In cutlery we find two main types of steel: stainless steels and carbon steels (we will discuss in another article a variant of steel called damascus steel ).
What is a carbon steel blade?
Steel is a mixture consisting mainly of iron and carbon, it is its carbon content that gives it the properties of steel. The carbon content influences the strength and stiffness of the blade. The knives with the hardest blades are those that contain the highest percentage of carbon. Anything between 0.6 and 1% carbon content is considered high.
Carbon steel blades therefore have a higher than average carbon content and carbon knives are renowned in the kitchen because they are known to have an extremely sharp and much more durable edge, they stay sharp longer than other types of knives. Carbon blades are also thinner, so their cuts tend to be more precise.
There are 3 main variants of carbon steel: mild steel, medium carbon steel and high carbon steel , which you have certainly already appreciated if you are interested in forged knives. the hand.
5 advantages of choosing a kitchen knife with a carbon blade:
- The carbon knife offers a much more effective cutting edge than a stainless steel blade. (Carbon gives steel exceptional hardness, but this hardness also makes the wire harder and therefore more fragile, so avoid cutting food that is too hard).
- Easier and faster sharpening, a carbon knife can simply be sharpened 2 to 3 times a year with a whetstone .
- Sharpening and holding the edge that lasts much longer than a classic stainless steel knife: these razor-sharp knives stay sharp over time.
- These are often knives handcrafted in an artisanal way by master blacksmiths who pass on their know-how from generation to generation.
- Carbon blades are also thinner and their cuts tend to be more precise.
Precautions to take to maintain a carbon steel knife:
It should however be noted that carbon knives are much more sensitive to oxidation and corrosion , and over time the blade of the knife may acquire stains, this is normal and in no way constitutes a defect.
To overcome these drawbacks and protect against rust , carbon steels therefore require special maintenance:
- Do not wash them in the dishwasher, but wash them by hand.
- They must be wiped and dried immediately after washing.
- You can also oil them from time to time with mineral oil to preserve them.
- When it comes to sharpening, opt for whetstone sharpening .
To conclude we will say that despite the slightly more complex maintenance, a cook who has tasted the performance of a carbon steel blade generally finds it difficult to return to stainless steel knives!