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HOW TO: Knife Collection Maintenance

Discussion in 'Custom & Handmade Knives' started by Joss, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Joss

    Joss Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Nov 20, 2001

    This is meant for us collectors to share information on the products we like to use on our knives, how often we take care of them, good sourcing info for some difficult to find products, and general advice for newbies (and oldies who should know better - like me; yes, this is one more self-serving thread.)

    So as for me I exclusively use some mineral oil meant for Japanese swords. I bought it in Reno at the ABS Show a few years ago. I generally wipe it on the blades using tissues. I also like to put some on stag / ivory. Finally, all my knives are kept in a display cabinet where I also have a glass of water, to maintain constant-ish level of humidity.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2017
  2. Kevin Jones

    Kevin Jones Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 28, 2006
    I agree on both. I use Camellia oil on my blades/stag/ivory. Japanese swordmakers/swordsman have been using it for hundreds of years. It doesn't evaporate as fast as some other oils, doesn't attract dust/dirt and gives off just the right amount of sheen to make your blades and ivory look good.
    I also keep water in my display cases. Have never had a crack or shrinkage problem.

    I have used Renaissance wax on damascus blades with inconsistence results. Seems to work good on some damascus steels leaving a nice sheen, but on others tend to leave a cloudy or hazy finish.
  3. Kohai999

    Kohai999 Second Degree Cutter Platinum Member

    Jul 15, 2003
    Oh you boys!!!!

    You both display....blade contacts nothing(mostly) but air. This is the correct way to store a japanese style carbon blade, so this type of oil makes sense.

    Here in So-Cal, where the evacuation order may come with an hour to go(I have experienced this wonderful phenomena x2), display case=transport issue.

    ALL my stuff is in Bill's Cases, which wick any of the mineral based oils off parts of the surface, which =pits....also during summer, have high humidity, right now, in the storage area, it is 70 degrees farenheit, and 35 % humidity.

    I use Tuff Cloth Marine, frequently......I have to go through all the carbon blades at least every 45 days....which is why am mostly transitioning to damascus over time.

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson
  4. shaldag


    Jun 17, 2004
    I also like the tuff-cloth marine.

    But if you are going for carbon damascus, Steven, your problems will remain the same. I have noticed some tiny rust spots on damascus blades that I keep very well-oiled. It's not quite as bad as some of the carbon steels, but the problem is still there.
  5. Kohai999

    Kohai999 Second Degree Cutter Platinum Member

    Jul 15, 2003

    The rust spots clean up as nothing happened on damascus, after a thorough Flitzing.

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson
  6. lawp


    Jan 10, 2007
    I use Renaissance wax on everything, even leather, as a barrier to body oils. We have no rust problem in Denver, rather the opposite, a dry shrinkage problem. Some of my scales have shrunk leaving the tang proud. I doubt a glass of water would help, and anyway I can't do that in the flat file drawers which house my collection. You guys have any suggestions how to prevent shrinkage, yet not create rust? In the summer we run the swamp cooler a lot so we get more humidity, but winter indoor RH is about 10% and summer probably averages 30%. Furnace humidifiers don't do much here. I could rearrange the drawers to leave room for a wet towel in an open plastic bag, would that help?
  7. shaldag


    Jun 17, 2004
    Thanks, Steven.

    Got a good site for ordering that ships overseas?
  8. Stephen F

    Stephen F

    Sep 28, 2003
    Bills Cases

    Ballistol wipe every 2 or 3 months. (watch those NS fittings as a lot of oil based products will tarnish them).

    Mineral oil soak on stag and ivory once or twice a year.

    If displayed then Ren Wax (two layers applied each one buffed) but only after a wipe dry with high grade chamois.

  9. ddd

    ddd KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 6, 2003
    Hi Ed "Shaldag",

    Order some for me too. We can split the shipping costs.

    All the best,
    David Darom (ddd)
  10. peterinct


    Dec 13, 1999
    I have experienced the same issues with spots on carbon blades and rust on damascus blades. My situation is 25 - 30% humidity in winter and 50 - 60% in summer. I tried Marine Cloth (perhaps didn't apply frequently enough), Renaissance wax, and still had some spots appear on O1 steel. Much to my chagrin!

    I also have a lot of machinists tools and recently purchased some Starrett oil. It was recommended for the tool steels and as far as the tools go, Starrett rules (IMO). I'm not sure what the composition of the oil is, but I am trusting the brand.

    So far the Starrett oil seems to protect the steel well, but I have not used it through all seasons as yet.

  11. Joss

    Joss Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Nov 20, 2001
    How do people use chamois cloth?
  12. Stephen F

    Stephen F

    Sep 28, 2003
    When I am cleaning a blade to "dry" I use the following process:

    1 - Ballistol soaked cloth to wipe off lint/particles/dirt.
    2 - Dry(ish), lint free, soft cloth to wipe excess oil. Will replace a few times a year.
    3 - "dirty" high grade chamois to remove remaining oil. (will replace once or twice a year)
    4 - Soft/lint free clean cloth for dust down/ clean.
    5 - high grade clean chamois to dry blade.
    6 - Apply Ren wax.

    I also use a chamois to wipe down handle and stainless fittings after handling.

    For me it is important to use a "wet", "dirty", "clean", "Dry" flow and segregation to avoid contamination and retention of particles which may scratch the surfaces. I keep each stage in separate containers, and only apply a firm pressure in the final stage when I am sure there are no hard particles held on the blade or cleaning materials.

    ......... yes, I am very weird:D:D and extremely picky :D:D:D

  13. RogerP

    RogerP Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2002
    I use a light coat of Camelia oil on all blades. Twice a year immersion of stag and ivory handles (for 24 hrs) in mineral oil.

  14. tgann


    Nov 2, 2006
    i have found that if i leave a blade in the shop over night here in east taxas that it will rust so i coat it with vasaline and can leave it for months and it is free of rust.so after i clean the blade and remove the moister with actone i then coat it with vasaline.you need to remove the moister or you will seal it in with most products and it will still rust.
  15. Marcel54


    Jul 30, 2005
    I'm with Stephen and I use gloves when I do this routine:D

  16. Thomason

    Thomason Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2002
    Is there much difference between the tuff-cloth marine and the regular tuff-cloth? I have been using the regular but I'm always open to upgrading :D.
  17. Guyon

    Guyon Biscuit Whisperer Staff Member Super Mod Gold Member

    Mar 15, 2000
    Marine leaves more of a discernible film.
  18. Kohai999

    Kohai999 Second Degree Cutter Platinum Member

    Jul 15, 2003
    It's German, so it is closer to you, than me.....that said, you can get it from Amazon.com

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson
  19. Charles M

    Charles M

    Oct 18, 2007
    I've been using Eezox gun care on my carbon steel. Its a synthetic CLP and does a good job of cleaning and preventing rust which is my primary concern with users and display pieces. I use a washed optical microfiber cloth to apply the product and dry as well.
  20. Kevin Jones

    Kevin Jones Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 28, 2006
    The thing I don't like about Ballistol is that it tends to be gummy/sticky and will attract dirt/dust if your knives are displayed.

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