A Basic Guide: Knife Care 101
Caring for your knife is a mandatory part of tool maintenance. Taking good care of arguably your most important survival tool ensures its quality and longevity for years to come. Knife care and maintenance is simple, quick and necessary. Let’s cover the basics to make sure that your survival knife lasts you for years to come and is there when you need to use it;
The Rules of Knife Care
- Don’t misuse your knife: The worst mistake novices make is to use their knife in ways that it is not intended. Knives are not meant to work as a hammer, a screwdriver or a toothpick. However fun it may be, most knives are also not meant to be thrown. Using your knife in any way that it is not meant to be used is going to cause damage and lead to the premature degradation of your tool.
- Keep your knife clean: After every use, wipe your entire knife down, handle included. Simply using running water and a tiny quantity of soap will do. Do not ever scrub your knife with anything abrasive (physical or chemical). Once you have washed it, dry it and put it away. This step is crucial for knife care rust prevention. Even the highest quality stainless steel blades can rust in favorable conditions.
- Keep your knife oiled: Using a little knife care mineral oil or even WD-40 after the knife has been cleaned is great for protecting a steel blade from rust and debris. If the handle is made from wood or leather, a small amount of oil is also useable on the handle. If the handle is plastic, do not use oil, it will result in a slippery handle and unsafe conditions. Oil should only be used on steel, other metals may get scuffed or scratched.
- Keep your knife waxed: A light coat of hand-rubbed wax is favorable for blade protection. Much like the oil, a little goes a long way. Renaissance wax is good, but using an all-natural Carnauba wax with no synthetic polymers. Wax is generally preferred over oil as with some materials, oil will attract dust and could weaken the sheath.
- Keep your knife sharp: Most accidents occur because of a dull knife. Keep your knife sharp and keep your fingers attached! If you don’t know how to sharpen your own knife, there are plenty of YouTube tutorials. You can also invest in a professional sharpening.
- Store your knife properly: If you have a small pocket knife, remember that keys and pocket change can dent, scratch and otherwise compromise the integrity of your knife. If you have a folding knife, keep the locking latch clean and the pivot lightly oiled. Proper knife storage boils down to common sense. Protect your tool from the elements with its sheath and keep it stored in a dry place.
Taking the time to properly care for your knife is important! Without proper knife care, you can take all that time you spent researching the best survival knife and all that money you spent to buy it and just throw it out the window. Maintaining this crucial survival tool is simply a mandatory step for any responsible survivalist and it should be taken seriously.