Always handle knives in a safe manner, never throw a knife, except for an actual throwing knife. It is very easy to crack, chip or mar the knife handle. Over the years we have learned to check that the locking mechanism has, in fact, locked the knife into place. Do not assume this will work every single time.
Basic Knife Care Rules to Remember:
- Again, the first thing to remember in knife care is also about knife safety; always remember to store your knife in a safe manner in a safe location.
- Make sure to clean you knife after every use. For the hard-use knife, make sure to get any gunk, grease or grit off of the knife. Even for a “safe queen” make sure you wipe off fingerprints each time you are done with the knife.
- Always keep your knife dry. Even “stainless” steel will corrode over time and most carbon steel will start rusting within days in many environments.
- Most knives, especially folders and non-stainless blades should be lightly oiled after each use. When done, clean and dry the knife, wipe off any old oil and the apply a thin layer of new oil of the knife and blade.
- Wooden knife handles can be cared for with occasional wood polish or oil.
- Also remember that a sharp knife is a safe knife. We have more information on how to sharpen your knife located here.
- Finally, it is important where you store your knife. Store it out of the sheath and in a dry location. Some woods such as oak, draw moisture and will rust knives faster than others. Double check you knife regularly to make sure it is happy in its’ current location.
We have found it worth noting again, DO NOT store your knife in the sheath. Leather draws and then seals in moisture and you will experience significantly more rust and corrosion if you store in the sheath.
The best way to clean your knife is with specially designed knife cleaner. If you don’t have such cleaner, you can decide to use plain soap and water. If you use soap and water try to clean the knife without dunking it fully into the water. Make sure you dry your knife completely to avoid rust or corrosion. Some things that have worked for us include: using a hair draying, sitting the knife in the sun, or using a can of compressed air like those used to clean camera lens and computer keyboards.
If you are cleaning a folder, make sure to work carefully and fully around the moving parts of the lock, pivot, etc...
Here are some additional tips courtesy of Buck Knives:
Recommended Cleaners from Buck Knives
Clean Streak is completely residue-free. It's an excellent metal cleaner that's easy to use. Simply spray and wipe. No rinsing or immersion in liquid required.
Metal Brite is a polish. It removes surface oxidation, rust, tarnish and sticky residues while leaving a protective coating.
You can also use chemical solvents like Acetone, nail polish remover, MEK, alcohol and paint thinner to clean the blade. Keep in mind that these solvents can damage some knife handles.
Don't use harsh detergents that contain chlorine like washing machine powders. They can speed up corrosion of the metal.
Discoloration is a Sign of Oxidation
If you find the metal has a blue, grey or black color, it is a sign of oxidation and a precursor of rust.
Stainless steel, which is what Buck uses by the way, does not discolor easily. If you do notice a change in the color of the metal, clean it immediately. It's a sign of rust waiting to happen.
Discoloration is common to non-stainless steel. But regular cleaning will keep the metal from rusting.
Get Rid of Rust
Rust is reddish-brown in color and will eat pits into your blade and contaminate what you cut. Light rust can be cleaned and removed with oil. Heavier rust requires more abrasive action.
We recommend Metal Brite, an excellent polish for removing rust. You can also use some solvents or a plastic cleaning pad.
Oiling or Lubricating Your Knife
We used to just say oiling your knife, but today many of the best lubricants are not actually oil based. So feel free to use either term.
Make sure that you oil your knife each time you clean it, and within reason, after each use. Pay particular attention to moving parts to make sure they get a small light coat of all, especially around any part where metal contacts metal. After you are done with the moving parts, or for a fix blades, go ahead and wipe a thin layer of oil across the entire blade and handle. Be sure that your handle material is compatible with the oil you use and vice versa. If not you can easily discolor some natural material commonly used in knife handles.