Knife Sharpening Escondido CA
9 Museum Tips for Home Knife Care
April 15, 2008by Jarod Kearney
Waxing the blade with a microcrystalline wax - such as
here on a German SA dagger with Renaissance Wax - is
a great way to preserve blade steel. (Jarod Kearney photo)
It is an all-too-familiar scenario. The family reunion is in full swing at your house, and once again Uncle Billy is rummaging through your knife collection. Hands freshly greased from the basted turkey, he eagerly fumbles out each piece, pawing the full length of the blades to leave the maximum amount of fingerprints. He swings your antique knives about carelessly, mouth agape and dripping with ginger sauce. You pause, sigh and politely secure the knives back and begin—once again—the process of wiping them down.
Whether your antique knife or sword collection is large or small, you want to protect and preserve your blades to the best of your ability. As a museum curator, I am often asked how we preserve our collection, and if there are similar measures that can be taken at home. The answer is absolutely—in fact, many of the steps we take at the museum can be duplicated fairly easily by the home collector.
Following are some basic steps we take as curators, and how they can be used successfully for your collection.
1) Touch the blade as little as possible. Whether you know it or not, you all have oils on your fingers that wreak havoc with steel. In the museum, we wear white cotton gloves to protect the piece. This is, of course, impractical in your home, but the concept is sound—simply avoid touching the blade as much as possible and you will add to its life. If you do touch the blade, wipe it down afterward with a cotton cloth.
2) Keep the collection away from extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations. In museums, we have heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that regulate temperature and humidity, as well as data loggers to monitor environmental conditions. Don’t worry about this—you don’t have to give up that trip to Fiji to install an HVAC. Actually, your basic home environment room temperature is not bad at all. Avoid the attic, garage and other locations where the conditions fluctuate wildly. A simple closet in the house proper will work just fine.
3) If the knives are on display, keep them away from direct sunlight. Sunlight will fade handle material, leather and other materials in your knives. We use an ultraviolet-light protective agent on all the windows, and keep the indoor lighting to a minimum. For the home display, taking a moment to move them away from the windows will certainly help. If the knives are in a display case, try putting some silica gel in the case to help control moisture.
4) If you store your collection away, try storing it in inert containers. An example would be a box or shelf lined with Microfoam or other inert archival material. Polymers such...
Take Good Care of Your Blade Babies
Take Good Care of Your Blade Babies
December 08, 2008by Durwood Hollis
Metal, Wood & Leather
Pivots & Mechanisms
They All Need It
Do you consider your knives your “babies”? That may be taking it a bit far for some, while for others it may not be taking it far enough. Most knife enthusiasts probably fit somewhere in between.
Wherever you fit in the equation, following are some of the latest in knife maintenance products. Check them out. At least one should fit your knife care needs.
While preparing for a recent hunting trip, I noticed one of my favorite knives had a light peppering of rust on the ATS-34 stainless blade. Though the steel’s chromium content was high enough to qualify as a “stainless,” apparently my lack of care, combined with a low chromium level in the steel and a high level of humidity, allowed rust demons to emerge from hiding. The chemical tanning residue in the leather sheath probably also contributed to the damage.
In discussing my predicament with a jeweler friend, he suggested I use Super Premium Polishing Paste to remove the rust and restore the blade to its original condition. “Put a dab on a soft cloth and rub the area you want to clean with moderate pressure,” he recommended. “The stuff works like magic.”
After searching the internet for a source (there are several, including Hallmark Cutlery), I discovered that the paste was readily available and relatively inexpensive. Once I had a tube of it in hand, I applied a small amount to a shop rag. Rubbing the paste along the length of the blade produced almost instant results and the rusty condition was cured. I’ve used the paste on stainless steel, damascus steel and nickel silver with similar results.
Since I wanted to ensure all the polishing paste was wiped from the blade, I turned to Benchmade’s Blue Lube Cleanser. It contains “industrial-grade solvents and other inert additives” to completely remove every trace of contaminants. It also protects by depositing a residual film/protective skin that seals out moisture and repels remaining impurities. It has a dry, solid base that serves as a lubricant to reduce friction and wear. Further, it doesn’t build up or become sticky over time.
After ensuring that the blade and bolster were completely clean, I followed up with an application of Benchmade’s Blue Lube Lubricant. It is designed to work with the Blue Lube Cleanser. A drop or two rubbed into the microscopic pores of the steel’s surface is designed to provide a heightened level of long-term blade protection. Moreover, both Blue Lube products are non-toxic and biodegradable.
Metal, Wood & Leather
While some cleaning products and lubricants are great for metal, some have adverse effects on wood and other natur...