoSol will do a good job.

- Rust will occur on carbon knives if left in water or damp environments, even for reasonably short periods of time. This is even more so with acidic foods like lemon or onion, it is important to clean your knife straight after use when cutting these ingredients, leaving acidic foods on a carbon steel knife will develop rust very quickly (depending on the steel, it could occur in just a few minutes). Conversely so, cutting something fatty, like meat, will take longer for rust to occur as the fats will help protect the blade from oxygen.

- Hand-Wash Only: the heat & chemicals in a dishwasher can damage your knife and degrade the steel. 

- Dry Thoroughly: Dry immediately after use. Using paper towel is preferred as kitchen cloths or tea towels can leave moisture. 

- Apply Tsubaki Oil if your kitchen knife will not be used regularly or if you are in a damp environment or climate. Oils on a carbon steel knife will help prevent rust. You can use any type of oil but a mineral oil like Tsubaki is preferred as something like an olive oil will go rancid over time, this will mark the blade and can obviously make you sick.