Bill Hampton Handmade Knives

Care & Maintenance

All Hampton Handmade knives are handmade by me and built to last.

Most of my blades are fabricated from high-carbon files.  These are not "stainless" or stain resistant and will rust if not cared for and properly maintained.

Tarnishing is the nature of this steel and I feel gives character to a blade.

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  Cleaning the Knife: 

It is recommended that all knives be hand washed individually in warm soapy water, rinsed clean and then wiped dry before storage.  While warm soapy water works great for stainless steel knives; a mild solution of warm water and baking soda is often used to clean carbon steel knives when warm soapy water is unable to remove stubborn stains that occur naturally through normal daily use.

NEVER put knives in a dishwasher!  The high heat produced during the drying cycle, as well as the detergents, can damage all types of handles.  The high pressure water spray is also capable of forcing objects in the machine to become airborne and strike other dishes causing further damage to cutting edges, glass and china.  Just in case you missed it; NEVER put knives in a dishwasher!

For extremely soiled knives, rinse any excess food off the knives and then gently wipe them with a wash cloth or nylon scrubber.  Never use an abrasive cleaner or scrub pad as these materials will alter the finish of your knives.  Only soak the knife blade for as long as it takes to dissolve the unwanted material.  Extended soaking, particularly when the entire blade and handle are submerged, will only lead to a shortened life for any custom knife crafted to last a lifetime.


  Preserving the Knife:

I recommend that you wipe or dry the blade thoroughly after each use.  A light machine oil, WD-40, or the like should be applied sparingly to the blade and then wiped clean.  This should be done at regular intervals based on how the knife is used.  Heavier use and hostile environments require more frequent maintenance.

On my friction folders, the addition of a drop of oil sparingly applied to the pivot pin area is also recommended.

When using a knife for food preparation, always clean the blade and wipe down with cooking oil.


  Sharpening the Blade: 

There are several ways to sharpen a blade or to put an edge on a knife. One method is by using a belt grinder or sander. Another is using a stone, ceramic sticks, butchers steel, angle guide, clamp on angle guide, natural or man made stones, Japanese water stones, and so forth.

Whether using a sharpening guide or sharpening free hand the most important thing is keeping the sharpening angle constant. Whatever angle you use on one side, do the same for the other side.

Another important idea is to sharpen each side equally. Rotate heel to point.

The method that seems to get the most constant results is left side heel to point and then turn over and perform the same for the other side.

It's been said to sharpen as though you are trying to slice a thin layer from the top of the stone.  Below are three simple steps to follow that will result in a clean, sharp edge and applies whether you choose to use a wet or dry stone:

  1. Begin the procedure by securely fastening the coarse stone in a vice or placing it on a sturdy non-skid surface; this keeps the stone stationary during the entire sharpening process.
  2. Lay the blade flat at the far end of the stone, raise the spine slightly (15 to 20 degrees) and draw the blade from the heel to point toward you, taking care to keep your fingers away from the blade's edge. Turn the blade over and repeat on the other side pushing the blade away.
  3. Continue in this manner until you have established a burr along the edge. The burr is a wire edge that must be removed in order for the blade to be properly sharpened. This is accomplished by using the fine stone and raising the blade a bit more (25 to 30 degrees) than you did to establish the wire edge. Now all that needs to be done is "lightly" stroke the blade heel to point alternating one side then the other until you "break off" the wire edge.

Initial sharpening will require moderate pressure against the stone while removing the burr should be done lightly.


Bill Hampton Knives.
Copyright 2007 []. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04/09/10

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