Justin and Sarah Sunday Ribeye, with Petite Chef's Knife

Caring For Custom Knives
Custom Heirloom Knives Deserve A Little Extra Love!

Handmade knives deserve a little better care than the $10 "Chefs Knife" you pick up at the big box store. In particular, the finely finished wood handle just won't survive even one trip through the dishwasher. I've been asked by a customer to offer up some pointers to get the most out of their new custom knife. This list may be amended in the future, but it's a good starting point!
And PLEASE practice knife safety! Get Safety Tips HERE!!

1- Use an Appropriate Cutting Board

I can't stress enough the importance of THIS statement. Don't use glass, stone, or ceramic cutting boards. Don't use your granite countertop. Appropriate cutting boards are made from wood or bamboo, silicone or plastic. These materials will provide a solid surface to do your cutting without damaging the fine slicing edge of your knife. I've seen many glass or stone cutting boards, and even ceramic tiles used as cutting boards in the past few years. While they might make handsome additions to the kitchen counter, they're deadly to a keen edge. Just don't, please. One last point here. When I sharpen your knife, the cutting edge of your knife is less than one micron wide. If you scrape that ultra fine edge sideways across the cutting board, it will ROLL, dulling your knife. Please don't use your knife for a scraper, or at least use the spine!! Your fine knives are not pry bars or screwdrivers or box cutters or can openers.

Don't go near the dishwasher!

 

2- Keep Your Knife Sharp

Here's a sticky point. If you know how to sharpen, do it regularly. If you don't, have your sharpening done professionally. Please don't take a custom knife to one of those $3.00 drag through "miracle sharpeners" as seen on TV. The best of them grind too much steel too fast and overheat your edge. The worst take big, faceted gouges out of your knife edge. Both are bad juju. If your custom blade is a Keith Nix Knife, I'll sharpen it free, forever! Even if you sharpen your own knives, a professional tune up from time to time is recommended. I can restore your blades to their proper geometry for maximum keenness and edge retention.

Don't go near the dishwasher!

 

3- Wash Right After Use, By Hand

Sometimes a quick rinse and dry after dicing vegetables is enough. A bit of soap or detergent and hot water after working with meat is better, and dry with a kitchen towel. If your knife is made of stainless steel, this is all the daily care necessary. If your blade is carbon steel(ask your maker) a light coating of vegetable oil will help prevent corrosion. Please don't use an abrasive sponge on your knife. Most of them will leave micro scratches on the surface of your blade, and prematurely erode the finish on your handle.

Don't go near the dishwasher!

 

4- Dry With an Absorbent Towel

Even stainless steel will rust eventually. Water and chlorine help speed that process along, as will the acids from the foods you cut. A quick wipe with a kitchen towel or a paper towel will eliminate the potential for nasty red spots on your blade.

Don't go near the dishwasher!

 

5- Store in a Knife Block or Magnetic Strip

When knives are stored in such a way that they don't bump and vibrate into each other, they stay sharper, longer. The handle finish lasts longer, and the blades pick up fewer incidental scratches and chips. Store knives properly, please.

Don't go near the dishwasher!

 

6- Handle Care

If your custom knife has a wood handle, it becomes more important to hand wash and dry, and stay away from the dishwasher. There is to my knowledge, no finish I can put on a handle that will withstand the dishwasher. Please, please, hand wash and dry your custom knives. Once a month or so, use a little paste wax or furniture polish to restore the finish of your wood. NEVER USE CUTTING BOARD OIL, please. That stuff is mineral oil, and it's great to protect a cutting board. It will destroy the finish on your custom knife! And that isn't covered under warranty. Learn how handles are made, attached, and finished HERE!

Don't go near the dishwasher!

 

7- Special Note for Sheath Knives

Please, NEVER store your sheath knife in its sheath for prolonged periods. Leather is tanned using various chemicals, acids, tannins, and other compounds that can negatively react with the steel or handle finish of your knife. Sheaths from thermoplastics such as Kydex form a very effective moisture barrier, preventing water from evaporating. Store your knife unsheathed, but keep knife and sheath close to each other.

Don't go near the dishwasher!

 

8- Special Notes For Carbon Steel Kitchen Knives

Carbon steel knives deserve a special mention here because of their susceptibility to corrosion. Many chefs prefer carbon blades for their exceptional hardness and ultra fine grain. In a nutshell, they take a slightly keener edge and may keep it a little longer in a kitchen setting. And cared for properly without fail, a carbon steel blade will develop a somewhat protective patina over time that many find beautiful. So, ALWAYS dry your carbon steel knife. If you've been cutting acidic foods (citrus, tomatoes, onions, garlic, to name a few), immediately wash and dry your knife. Before storing, a thin coating of food safe oil can help protect the steel.

Don't go near the dishwasher!

PLEASE DO NOT

1- Leave Your Knife in the Sink- ever

2- Put Your Knife in the Dishwasher

3- Store Loose in the Utensil Drawer

4- Cut on your Countertop, stone or glass

5- Don't go near the dishwasher!

 

I believe all these points are self explanatory after the suggestions above. Be SAFE, have fun, cook healthy, and keep your fingers curled!

In case you weren't counting, I said "Don't go near the dishwasher!" nine times, this makes ten. Yes, it IS that important!

 

As always, feel free to email me at keithnix@bellsouth.net, or call/text 828.337.7836.

I'm also available on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.