Long term knife storage

BlackKnight86

Platinum Member
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Oct 14, 2003
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I was just wondering what's the best way to prepare a knife for long-term storage. I've been trying to research it, but I've come across some contradictory info, and I wanted to check with some other knife enthusiasts.

Basically, I've got some knives (special meaning, or spares for a rare/favorite style) that don't see a lot of use, and I'd like to keep nice. I've been storing them coated with Hoppes Gun Grease in stacked under-the-bed style boxes with a piece of those eggshell mattress pads cut to fit for padding/protection. However, I've read that the open-cell (or was it closed cell?) foam gives off metal-damaging gases as it ages. Is that true?

I'd like to get those zippered knife pouches for them; but I've read that the cloth liners on those will hold moisture and can result in surface rust over time. Same with any kind of cloth wrap.

Someone suggested grease and wax paper, but I still have the problem of cushioning the knives for safe storage (that's why I originally went with the foam mattress pads).

I'd lay them out, as on display, but I kind of have a lot of them (I'm happy to say!), and I don't have the space. For the same reason, frequent maintenance of the ones that I don't use is not likely to occur.

So...how do you guys store your knives, if you aren't necessarily going to take them out very often? Is there a good product or products that can protect and cushion them (and allow storage in a relatively small area)? Is there a higher end storage case (hard shell? soft shell?) that won't have the problems of cheap foam or cloth wraps (especially in a place of relatively high humidity)? For that matter, is grease ok to use if it's going to get on handle material (G10? Wood? Micarta?)?

Thanks so much for your advice!
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
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I can't help on most of your question but I can verify that at least some types of foam padding WILL damage metal over time. I inherited a bunch of knives that were set on some foam padding that has oxidized the metal on my knives...Case annniversary sets & Robert Klaas no less.

John
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
138
A while back Bianchi was selling " blue bags " which are plastic bags designed to inhibit rust on items placed in them, could try those in addition to oiling the blades. This would also protect them from the foam gasses as the plastic is impermeable. You may also want to look for ( I think it is called ) Velo paper? which also is designed to inhibit rust and could be a barrier between the knife and foam.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2005
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If you know someone with a Foodsaver you could use it to seal the knives.
No air, no moisture=no rust.:D
how_to_3.jpg
 

Bill DeShivs

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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Jun 6, 2000
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11,547
I see no reason they should have to be padded. Foam or plastic will degrade over time and at least stick to your knives. Grease them up and store them.
Bill
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2006
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Try newspapers. They help inhibit rust and can be used as a cushion.
Newspapers use oily ink, and the papers, if they're kept in a reasonably dry condition, can absorb moistures away from the blades. That's what I heard from a knifeshop. It would be a good idea to put some drying agent in the box with the knives.
 

DGG

Joined
May 3, 2005
Messages
2,293
Here's how I long-term store:

1. Clean the knife with Breakfree CLP. Wipe off all excess.

http://www.botac.com/breakfreeclp4.html

2. If you have the original box and plastic bag, put it in it.

3. Put the knife (or boxed knife) in a large zip-lock heavy-duty "freezer" bag. I keep it with other knives from the same manufacturer in one of the big zip-lock heavy-duty freezer bags.

4. Store the zip-lock heavy-duty freezer bags in a locked 25mm waterproof ammo container (I use those surplus ammo boxes that are made out of tough nylon something that can be dropped from airplanes without breaking). You can't beat these for storage and they are only $10 each. You can drill and put a padlock on them. They have a carrying handle.

http://www.galleria-e.com/cgi-bin/Colemans.storefront/en/product/220301

5. Keep them in as cool and dry a place as you can find (not in the attic at 130 degrees and 95% humidity). They will last for years without any corrosion issues. I have a bunch of Gerber "Paul" knives that I bought back in the 1970's and they are still like new.

I'm sure there are many ways to store metal objects, this just works good for me and not costing a fortune makes my Scotch ancestors proud.

Maybe Mr. Joe T. , my hero, has some thoughts or answers to this question.

Oh, don't ever store fixed blades in leather sheaths. Keep them separeted in their own zip-lock heavy-duty "freezer" bags. The tanning chemicals will reek havoc on knife blades.
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Messages
3,215
Well, there are some different ways to store.

Much of this has to do with the climate they are stored in.

1. NEVER store you knives in cases with foam padding, does not matter what kind. Foam will hold moisture (whether high, or low density) and the last thing you need is to have a closed in space with foam padding.

2. If you live in a climate that is prone to humidity, humidity control is important. You do not want the knives too dry, especially if you have any with bone, stag, horn (handles with natural materials, etc.), or else the handles will crack, shrink, etc. (stag tends to shrink in dry climates and crack). This can be eliminated by "lightly" coating the handles in 100% mineral oil (then wrapping the handle in a cotton cloth that is "slightly" dampened with 100% mineral oil). Anything else will stain the handles, especially stag. 100% mineral oil will stain the handle less (and less is more!). Also, you may need to have a dehumidifier. Set it at a level that will keep the room dry, but not so dry as to cause anything to dry out completely (like bone, etc.). Remember, a damp room will destroy knives!

3. Coat the blades in something that will last a long time. Renaissance wax works well for long term. Tuf-glide also works well. However the wax will stay on much longer, as long as the knife blade is not handled too much. It works really well, much better than oil (and lasts for years!). Now I have heard some use wax paste, like the kind used on bowling alley floors, I have not, but from what I have heard it works well? Now the Tuf-glide, is a mixture of oil and 100% mineral spirits. It basically drys on the blade after you put a coating on and stays in place (for the most part, but can be rubbed off with use). I use it on knives that I carry in the field, and on some in my collection.

Now one thing you have to be careful is, if you store them in a cool, damp climate, too much oil can cause the opposite desired effect (oil that does not dry, which is most oils out there). In other words too much oil, and a cold, damp climate can cause condensation to build up between the blade and the oil (on the blade), causing some rust!

4. A case with no foam padding is preferable to storing knives. One with only felt backing, or none, providing the knives are waxed, oiled, etc. Will work well. Small plastic storage cases are okay, as long as you have a silica gel pack, in the case with them. Now, the silica should be stored as far away in the case from the knives (as possible). If its stored in a cool, or damp area, make sure you take the silica gel pack out every month and bake it in the oven at around 200-300 degrees for a couple hours to dry it back out and get it ready for use again (make sure you monitor this!). You can buy some silica gel packs from smoky mountain for little money.

The zippered cases are okay to store knives in. The "key" to doing this is to NOT close the zipper all the way, but leave about a 1/2" to 3/4" open for air to escape, this is especially important with vinyl cases. The fabric cases breathe much better, but should also not be zippered completely shut.

5. If you have any sheath knives, do not store them in the sheaths, this can cause the blades to rust, or collect moisture and rust (especially if they are carbon). Some of the oils, and dyes used can cause chemical reactions (especially acid tanned leathers, most knife sheaths are not these days, but certain oiled leathers can cause problems). Chrome tanned leather, and similar tanned (and or dyed) sheaths should not be a problem, but if the knives soted in them are carbon, do not store the blade sheated, this can cause moisture to build up in the sheath (on the blade etc.) and cause rust.


I hope this gives you a "little" insight into this. This is coming from over 24+ years of knife collecting, making (etc). experience. Some of the products I mentioned (the Renn. wax, and Tuf-glide) are newer products and much superior to things that have been used in the past. It is imporatant to keep the blades, dry, oiled, or waxed, but cliamte is important. Me, personally, I have a room that is completely climate controled.

I hope this info helps,

Sincerely
John
 

BlackKnight86

Platinum Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2003
Messages
36,172
Guys, thanks so much! Those were some great suggestions. It's amazing how much a person can pick up from these forums...

I'm doing a revamp of my collection this weekend (it's the first time I've seen some of these knives in a year). I picked up some Ren wax (wow...expensive!), and I'm going to go through my boxes on Saturday. A good excuse to spend time with my "children"!

Thanks again!

Mike
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Messages
3,215
Mike,
the renn. wax is expensive, but you will find a "little" goes a long way! I have a small jar that has lasted over two years and over 100+ knives and still going.
 
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