My knives are designed to last a lifetime. Most other custom knives (and many factory made knives) will also last a lifetime. But only if they are properly cared for. I give each of my customers a knife care sheet with instructions for the necessary care of the knife. The rest of this post is those instructions.
Your new knife was designed to last you a lifetime and it will, but only if you care for it and perform some basic maintenance. First, a couple of safety warnings are in order:
WARNING: Your knife is very sharp. Please use caution to avoid injury and always keep the knife out of the reach of children.
WARNING: While your knife is made of high quality steel and is superbly heated-treated for strength and durability, it is a knife – not a hammer, axe, chisel, pry-bar, screwdriver, or a can opener. Using the knife in place of any of these tools (or for other abusive tasks) can bend, break, or chip the knife and could cause grave personal injury!
Now for the care and maintenance:
Your knife must be kept clean and dry. The blade is high-carbon steel, not stainless steel, and it will rust if not kept dry. Even if the blade is not visibly wet, storage in a high-humidity environment can cause rust over time.
Wash the knife after use and wipe dry with a clean, dry cloth or towel. Never allow a knife to drip dry or store it when it is not completely dry. A mild detergent can be used to clean the knife, but do not use one which contains bleach.
NEVER wash the knife in the dishwasher! The dishwasher can both rust the blade and damage the handle.
Never store the knife in a leather sheath. This will stain the blade.
Cutting acidic foods, such as apples or any citrus fruit, will stain the blade and can cause corrosion if not cleaned immediately. Any time you cut anything acidic, immediately rinse the blade thoroughly and wipe dry.
Wipe on a thin coating of a light mineral oil or olive oil several times per year and anytime the knife has been wet. This will protect the steel from moisture and help prevent rust.
Also wipe the oil on the handle. Natural handle materials can crack or split due to changes in moisture content. The oil will help protect against this problem.
The blade has a hand-rubbed satin finish. Light scratches can be removed by a light rubbing with 800 or 1500 grit sandpaper. Glue leather to a piece of hardwood to use as a backing for the sandpaper, only sand in one direction (from the handle end of the blade toward the blade tip), and use a few drops of mineral oil as a lubricant. After sanding, the blade can be shined by rubbing with a jewelry polishing cloth. If you have never done this before, it is highly recommended that you practice on a cheap knife blade first!