LaFon knives are built to be robust, long-lasting, and a pleasure to use. That said, these knives will bear the marks of their use. Like other quality tools, they will age well if they are cared for.
A rich patina will form on carbon steel blades over time & through steady use. The blade's color & pattern will change to reflect its history and its environment. Knives used on fruits and vegetables will develop deep grey spots and stripes, while knives used on meats with turn almost iridescent pinks and blues. After a few uses, you'll start to learn to decode the patina. This layer of oxidation will also protect the blade from deterioration. If you'd rather minimize the change, wipe the blade often and apply a thin coat of mineral oil after every few uses. The patina is easily polished away altogether.
Basic maintenance is fairly simple, and it can be as rewarding to care for handmade tools as it is to use them. Keeping a knife clean and dry prevents rust, and vastly extends its life. While you're using it, keep a kitchen rag on hand to wipe the blade any time you're about to set it down for a while. When you're finished working, rinse it in warm soapy water and dry it thoroughly before putting it away.
PROTECTING YOUR KNIFE
No knife you care about (stainless knives included) should be put away wet, left in the sink or in water, or run through the dishwasher. These things will dull edges, damage & de-laminate handle materials, and rust blades.
Magnetic knife strips or wooden knife blocks are recommended for storage. Knives stored together in drawers stay damp longer, knock into and damage one another, and can cut your fingers. If you'll be storing your knife for an extended period of time, apply a thin coat of oil or wax, and store it away from moisture.
Wooden or plastic cutting boards are much easier on knife edges than other surfaces. Cutting on glass, ceramic, or stone surfaces dulls blades much more quickly.
Wood handles are oil-finished and wax-coated to protect them from moisture and wear. They can be treated similarly to wooden cutting boards. Avoid letting them soak in water for extended periods, and dry them before putting them away. If your handle starts to look dull or feel dry, rubbing in a small amount of butcher's block oil or wax will restore its rich color & extend its life.
Metal handle hardware such as brass, copper, or bronze will also develop a patina with age. Metals can be brought back to their original color & shine with a light buff and polish.
Wood is a natural material that breathes both air and moisture, so it can occasionally shrink or swell slightly over time. If uncomfortable edges form between woods and metals, they can be taken down with a light sanding at 1,000 grit or higher, and lightly buffed. Adam is happy to perform any of these touchups in-shop.
If you can provide shipping or other transportation to and from the shop, Adam will sharpen & tune up any of his knives free of charge.
If you prefer to sharpen at home, traditional waterstones are the recommended
method. Starting at 1,000 grit and moving up to 6,000 before sropping on hard-backed leather or newspaper works well. There are other methods & tutorials out there, as well.
For occasional edge-honing, a fine-grit ceramic steel is recommended over a serrated metal one. The goal is to remove as little material as possible while still pulling the edge back into shape. The finer the grit the better. Using a ceramic steel from time to time also cuts down on the amount the knife will need resharpening.
With all of this in mind, a lot of the damage that can be done to a knife can be fixed. Sharpening, polishing, repairs, and general restorations are available in-shop for LaFon handmade products free or for the cost of shipping. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or use the form on the Contact page for more information.