Maintaining and protecting rusty knives - this is how it works!

A good outdoor knife should be tough, durable, have a good grip, be sharp and precise. So far, so good. But what if, at some point, even the most suitable knife encounters a danger that develops slowly and is therefore not apparent at first? Rust is one of these insidiously appearing threats that can bite bit by bit on the blade of non-stainless models. In order to avert this unpleasant scenario and to maintain the health of the blade in the long term, it is necessary to continuously care for the knife properly. What does this look like? Find out in the following blog post.

Rust resistant is not stainless

Even though many people assume that a purchased knife is rust-free from the start and that nothing can harm the shine of the blade so quickly, the reality is different for most specimens. As soon as the first rust becomes visible, the owners are usually horrified. The word "stainless", which is used far too inflationarily in the industry, is often used for knives that cannot live up to this title 100 per cent. The difference between the terms "stainless" and "rust-resistant" is not clear to many buyers, so that the general assumption is always that the knife is rust-resistant.
In the case of our much-used D2 steel, for example, it is an extremely high-quality and robust type that also boasts outstanding sharpness and sharpness retention. Even though the popular steel is rust-resistant, which means that rust cannot take hold on the knife so quickly, regular care is still important for safety.

Many damaging influences

Even stainless steel is not protected from damaging influences, which makes it even clearer why it is so important to take good care of knives, especially those that are rust-resistant. Liquids in any form are the main problem here, as they can get onto the blade of the knife in a variety of situations and cause damage without care.
While acids are the main problem when cutting fruit, when chopping meat or wood, for example, it is the water inside the knife that becomes a danger without subsequent care. Even a brief rinse in the stream next door can promote the formation of rust if the blade/knife is not properly protected or dried afterwards. Other damaging influences can be salt water and/or bacterial infestation. The former is one of the reasons why knives should never be cleaned in a dishwasher.

1. cleaning and protecting the knife blade

In order to maintain the knife blade at a first-class level, it is advisable to use a special maintenance oil. These are available in large numbers on the market and ensure that rust as well as acids, food residues and fingerprints have no chance of causing damage or spreading on the blade. Most of them also have a disinfecting effect and quickly dissolve even stubborn dirt. This also increases corrosion resistance enormously. However, it is imperative to remove coarse impurities with water beforehand. The blade must then be dried properly with a cloth.
The oil layer should then only wet the knife blade very lightly. A thin film like this ensures that optimum protection is guaranteed, but at the same time the knife sheath does not become too greasy when the knife is placed.
Regardless of the treatment with a care oil, every blade should always be cleaned thoroughly after use. The amount of work involved is quite manageable, but the effect in maintaining quality is enormous. It is usually sufficient to dry the blade with a cloth after use. Small particles are reliably removed in this way. Wood splinters, crumbs, sand, leaf residues and co. can no longer harm the blade and the sheath is also protected, as the small particles would normally have released moisture.

2. care and cleaning of the knife handle

Of course, the care of the knife handle should also be considered. Although it is the blade that is exposed to the most stress during use, the handle is also confronted with damaging influences sooner or later. Protective and caring precautions are therefore definitely in order. No matter what material the handle is made of, the use of a universal oil is always recommended.
For example, our G10 material, which is often used on knife handles and is known for its unbeatable mix of lightness and resilience, can also be treated with this type of agent without any problems. The stainless steel areas of the handle, which should also be protected as described above for the blade, benefit at the same time from the application in the area of the handle. The formation of rust can be permanently prevented with this procedure.

3. treatment of the knife mechanics

Even the areas that are not visible should be treated with a care oil on some knives in order to lubricate them and build up reliable protection inside. With folding knives, for example, just a few drops of a caring oil are enough to make the knife mechanism more fluid again. This ensures that comfort during use remains high for many years. With special, very fine precision tools, the drops can also be easily applied to narrow points.

4. care of the knife sheath

Knife care does not stop with the sheath. Although this is not the knife itself, the storage object is nevertheless often in contact with the tool, so that poor care would sooner or later have a negative effect.
Our Kydex holsters can be treated and maintained with oils of the type described above. Contamination of any kind should be removed completely with water and a dry cloth. Subsequently, a very thin layer of knife maintenance oil can be applied. This noticeably protects the material, which in turn increases the already outstanding service life even further.
It is important to take into account the special care requirements of other materials used for knife sheaths. With leather, for example, only a suitable leather balm or beeswax should be used. The wrong care could damage the texture over time. This could also have a negative effect on the knife stored in the sheath.