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#60745 - 02/22/06 07:27 AM Re: Cleaning knife gunk
ghostbear Offline

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 15
Loc: Burbank, CA. U.S.A.
On my big SAK, a SwissChamp, I open all the blades and tools and put it in the dishwasher. I try to position it so that it's in directly in the path of a waterjet. After the wash, when it's dry, I lube the pivots with oil.

For adhesive gunk stuck on blades, I use these products--one at a time, in escalating order: Purell hand sanitizer, nail polish remover, Ronsonol, and freon. Fortunately, the hand sanitizer works well enough most of the time and I don't have to go any further than that. I just have to wipe vigorously.

#60746 - 02/22/06 02:45 PM Re: Cleaning knife gunk

I've been cleaning antique scientific instruments and other mechanical devices for about 30 years. Maybe I can lend some advice here.

Disassemble whatever can be easily removed. Yes, start with compressed air and force the loose dry material (usually lint) out of the workings of the knife (I would use a compressor if you have one). Avoid cotton swabs to clean; cotton may get stuck in the works. Use toothpicks, tooth brushes, dental tools other blades etc. Brass bristle brushes are the best for breaking up gunk.... I use brass brush tips that are typically used with Dremels but attach them to a handle for cleaning by hand. Keep cleaning the knife without solvents until you get as much gunk/lint out as possible.

Next, for that stubborn materials, use any solvent that quickly evaporates, or, use a solvent that when chased with alcohol or acetone, will mix with it and promote drying. I use an assortment of cleaning solvents, the more common ones include: lacquer thinner, acetone, alcohol, ammonia, thinners, and any fuels, including lighter fluid, gasoline, charcoal starter, to name a few. You do not want to leave any moisture in the pivots between bolsters and handle or any other place where it can sit and begin an oxidation problem.

After you have loosened and removed the dirt, rinse with alcohol or acetone and blow out the moisture with compressed air again. If you suspect moisture is stuck in certain areas, again rinse the area with acetone or alcohol and blow it dry. I would NEVER recommend using a dishwasher or soap and water to clean a knife unless it was totally disassembled. Water hides in places where it can promote oxidation and even the heat from a dishwasher cannot evaporate hidden moisture.

Only after the knife is totally cleaned and dried should it be sparingly lubed. After the hinges are saturated, (Prolix, teflon, light machine oil....your choice), once again blow out all the excess so the remaining lubricant will not work like a lint magnet in your pocket. Avoid silicone based lubes....silicone can hide water. The more excess lube you can remove the better. Think of the excess lube as the material you'll be trying to scrub out during your next cleaning session.

#60747 - 02/22/06 02:51 PM Re: Cleaning knife gunk
paramedicpete Offline

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
Just be careful when using various solvents with plastic handled/scaled knives such as SAKs, the handles/scales can start to melt and the adhesive, which holds the handles/scales, can dissolve. I speak from experience <img src="/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />.


#60748 - 02/24/06 01:11 AM Re: Cleaning knife gunk
Steve Offline

Registered: 05/29/04
Posts: 84
Loc: North Carolina
If you do use water, be careful how hot it is. I had the great idea to dunk my SAK in boiling water and warped the liners. A lesson in differential thermal expansion <img src="/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> Plus it lightened the color of the scales.

"After I had solaced my mind with the comfortable part of my condition, I
began to look round me, to see what kind of place I was in, and what was
next to be done"

#60749 - 02/24/06 03:08 AM Re: Cleaning knife gunk
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2027
Loc: NE Illinois
Someplace I heard somebody say to toss the knife into the dishwasher, but I worry that the dishwasher detergent is just too harsh.

#60750 - 02/24/06 03:22 AM Re: Cleaning knife gunk

Do Not Use Water.... Do Not Use Soaps....Do Not Use A Dishwasher.
Read this.......

..And yes, as previously mentioned by ParamedicPete, be careful of the effects of solvents on plastics and glues.

#60751 - 02/24/06 05:10 AM Re: Cleaning knife gunk
lukus Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 170
Loc: TEXAS (where else?)
Heat+moisture=oxidation (think dishwasher)

Nail polish remover is just pretty acetone, not something I would use on most folders. It will melt a lot of plastics and take enamel off (i.e. nail polish/paint), it will even take off some protective coatings like parkerizing. Ronsonol and mineral spirits are a lot safer for removing adhesives.

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