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Damn pocket lint! Anyone own a sonic cleaner!

May 22, 1999
I thought I found a clever way to reduce pocket lint, pull your pockets inside out before throwing your jeans in the wash. It works mostly but lint still accumulates in smaller amounts and finer particles. In a store tried to open my Ladybug and it wouldn't lock open because of the minute particles of lint. I checked my pocket and there was a big accumulation and started to pull it out but it was attached to a piece of thread. When the female teenage store clerk saw me moving my hand in my pocket vigorously I decided to wait until I got home. Once home, the pocket was easy to clean but I had trouble with the Ladybug. I couldn't blow the lint out with my breath or a bottle of air from camera store. I tried running it under tap-water and it rinsed most of it out so I could open it all the way but there was enough left to make the blade action rough. Finally got all of it out with a WaterPik.

How do you guys clean your folders? I own some knives with wooden scales and I'm concerned about ruining them with repeated washing under water. I have a POS Smith & Wesson folder that is missing the wood inserts, that is where my fear comes from. I have an old Gerber linerlock that goes along for the ride with my other knives and it has a greasy residue on the liners that I can't quite get clean. The old paper towel on a butter knife trick only makes a clean streak through the residue. Does anybody clean their knives with a sonic cleaner? Does it work for those stubborn spots?

[This message has been edited by David Williams (edited 16 July 1999).]
As Chuck said, shop air works great,and I also use a toothpick to reach into those nooks and crannies.

never a dull moment
I own no folder that I actually carry that canot go in th dishwasher. I started doing this with spyderco about seven years ago and it works great.

I have done this afck, BM 970, enduras, CS voyagers and once a BM Leopard. A folder is a precision instrument that does need regular maintenance. I recommend this for any tactical type folder, but obviously not for cocobolo scales...
There are four basic categories that compromise about 90% of what fouls folders:

rust, solids, oily sticky stuff, and water-based sticky stuff.

Removing rust is whole thread alone.

Solids have to be physically removed. You can do this with a toothpick, q-tip, or other tool, or you can do it with a water jet from a Water Pic tool or with an air jet from a shop compressor.

Oily stuff includes tar and the sticky residue from tape and labels (since those adhesives are petroleum-based products). The old generality "like dissolves like" is true. WD-40 is one of the best chioces for removing sticky residues and oily, greasy buildup. WD-40 is also very gentle. I've never heard a report of it attaching any common handle material, for example. Lighter fluid is another popular choice, as is lamp oil. These are also gentle. Gasoline is also a good tar remover, but remember that it's very dangerous and can also damage some handle materials. From here, we go into Xylene, MEK, and other really nasty solvents that you have to be very careful with.

But, even MEK won't touch some sticky residues because they're water-based. Plant and tree sap is the major example of this. For these, like dissolves like too. Water will wash these right off.

Ordinary Ivory dish soap is a good product to use too.

An ammoniated cleaner such as Windex will leave your blade shiney, but the surface will be so clean it'll be prone to rust, so do this only for show.

Most "user" knives, those with G10 scales, can go right into the dish washer as has been suggested. I'd shy away from using dishwaser soap, though. It's very strong and very caustic. Sometimes, it doesn't dissolve well and bits of it get left on surfaces and dry on. That could lead to pitting of your blade.

A lot of people are worried about using water on their knives for fear of rust. A little water on your blade for a few minutes won't hurt at all. Just be sure to dry throughly. This is especially important with folders where water can be trapped in the mechanisms. Again, shop air is a great way to blow all the water out.

Thanks Chuck. I'll try your suggested solvents.

"A knifeless man is a lifeless man"
-Nordic proverb
The universal solvent: alcohol! I keep a little squeeze bottle of 91% isopropyl alcohol next to my computer for cleaning the mouse -- also good for knives, disk and tape heads, sterilizing cuts, even cleaning the wax out of your ears. Alcohol dissolves both oil-based and water-based gunk and it evaporates quickly.

Buy rubbing alcohol at the drugstore -- 91% is better and only costs a little more. If you don't have an old squeeze bottle around (What??? You THROW AWAY empty squeeze bottles??? What's WRONG with you???) you can buy empty squeeze bottles in camping stores, or buy a "trial size" of something and throw away the contents if you don't have any use for whatever it is.

In an emergency you can use liquor but nearly all liquors have at least a little sugar in them, so follow with a water rinse to get rid of that.

-Cougar Allen :{)
Mr. Allen has made a very good suggestion. IPA is a good solvent. If you buy 91%, then what's the other 9%? The answer is: water. 100% IPA is very difficult to keep. It comes in little sealed glass containers. You have to break glass to open it, and then use it immediately (it's only used in chemical labs). Why? Because IPA attracts and absorbs water right out of the air, about 9% in fact. So, that's what's up with 91% IPA; it's the best you're gonna get without going to elaborate and expensive packaging procedures. This 9% water, though, makes common IPA a great solvent because it's both an organic (the IPA) and an inorganic (the water) component. It's very unusual for an organic solvent and an inorganic solvent to mix. Oil and water do not, for example, mix.

IPA very drying to your skin, though, so for many uses, they further add water cutting it down to about 70%. "Rubbing alcohol" has a bit of mineral oil added to it so that it's even less drying.

IPA is a somewhat strong chemical and might attack some exotic materials used in knives. It does attack pearls. I don't know about Mother of Pearl, which is a very similar material. I wouldn't want to put it on fine wood either. Again, it draws water out of stuff and washes away natural oils at the same time -- very drying. But, it's just find for most common user knives.

An excellent suggestion.


[This message has been edited by Gollnick (edited 18 July 1999).]
hi,sonic (ultra) cleaners.as a jeweller by trade (no longer involved)have used these extensively as do dentists. jewellers buy tools from dentist suppliers (hint) beware! uscleaners work by exploding ions? against product surface,in combination with usually! a inorganic solvent. you can us any non -flammable solution. beware long -term hearing loss.what did you say? uscleaners must not be used on:mother of pearl,abolone (NZ Paua shell) Ivory,crystals (shatter) amber,etc get the picture? The combination of HOT water + Solvents+ micro explosions will create havoc . I (ouch) even managed to destroy the plastic slabs on my fiends Victorinox SAK ! & that was using carpet cleaner in USC. commonly used. presume it was ammonia did damage. the alchol used sparingly sounds better. remember most knives have a multitude of compounds involved which react differantly.my 5 cents worth.W.