Maintaining your knives
Most of us carry a knife or a multi-tool of some sort. A well-made bladed tool can be invaluable in the amount of tasks it can perform from cutting food or opening boxes to literally saving someone’s life. Whether you carry a folding knife, fixed blade or multi tool on a daily basis, it has to be maintained for it to work properly to make sure that it can perform the task at hand.
When it comes to folding knives, the most basic form of maintenance is to clean the blade, lubricate the pivot and keep the interior clean of debris. Dirt and debris can keep the knife from properly opening or even dull the blade if left neglected.
The average tactical knife uses a stainless steel blade of some time to keep it rust resistant. These can be wiped down with Flitz cloth or silicone reel cloth for this purpose. If you use your knife to cut food, a light coat of olive oil or vegetable oil will do the same trick. A light coat of automotive wax can be used to protect the blade as well.
Lubricating the pivot can be performed on knives which can be completely disassembled. As with any other tool, ensure that you use the right sized drivers for the removal of the screws. If the manufacturer voids the warranty for performing this task, do not do it as it may operate on bearings or some other system and you can end up doing more harm than good. A light coat of Break Free, MP-7 lubricant or other quality firearm oil will work well on your pivot.
Cleaning the interior of the knife can be performed with either an air compressor or a can of compressed air sold in office supply stores. Simply open the knife, insert the nozzle between the liners and blow out all the pocket lint, sand or other debris.
These same rules hold for multi tools. Be judicious with the use of oil, however as too much can become a “dirt and grit” magnet and cause more worry down the line.
Fixed blade knives are easier to maintain as there is no disassembly required. Simply follow the steps for maintaining a blade.
Some knives such as Titanium frame lock folders can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Do not do this if the knife utilizes any other material such as G10, Micarta or Carbon Fiber as the heat can cause these materials to discolor and breakdown after a while. An automatic knife should never be cleaned in this manner.
Titanium can be cleaned with Windex when the color begins to dull.
Sharpening a knife is really the subject for a whole different article. However it is easy to maintain a sharp edge by lightly stropping the knife on a leather strap, belt or even the cardboard back of a note pad.
Knife sheaths may require maintenance if your carry knife is a fixed blade. Leather sheaths can be cleaned with saddle soap and protected using a silicone spray. Kydex sheaths require very little maintenance but should be cleaned out via an air compressor regularly for loose Kydex bits and sand or other debris that could scratch the blade.
When simple steps like these are performed on a semi regular basis, your knife will last much longer than you think.