Taking care of your knives should be on every outdoorsman’s mind.
Sure, you’ll snatch up the coolest knives for your collection in a heartbeat, but will you give them the care and maintenance they need to live a full, trustworthy life?
Anyone who bothers to spend good money on a quality knife ought to know at least a few things about keeping them in good shape. To help spread the knowledge, we rounded up some experienced Wide Open Spaces contributors to share their tips for keeping their knives tip-top.
Because any good piece of gear should be taken care of, that’s why.
David Smith: Keep it sharp! I quickly run it across a stone several times a week if it’s my pocket knife and I’m using it regularly; once a week for my fixed blade belt knife. I lightly oil the blade and handle once a week (with just an oily rag I keep for the purpose). I’ll also lightly oil the fixed blade leather sheath.
Nathan Unger: I oil mine occasionally but definitely after I use it heavily, especially after I skin a deer. I also sharpen it after I skin an animal or filet a fish.
Daniel Leathers: Regular sharpening is key. I oil them based on the type of metal and finish, and I always make sure to clean them. Also, depending on the type of knife, I will check the hone on the edge periodically.
Eric Nestor: Sharpen your knives to a keen edge after every time you use them. Coat lightly with oil and wipe off any excess. Add a drop of oil in any hinges and you will be ready when called upon to dress that trophy of a lifetime with professional precision.
One thing that rings true throughout each piece of advice is the fact that a sharp blade is a good blade. You should be aware that heavy use of a dull blade not only makes things tougher on the user, but can seriously deteriorate the overall performance of the blade in the long run.
Also, oiling a knife was mentioned by almost every writer, which reiterates the importance of this often overlooked step.
Whether you’re using them for survival, tactical, hunting, or any other reason, knives need attention and service or they’re not going to hold up their end of the bargain. Make note of these reminders, find a routine that works for you, and watch your knives extend their tour of duty as a result.