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What's best common household lubricant?

Oct 14, 2000
What would be the best common household lubricant to use on an LCC and small Sebenza? I need to re-lub and am unsure what to use. Tried 3-n-1 oil but really didn't seem to work very good. I will eventually order something specific to knives but need something to use now. What about white grease, would that work better on Sebenza since I can disassemble it?

Also, when I do order what should I get?

Thanks, Dave
I like "White Lightning" for my knives that are not Auto's.For my autos I use Tuff glide.


have a"knife"day
Jeez; do a search; see the button right below 'post reply'? You will see that this topic has been exhaustively covered.

However, to answer your question, the most common thing you are likely to have already is probably a Li grease ('white grease'), or a PTFE (Teflon) / oil or PTFE / grease. A common PTFE / oil is Break Free. Any of these will perform satisfactorily. Chris Reeve recomends a PTFE / grease product.

Another thing you would likely already have is motor oil. This works surprisingly well.

You would be unlikely to have white lightning, a motorcycle chain lube, unless you ride motorcycles. Even if you did, the lube has been criticised for becoming lumpy and gummy. Tuf-Glide, the active ingredient in Tuf-Cloth, is a TFCI (Thin Film Corrosion Inhibitor). While an excellent rust preventive, many people have found it to be of insufficient lubricity for use on pivot pins. One other problem is that the very thin film tends, much like dry Teflon powder, to fail as a lubricant due to the clearance built into the parts to allow a film of lubricant of a certain thickness. The film left by a TFCI or powdered Teflon is too thin to allow the correct interaction of the parts.


[This message has been edited by Walt Welch (edited 11-24-2000).]
KY Jelly

Seriously, Chris Reeve stocks a 'flourinated grease' that comes with a handy applicator which is just right for lubing hard-to reach spots. My small Sebenza opens and closes glass-smooth on this.

3-in-1 oil is intended for machinery with much sloppier tolerances than good folding knives. Its pretty worthless on my knives and seems to attract dirt. I chucked my whole can out and ordered the Reeve grease instead. Am looking for a local supplier of Tuff Glide but I think I'm outta luck.


"Praise not the day until evening has come;a sword until it is tried; ice until it has been crossed; beer until it has been drunk" - Viking proverb

[This message has been edited by redvenom (edited 11-24-2000).]
Here's a new one: mink oil.

What's mink oil? It's a very thick clear compound that you use to protect leather garments and shoes. You can find it amongst shoe polish.

It's like very thick vaseline. It's inexpensive, non-corrosive, doesn't leave residue, and coats blades very well.
The long time commonly used Tri Flow in a squeeze bottle or Super Lube in a needle applicator.

BTW, grease for the Chris Reeves are fine since one can routinely take them apart for maintenance. But MT states that warranty is void should one attempt to take them apart.


PS- kindly check your mail.
I like breakfree the bestest!

Second comes Rem Oil with teflon or most other teflon based lubes like tri-flon for instance. A good place to get teflon-based greases and oils is in good bike shops. Most gun shops sell teflon-based oils. For corrosion resistance, a teflon base oil works great but I like tuff glide 'cause it doesn't attract dirt. Remington has a new teflon based dri lube that might be the ticket. I've got some but haven't given it much of a try yet.

If we are just talking the usual household stuff, I would avoid 3 in 1 oil and WD 40. Very gummy stuff. A lightweight motor oil is hard to beat. I also like marvel mystery oil but neither will have the tenacity and long term fluidity of a teflon based lubricant. I've store guns for 2 years with nothing more than a coat of breakfree and found them still oily and free of rust, with no resinous deposit.


I get some pleasure from finding a relentlessly peaceful use for a combative looking knife.
I use Break-Free, and ,when appropriate, I use some stuff called "Silikroil", available from Kano Industries. Silikroil is available in most gun shops, and is an excellent corrosion inhibitor, as well as an excellent lube. The silikroil is silicone based, in a very thin oil carrier. I use it on my machine tools,knives, and just about everything else you can imagine. It does not attract dirt & grit like WD-40.
I've gone through rem oil, custom shop gun greases, WD-40, and I came to realize that it really does not make THAT much of a difference. One liter bottle of any 5W-30 car oil works WELL and costs around a buck. You will never run out. I also lube my HK's and Glocks and Kimbers as well and I have had NO problems with it.

I think the side industry of specialized lubricants is making a KILLING off of us selling $5 3 ounce bottles of lube which makes only a MINUTE amount of difference in the FEEL of your knife opening, but is no better at general lubrication than cheap old car oil.

I think everyone should spend a dollar or two, try this out, and if I am wrong, well just use the rest for your next oil change. For those out there with custom pieces, MT's etcetera, you can by synthetic if it makes you feel better.

Seriously though, consider it.
Sorry Greg but I vehemently disagree. Having had my gun barrels rust from relying on WD 40, I can tell you from personal experience that you can have problems with this oil. And after repeated applications I've seen a yellowish shellac build up that flakes off and allows moisture to be trapped underneath. And I've heard similar stories from gun store owners that used to wipe their guns down with WD 40.

And I've seen 3 in 1 oil leave a gummy residue with repeated use. I believe it's not even a petroleum based oil is it? Never had any problems like this with teflon based lubricants. There's a good reason why people use them.

I use WD 40 for what it was primarily designed for, as a penetrant. Great for loosening rusted bolts and nuts. But as a libricant and protectant, I don't think much of it. And now they have teflon-based penetrating oils such as Remington's Wonderlube so I have even less use for it than before.

I will admit that engine oil works well as a rust preventative. Many times I've coated engine blocks, heads, and other parts with 30 wt oil and left them set in an open shop for months at a time with no evidence of rust. But it can get a little gummy compared to teflon based lubes.


I get some pleasure from finding a relentlessly peaceful use for a combative looking knife.
Ditto what Hoodoo said

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
George Orwell
"Those who hold the thin blue line keep order, and insure that anarchy and chaos will not prevail." Chad (1992)
"He who lives by the sword dies by the sword. He who dies by the sword did not train hard enough" -Chad (1999)
Firstly, FYI, WD40 is no more than scented kerosene. I' ve had great success using it as a flushing agent. I then air blast with a compressor and lube with my favorites such as Tri Flow and Super Lube.

Second, although I cannot recall positively in which gun magazine the article appeared in, a representative of the company who manufactures WD40 STATED that in NO WAY does the application of WD40 in the barrels and other parts of blued firearms does it promote any sort of rust/ corrosion, pitting. Further he stated that only when a round is fired thru the bore will the friction and pressure be cause for possible damage.

3 in 1 is the worst as far as gunking up. Same results for the bicycle industry.

White Lightning was originally made for the bicycle industry as well. It' s shedding action is said to keep chains clean and prevent buildup. So regular applications is needed for lubricity. I have found that there are often times too much build up and the resulting is gobs that stay in unwanted crevices. Additionally, one must start with a completely squeaky clean part for maximum effectiveness.

Tuff Glide is an excellent preservative agent. But unfortunately it does not have any better lubricating qualities as the above described. Actually, contrary to what the manufacturers claim, it does indeed attract lint! Simply wipe any blade, let dry, and carry in your pocket for a day or two. Take a look at it- dust and lint!

Experiment with a bunch and stick to what works for you the best.


Best I have found is 10W non detergent synthetic oil with 2 oz Militec mixed in per qt., a quart of the mix will last several years. Will outperform everything else I have tried, Breakfree, WD-40(aka kerosene), and a bunch of others.

[This message has been edited by cntrline (edited 11-24-2000).]
Errr, ahhhh,

Methinks I was a little vague- I don't use WD-40 as a lubricant- only as a water displacing agent. I was actually only advocating the use of motor oils as lubricants. MOTOR OILS!

Sorry if I wasn't clear. The gunk factor is all a manifestation of HOW you lube. If you disassemble and lube only washers and pivot pins I don't think that you will ever see a problem. If you are a squirt and go type of guy then yes, pocket lint and other flotsam will get in the works.
Thanks all! I just disassembled Sebenza (small) and tried some old "tri-flow" but it didn't work well. Disassembled again, cleaned and tried 100% silicone oil and it didn't seem to work well either. Took apart again and cleaned then went out to garage and began searching. Found a can of Polaris chain oil (for motorcycle type chain) and tried it. Wow, it actually seemed to work pretty well. I'll use it for awhile until I send away and get something better. Thanks again. Dave

BTW- what kind of lube, for knives, will go on wet then dry and leave a slick film behind?
Spit! Pa-tooey! That should do it.

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----Abraham Lincoln