Carbon steel or stainless steel?

Some of our knife blades are still made with high carbon content steel that, once tempered, provides exceptional hardness, cutting durability, resistance to wear and tear and are easy to sharpen. However, carbon has low resistance to corrosion caused by humidity, thus requiring certain use and storage precautions.

Carbon steel tends to oxidise in contact with food (the blade takes on a greyish colour). We advise you to avoid humid environments and to wipe and grease the blade after use. The hardnesses obtained after heat treatment are generally slightly higher for chrome-free steels. “Carbon” steel blades therefore have better sliceability and are far easier to sharpen than stainless steel blades.

So what should the user choose?

It all depends on the knife’s intended usage.

For users who are both careful and demanding, we would advise a “carbon” steel blade, such as that used by past generations. While it will rust if used carelessly (a pocket knife is never washed, only wiped down) it offers excellent sliceability and sharpening quality.

For less exacting users, who prefer simplicity, stainless steel blades offer ease of use: they have excellent durability and stay looking new for longer. The only inconvenience is that they are more difficult to sharpen than carbon steel blades. The best compromise between ease of sharpening/rust resistance/price is currently offered by the Sandvik brand Swedish steels 12c27 that we use.