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Now that I've been using my khukri for a couple of months, the surface is getting rather stained by plant sap. I've tried rubbing it with a piece of cloth and ash but the stains just refuse to disappear.

The blade is carbon steel, and its polish is a little rough. The stains look like rust, but they're actually dried plant sap that got caught in the grooves of the metal.

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A picture of the blade in question would help to focus answers to appropriate methods. Also, is the blade carbon on stainless steel? – Mr.Wizard Feb 5 '14 at 14:14
Also, what finish is on the blade? – Mr.Wizard Feb 5 '14 at 17:58
Thanks, it's a carbon steel blade with an unpolished finish. I'll edit the question now, and I'll add the picture in the morning (it's 2am here) – Twilight Sparkle Feb 5 '14 at 18:10
Okay, I'll try to provide a useful answer at that time. – Mr.Wizard Feb 5 '14 at 18:16
Also keep in mind that carbon steel tends to develop a patina that actually helps protect the blade, but it can look like rust or discoloration. I have a Carbon Steel Morakniv that I thought was ruined, but it was just developing a patina on the metal. – Blackbear Feb 6 '14 at 17:39
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Polishing a blade means sanding it with very fine compound (more than 2000 factor). Specialized pastes exist just for that. For example:

enter image description here

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Just to add on, you can also use the dust from a high grit waterstone. Here's a video of Ray Mears's tutorial on how to care for knives. – Twilight Sparkle Feb 14 '14 at 7:01
@TwilightSparkle, excellent advice! – Vorac Feb 14 '14 at 9:57

I mostly use(d) a piece of sandpaper to get rid of residue and from what I've been testing it really helps to put an oil coating on your knife.
When it's coated once it's easier to clean by just adding more oil and rubbing it off.

I posted a question about axe heads but I also tested it on my knifes:
What type of oil to use for axe heads

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