Carbon Steel Knives And Why Serious Cooks Use Them

When it comes to the finer points of metallurgy, there’s one thing you need to know. While stainless steel is rust resistant it comes at a price – it’s softer than carbon steel. While that mightn’t be a problem in many structures, applications, and designs, when it comes to cooks’ knives, it means that stainless steel won’t hold an edge as well as carbon steel would. In other words…

Carbon steel stays sharper than stainless steel!

And here’s another point…

Despite the fact that carbon steel is harder than stainless steel it’s far easier to sharpen. Sure, stainless steel knives will sharpen, and will certainly cut you if you slip, however arguably, they won’t stay high-performance sharp like carbon steel knives will.

So what’s the downside? After all there is a downside right?

Well yes, and no…

Carbon steel is more brittle and fragile than stainless steel and this means that it’s more likely to chip if you drop it or toss it haphazardly into the dishwasher. What’s more carbon steel knives have the propensity to rust and stain easily and with prolonged exposure from foods such as onion, the juices can cause dark spots on the knife.

While these facts may be seen as negative, what it does do is to teach the user to treat the knife with respect.

Take stainless steel knives for example…. they have a built-in level of low-maintenance which can cause the user to feel lapse about caring for it. Ask yourself this….

How many time have you splashed your knife with food residue only to let it sit there for a while before it gets cleaned off? I would guess pretty often. The trouble is, if you do this with a carbon knife, it won’t last two minutes before it starts to discolour and rust.

Instead carbon knives need to be used, rinsed, and wiped pretty much immediately. And if you really want to keep it in top condition, give it a rub with some high grade knife and blade oil and it will serve you for ever.

The bottom line is that like a good pair of leather shoes, your favourite jeans, or baseball cap, a quality carbon steel knife will only get better with time. Over a period it will develop its own unique patina that tells a story and that’s something you won’t get with a stainless steel knife.

As well as handing out advice on the best type of chefs knives to buy, at Metro Steel we like to think that we know a thing or two about fabricating steel. So if you have a fabrication project that you need help or advice with, then give us a call on 07 3204 1000 and talk to our experienced team today.

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