WD-40 for knives?

Joined
Jul 13, 2011
Messages
2,090
For a knife, the only thing I'd use WD40 for is to oil an oil stone. There are much better options for both joint lubrication and surface corrosion protection.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
2,809
I use WD40 (Water Displacement, attempt number 40) only as a cleaner to remove gunk and remains of glue from knives and other stuff.
For pure lubrication of moving parts i've never come across anything better (and longer lasting) than Nano-Oil, 10 weight for most folders and 5 weight for ones that have very tight production tolerances.

I was hoping someone would bring that out. WD-40 was designed for displacing water. It's a good solvent as well. IME, not much of a lubricant.
 

FTR-14c

Gold Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2011
Messages
1,968
I found an 8 oz pump bottle of Strike Hold CLP at the last gun/knife show I attended.
It has been working great on knives, fishing reels and just about everything else I use it on.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Messages
19,969
They are only knives. They don't need nanocryogenicsuperlithium oil!

An interesting word, "need."

Do I need the knives I have? No.
No I need any knife costing over $15.00? No.
Do we need a knife forum? No.
All hail nanocryogenicsuperlithium oil!
 

UffDa

Gold Member
Joined
Sep 11, 1999
Messages
42,596
There are at least 40 opinions on the pros and cons of WD-40. I have had and seen some disastrous corrosion on firearms that were supposedly protected by WD-40.
Really, it's nothing more than kerosine, mineral oil and fragrance. It's cheap. I have seen it on sale for less than $2 a can.

I look at it this way. Am I going to trust a $1000 + firearm to the stuff in some $2 spray can? A more expensive lube/preservative is maybe $10 and will last for years.

I worked for an office machine company for 28 years. When I first started they issued WD-40. We found that it was worthless as a lubricant and rust preventive. Many of us
would buy Break-Free or Tri-Flow with our own money to cut down on call backs for squeaks. Eventually, the company began supplying Tri-Flow. Believe what you want. It's
no skin off my nose. ;) If your knife or gun isn't worth an extra few bucks, so be it.
 

Bill DeShivs

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Jun 6, 2000
Messages
11,556
If you look at the various tests done here on BF, WD 40 does pretty well as a rust preventer.
Of course there is nothing wrong with using "SuperLube" on your knife. It's just not necessary and offers little benefit.
Cars benefit from using synthetic oils. Knives don't.
 
Joined
May 3, 2006
Messages
3,092
As usual, Bill DeShivs is right. Look up the MSDS sheets for just about any fancy lube, and the actual lubricating ingredient is likely to be... mineral oil in one way or another. From Fluid Film to WD 40 and beyond. Sometimes they thin it out with solvents, sometimes add tints or aromas, but mineral oil is a pretty good lubricant, cheap and its properties well known. So it ends up being hard to avoid.

There are special oils that won't attack some kinds of rubber or plastics. These might be of some use in particular instances. But those instances are rare in the knife world. Knives don't generate enough heat or operate under extreme pressure levels to break down oils. Even the most high tech knives tend to be really simple mechanisms. They rarely offer any kind of sealing mechanisms, and as such most oil just runs right out where you don't need it, wicks into useless cavities, and/or evaporating off and washing out.

I've advocated avoiding lubrication, unless absolutely necessary. I have several knives that don't need it, and thus don't get it. I have in the past lubricated knives prophylactically, only to find that, if anything, lubrication just encourages contaminants into the pivots and wear surfaces, making a nice little slurry that can dry out/goop up and cause more wear and sluggishness than had it never been used in the first place.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2009
Messages
12,671
As usual, Bill DeShivs is right. Look up the MSDS sheets for just about any fancy lube, and the actual lubricating ingredient is likely to be... mineral oil in one way or another. From Fluid Film to WD 40 and beyond. Sometimes they thin it out with solvents, sometimes add tints or aromas, but mineral oil is a pretty good lubricant, cheap and its properties well known. So it ends up being hard to avoid.

There are special oils that won't attack some kinds of rubber or plastics. These might be of some use in particular instances. But those instances are rare in the knife world. Knives don't generate enough heat or operate under extreme pressure levels to break down oils. Even the most high tech knives tend to be really simple mechanisms.

I've advocated avoiding lubrication, unless absolutely necessary. I have several knives that don't need it, and thus don't get it. I have in the past lubricated knives prophylactically, only to find that, if anything, lubrication just encourages contaminants into the pivots and wear surfaces, making a nice little slurry that can dry out/goop up and cause more wear and sluggishness than had it never been used in the first place.

I've often fallen back on that philosophy as well, for the same reasons. Most deliberate attempts at lubing pivots in my knives have always ended up with joints that are dirtier/gummier than if left dry, regardless of which oil/lube I used. A little oil in the pivot has always been a magnet for pocket lint too, of which even one single fiber has occasionally bogged down the pivot upon closing. Keeping the joints CLEAN has the much greater positive impact for me, most of the time. That's actually easier to do, when the joints are dry. As for rust, same essentially applies; keeping the blade clean and dry is what makes the most difference with my EDC knives. I consider WD-40 even advantageous in this respect, precisely because the coating of oil it does leave behind is relatively light, as compared to other products. In other words, less is more, so far as I'm concerned, when lubing my knives.

The best 'rust protection' I've used is just in wiping down the blades with some Windex every evening, and as needed after using the blade during the day. No oil at all, for this. Forcing a patina also helps somewhat.


David
 
Joined
May 28, 1999
Messages
2,606
Mineral oil is a great base lubricant/carrier, it's also fairly cheap all told, which is why it gets used as a base oil for everything from laxative to formula-1 racing engine oil. But that's all it is, an oil base, the level of oil refinement changes mineral oil's properties drastically and those additives in small percentages do the heavy lifting these days. Now what isn't wrong is that mineral oil all by itself is by and large, plenty good enough for most knives, knives aren't a high stress environment like cars or aerospace equipment. Keep em clean, put half a drop of oil in the pivot once in a while and wipe off any visible oil, that's what works best for me. (I just don't see a reason to use mineral oil outside of food contact concerns when even the best super lubricants are only a few dollars/year over the life of a bottle when used like this)
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
4,008
I don't worry about oil getting gunked up, if I'm actually using the knife enough to get dirty I just take it in the shower with me, shampoo my head and lather up the knife, rinse it with the massage setting and either use the hair dryer I dry it out or give it a spritz of WD-40 after it's air dried.

I use them in the kitchen and toss 'em in with the dishes.

Like I've said before I've used motor oil or whatever's around, none of the lubes have caused any problems.
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
Messages
6,249
Baby Oil which is a thinner mineral oil
Edible and works well for rust prevention
 
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