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Cleaning BM Axis lock

May 31, 2001
A few days ago I managed to get sand in the locking mechanism of my Benchmade 710. I was able to dislodge the sand by blowing hard into the lock (much to the amusement of my immediate family - I've gotta get a compressor) and by flushing with a generous amount of lubricant. I wanted to know if anyone has ever gotten his/her Axis lock seriously dirty/muddy/sandy and, if so, how they've gone about cleaning up their knife.
I was at work and was using my 710 to cut open some bags of cement mix, and dropped my knife, OOOOOPS!, it fell about 15 feet from the scaffold that I was on. The knife fell into a puddle of very thick greasy mud. I used a lot of hot water and dish soap, then blasted out the remaining crud with WD-40. In the end, the knife was undamaged in anyway, and I still use it as my EDC knife. Kelly:D
I had problems with grit in my 710 at one point. I got a couple torx drivers (#6 and #10 if I remember correctly) and dismantled it, cleaned it up and put it back together -- it really wasn't particularly difficult, although it <b>does</b> void the warrantee to do this.
The first thing I had to do with my first Axis lock 710 was go out and pack it full of muddy clay. To get the mud out, I just turned the garden hose spray nozzle on it. Did a wonderful job. Flush heavily with WD-40 afterwards, and lubricate when dry.
My 710HS is not seeing much use right now, but when I used it daily for work, I had to clean it every day or two.
I'd take it apart, use a scrub brush with Ajax, rinse, dry, WD-40, dry, reassemble, lube.
Compressed air, and WD-40 never could get all the grit out from around the springs, and even when the lock was free of debris, it still made a "crunch" sound every time it was opened, otherwise.
I've been using a dental waterpic set on high with warm water and it really blows the crude out of the locks of most folders without having to disassemble. THen use the hair dryer to dry.
Lube and your good to go.
Compressed air is always a good idea. Works wonders. Everyone should have compressor in the garage.

That and some brake cleaner or other solvent, preferably under aerosol pressure. Use non-chlorinated stuff to minimize risk to your flesh, and keep off your hands.

If that doesn't do it, time to disassemble and clean out thoroughly.

The Ajax I have around the house happens to contain bleach (sodium hypochlorite). Ajax may still be available without bleach. If you use bleach often enough, you risk starting a pitting type corrosion of whatever metal parts you use it on, or subjecting your stainless pieces to stress chloride cracking. You might get away with bleach for a while, but I dunno, I'm not running any experiments like this myself.
You can get a can of compressed air for about $5, at computer stores such as CompUSA or from Photo stores.* If you use alot you can get a seperate valve and refill, such as DustOff. This is very clean air for use in dusting off delicate parts and of course will work with a knife. Remember not to tilt the can too much or propellant will come out which is cold enough to possibly damage something, although this would be of minimal concern with a knife. With items such as a camera lens you want to blow dust/grit off, not blast it into the lens.

* I have actually gotten some cans for practically free, by buying when there was a rebate.
Thanks to everyone for the advice. I'm wondering if I'll find WD 40 here in Italy.
I did not notice the Italy location. :)

I was just discussing a bottle of Costebianche Chardonnay. Ever had any?

WD-40 is just a thin oil for cleaning, freeing rusted parts, and light lubrication. Its other attribute is that a decent sized spray can is relatively cheap. Apparently, one of its secrets is a lot of propellant, I heard propane, but have no idea if that is correct. I hear you can light the stream, but I would be worried about the can blowing up. I have also read some complaints about it getting gummy with age, thereby defeating the lubrication aspects.

Any type of spray penetrating type oil should serve as a substitute, or you can pick one of the other mentioned methods.
I'm not sure about this 100%, but when I went to an armoror's school I was told that WD-40 is about the worst thing to use on firearms and precision moving parts.
The "WD" actually stands for Water Displacment. WD-40 actually removes any oils or lubricants. On firearms I have seen that were cleaned and "lubed" with it there is a lot of pitting and corrosion as well as removal of the blueing. When WD-40 dries it tends to harden and I have seen guns that have locked up because the stuff turned to a hard lacquer. I would not use it on any of my knifes or firearms. I do use it to remove bubble gum or candy from a windshield and to remove sticker residue from a smooth hard surface. It will help to loosen stuck nuts and bolts etc. But I refuse to use the stuff on any item like a firearm or knife.
Donald - I've used WD 40 when I lived in the states, but I've never seen it here. I immagine however that here in the land of the Ferrari I'll be able to find a decent substitute.

I don't think I've ever tasted a Costebianche Chardonnay. What part of Italy is it from? So far as white wines go, I'm partial to a local Trebbiano (there's an excellent winery just a few miles from my house. Let me know if you want more details!
Hey Nathan, what can you legally carry in Italy? I'll
be touring there next month, Lake Como, Naples, Florence,
Venice, Rome, Pisa, Pompei (sp).
Rinsing it in the sink under warm water, squeezing some dishwashing soap onto a toothbrush, and then scrubbing internal and external parts has consistently done the trick for me. Scarry as it might seem, I actually keep an old toothbrush in the shower for cleaning my 705 about once every two weeks.

Using the pocket clip has done wonders for keeping grit out of mine. It's when I drop it down into my pocket that the schmeg gets into the guttyworks.

Originally posted by Nathan S
Thanks to everyone for the advice. I'm wondering if I'll find WD 40 here in Italy.

I'm with "Slicer" on the WD-40 subject. Not worth the trouble looking for the stuff. If he's seen guns lock up from the stuff, it is probably a two-fold problem:
1. WD-40 is a very poor lubricant
2. WD-40 contains varnish type hydrocarbon compounds.

WD-40's "active ingredients" are ~25% mineral oil and ~75% mineral spirits, and propellant, and something to make it smell "good". I've heard banana oil, orange oil, some others. Not sure.

Problem with WD-40 is that it isn't very refined. They don't get the varnish-forming compounds out of the mineral oil or spirits. Over time, it'll gunk up precision devices with varnishy compounds. Now a folding knife isn't all that precision, and it would take a while to get the gunk built up, but the point is there are better lubes. Look for Tri-Flow, Break Free CLP (cleans, lubes, protects). WD-40 is a mediocre cleaner, and a poor lubricant. WD-40 as a company is genius... master marketing, great brand, great distribution, great name recognition. Just no substance. Funny how that works in the USA sometimes.

For cleaning, anything sold as a cleaning solvent (e.g. "brake cleaner at autoparts store), aerosol form is convenient, if such things don't bother you, is going to be a superior cleaner over mineral spirits, for sure. They'll strip all of the oil/lube out. You must then relube. No problem.

Mineral spirits are mild hydrocarbon solvents themselves... when I refer to "cleaning solvents", I'm talking about "brake cleaner" type stuff, with acetone, MEK, etc. Just stay away from chlorinated solvents for your health ... anything with "chlor" or "cholor" in the name.

In fact, if you want mineral spirits for a cleaner, buy a gallon can for $2 at a big hardware store and a $1.50 plastic spray bottle. In fact, that is what I use to clean my mountain bike chain, but I make sure to blow the excess off w/ an air compressor and then hit the chain with a special lube that is carried into the links with an oxygenated solvent carrier. A gallon of mineral spirits goes a long way folks. Cheaper than WD-40, and should be available in Italy.
Rich - Italian law is pretty strict when it comes to knife carry. There is no fixed blade length; basically, you can't carry anything that you don't have a good reason for carrying. For example, you could carry a hunting knife if you were hunting, but not if you were sightseeing in Venice. I think a SAK would pretty much always be acceptable. I always carry one when I travel, both inside and outside Italy. Probably you could get away with a smaller slip joint knife or maybe something like a BM 705. I carry larger knives, of course, but not while I'm sightseeing or going about ordinary day to day business in town. However, the real problem is that it's hard to be sure that your carry is legal. The openess of the law lends itself to a lot of subjective interpretation. So what might be OK for one LEO might not be for another. Case law on the issue is scary. If the LEO feels that you have pretty much any kind of potentially offensive weapon on your person, you risk a criminal conviction. If I were you, I'd stick with the SAK.
Hi Nathan,
I never had any problems with the Axis lock on my BM Ares itself, but once took it apart (cause I´m interested in the intestines of knives :D ). Under the grip scales there was a bit of corrosion (had the Ares carried daily for a few months.)
If you ever take your BM apart, make sure you apply some TuffCloth or other type of protective coating on the metal frame/scales.
For lubrication and limited protective coating, I´d recommend Ballistol (available as oil or spray). It´s THE standard for gun oil/coating in Germany, Austria, Switzerland. You should get it in a good weapons or even quality knifestore in Italy too, I suppose.
www.ballistol.de (small English language switch on the top of the page)
WD-40 is not a lubricant! I know it says lubricates on the can, but don't believe them. It is just to displace water if you use water to clean out the action. Water -> WD-40 -> Tri-flow.
Thanks judge, I'll be on the look-out for Ballistol. If it's available in Switzerland and Austria, it's probably available here, too.
Originally posted by Professor
Scarry as it might seem, I actually keep an old toothbrush in the shower for cleaning my 705 about once every two weeks.


Be scared, be very scared :D

If my girlfriend ever leaves her toothbrush at my house and my wife asks I will just tell her it is for my knife. ;)