Care and Maintenance
High carbon steel, if neglected, is prone to rust. Therefore, these knives should be kept dry and clean. NEVER place in a dishwasher. Wipe, rinse, or wash the knife after use and dry immediately. Do not allow the knife to stay wet for any period of time, this includes any blood that may get on the knife.
It is best to store hunting knives, for extended periods, out of the leather sheath (tannins, oil and moisture from the leather can promote rust and discoloration). They should be regularly (about once a month) treated with an application of a rust preventative solution, such as a light oil (mineral oil will do), rust protective lubricant or a carnauba wax. *This is especially true for anything made from wrought iron (letter openers, guards and butt caps) which is very prone to rust.
Kitchen knives are best stored flat in a drawer or on a magnetic rack. Do NOT leave kitchen knife in the provided protective cover---the cover is supplied to aid in safe transport only. A thin layer of olive or canola oil will help in rust prevention.
A sharp knife is a safe knife. Re-sharpening of the 20 degree primary edge (40 degrees comprehensive) on field knives and 15 degrees (30 degrees comprehensive) on kitchen knives can be easily done by most home sharpening devices or it can be done, free of charge, at the forge as a service to the owner (owner must arrange transport to and from forge).
Knives are made for cutting, primarily skin and/or meat, not for prying or chopping. Any blade can be bent, broken or the edge ruined, if used incorrectly. It is not a crowbar, pry bar, machete, screwdriver or axe. So use good judgement and use it for its intended purpose only--cutting. Despite what you see on TV: knives are not made to chop wood, cut bone, nails, bolts, metal, etc and retain their edge. They should, also, never be thrown.
If rust develops, it can be removed with a mild abrasive (fine steel wool or a fine grit sandpaper) followed by an application of a light oil, rust preventative, metal polish or carnauba wax. With use, a patina or gray discoloration may occur on the blade primarily due to it coming in contact with acids. This causes no harm to the blade and adds character to the knife and also may help prevent rust formation.
The handles should be treated with respect. They are primarily made from natural materials, such as wood, bone, antler, birch bark or leather. Wood's finish can be renewed with an application of *tung oil (what is used at forge) followed by a good quality carnauba wax. Small cracks in wood can be sealed with superglue and then sanded. Bone and antler can also develop small cracks, due to the nature of these materials. These are usually harmless because of the method of attachment to the tang. Birch bark can be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide or if really dirty, washed with soap and water, then cleaned with hydrogen peroxide followed by a light coat of mineral oil and then a good carnauba wax. Leather handles should be treated with a light leather conditioner or neutral shoe polish to prevent the leather from drying out. Oils can soften the leather, which can lead to problems.
As for the sheaths, it is important to remember that they are not waterproof, but may be water repellant. If a sheath becomes wet, remove the knife, as soon as possible, and allow the sheath to air dry. Never expose a leather sheath to heat (do not place it in an oven even at low temperature to speed the drying process--it will ruin the leather). Treat the sheath like you would a good pair of leather shoes: wipe away any dirt with a soft damp cloth, allow to air dry and apply a quality neutral shoe polish, light liquid leather conditioner or leather dressing. Avoid oils that soften the leather--a soft and very pliable sheath can end up with a sharp blade penetrating it. Again, do not store the knife for extended periods in the sheath--tannins, oil and moisture can promote rust formation and discoloration. *Thanks to my good friend (and sheathmaker) Bud Siniard of Upland Custom Leather for this information on leather sheath care and maintenance.
If any problems arise with your Cattle Dog Forge knife or Upland Leather field knife sheath, please contact me so the problem can be resolved. My knives and their sheaths are guaranteed for NORMAL and NONABUSIVE use of the knife (this does not include prying, digging, chopping or any other non-cutting activities) and/or its sheath, as long as Cattle Dog Forge, LLC and Upland Custom Leather are operational. It is a knife, use it for it's intended purpose (cutting), and it should last you a lifetime and you will be able to pass it down to future generations.
If you are not happy with your purchase, you can return the knife within 10 days after receiving it, if it is in the original and unused condition, for a full refund (buyer is responsible for return transport).
Remember, these knives and sheaths are almost entirely handcrafted and are therefore not without the potential for minor imperfections. Care is made to make each knife as "perfect" as I can. The little "imperfections" that may be present are what, to me, identifies it as a handmade object and makes each one unique.
I make no claims that these are the best available handmade knives. There are many great bladesmiths. I do claim that each knife is handmade, one at a time, to the very best of my ability and from the very best available materials.
My hope is that you will say: "This is the best knife I've ever owned."