Caring for your Carter Knife

Carter knives require little maintenance under normal use. Below are some routine tips that will help your knife maintain it's beauty and usefulness for a lifetime.


I normally sharpen my knives to a "working" edge of approximately 20-25 degree angles. I usually sharpen on a slack belt at 220-400 grit. This creates a slightly convex edge. Some customers prefer to re-sharpen at a more acute angle to obtain a "razor" edge. There is always a trade-off between sharpness and durability. A razor edge will be sharper but will dull faster due to the thinness of the blade at the cutting edge. A working edge will not be quite as sharp but will maintain it's sharpness much longer.

There are countless ways to re-sharpen knives and a wide variety of materials available for sharpening. These include pre-set sharpening systems, honing stones, diamond stones, sandpapers and all kinds of gadgets. I do not recommend using motorized sharpeners such as those that are included in most can openers. I cannot possibly describe the proper technique for every method. Please refer to the information provided by the manufacturer of your sharpening materials.

If you would like me to re-sharpen your knife, I will be happy to do so for $5.00 U.S. plus return shipping charges for non-Carter knife. I will sharpen a knife that I made for FREE if you pay postage both ways.

Pack the knife in a box and send it to:
Mike Carter
2522 Frankfort Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206

I highly recommend shipping your knives insured with a delivery receipt. I do not recommend using envelopes as they are easily opened for removing the contents during shipping.

Blade Care:

Stainless Steel - Stainless steel is rust and stain resistant but NOT rustproof or stain proof. It WILL rust and/or stain if minimal care is not taken.

Damascus and Other Non-Stainless Steels - Damascus is NOT a stainless steel and contains high carbon steel that WILL rust rather easily if not kept clean and dry. Over time, the steel should develop a natural protective coating called a "patina" that will help to prevent rusting. A coat of protective wax such as Renaissance Wax or Simichrome polish will provide good protection against rust and staining.


Mirror Polished blades will show scuffs and scratches through normal use. Mirror Polishing is a long and inherently dangerous process of sanding and then polishing the blade with motorized buffers and special polishing compounds. Most minor scratches can be removed by polishing. If you need a blade re-polished, please contact me for a quote.

Hand Rubbed Finishes: Minor scratches can be removed by sanding with successively finer grits of wet/dry sandpaper. I normally finish a hand rubbed blade with 900-1500 grit sandpaper.

Brass and Nickel silver guards and pommels: These can be buffed to a brilliant shine using Semi-Chrome polish. Semi-Chrome polish will also remove minor scratches with some hard rubbing with a soft cloth.


Bone, Stag, Horn and Ivory handle materials will dry out and possibly crack, shrink, or warp over time care. Soaking the handle in mineral oil overnight and them allowing it to sit for about 24 hours will allow the porous material to soak up the oil and help to preserve it. After soaking and sitting, wipe it down with a clean dry cloth. I recommend doing this at least once every year. Every six months is even better.

Natural Wood: Unstabilized hardwoods such as Desert Iron Wood and Rosewood will benefit form an occasional application of Tung oil. Apply a liberal coat of Tung oil, let it sit overnight, apply a second coat and let it again sit overnight. Buff with a clean and dry cloth. A coat of Renaissance Wax will help protect the wood and make it shine but it may make the handle a little slippery for use.

Stabilized woods are impregnated with synthetic resins and should protect the wood from moisture, shrinkage and cracking. A coat of Renaissance Wax will help protect the wood and make it shine but it may make the handle a little slippery for use.

Leather Sheaths:

Leather should be kept clean and dry. I finish my sheaths with a coating of "Super Sheen" which protects and provides some waterproofing protection. Occasion application of a leather cleaner and/or preservative is highly recommended. Good leather preservation products are available at leather stores and online.

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