Patina, The secret amour for your carbon steel knife.

Has your carbon-steel knife started to pick up dark grey blemishes after a few weeks? Don't be scared! It's completely normal. This discolouration is called a patina.

What is a Patina?

A patina is a barrier that occurs on carbon steel knives as you use them. An example is once your carbon steel knife comes into contact with acid, the material will begin to discolour. When cutting things like red onions, you will notice the acid reacts with the metal and leave dark grey blemishes once you wipe away the moisture from the vegetable. As you use your knife daily, this will begin to build up the patina. At the same time, keeping your knife dry and clean is still essential to prevent rust. Rust and the patina are very different, so please still care for your knife as you would. The patina will happen naturally.

What does the patina do?

A patina can help act as a protective coating over your blade to help prevent rust. While your carbon steel knives will not be 100% rust-proof, it does give you that extra protection.

What's the difference between rust and the patina?

Rust is bad. Rust causes corrosion to the blade and will start to create cracks. It will eat away at it if not removed right away. Conversely, a patina is safe and will help by giving a little extra protection to your daily use. This layer doesn't make your carbon steel knife dishwasher friendly! You still must care for your knife as you should.

Can I remove the patina?

Yup, you certainly can. As the patina is a layer, you can clean the knife with a light abrasive pad and food-safe cleaner. This won't make the whole blade look new, but you will be able to remove some. Also, when you have your knives sharpened on a wet stone, the blade can remove the layer as the knife is worked on. You do need to know what you are doing as the technique for sharpening blades is a skill. Again this won't be perfect, but you may be able to remove some, especially around the blade's edge.

As you use and clean your blade, start to take notice of the marks and blemishes your carbon steel knives collect. These markings make your blade unique to you, and it's one of the fantastic features of carbon steel knives. Don't forget our mineral oil will help protect your blade from rust by creating a barrier between your knife and the harmful elements of its environment.

June 29, 2023 — Campbell Attwood
Tags: Carbon-Steel