Care of Carbon Steel Folding Pocket Knives

Unlike stainless steel blades, carbon steel blades are very sensitive to surface discolouration. Contamination with moisture and even fingerprints can remove the shiny silver finish, and cause a black mark on the surface of the blade. Fortunately, this type of surface mark can easily be removed and the blade restored to pristine condition. If the marking is only very light discolouration it may be possible to remove using metal polish such as Puma metal polish, supplied in a 50 ml. tube. More stubborn blade surface corrosion will require fine emery cloth or fine sandpaper to remove. To produce a mirror polish blade finish, after using emery cloth requires a high speed, bench mounted polishing wheel.

The benefit of a good carbon steel blade is the finer, longer lasting cutting edge. Carbon steel blade pocket knives make ideal work knives as they require less frequent re-sharpening. It is normal for carbon steel folding knife blades to develop a grey / black surface patina over time. To preserve the appearance, the knives require more care after use and during storage. The factory produced, mirror polish of carbon steel blades can be maintained with due care and attention. To prevent blade surface corrosion, carbon steel knives should be cleaned and oiled after use.

Pocket Knife Cleaning & Maintenance

Penknife blade surfaces can be cleaned with dishwashing soap and water or white spirit and then dried thoroughly before oiling. Due to the narrow internal spaces inside a pocket knife, cleaning may be slightly tricky. A flattened cotton bud dipped in white spirit may be used to clean the inside of the handle and blade pivot area. A toothbrush is also useful to remove dirt and grit from around the blade tang and exposed blade spring, with the blade part way open. Dried dirt and grit can also be blown out from the inside of the handle.

After drying the knife thoroughly, oil can be applied to the blade using an oily rag. The best type of oil for this is a light, multi purpose oil or '3 in 1 oil'. This can be dripped on to a cloth and wiped over the blade to leave a thin film of oil on the blade. A small amount of oil should be applied to the blade pivot area and along the length of the exposed back spring. It is important not to use too much oil which this will attract dust and dirt and excess oil should be wiped away.

As a cleaner alternative to oil, wax based furniture polish may be used to protect the blade against moisture. Available in aerosol spray containers, furniture polish can be coated on to the blade using a cloth. However, furniture polish does not have the same lubricating properties as oil and it is still necessary to oil the blade pivot and around the back spring.


Carbon Steel Blade Folding Pocket Knives