Need to clean up an old knife.

Need to clean up an old knife.

Postby Mark1 » August 4th 2015, 6:17pm

My mother recently gave me a knife that my father had for years. Unfortunately, it was found in a drawer in a damp garage. It looks pretty rough and I don't know what to use to try and clean it up. It doesn't appear to be rusted as much as black stained and pitted. Any suggestions would be appreciated, I've never tried to save one in bad shape like this.

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Re: Need to clean up an old knife.

Postby Racer-X » August 4th 2015, 6:27pm

Here is one solution from this BladeForums thread:

http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/944028-Cleaning-up-an-old-knife

My routine:

1. If the knife is REALLY dirty and/or rusty and/or gummy from old, sticky oil, I'll usually spray it down pretty liberally with WD-40. Let it flow into and through every nook & cranny, inside & out. Exercise the joints while it's wet, and flush it some more. If there's much rust on the blades or springs, they can be scrubbed with some #0000 steel wool to dislodge it. Flush again with WD-40 to remove that stuff afterwards. Wipe everything down with paper towels.

2. Then, fill a sink or similar vessel with hot water (as hot as your hands can tolerate; for me that's ~120F) and dish detergent, like Ivory Liquid, Dawn, etc. Immerse the entire knife in the hot, soapy water and exercise the joints again (be careful; the wet, soapy blades will be slippery). Use paper towels or rags to scrub every part you can reach; fold paper towels into 'pads' to fit into the blade well, so you can scrub the inside of the liners & backsprings. Keep exercising the joints until you can feel them moving freely, including closing fully by themselves.

3. Rinse the entire knife under hot running water, again/still exercising the joints. Be thorough with the rinse; make sure all the soap is washed out.

4. Dry the knife. The hot water bath & rinse helps for this, as the internals of the knife will be nice & warm, which really speeds evaporation of the moisture in the knife. Use clean, dry rags or paper towels to wipe down all you can reach.

5. After drying, I like to pour some isopropyl alcohol (91% solution) into the joints & liners. That'll help displace any residual moisture left inside. You could do the same by spraying a little (not too much) WD-40 into the same areas, then wipe it down. After everything is wiped down, use your lube of choice for the joints (the WD-40 will leave some mineral oil behind, so that'll do by itself).
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Re: Need to clean up an old knife.

Postby Hawk » August 4th 2015, 6:43pm

The bladeforums stuff is ok but I'm guessing that knife would yield to less stringent measures.

Mother's Mag Polish - but don't overdo it or it will get too blingy.

Follow up with Renaissance Wax. If you have more than one carbon steel knife you'll be buying Ren Wax anyway.

Joints look good if not stroke them with the BF stuff.

Scales and bolsters look too clean to suggest too much damage.
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Re: Need to clean up an old knife.

Postby Mark1 » August 4th 2015, 7:02pm

Thanks for the advice guys. Guess I'll start easy and get more aggressive if I need to.
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Re: Need to clean up an old knife.

Postby Jamesbee » August 5th 2015, 6:00am

Looks like the carbon steel has earned a right old patina over the years. You won't get rid of that entirely, at least not without re-grinding it down to fresh metal, which would be pointless/impossible on such a small blade. I think a good scotchbrite polish would remedy it, leaving the patina to show its age.
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Re: Need to clean up an old knife.

Postby spanky1 » August 5th 2015, 6:18am

Get some Maas Metal Polish and a Dremel tool with the buffer pads. Wear eye protection and turn the blade edge away from you when buffing. Next get some 00 steel wool and high grit wet dry sandpaper. Good luck
Last edited by spanky1 on August 5th 2015, 6:20am, edited 1 time in total.
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