Basics of carbon steel knives
For those who are in the market for good knives, you may be wondering about the different kinds of knives in the market and their respective advantages and disadvantages especially with regard to your specific need. Maybe you have heard how some experts on knives and even chefs have chosen carbon steel knives instead of stainless steel and you would like to be more knowledgeable about it. Here is a brief introduction to carbon steel knives.
Your knife’s blade is made up of steel. Simply put, steel is an alloy or a combination of iron and carbon. There could be other elements contained in steel and the kind of element spell the difference with regard to the hardness, toughness and even performance of your blade. Some contain vanadium, manganese, silicon and tungsten. High concentration of chrome in the alloy makes it a stainless steel. But often, carbon steel is just iron and carbon. If you wonder about the difference again of high carbon and low carbon steel, it is just on the percentage of carbon in the alloy. High carbon steel naturally has more carbon than the low one.
All these differences are not just for mere classification, as these indicators and factors could already tell you the expected performance of your knife with regard to specific characteristics. If you want to consider carbon steel knife as an alternative, here are some qualifications of this type of knife.
This is the ability of you knife to withstand cracking and chipping especially while being used in activities such as chopping. Cutting through bones or other hard objects will test the toughness of your blade. Carbon steel, being a harder material than other alloys could be the best in toughness.
This is the long term wear and tear capability of your steel knife. Basically, it is the steel’s resistance to abrasion that determine this characteristic. Carbon contributes to this but the inclusion of tungsten increases your carbon steel knife’s wear resistance better.
Compared with toughness, strength refers to the ability of your knife to withstand stress without buckling or being deformed. During cutting or chopping hard objects, pressure is exerted on your knife. Stronger ones could have the ability to withstand extreme stress. Usually, it is noted that stronger ones are made up of harder steel. Carbon is the most important hardening element in steel thus high carbon steel is naturally stronger.
Stain and rust resistance
Carbon steel fails in this category as it is susceptible to rust. Because of carbon, salt water and acidic foods contribute to oxidation and the formation of rust more easily. The reaction of carbon with some food might also affect the taste of the food.
Some confuse the ability of the knife to have an edge to its wear resistance. In truth, it is the combination of strength, toughness and wear resistance that makes your steel stay sharper longer. Carbon steel is also easier to sharpen and takes a better edge than other materials.
But as carbon steel knives have more advantages making experts prefer it over the others, deciding to get one for yourself is a good idea. You just need to follow some simple steps to counter the disadvantages.
1. Wash your carbon steel knife immediately after use with hot soapy water to remove food particles in the blades.
2. Dry with towel and keep dry at all times.
3. Never allow the knife to be soaked in water for a long period nor store in a humid area.
4. Coat with mineral oil lightly before storage.
5. Never wash inside the dishwasher or use as a can opener.