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Oiling kitchen knife

Craig Cook
Active Member Apprentice Bladesmith

Sorry if this may be a stupid question but I am almost finished with my first 1084/15n20 chef knife and I am curious what you all recommend to seal the blade? I’ve only really made hunting knives so far which I have taken to coating with ax wax. If there’s a better way I would definitely like to give it a try.

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Topic starter Posted : 07/05/2022 10:30 pm
Ed Caffrey
Master Bladesmith

Wax is the simplest, and easiest method to duplicate (easy for owners/users to do themselves).  Many worry about the wax they use being "food safe", but don't.  There is such a tiny amount of wax used, that you'd have to do for a millennium before worrying about it.  

  Another option that I have used for years is clear Gun-Kote.  It's a process to get it applied correctly, and baked on, but IMO it's well worth the effort. 

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Posted : 08/05/2022 8:59 am
Craig Cook
Active Member Apprentice Bladesmith

Thank you for the input I’ll have to look into gun Kote and give that a try on a practice piece. It’s always nice to have more options I can turn too for different finishes. In your opinion is there a better option for wax than axe wax or are they all generally equal in terms of protection?

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Topic starter Posted : 08/05/2022 4:29 pm
Gerald Boggs
Eminent Member Apprentice Bladesmith (5yr)

I had never heard of “Axe Wax”, so I did a quick search. There appears to be no MSDS available, which might be a violation of the law, but not sure on the legal requirements to make the MSDS available on-line.

Anyway, I'm something of a wax and finish snob 🙂 With that, there is only two waxes that fit the food safe category: Bees wax and Paraffin wax*. And there is only one oil that is food safe: Mineral oil. Both the waxes are easily blended with mineral oil. I make my own for waxing everything from carbon steel blades to cutting boards. The cost of making is about 5 cents for every dollar the Axe Wax cost.

*Not getting into any rare waxes and oils that have no added benefit, except for sounding exotic.

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Posted : 09/05/2022 9:34 am
Gerald Boggs
Eminent Member Apprentice Bladesmith (5yr)

Quick update: Since the Axe Wax site states the wax drys, then instead of mineral oil, they're probably using a thinner that evaporates, leaving behind only the wax. 

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Posted : 09/05/2022 9:50 am
Gerald Boggs
Eminent Member Apprentice Bladesmith (5yr)

Or a drying oil, such as linseed/flax seed or walnut oil

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Posted : 09/05/2022 10:19 am
Ed Caffrey
Master Bladesmith
Posted by: @craig-cook

Thank you for the input I’ll have to look into gun Kote and give that a try on a practice piece. It’s always nice to have more options I can turn too for different finishes. In your opinion is there a better option for wax than axe wax or are they all generally equal in terms of protection?

Honestly, I have tried just about every wax out there, including Ren Wax, and most of the other "high dollar" waxes.  For one reason or another, they just didn't suit my needs.   Personally, I keep coming back to (using) Mother's Carnauba Cleaner/Wax.   Last I checked, a can is about $14 at Walmart.  I think in the last decade, I might have gone through two cans. 

  I will tell you that in order to do a clear Gun-Kote finish, that doesn't look horrible, you will need an airbrush (I use the cheap ones from Harbor Freight), and do a bit of experimenting.  If you can see it "wet" on the surface of a blade (like you might see when applying rattle can paint) that's WAY TOO MUCH..... If you leave/bake that on, it comes out looking like the blade is encased in plastic.  However, until baked, you can remove it with acetone and try again. 😉  

  I've been using this finish for years on many of my blades, and particularly on Damascus and Mosaics.  As with anything, if the use is super heavy, it will eventually wear off....but then again, anything currently available will.   Prior to ever putting it on any blade/knives for sale, I ran it through a couple of Montana hunting seasons..... and even after going through about a dozen animals.... the finish looked as good as the day it was applied.  I still carry the first Mosaic Hunter that I used Gun-Kote on, and aside from some slight tarnish/discoloring on the sharpened edge during use, it looks new.  

 

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Posted : 11/05/2022 5:56 pm
Chris Young
Active Member Apprentice Bladesmith

I’m going to double down on Ed‘s recommendation of carnauba wax.  For kitchen knives make sure you are using food grade so there an not any nasty additives.  It has a melting point of 180°F so if you have it applied to the blade chances are hot water is not going to wash it off. It shines up the blade great and protects it pretty well from moisture and possible rust. 

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Posted : 20/05/2022 2:15 pm
Gerald Boggs
Eminent Member Apprentice Bladesmith (5yr)

Bees wax and Paraffin wax

I stand corrected: bee's wax, paraffin, AND Carnauba wax.  I had forgotten about Carnauba wax being used in food, such as M&M's

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Posted : 20/05/2022 5:58 pm
Matt Talley
New Member Apprentice Bladesmith (5yr)

I am also a bee keeper, so I have lots of beeswax -- like 10lbs at any given time.  I used it (cut with mineral oil) for knives and tools.  Smells great!  I have and use Axe Wax occasionally.  I like the product and want to support the maker.

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Posted : 14/06/2022 12:58 am
Gerald Boggs
Eminent Member Apprentice Bladesmith (5yr)

I used to be a bee keeper, but lost the hives 🙁 Then made the mistake of storing the hives in my storeroom, and found out just how quickly Wax Moths can ruin them. I still have plenty of bees wax and use it and mineral oil on all my cutting boards, work boots, and blades. Garden tools I just go old fashion and use linseed oil.

This post was modified 3 days ago by Gerald Boggs
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Posted : 24/06/2022 8:35 am
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