Finding natural oil/rust preventative in the field?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by JG Custom Metal Works, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. I own a few 1095 carbon knives and like to keep them well oiled to prevent rusting. I keep lube in the pouch on their sheaths but am trying to think of a way to make due without. Does anyone know of sources for an oil or rust preventative in the wild? I've heard you can use oil from the side of of your nose(not snot) but I have dry skin and in certain climates this may not be reliable. I was thinking maybe animal fat or possibly oil from a plant. Any ideas?
  2. lightleak


    Jun 11, 2009
    Interesting question, looking forward to answers. I still think the most reliable source will be your own body. Try rubbing your forehead or even your arm and it should start to produce a thin layer of fat. If nothing works maybe try scratching your scalp for some time with your fingernails. You really don't need a lot of fat to keep 1095 from rusting, just a very thin almost invisible layer. I use body fat for my 1095 knife sometimes, and I also have rather dry skin.
  3. Firestrike


    Dec 23, 2012
    I too would like to hear some opinions on this.

    Tree Sap maybe???
  4. Myal


    Jun 7, 2003
    if you dont have oil in our sharpening kit ( mine is not extensive .. small oil stone, small bottle of oil , rag .. in a plastic bag )Oil , rag .. wipe it around the blade . Not hard .

    If you have a car , you have oil , either spare , or when you pull the dipstick you got enough in a couple drops off it

    you may have petroleum jelly in your fire kit if you have pj and cottonballs as emergency fire starter . Wipe a smidge of it on your blade and spread it around .

    If you brung salami sandwiches .. you have fat , before you eat it all , clean your knife as you best can and then wipe the salami over the blade so it leaves a greasy trace .

    If you have been hunting , you have fat , take the time to render some .. stick it on a rock next to your fire , cook it down in a pan , heat it up somehow to seperate the oils from the meat part , you want the oil part .. yeah it goes solid when it cools ,and feels yuck but it works and wont ( usually anyway ) go rancid if its been rendered .

    Usually , unless you're coastal and wet or tropical and wet or both , the blades natural patina is a seriously good preventative . Keeping the blade dry is enough for a fair while . Keeping th eblade dry tho means dry , not like a wipe on back the jeans leg dry as if its a stainless knife like object ... but taking the time to dry it ( maybe wipe it 2 or 3 times instead )
  5. SVTFreak

    SVTFreak Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 8, 2011
    You don't want to use the oil on your skin. It's slightly acidic and will cause corrosion. I wouldn't use animal fat. It will begin to rot, possibly infecting anything you use your knife for (including food preparation or game cleaning?). Either carry oil if you really need it, or get a stainless knife (my solution since I don't stay on top of carbon like I should)
  6. Myal


    Jun 7, 2003
    Youre aware that rendered fat is one of the main ingredients in pemican ... stuff that lasts for centuries ? Its a preservative :)

    Its also a lube , and a rust preventative .

    Guess whats used to lube the elevator cable on the Eiffel tower ? Mutton fat ... I kid you not .

    I have left caul and kidney fat out in the weather after butchering , it doesnt go off if it hasnt got meat attached . Ive also turned animal fat into biofuel and run my nissan patrol on it .. if you get queasy at the idea of putting animal fat on your knife blade ... try pouring it into your fuel tank :p

    It actually smells like hamburgers when you drive on it
  7. SVTFreak

    SVTFreak Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 8, 2011
    That's all great, and rendered fat would probably be OK, but rubbing a slice of bologna across your blade isn't exactly rendering and removing the meat to prevent rotting.

    I'd rather use stainless or bring oil than kill an animal and render the fat down to use to protect my knife....
  8. sykes3170


    Feb 18, 2010
    I always carry some form of lip balm/chapstick. I guess it would work in a pinch.
  9. Jens Schuetz

    Jens Schuetz

    Jun 24, 2013
    As long as the fat contains no water it should not grow any salmonella or other fun stuff to a level where it could harm you.
    So if you spread some thin body or salami fat on your knife it might contain some water but the thin nature of a film will make it evaporate rather quickly and only leave the fat behind.
    Just to be sure, wipe the fat off before you use the knife again.
    Just one tiny problem sausages contain salt, lots of salt. Leaves only you own body fat or some killed animal.

    How about plant material which should be easier to hunt than game? Almost all seeds have oil.

    Just remembered a German war movie were some soldiers in the trenches squished head lice and polished their shoes with it :D
  10. idaho


    May 5, 2005
    If you use the knife in the field often, it should get patina, which offer quite a protection.

    When it comes to oiling blades - i go with any fat from food.
  11. neeman


    Apr 5, 2007
    Use the oil on your skin.
    It's slightly acidic and will cause a patina
  12. 300Six


    Aug 29, 2013
    I carry an heirloom carbon steel belt knife while in the outdoors, and have been doing so for 50 years. Rust has never been a problem as long as the metal is dried off immediately and kept dry. Were I to leave the knife outdoors (such as in an unheated garage all winter) it would be wiped down with WD-40. This stuff is vegetable oil based (I don't think I'd want to drink it though) and easy enough to wipe off. Works great for my other steel tools (axes, utility shotgun, chisels, tool box knives, shovels etc). It's simple enough to keep a Ziplok baggie with an oil-impregnated cloth or paper towel in your pocket or pack. When you've sat in the rain all day with your trusty hunting rifle it will rust like crazy when brought indoors. A misting with a spray bomb of WD works like a charm, and the oil actually even creeps and displaces water.
  13. Mannlicher


    Nov 19, 2008
    if you are not afield for weeks and weeks, just keeping the blade wiped down should be all you need.
  14. Jens Schuetz

    Jens Schuetz

    Jun 24, 2013
    Don't think wd40 is vegetable oil. I wish it would be since I really like it too.

    Another thought. If you don't want to carry oil cans and bottles with you, just soak a tiny cloth in the oil of your choice and keep it in a tiny ziplock bag. Should be near weightless.
  15. plue


    Oct 3, 2012
    I've read of a guy keeping a chunk of natural beeswax tucked in his pack that he could rub down his knife with to prevent rusting. I just wipe down my blade on my pants or shirt and keep going, I've never had issues with rust and I don't live in a very dry climate (it's not tropical though mind you).
  16. upnorth

    upnorth Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    A tiny pre-oiled rag in a plastic aspirin bottle, tiny baggie, or whatever makes sense, and should fit in a sheath pouch with room to spare. I don't seem to have any real rust issues with minimal care. The only time that I am quite thorough is when coming in from serious cold and the metal ''sweats''. The I get the metal to room temp, dry and oil thoroughly. Wet conditions go without saying.
  17. neeman


    Apr 5, 2007
    I have a small nylon 'rag' slightly damp from mineral oil (baby oil)
    It is non greasy and non sticky
    And leaves a very fine film
    Works very well
  18. Woods Walker

    Woods Walker

    Jun 3, 2010
    I have used bacon grease or olive oil from my camp cooking to keep rust off my 1095 Mora. Worked very well. I guess it would go rancid over time but once home clean and oil the blade.
  19. Ebbtide


    Aug 20, 1999
    Before the internet I carried a USA made Schrade Sharpfinger.
    The only time it got oiled was when it got sharpened.
    Even then I wiped most of it off.
    Never gave a thought to keeping it oiled or inducing patina.

    After a while it looked like an old hammer.

    I was meticulous about keeping the blade dry though.
    I never had it rust on me.
    Camping, saltwater fishing on boats and piers…
    Once when out on the boat with too much sun and too many beers I didn't wash it with soap and water when I got home.
    It had an orange layer of talcum powder like rust on it. That came off with some WD40 and 0000 steel wool in a couple of rubs.

    Don't over think it. Your knife won't rust away.
  20. Shotgun


    Feb 3, 2006
    Use also prevents rust. Take a knife that has a patina on it's edge and carve some wood with it. Wherever the wood rubs will take the patina off. Works the same on rust.

    To be honest I don't carry oil and I don't really think about using it when I'm out. I've had blades rust in their sheaths but nothing a quick scrub with a few different plants couldn't cure. I really think people blow the rust issue out of proportion. If you just want your knife to look nice all the time or if you know you're not going to use it a lot on the trip then by all means use oil. But, if your knife is a user and you don't care if it gets scratched, dinged or what have you then I think rust is a non-issue. Look at some of the ESEE photos of knives that have been in jungle courses for a while. They look like crap but they're still good to go and will probably out live their owners.

    With all that said, it's a cool thread idea. I've heard some of these ideas before but also a couple new ones. Thanks for starting it.

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