Knife maintenance generates some confusion among kitchen knife set owners. If you are a knife manufacturer, you’re hopefully aware of the potential misunderstandings of knife steel -- mainly the common assumption that all knives are stainless and corrosion-proof. It requires ongoing effort on your part to educate buyers -- and your own team -- about knives and what the specific maintenance needs are for those knives based on their material.
Since we’ve long served as a blade manufacturer for an OEM company, here are our top four knife maintenance tips:
Knife Maintenance: Tips for Kitchen Knife Set Manufacturers
- Make sure your manufacturer is using the right material.
- Choose a material that fits the needs of your intended customer.
- Educate the customer about the material you used.
- Show customers how even certain stainless steels may need special treatment.
1. Make sure your manufacturer is using the right material.
The options for knife materials are numerous, each offering different strengths and weaknesses that must be carefully considered.
You probably spent a lot of time and effort determining which blade metal would be ideal for your product. The material you use in the manufacturing process should be very specific. For example, here’s a list of stainless steel grades -- you can see that the options are seemingly endless.
It’s always a good idea to double-check that your manufacturer is using the exact material you requested to avoid big problems down the line when your end customer is complaining about the knife’s quality or sturdiness.
2. Choose a material that fits the needs of your intended customer.
For any business using steel manufacturing, there are numerous options to choose from based on the end requirements of the product.
Stainless steels resist corrosion, while carbon steels are more durable. Carbon steel is inexpensive, but stainless steel has that beautiful, mirror-like finish that can be appealing in kitchen tools.
As we mentioned, there are many different types of stainless steel. And many individual types of stainless are available in slight variations. With so many steels to choose from, it’s vital that you make sure that the one you choose will work as you intend it to.
When it comes to kitchen knives, one type of steel may be better for certain customers than another. For instance, a customer that wants to buy a set of knives and forget about them -- as in, needing to do as little maintenance as possible -- will probably do best with a set of stainless steel knives. In contrast, a cooking enthusiast who loves top-end tools will be more inclined to want knives that are strong and hold an edge. For this customer, carbon steel knives would be more appropriate.
3. Educate the customer about the material you used.
Knife customers love to know what makes their purchases great. You can take advantage of this enthusiasm to educate them about what material you used or will use -- this will make it more likely they’ll take care of the knives.
Stainless steel knife set owners should know that the material of their knives is ideal for resisting corrosion. They need to sharpen them periodically but can largely forget about further maintenance.
Carbon steel knife set owners should know that the composition of their knives is what makes them tough and so good at holding an edge. That composition also means they need to take measures to prevent corrosion. You can keep rust off and your knives looking their best year after year with:
- Hand washing
- Immediate drying of the knives
- Applying a coat of mineral oil to the knives
4. Let customers know that even certain stainless steels may need special treatment.
If you decide to manufacture kitchen knives out of some of the latest stainless steel materials -- ones that attempt to find the perfect balance between a good edge and corrosion resistance -- then your knives will need more maintenance than pure stainless models. Inform customers about the amazing qualities of the steel and the fact that it will need to be cared for to prevent potential corrosion.
Keep Your Kitchen Knife Set Cutting-Edge
If you have questions about which steels will be best for your product, contacting your manufacturer is a simple but great way to get those questions answered. The blade manufacturer will have all the expertise you’ll need in material properties and manufacturability.