You have a great knife that you can’t leave behind when you hit the great outdoors. Your knife needs to perform to cut branches, skinning or cleaning your catch. At the end of the day or hunt your knife has performed as it should. How long your knife lasts is determined on how you care for it. To help you keep your knife in perfect condition here are a few tips to follow.
1. Specialty knives are just that, for a special purpose. For example: A skinning knife is used for that purpose only. You don’t want to use this knife to cut branches or use as a pry bar. You will only dull or ruin your knife altogether.
2.Cleaning your knife after each use is a must. The blade is important to clean, but don’t forget the handle and even the shaft. Use running water to clean your knife, remember never to soak your knife. Dry your knife thoroughly, because moisture on your knife can lead to rust, and a inefficient knife. Keeping your knife dry can be tough, especially if you are in a wet environment. Get in the habit of drying your knife off after use, especially if its your favorite knife. Use a leaf in the field to dry off your knife. If your knife is made of carbon steel, you can also use baking soda and water. Use just plain water and dish soap on stainless steel knives. Try to avoid touching your stainless steel knife. Acid left on the blade from your fingerprint can actually stain your knife, and overtime cause corrosion. Never put your knife in a automatic dishwasher, as the detergent contains abrasives and salt that can cause corrosion.
3. Oil your knife on a regular basis, this will prevent friction. Oil can provide a protective coating on the blade that keeps rust from forming. If you have a folding knife, oil is more important for the moving parts and joints. Use the same oil you use for your firearms or just household oil. Some oils can leave a aftertaste in your meat, in that case use a food grade mineral base oil. Be leary of oiling your handle as this will cause it to be slippery. Wood handles can be treated with linseed oil. Remember a little oil goes a long way. If your handle if made of rubber or artificial materials, nothing is required. But if you feel the need, treat it with armor all. Leather handles can be treated with mink oil. This also works good on sheaths. Bone or stag handles that have crevies should be cleaned with soap and water. Crevices and cracks in your knife can cause dirt buildup, which can draw moisture and can damage your knife.
4. Have your knife serviced when you notice you have a dull blade or your knife is losing its shine. If you don’t know how to sharpen your knife, it might be a good idea to take it to a professional and have them do it for you. There are professionals out there, you just have to look for them. There are even a few where you send in you knife through the mail, when they are done they send it back to you. Having a dull knife on your trip will only do more harm than good. If you have experience or think you can sharpen your knife yourself, go for it. Don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help.
5. Your knife should be store in a humidity free environment to keep it dry. Your leather sheath is a great place to store you knife in the field, but don’t keep it there for a long time. The chemicals they use in the leather sheath can cause damage to the blade of your knife. You need something non acidic to store you knife in. To store you knife for a long time, use paper and wrap your knife with it, then place it in a plastic bag with a desiccant to keep it dry.
A quality knife is designed to last a lifetime. With a little effort and proper maintenance you can enjoy your knife in the great outdoors for a long time.