Period knives made of high carbon steel need constant care and supervision. When left in the leather scabbards at a then end of a wet event, even buried in a plastic tote, they have a tendency to spot or just completely rust.
Suggested Care for Carbon Steel Knives:
It's very important to wash and 2 wipe down after each use. Carbon has a tendency to react with acid, so it's good practice to wipe the blade with a towel in between foods. As the steel is exposed to different elements, it will begin to naturally oxidize, or patina. Over time, this patina will act as a protective layer against rusting and discoloration. Here are some tips and tricks, if you have a better system please feel free to go that way. It is important to note to care for the knives.
When done with the event or day:
- Clean the blade with wiping.
- Treat with mineral oil, DW40. I make and use a Beeswax Olive Oil treatment own 50-50 by weight in an old pot or can.
- Do not store with blade in scabbard, put separately in a dry place. I wrap mine in a oil cloth.
Removing Rust, Water Stains or Unwanted Patina
- Use a green scrubbing sponge (a new one would be too abrasive) with a little bit of dish detergent and rub lengthwise. Treat with mineral oil or DW40. (DW40 is fish oil)
- If that doesn't work, take the same used sponge and use a powdered scrubbing compound like Comet®. Then back to step 1.
- If that still doesn't work, use a NEW 3M™ scrubbing sponge with cleaning compound. Then back to step one.
- If that doesn’t work, you will need to use a 400 grit sandpaper to remove the rust. After the rust has been removed, use 600 or 800 to bring back the polish. Then start on step 1