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Anyone tried a different lube?

Discussion in 'Chris Reeve Knives' started by ChazzyP, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. ChazzyP

    ChazzyP Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    I hope this topic isn't heretical for all you CRK lovers. I recently bought my first 25 here on the Exchange. It's also my first Plain Jane and I'm quite surprised at how much I like the unadorned slabs and the knife is finding room in my pocket and gets more than its share of evening play-time.

    The knife was a good deal and in nice shape when I received it, but seemed to drag a bit opening and closing. I broke it down, cleaned it, reapplied fluoro-grease, and re-assembled. Everything was fine, but it still seemed a bit sluggish. I've had 3 of my other 5 CRKS apart for maintenance and cleaning and routinely dis- and re-assemble many of my other knives, so I can tell if I've done something wrong.

    It's seemed to me that my CRKs lubed with fluoro-grease tend to become sluggish over time, either with use or if they've sat unopened too long. I've settled on St Claire NanoOil as my preferred lube for all my other, non-CRKs, so I thought I'd give it a whirl in my new 25. I cleaned out all the grease and applied W10 NanoOil prior to reassembly. The knife seems to operate so much more freely now while still maintaining that Chris Reeve-like hydraulic smoothness. I'm thinking that I'll go to NanoOil for my other CRKs at their next cleanings and see how that goes.

    So, I'm wondering if any of you much-more-experienced CRK owners lube with something other than fluorinated grease or if you'd care to share opinions on the topic. Here's my new Jane, by the way--

  2. kwackster


    Dec 23, 2005
    Whenever i get a Sebenza in for sharpening & TLC i always exchange the CRK factory grease on the washers for Nano-Oil 85 weight and a few drops of Nano-Oil 10 weight between barrel bushing & blade.
    This doesn't seem to dry out and provides the owner with a little easier "hydraulic" opening & closing compared to the factory CRK grease.
  3. sutherland


    Jun 10, 2015
    Depends on the age. For newer knives, I will get creative and use a blend of fluoro-grease and gun oil. Once broken in, I apply a few tiny dabs of fluoro-grease as the washers have been polished through use and excessive lubricant is not necessary.
  4. ChazzyP

    ChazzyP Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    I have W85, W10, & W5 Nano, but have never tried the 85. I'll give that a shot next time, thanks.
  5. gordyt


    Oct 11, 2001
    I have an old large Sebenza and had taken it apart a couple of weeks ago to clean it. On a whim, I decided to use "WD-40 300243 Specialist Lithium Grease" as a lube before reassembling. I had picked up a can of that stuff at the local Walmart. So far it seems to be working really well.
  6. Anarchy84

    Anarchy84 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2016
    I've tried Finish Line Extreme Fluoro grease, but didn't care for it. Worked well at first but dried into a waxy sludge.

    I wish there were a way to buy CRK grease in larger quantities at a lower price. It is my understanding that they simply slap their name on a third-party grease. Does anyone know who makes it?
  7. MessOnAMission

    MessOnAMission Gold Member Gold Member

    May 4, 2016
    A couple drops of 3-in-1 PTFE on my Regulars and it almost feels like they're on bearings
  8. socom1970

    socom1970 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 24, 2015
    I use the CRK grease 99% of the time for all my CRK's.

    The only lube I will use for that other 1% or so is the Nano-Oil, usually the 85.
  9. ChazzyP

    ChazzyP Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    I haven't had better or worse results trying both Finish Line (Dupont) and CRK grease. The FL syringe-type applicator is easier to use. The tiny squeeze tubes of CRK always seem to be separated and hard to re-mix, but the lubricating qualities of the two products seem more-or-less the same to me.

    A quick google search didn't yield any results for the manufacturer of CRK grease. I vaguely recall hearing that it was in fact Dupont, but I can't attest to that.
  10. lemmuhj

    lemmuhj Gold Member Gold Member

    May 2, 2010
    I tried just Nano Oil a while back and it worked great for a good amount of time. After 4 months maybe, i started to notice it was just not smooth anymore. I took it down to see what was up and i was surprised to see it was basically completely dry! I went back to CRK grease.
  11. NvG79

    NvG79 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 24, 2011
    I use the nanogrease. Same company that makes the oils also makes a red grease comparable with the original CR grease. So no drying out.

    Same advice goes for this stuff, use very sparingly.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  12. kidcongo

    kidcongo Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    The CRK grease is not DuPont (technically it may contain DuPont PTFE, but it's not a rebrand on a DuPont product). In the old days it was called "Christo-lube", which some people thought was a reference to Chris, as in Chris Reeve. Christolube is actually the name of a product line made to lubricate dive cylinders. It's a very high spec product, and is very expensive. The CRK price on it is competitive. The thing with Christolube, is the clear fluid is basically just a carrier for the PTFE product. The grease is supposed to dry out, which is what stops it's from attracting dust.

    I took a great interest in this subject once and tried many many many different lubes. I am back with CRK-Christolube because of its drying-out property. Also I found that there is not a huge difference in the feeling of smoothness between products. There is some difference in the overall resistance to motion, but the single biggest factor is not the grease at all: If your knife feels "gritty", clean your detent track. Run the whole knife under water with hand soap and forget the disassembly. When you break down your knife to lube it, you are likely cleaning the detect tract while you are at it, which will give you the impression the grease made all the difference.

    There are multiple formulations of Cristolube. I don't know which exact one they use. I suspect it's one of the ones labelled as being cut with a solvent that evaporates (midway down the list). Note many of these products contain both PTFE (Teflon) and PFPE (who knows what that is).


    Note the Cristolube is Food-grade, which is nice to know, if you over-lube and end up eating the stuff:

    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
  13. nyefmaker

    nyefmaker Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 29, 2008
    I have only ever used CRK Grease. I just wish they still offered it in the big syringe tube instead of the little 1/2 filled dinky tube.
  14. ChazzyP

    ChazzyP Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    Thanks for all the info and links, Cody. Recognizing who some of the denizens of this corner of BF are, I would have guessed you'd be able to supply some valuable contributions to the discussion. I can't say I read the first linked page all the way through--the length of the quoted one below was more my speed.

    Your point about cleaning the detente track is well taken, and I have had several knives where that issue was a problem. My son's Military resisted smoothing out. Despite cleaning and polishing the washers it had sort of a rumble or chatter opening and closing. In the end, the problem was in the detente track. Additional cleaning solved it, but when it reappeared a tiny spot of fluoro-grease on the detente ball made it go away.

    Honestly, though, the sluggishness issue I mentioned is not so much a grittiness as it is a sense of resistance or drag. This could just be a descriptive difference, though, and I will try washing the knife out with soap and water as you suggest next time I sense that might be required.

    It is difficult to imagine that compounds whose names contain so many poly's, flouro's, ether's, etc could be food-safe, but I guess we'll just have to take the manufacturers' and FDa's word for it. :rolleyes:

    BTW, I have heard of ChristoLube, and while I also wondered at first if it referred to Mr Reeve, I later considered that it was a religious reference. ;)
  15. lemmuhj

    lemmuhj Gold Member Gold Member

    May 2, 2010
    Kidcongo reminded me of something. I have put a drop of Nano Oil on the detent track...helps tremendously.
  16. Anarchy84

    Anarchy84 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2016
    This is insanely helpful. Thank you!

    Seems to me it's most likely Christo-Lube MCG 111 or 129. Both have very similar descriptions, and both are available in 2 oz. syringes. Price is comparable to CRK grease, but the syringe applicator makes all the difference IMO.
  17. marthinus

    marthinus KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 10, 2006
    Have not had the standard lube on my Sebenza since 2010. Elna sewing machine oil been doing well on all my pocket knives, traditional and modern.

    I believe we tend to over complicated things. CRK Grease is very nice stuff, but your Sebenza is not going to disintegrate from using something else.
  18. dwdickey


    Feb 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
  19. Corytr

    Corytr Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    I've heard that this is the stuff:

  20. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    I only lube with CRK lube and then not very often, every 1-2 years. What I noticed is that the opening gets "sluggish" over time, but this is due to dirt, crap, etc. in the pivot. A good cleaning in hot soapy water sometimes using a tooth brush works every time. That's what CRK told me to do as well. After a cleaning, the blade will swing free when you push back the lock bar.

    Per CRK their lube not only lubricates but protects the pivot assembly from oxidation (aka rust :)), being a grease gives it more staying power, thus more protection and longer lubrication.

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