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4 Tips for Proper Knife Care

care for your knives classic fixed blade knife image

Learn how to take care of one of the most overlooked pieces of hunting equipment.

One of the most versatile pieces of equipment people carry while hunting is the knife. In fact, I’m sure as most of you are reading this, you have one in your pocket. A good knife can last for generations when properly cared  for.

Follow the tips below to ensure your knife stays in good gutting and filleting condition.

1. Remove Dirt

Our knives get dirty. I mean, really dirty. To properly clean them, remember one thing: soft materials. Use soft rags, cotton swabs (Q-tips), or an old toothbrush. If it is a folding knife or has small details, use a toothpick to get into the spaces you can’t reach with a rag. Pair it with a non-staining oil to add to the shine and protection. Three-in-One oil from the hardware store is a great choice. This process can also be repeated for regular and upkeep cleaning.

2. Remove Rust

Remember what I said about soft materials? Yeah, forget about that. If you have an old family knife that you are looking to clean and remove rust from, you are going to need some force.

First, apply oil and let it soak for at least three days. Then, with a stiff, sharp knife you can scrape away the rust. Don’t use steel wool or a wire brush; obviously, you will scratch your knife and ruin it.

3. Proper Storage

First, don’t keep them in a leather sheath. Leather collects moisture and will result in more rust. Ideally, keep your knives in a knife roll or a cotton cloth. A display case is also a great option for some people. Personally, I generally haven’t found an issue with keeping them in my  pocket.

4. Keep it Sharp

This is a no-brainer: a sharp knife is better than a dull knife. It works better and is safer than a dull knife. When sharpening, keep the blade at a 10- or 15-degree angle from the surface of the stone. Maintain that angle and stroke like you are trying to whittle pieces of the stone off. Repeat as necessary for the length of the blade.

NEXT: Here’s How to Execute the Gutless Field Dressing Method

4 Tips for Proper Knife Care