How To Keep Old Hickory Knives From Rusting – Simple And Easy Steps

How To Keep Old Hickory Knives From Rusting

Whether you have a collection of Old Hickory knives that you cherish or have recently bought your first one, it is important to know how to properly store, maintain, and use them in order to keep them in pristine condition and free from rust. Rust is an ever-present enemy, and it can be a tricky problem to avoid, especially when it comes to antiques such as Old Hickory knives.

Today, we will explore simple and easy ways to prevent rust buildup on your knives, so you can keep your kitchen tools in top shape with minimal effort.

Why Does Old Hickory Rust?

Old Hickory Knives are a type of kitchen knife that is made from carbon steel. Carbon steel is a combination of iron and carbon, and it is an alloy that is often used in tools and knives because it is incredibly durable and resistant to wear and tear. Unfortunately, carbon steel is also prone to rusting, and Old Hickory is no exception.

When iron is exposed to oxygen and moisture, a chemical reaction occurs which causes the iron to combine with oxygen and form iron oxide, also known as rust. Iron oxide is not as strong or durable as iron, so it can cause the knife to weaken and become damaged over time. In order to prevent the knife from rusting, it is important to keep it clean and dry after every use and to store it in a dry place when not in use.

How To Keep Old Hickory Knives From Rusting (Best Methods)

The best way to prevent rust is to take good care of it. Here we will discuss How To Care For Your Old Hickory Knives

Clean Properly

One of the most important steps for keeping your Old Hickory Knives from rusting is to clean them after each use. The best practice is to wash them by hand and avoid using a dishwasher, as they are not dishwasher friendly.

To hand wash, fill a sink with warm, soapy water and gently scrub the blade of the knife with a sponge or soft cloth. Rinse the knife off with clean water and dry it with a soft towel. Make sure to also clean the handle of the knife with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris.

After you’ve finished washing and drying your knife, take the extra step of wiping them down with a dry cloth. This will help remove any remaining moisture, which can lead to rust.

After cleaning store it in a Knife Block. They are a great way to store your knives as well as keep them from rusting. Knife blocks are designed to keep your knives away from moisture and other objects in the kitchen, and they’ll also protect the blade from being damaged.

Apply Oil

Applying a thin layer of oil to your knife is also a good way to protect them from rust. This can easily be done with a cotton cloth or paper towel. Doing this will help prevent moisture from settling on the blade, which can lead to rust formation. Additionally, the oil will create an effective barrier that will protect your knives from corrosion and rust.

As a general rule, mineral oil is a great choice for food-grade knife oil. It is odorless, tasteless, and non-toxic, making it safe for food contact. It also won’t leave a greasy residue, so it won’t attract dirt or bacteria. Avoid using harsh lubricants like gun oil, as these can leave a greasy residue and may not be safe for food contact.

Sharpen Regularly

Keeping your knives sharp is a great way to prevent them from rusting. Sharp knives are less likely to corrode or rust due to moisture, which makes them last longer. Additionally, a sharp knife can make cutting and slicing easier, faster, and safer.

The best way to sharpen a knife is to use a sharpening stone. Stones come in a range of grits, from coarse to fine, and can be used to sharpen knives of any size or type. Alternatively, you can take a professional knife sharpening service if you do not know how to use a sharpening stone.

Avoid Hard Surface

Another factor that can contribute to rusting is the type of cutting surface that the knife is used on. If the knife is used on a surface that is too acidic or too alkaline, this can cause the knife to corrode and rust faster. It is important to make sure that the knife is only used on surfaces that are appropriate for the type of steel it is made of. You should also avoid using the knife on hard surfaces such as glass, ceramic, or granite.

Hard surfaces, such as granite, marble, or concrete, should be avoided when cutting with a knife. Soft surfaces, such as wood, plastic, or rubber, are better options for preventing rust. Additionally, it is important to make sure that any cutting board or surface that the knife is used on is properly cleaned and maintained to avoid any build-up of acidic or alkaline substances that could corrode the knife.

Keep Away From Heat

Extreme heat can cause your knives to warp and rust, so it is important to keep them away from any sources of extreme heat, such as open flames, dishwashers, or ovens.

Store knives in a cool and dry place, away from any heat sources such as open flames or ovens. If you find yourself in a hot environment where you need to use a knife or other cutting tool, make sure to use a cutting board that is heat resistant.

How To Clean Rust Off A Knife (Baking Soda Method)

Materials Needed:

  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Soft Brush
  • Sponge
  • Steel Wool (Depends)

Before you start, it is important to make sure that the knife is clean and free of any dirt or debris. This will ensure that the baking soda has the best chance of removing the rust. If there is still dirt or food residue on the knife, use a damp cloth to wipe it away before proceeding.

Start by mixing three parts baking soda with one part water in a bowl. Stir the mixture until it forms a thick paste. Once the paste is ready, use a sponge or cloth to apply it to the rusted area of the knife. Rub the paste in small circles, making sure to cover the entire surface.

Next, let the paste sit on the knife for about an hour. This will give the baking soda time to break down the rust and loosen it from the blade. After an hour, use a soft brush to gently scrub away the rust, making sure not to scratch the surface of the knife. If the knife is extremely rusty, use steel wool to scrub away the rust.

When all of the rust has been removed, the baking soda paste may have left a residue on the blade. To remove this, use a damp cloth to wipe off the residue and then dry the knife completely.

Other Effective Methods You Can Apply

Vinegar Method

  1. Start by soaking the knife in white vinegar for a few hours. This will help loosen the rust and help make it easier to remove.
  2. Use a soft brush, such as a toothbrush, to scrub away the rust. Be sure to scrub gently so you don’t damage the blade.
  3. Rinse the knife off with warm water and dry it with a soft cloth. This will help ensure any remaining rust is removed.

Lemon Method

  1. Start by cutting a lemon in half.
  2. Sprinkle the cut surface of the lemon with some table salt.
  3. Rub the cut surface of the lemon on the rusty parts of the knife.
  4. Let the lemon juice and salt sit on the knife for about an hour.
  5. Use a soft sponge to scrub off the rust.
  6. Rinse off the knife with warm water and dry it thoroughly.

Potato Method

  1. Start by cutting a potato in half and sprinkling some salt or baking soda on the cut surface.
  2. Rub the cut surface of the potato onto the rust on your knife. The acid in the potato will help to break down the rust and the salt or baking soda will act as an abrasive to help scrub it away.
  3. Once the rust is removed, rinse your knife with warm water and a few drops of dish soap.
  4. Dry the knife with a soft cloth or paper towel.

Old Hickory Knife Handle Replacement

Old Hickory Knife Handle Replacement

Old Hickory knives are famously sturdy, and their handles are usually made of natural hardwood. Unfortunately, after years of use, even the strongest handles can become worn and cracked, making them difficult to use and potentially dangerous.

The first step in replacing an Old Hickory knife handle is to gather the necessary materials. You will need a new handle, a drill, a Phillips head screwdriver, a pair of pliers, and some wood glue. You can purchase replacement handles from a variety of online retailers or you may be able to find them at your local hardware store.

The second step is to remove the old handle. This is a relatively simple process, but it is important to take care not to damage the knife blade while doing so. Start by removing the screws from the handle and then use a pair of pliers to gently pull the handle away from the blade. Once the handle is removed, you can use a small file to remove any residue from the blade.

The third step is to prepare the new handle for installation. If you are using a synthetic material, you will need to sand the handle until it is smooth. If you are using a natural wood handle, you will need to sand and finish the handle to protect it from moisture and wear. Once the new handle is prepared, you can begin the installation process.

The fourth step is to attach the new handle to the knife. Start by drilling two small pilot holes in the handle and then inserting the screws that came with the knife. Make sure the screws are tight and secure, but not overly tight. Once the screws are in place, you can use a small file to sand down any excess material.

The fifth and final step is to finish the handle. If you are using a natural wood handle, you will need to apply a few coats of oil or varnish to protect the wood and enhance its appearance. If you are using a synthetic material, you can use a heat gun to give it a glossy finish.

Old Hickory Knives History

Old Hickory knives are made in the USA, based in central Indiana. The factory is located in a rural area and is renowned for its craftsmanship and attention to detail. The company has been in business since 1889 and is still owned and operated by the same family that founded it.

The process behind making an Old Hickory knife is an interesting one; the company starts with high-quality materials that are cut, shaped, and tempered to create the blade. The blade is then polished and honed to perfection, ensuring that it is razor-sharp and capable of holding an edge. Once the blade is finished, it is fitted with a handle made from select hardwoods, such as hickory or oak, which is then shaped and polished to create a comfortable grip. Finally, each knife is inspected and sharpened one last time before it is ready to be shipped out.

How To Date Old Hickory Knives

Old Hickory knives are some of the oldest and most reliable knives available. These knives date back to the late 1800s when they were produced by the Ontario Knife Company.

The first step in dating an Old Hickory knife is to determine the age of the knife. You can do this by looking at the blade and handle; they are stamped with a logo. The logo can tell you when the knife was made. For example, the logo used by the Ontario Knife Company between 1883 and 1919 featured a shield with a horned owl.

Once you have determined the age of the knife, it is time to look for any signs of wear and tear. They are known for their tough construction, but they can still wear down with use. Look for any signs of rust, pitting, or discoloration on the blade or handle; these signs can indicate that the knife is older than it appears.

Next, examine the blade for any chips or cracks. This is especially important for knives that have been used for a long time. Chipped or cracked blades can be a sign of wear and tear, which can reduce the knife’s efficiency and safety.

Finally, inspect the handle. Most of them have a wooden handle, which can become cracked or warped over time. It is important to check the handle for any signs of wear and tear, as this can indicate that the knife is older than it appears.

Once you’ve determined the age of the knife and inspected it for any signs of wear and tear, you can get an accurate idea of its age. This can help you decide if it’s worth investing in a new knife or if the old one is still reliable and useful.

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

How to identify the real old hickory knife?

Firstly, the most important thing to look for is the logo. All genuine Old Hickory knives have the logo stamped on the blade; this is a logo with the words “Old Hickory” in a circle. Secondly, the handle should be made of hardwood, such as hickory, oak, or maple, and should have a steel ferrule that is pressed onto it.

What type of steel are Old Hickory knives made from?

Old Hickory knives are made from 1095 carbon steel, a high-carbon steel commonly used in cutlery and tools due to its strength and durability. It is easy to sharpen and holds an edge well, as well as being resistant to corrosion and chipping, making it an ideal choice for kitchen knives. 1095 carbon steel is slightly more brittle than other types of steel, but it is also much harder, giving it a longer lifespan.

How often should I check my knives for rust?

It’s always a good idea to check your knives for rust regularly. Depending on how often you use them and the environment they are stored in, you may want to check them once a month or so. If you use your knives often and they are exposed to moisture, you may want to check them more frequently. The point is to make sure your knives are in good condition, so it’s important to inspect them regularly.

Are Old Hickory knives dishwasher safe?

No, Old Hickory Knives are not dishwasher-safe. The high temperature of the dishwasher can cause the handles to crack or warp, and the abrasive action of the dishwasher can damage the blade. Therefore, hand-washing is recommended for cleaning your knives.

Can I use an Old Hickory knife on a hard surface?

No, it is not recommended to use an Old Hickory knife on a hard surface. It is best to use it on a soft surface, such as a cutting board, for a stable cutting surface. This will provide a softer surface than the hard surface and help protect the knife edge from damage.

Does baking soda work on all types of knives?

Baking soda is an effective way to clean and care for your knives, but it may not be the best solution for all types of knives. Different types of knives require different levels of care and maintenance, and baking soda may not be suitable for all of them. For example, high-end knives may require a more gentle and specialized cleaning solution. It is always best to check the manufacturer’s instructions before using any type of cleaning solution on your knives.


The Old Hickory knife is one of the most iconic pieces of Americana and a tool that has been used by many generations of Americans. With its traditional design, the Old Hickory knife has stood the test of time and continues to be a popular choice for many who need a reliable cutting tool.

Keeping your Old Hickory knives from rusting is an easy task if done regularly and correctly. This can be done by cleaning and drying the knives after use, oiling them, storing them in a dry place, sharpening them regularly, and not leaving them exposed to water or other corrosive liquids. Taking the right steps to care for your knives will ensure that they stay in good condition for a long time.

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