View Full Version : knife wear

10-05-2014, 10:59 PM
Any one know how long it would take for a carving knife to show signs of age? My favourite, the choice for preparing meat and veg and carving roasts for over a decade, sharpened at least fortnightly, still looks new.

How much history before it plausibly looks like it has a history?

King Neptune
10-05-2014, 11:19 PM
There's a huge amount of variation in knife wear. The largest factors involved are the metal and the person(s) using it. I am surprised that there is no sign of wear on a ten year old knife; that's is truly unusual. I would normally expect a knife starting to show signs of aging after two or three years at most.

10-06-2014, 02:40 AM
Well, I for one am ashamed to say that I'm abusive to my knives. I don't sharpen them very often, and <gasp> I've been known to put them through the dishwasher. That said, they don't look their best. One of my favorite chef's knives has a handle that got too close to my gas stove and melted just a bit. I've had most of them for over ten years.

So it really does depend on the fastidiousness of their owner, I think.

10-06-2014, 03:30 AM
Also depends on whether you're talking about wear of the blade or wear of the handle/hilt. And what type of steel, how it's used, and how it's maintained.

10-06-2014, 03:50 AM
I've got two sets of knives, one medium quality with wooden handles, which show wear on the wood and slight separation at the full tang (where the blade becomes part of the handle) but still have great blades when I sharpen them, and one better, with plastic handles. (They go in the dishwasher, too. Way better!)

To get a knife that shows actual wear, you either have to mistreat it (use it as a screwdriver, put wooden handles through the dishwasher, allow the sharp edge to saw through metals) or have it for several decades. My mom's big boning knife had an edge that was no longer a straight line, after maybe forty years of frequent sharpening.

Maryn, not sure who got that knife, except that it's not her

10-06-2014, 09:58 AM
It would depend on what the knife was made of. A stainless steel blade, if well looked after, will show no signs of wear for decades - the handle is more likely to show signs of wear first, especially if it's made of wood.

My partner is a knife maker and I am happy to direct any specific knife questions to him :)

Karen Junker
10-06-2014, 06:24 PM
In 1976, I lived in the Ozark mountains on a farm -- it was a mile from the nearest neighbors. Tom & May Long, the neighbors, were in their early 80s and had been married for over 60 years -- their carving knife, paring knife and one other knife they owned had been in use by them since they got married. They may have been stainless steel, but may not (it was only really invented in 1905). The handles were wood and the blades were so worn down from use, they were about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick -- and there was a slight curve on the cutting edge, so the area that got the most use was thinnest. I believe they were worn down most from sharpening.

In 1997, my husband's grandparents moved into an assisted living facility here (Seattle area) from their home in Omaha, Nebraska. They were in their late 80s and had been married for over 60 years. Grammy gave me her paring knife, which was worn down to around 1/4 inch of metal (it had probably originally been more like 3/4 inch). When we moved a year later, my husband threw it out.

10-07-2014, 05:59 PM
As what a lot of people have already said steel is important. I have restored knives that are over a hundred years old to almost brand new quality and have taken a knife that was brought to me that is only five years old and was barely able to do anything with it.

Another factor is care and usage.

Environment plays another role. Is it dry, humid, or near an ocean or sea? Is it an urban or rural environment? All these things could potentially add to factors that may change how a knife is used and alters over time.