View Full Version : Don't store your knife in its sheath ?

23-12-2003, 23:14
I notice this good piece of advice posted from time to time, but while I drip blood after finishing a sharpening session :-? I'm minded to offer an alternative which has worked well for me:

I keep a old rag lightly dampened in camelia oil.(http://www.axminster.co.uk/default.asp?part=HIR608 or from Thanet Tools, Ashford Market, Ashford, Kent, mail order but not on the web)

I religiously wipe the blades of my woodworking tools and knives over with this after use. It's a fine oil, so go over the handles too and don't bother about washing your hands afterward, it just soaks in. This oil is reputed to soak into pores in the surface of the steel. You need very little, not enough to leave any noticeable residue, and there's no need to clean it off before you use the tool again. The wipe-over also helps to remove any resins from the blade.

My Woodlore knife has spent most of its last 12 months (sad to say) hanging on a coathook in it's sheath. There isn't a speck of rust on it except for a tiny stain that was on the blade when it was delivered.

This is a very easy (and apparently effective) way to look after our #1 piece of kit.


24-12-2003, 00:11
Good advice alick. All carbon steel blades should come with an oil or wax coating as new, and I'm amazed wilkinson dont do this. :-x :roll: :-?

But it should also be noted that many people will get away with storing their knife in the sheath without problems, if the blade is oiled and the sheath really is totally dry, you may be OK - because the main factors are dampness and lack of coating on the steel. If you put a completely clean blade inside an even slightly damp sheath (it may contain moisture even if it feels bone dry), the blade WILL rust in very short order.

Generally speaking, it's not advised to tempt fate. Leather can suck moisture out of the air and store it, to sweat it out onto your blade at a later date.

Looking at the patternation of the rust on my brand new wilkinson knife (fine, even speckling), it's obvious the blade was clean and dry when put into it's sheath. The rust came from moisture, trapped within the new leather, that swaeted out onto the blade over a period of days. I'm sure the leather sheath *seemed* dry, but it clearly wasn't. It's particularly important with new sheaths, as water is used to dampen and form the leather over the shape of the knife. Then the leather is "dried" and it retains it's shape from the wet-forming. But with a brand new sheath, the leather may contain miniscule amounts of moisture, for quite some time after.

Fortunately, my knife has suffered no lasting damage, the rust spots were superficial, and polished off easily. Now the blade is properly coated, they wont re-appear. But it was a potentially very damaging oversight by wilkinson.

24-12-2003, 17:14
i hardly ever have problems with knives rusting in sheathes, granny b axes on the other hand, rust as soon as i've turned my head :-x

cheers, and.

24-12-2003, 19:10

Have you tried gun oiling the head of the axe?

I have had no rust on mine since I used some fine wire wool and worked it in. Just do it every few months.

Saw a guy the other day - he had completely polished the head of his SMF - looked like chrome. Reckon he is gonna get a regular workout keeping the shine - but the axe did look good - weird, but good.

Alick - I like the idea of camelia oil for knives. Anyone else had any joy with this?

24-12-2003, 20:19
gun oil? oil, or like a cold blueing compound? that might be worth a go actually!

cheers, and.

25-12-2003, 09:37
Just the gun oil worked for me.

29-12-2003, 10:19
I use olive oil.