FAQ

Do your knives and tools have a warranty?

If you are not satisfied with your knife or tool, we accept return of the item in its original condition and will provide a full refund. Each piece is hand forged and may contain organic imperfections that are an inherent part of the process.

How do you ship?

Once your order has been placed you will be contacted directly and an invoice will be sent within 48 hours. We offer a discount on shipping for multiple purchases.  Orders will be processed and items are shipped each week on Friday using Canada XpressPost. Buyers are responsible for paying any customs or duties that may be applied by their country.

What is the difference between white and blue Japanese steels?

Both of these steels are excellent and are similar in performance with subtle differences. White steel can be honed to a finer final edge and chefs looking to produce paper thin cuts of root vegetables, or dice the finest of shallots and chives will enjoy this steel. It is also slightly less reactive compared to blue steel and more resistant to forming a patina. Blue steel contains small amounts of manganese, chromium and tungsten that modify the final grain of the steel.  Blue steel contains both iron and tungsten carbides making it slightly tougher, and also increases the edge retention compared to white steel. Chefs that prefer to sharpen their knives less frequently, or have many boxes of produce to break down, or are often heavy handed with their cutting techniques will appreciate this steel.

Is pattern welded or ‘Damascus’ steel better compared to other steels?

Sometimes. Pattern welded steel is often sought after for its striking appearance along with its reputation of requiring a skilled blacksmith with experience. It is more difficult to make as the forging process is more complicated. The steels are folded many times and there cannot be any errors in the forge welding processes, and carbon migration can quickly become an issue. If successful, pattern welded steel can take advantage of the different properties of the starting steels to produce a final uniform steel that is superior to a mono-steel knife. For our pattern welded steel, we often choose a combination of white steel #2, and 15N20 steel traditionally folded and tempered to HRC 64,65. Chefs have reported that these knives are “more responsive” compared to knives solely using either white or blue steel.

How do I look after my new Smith and Spathis carbon steel knife?

Japanese forged carbon steel knives require drying and light oiling (recommend olive/camellia/food grade mineral oil) after use to maintain the carbon steel long term.  A patina will form on the surface of the steel with use over time that will form natural protective barrier for the blade. As with all knives, do not heat the blade to cut through things like butter as it will destroy the heat treatment properties of the knife. Do not cut through frozen foods and meats, or try to cleaver through bones. Do not open cans of food using the heel of your knife.  Use a good quality preferably end-grain wood, or plastic cutting board.  Bamboo will dull knives faster, while glass cutting boards and stainless steel surfaces will damage carbon steel. No dishwashers. The natural wooden handles of our knives have been impregnated with linseed oil, and should not be soaked in water for long periods of time. Be very careful and cut slowly while getting to know your new knife.

Should I choose a carbon steel knife or a stainless knife?

It depends on your application. If you are looking for the highest performance and ease of sharpening, we usually recommend carbon steel knives. For very busy chefs that may be rushed during service, or home enthusiasts that may encounter preparing an evening dinner with multiple children running around the home we often recommend stainless. Also, if you are working around salt water conditions, or with highly acidic foods such as preparing cases of citrus for bar service we also recommend stainless steel.

I have a knife that needs major repair and sharpening.  Can you do this?

We offer sharpening and repair service for our products as well as any other blades or tools that may be special to you. We have found that many chefs as well as home enthusiasts have some knives that need some attention and refinishing.  We mainly refurbish kitchen knives. Our most common knife repair includes fixing broken knife tips and/or a large chip in the heel. Depending on the condition, we remove surface scratches and rust, reset and sharpen the bevel of the blade and finish with whetstone honing. We also offer a re-handling service for worn handles for western and eastern style handles.

I noticed that your knives are mainly constructed using western style handles.  Do you make traditional Japanese handled knives?

Yes, but they are usually custom order. We mainly use western style construction for our handles. In our opinion, they are overall more solid and durable in and require less maintenance and re-handling during its life. Japanese knife handles are more prone to moisture entering the handles and can cause rust and handle expansion over time causing the blade to loosen, or the handle to crack. The majority of our western style handles are made with full tang construction and only solid brass or mosaic rivets. They are also placed in a vacuum chamber which exchanges the air in the handles with linseed oil. The linseed oil hardens and stabilizes, providing moisture resistance, and bacterial protection for the knife handle.

Is your forge open to the public and can I visit?

Yes. We have a small boutique at our forge location, and we are open to the public by appointment only. You are welcome to bring any knives or tools that need sharpening and repair. We can usually perform the repairs during your visit so that you can take them home the same day.