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Poll: What pivot lube and blade treatment?

Jan 31, 1999

I'm curious what others use for a pivot lube and blade treatment. Tuff Glide, Rem oil, Reeves grease, TKX, WD40 all are mentioned, as is Tuff Cloth.

Does anyone use a specific product for certain knives?

I use TKX on my mini socoms, Chris Reeves Zulu grease on my sebenza and Tuff Glide on the rest. I also like the Zulu grease on the pivots of Sypdie products. Rem oil migrates too much for my tastes, gets all over the handles.

I use a chamois and Tuff Cloth on all knives.

What do you guys use and why?
Maybe I am getting burned out on these forums, but I have answered this question, along with countless other posters, many times. OK, one more time:

There are lubricants and protectants. Some products do both.

If you want to protect a knife in storage, wax (butcher's or Renaissance), Rust Inhibiting Grease (which is what Chris Reeve puts in with his Damascus blades for protection), even (cringe) WD-40 will work.

You should pay attention to humidity, and store your knives in a dry place. If this means inside an air tight container (say a surplus ammo box) with silica gel air dryers, then do so. Your knife WILL be protected (covered with crud if you used WD-40, but it will be protected).

Another trick for ferrous and non ferrous metal storage is VCI (Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor) this is commonly used for firearms storage, and is available in a variety of forms, including heavy plastic bags with the VCI impregnated on the inner surface (Bianchi Blue Bags), VCI on plastic chips (Brownells) and the VCI crystals themselves (Brownells). A harmless vapor permeates a storage area with a protective effect.

Oil is an OK lubricant, but will not protect well. This was established by the late Col. Askins, who wrote a paper, 'Rusting under Oil Films,' in the 1920's. Oil with PTFE (Teflon [r] and others) is an OK lubricant and protectant, but there are better. Remember that you are trying to get the world's most slippery substance (PTFE) to stick to a piece of steel. Remember further that those motor oil/PTFE products of a few years ago said that the PTFE would 'bond with the metal engine parts.' Well, it didn't work, did it?

Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is a great lubricant, and to some extent, binds to the metal surface. The problem is that it is black, and smears on everything. I use this on the rails of my 1911's and on the bearing surfaces of knives which are diassembled.

There is an entire class of lubricants and protectants, recently developed, which outperform oils and waxes and silicones.

These are the Thin Film Corrosion protectants, including those by our good friends at Sentry (Tuf-Cloth, Tuf-Glide, Smooth Kote, Hi Slip Grease, and BP-2000 powder). Go to their website and learn:


Better yet, go to Discount Knives and buy an armorer's kit, which has Tuf-Cloth, Tuf-Glide, Smooth Kote, Hi-Slip Grease and BP-2000, plus gloves and applicators, all for about $30. This will lubricate and protect all the knives in even a serious collector's collection.

The other firm manufacturing thin film corrosion protectants is the Corrosion-X company. They call their version Thin Fluid Film Coating. Go to their website:


Corrosion X can be found in sporting good stores.

For real world protection of working knives, the thin film agents have no equal. Tuf-Cloth is the most convenient of the protectants. Tuf-Glide, the active ingredient in Tuf-Cloth, is a very penetrating, low surface tension compound. It is SUPPOSED to be; that is how it works. If you think Rem Oil migrates, you haven't taken apart a knife that you have used Tuf-Glide on.

If you want a lubricant that stays put, Hi-Slip Grease, MOS2, or Li grease will all work well.

There are those who advocate mineral oil as the only lubricant/protectant to be used on knives, as anything else has not been declared safe by the FDA. This makes about as much sense to me as a person who goes around (let me see how I can phrase this without being banished again), er, ah, constantly protected by a latex barrier, just in case a need should arise for protection, however infrequently.

For gosh sakes, you can use soap and water and/or rubbing alcohol to remove ANY of these coatings from your knife blade before food preparation. To deny your knife the protection of superior agents because such agents may be on a knife which you infrequently use for food preparation is preposterous.

I hope this helps. Walt

While I do not deny the science in the above, I have a problem with the dogmatic nature of the response.

If the answer to everything was Sentry products, then why does every manufacturer seem to use something different? For example, Microtech uses TKX, Chris Reeves uses flourinated grease, etc. If one product was really superior there would be no need for all the other products. Rem oil and Triflow are also similar to Tuff Glide in viscoscity, and are universally accepted in the gun world as competent products.

Chris Reeves coats all blades leaving the factory with WD40!

You must also consider that many finishes are available on blades. Black titanium carbonitride finishes on Microtech blades dull down with Tuff Cloth, as opposed to TKX.

I'd be happy to accept a one product answer, except the world doesn't seem to follow it.

I totally agree with you on the mineral oil business. As a physician myself, the idea of considering what is FDA approved for use on a knife is ludicrous. Do you really think that the nitrites in bacon and grilled meats are healthy? We use many products, drugs, and perform many procedures that are not FDA approved. Why, WD40 is even approved for use in meat packing plants!

Well, that was certainly a digression.

Best wishes,

Esteemed colleague Bluehinder. It is great to see yet another physician here on the forums. I am sure that you will contribute a great deal of useful information.

I regret that you found my answer to be dogmatic. It was not intended to be that way, and I do believe that I covered a variety of methods of protection and lubrication.

You are laboring under a few misconceptions, however, and I hope you don't mind me pointing them out. Rem Oil and Tuf-Glide are NOT nearly the same in viscosity, let alone surface tension. Tuf-Glide comes in a container with a capillary applicator! I use both these products, so am familiar with them. Tuf-Glide has a very low viscosity and surface tension.

Chris Reeve really uses WD-40 on all blades before shipment? Well, that agrees with my first post, in which I said, 'If you want to protect a knife in storage...even WD-40 will work.' I can attest to the fact that Chris Reeve sends a small container of RIG with all his Damascus blades. I am unaware as to whether this is a fluorinated grease or not.

Your point about different finishes on blades is well taken. You may wish to peruse my experience with this, although it was somewhat indirect. To save you time, I shall reprint it from my post in the Blade Discussion Forum:
Walt Welch
Whacko posted 17 February 1999 02:49 AM
A certain poster wanted a 'blue circle' Umfaan, of which only about 60 were made. The circles had been colored (anodized, I believe) with a process which could not be carried out on a plain circle Umfaan.
I discovered that I had one in the closet of wonders, so, since I had no particular interest in the knife, arranged for the poster to get it, and replace my Umfaan with a new one. heh heh heh

Here, in his own words, is what happened to the 'blue circle' Umfaan after it arrived at the poster's house:
It was actually pretty funny (for about 30 seconds.) When the knife
arrived, I called my girlfriend in to see it - told her about you and the
Reeves. While we're talking I'm VERY LIGHTLY cleaning the scales with the
WD-40 cloth. All of a sudden the circles aren't blue anymore! I almost
started crying. Finally realized I hadn't rubbed hard enough to "erase" the
blue anodizing and called CRK, but for a bit I had a truly dumbfounded look
on my face - I was so stunned! (Anne had told me on the phone that the
knife was perfect as received from you, and I was REAL hesitant to call and
let her know I'd possibly ruined it.)

Anne R. suggested using Windex with a Q-tip - worked perfectly in about 3
seconds. I also used it on my plain circles Umfaan, which made the circles
look darker and the polished handle brighter.

You see, the film of WD-40 is thick, and changes the way the anodized Ti reflects light. heh heh heh
Of course, I disavow any foreknowledge that he would use WD-40 on his knife. However, there is one more Tuf-Cloth convert in the world!! The e-mail is quoted with the author's permission. Walt
So, you see, esteemed colleague, I do have a more than passing acquaintaince with the effect of blade finish and protectant interaction. BTW, you can simply polish the 'haze' left by a Tuf-Cloth off with an ordinary cloth if you desire. The protective film is undisturbed.

I am unfamiliar with the product TKX, and would welcome any information you could provide regarding it.

You state you would be happy to accept 'a one product answer.? BWWAAAHHHAAA!!
As for me, vive le diffenance!! Walt

I'm one of the mineral oil users, but I think our reasons have been somewhat misrepresented. For one thing, I am not necessarily impressed if the FDA certifies a product as safe, though I might be if some government that isn't for sale to the highest bidder did.

My preposterous idea is since mineral oil prevents rust well enough if renewed frequently, and I don't know what longer-lasting rust preventers might do to my health (which is bad enough already, thank you), I'm not too lazy to keep applying mineral oil. I *am* too lazy to clean something else off my knife and reapply it every time I use it on food. YMMV, and I haven't noticed people dropping dead in large numbers from using hi-tech rust preventers on their knives, so you can suit yourself, and I will too.

-Cougar Allen :{)
http://www.super-lube.com is my personal favorite. You can even get a free tube of grease off their site. I found a big aerosol can at an auto parts store, and I use it on all my knives and guns. I use my CS randall #5 daily, and it hasn't developed a single spot with this gunk on it.

I'm not only a mineral oil convert, but I think those that dismiss mineral oil as an acceptable knife lubricant and sort-of protectant, are flat out nuts. Why do I say that? Well, mineral oil is cheap, ubiquitous, non-toxic and *it works*.

I've not tried any longer term storage than 2 years with an exclusive mineral oil coating, but for someone who uses his knives on food everyday, storing them without using them is totally pointless anyway. Far from the "rare" food use, all of my knives are subject to use on food at nearly any time. That plus since I work in a lab environment, any knives carried to work get to be doused daily with alcohol, so re-applying a light coating of food grade mineral oil is no big deal even though I often forget it or purposely omit it, since I think that over lubing of knives is the number one reason for pocket lint failures.

If what you're using is working for you, then hey, great, but it's pretty shortsighted to assume that one's own approach is the *only* approach that makes sense. Hopefully, I've made that plain.

To my two mineral oil friends above,

Please reread my post--I am not saying that mineral oil is not a good lube-I have no idea, not having tried it. It may be great, in which case I will use it without hesitation. I am only saying that FDA approval is not high on my list of lubricant priorities. The reasons you state seem logical to me. I say that the chemical, toxins, water impuritites, air polution, household formaldehyde exposure, etc, far outway the miniscule risk of WD40 or what ever.

The point of my post is to get the opinions of others. I am quite uncertain of my choices, and am always looking for better products.

To the gent with the lab exposure who wipes with alcohol, I sure hope that you are not exposed to biological hazards, because alcohol is inadequate. I work in a lab as well-I am a pathologist, performing autopsies and surgical pathology for a living, exposed to every concievable virus known to man. Virex, bleach, formalin, etc are the chemicals of choice. Alcohol won't kill many viruses or tuberculosis.

I won't even wear my shoes home from work let alone cut food with a contaminated knife, regardless of how it was decontaminated. Even the best chemicals only kill organisms known to us today. It's the bugs we will discover in five years that are resistant to virucides that worry me.

Lets get this thread back on track.

What do you all like for pivot lubricants and blade treatments?


Jeez, after reading the above posts, I'm kind of embarassed to just say I use Rem Oil. ABC-Direct sent me 2 free tubes with my order last year and I'm still using them. I only use a drop on the pivot though. I don't use oil on the blades, even the non stainless ones. I just wipe off or wash and dry the blades after each use.


My life has been pretty simple:

- WD40 on the daily use knives, it can easily clean off any sort of tape or sticker mung left from ripping open boxes and packages. I buy it by the case from MSC supply and use it for lots of stuff in the garage. I've never found anything that can remove sticker goo as well.

- Breakfree CLP on the longer-term storage stuff. I've had really, really good luck with it on firearms. Just a slight bit works well on pivots.

- Tuff-Cloth on some of the pretty knives, and buff the haze off with a really soft flannel cloth

I've just started playing around with REM oil and it doesn't seem to clean as well as CLP does but it appears to be a good rust inhibitor (time will tell).

I picked up the full Sentry Systems kit with all their different products and plan to give 'em a try too.

I know people have had lots of good luck with other stuff, these have worked well with me!

Bluehinder, it's Walt we're having the flame war with, not you, and we're not even serious about flaming him ... we only insult each other because we love each other so much....

I might get all pumped up and start a crusade against high-tech rust preventers if I had any evidence they were hurting anybody, but I don't. Neither have I seen any evidence they aren't hurting anybody, so I'm not using them myself (on knives, that is; I do use them on guns and things). Mineral oil works well enough to suit me, and it gives me peace of mind. Peace of mind is a valuable thing ... there are so many things to worry about these days....

Unquestionably we are all exposed to larger doses of worse toxins and can't do much about it. Does that mean we shouldn't bother to avoid the toxins we can avoid? That's a line of reasoning I've never understood ... maybe it's just me.

-Cougar Allen :{)

[This message has been edited by Cougar Allen (edited 14 March 1999).]
Hey I love this type of information. Difference of opinions brings out a lot more
info than if no one disagreed with what you post. This type of info is great for the novice like me. This is why I keep checking the forum.
I have found Marine Tuf-Cloth and Tuf-Glide to be very good products.

Occasionally I find that the Tuf-Glide does not lubricate a particular action as well as I like, at which time I use one of the Super Lube products.

Hey, who is this new guy using a name a little bit too close to my own?


Live Free or Die

[This message has been edited by Blues (edited 14 March 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Blues (edited 14 March 1999).]
This post was up before, I think? Ever try White Lightning, wax based carrier, long lasting,self cleaning,dry lube with liquid delivery. Does not build up, only for pivots ect. sets up clear.Used in bike shops! $5.00 for 4oz.
Probably there are a hundred great lubes in this day and age!!
I use Slick 50 #1 as a lube and Break-Free as a rust preventative...never had the first problem. I am going to try this Tuff-Cloth though and a few others mentioned here.
Does anyone know a retailer for the TKX? Thanks!!
I've been using Break-Free CLP for years with out any complaints. Recently a buddy turned me on to a product called "NYOIL", now this stuff is slippery but I don't know how well it protects or will last.
I'm sure most of us over clean and lube our knives just as an excuse to handle them anyway. In that light, does it really matter what you use when you clean & oil a blade three times a week?
I started using Breakfree CLP as a lubricant and rust preventative on my guns and knives over ten years ago. Living in South Florida, rust prevention, both short and long term are key considerations.

After hearing so much about Marine Tuff Cloth here on this forum, I tried using it on both guns and knives as a rust preventative.

I like it a lot. It provides a much drier, less oily feel than Breakfree and appears to last longer.

I use a Spyderco Delica in and around salt water and if not rinsed off frequently, I would get a little surface rust. The Tuff Cloth has stopped the rust completely.


Dan Harris

[This message has been edited by Dan Harris (edited 14 March 1999).]
Lots of good info above, thanks for all the replies.

Microtech uses TKX on all their products. This is made by LPS Labs. I called them regarding their products, and they said that TKX is a "value product", meaning that cost was more of a consideration than pure performance. When asked what was the best, cost no object, for knife pivots, they said LPS1. Mind you now, TKX cost $3.50 for a huge can, LPS1 cost me $5.50 for 16oz (8" can, would last a lifetime) LPS1 can be viewed at www.lpslabs.com/products/lubricants.

I've not yet used it on my knives, but I did lube every door hinge in my house, and all my garage doors. Freaked my wife out! Now you touch the door, and it swings shut like it was on ball bearings. It's like Tuff Glide, drys totally leaving behind a lubricant film. You see, many good uses for lubricants other than knives. Need lots!

Both TKX and LPS1 can be purchased at Grainger. www.grainger.com. I purchased mine locally.

I agree with the above posts-if we lube three times a week, we wont get rust no matter what. But my interest is in getting the smoothest, slickest, creamiest open I can get on every knife. Rust proctection is last on my list. Cosmetics is next. If I lived near sea water then it would be different.

Today I used Tuff Glide on my mini socom, this was the smoothest open yet for me, better than TKX and a lot less messy.

Sorry Blue, it didn't know you existed. One night years ago while wearing my blue pajamas, I said something pompously to my wife. She replied, "Who do you think you are, the royal blue hinder!?"

Bluehinder has stuck ever since.

In deference to a senior member, I will only go by BlueHinder, not Blue.
Also if you want a little corrosion protection with your lube take a look at LPS 2. For corrosion protection only LPS 3, witch leaves a waxy film. The film can be wiped off but I beleave you need to keep it on for it to work so would not be the best for a knife that you use. Great protection for storage though.

Though I was only joking above, your gesture surely shows you to be a prince among men.


Live Free or Die