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Is your knife all gunked up?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Uncle Timbo, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Uncle Timbo

    Uncle Timbo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    Have you ever used your knife so much that the pivot became all gunked up and you lost that snap when opening or shutting?
    First I tried rubbing alcohol. That didn't work. Then I tried hand sanitizer. WOWZER! That stuff worked great. I left it open to dry out all night and shot some lubricant to it in the am. She's just like new.
    Here she is. A GEC 66. Calf Roper I think. Great little knife.

    jux t and The Zieg like this.
  2. The Zieg

    The Zieg

    Jan 31, 2002
    Many, many times! Never tried your method, though. I'll keep it in mind!

    Uncle Timbo likes this.
  3. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    Most hand sanitizer is simply gelled alcohol.
    WD 40 works very well for flushing out a knife. Slip joints may need to be cleaned out with toothpicks, too.
  4. Uncle Timbo

    Uncle Timbo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    Thanks Bill, I'll remember the WD 40. I think next time I use either method I'll blast it out with air afterwards.
    Do you think the hand sanitizer worked better than rubbing alcohol due to it's form? Being in a gel it didn't evaporate as quickly?
  5. The 'gel' in hand sanitizer is likely glycerin, having looked at the ingredients list on a bottle I have. Might also be some propylene glycol, which might work somewhat as a lubricant as well. Both are known as 'humectants', which hold moisture longer (makes sense for a skin care product). That might make some difference in keeping the water and/or alcohol liquid a little longer, to flush things out.

    I've noticed with glycerin, it can get a bit sticky when it dries. Might be worth watching for that, over time, if you use it again in the knife.

    I've washed my knives out with dish soap & hot water, if/when they get a little too gunky. Exercise the pivots while immersed in the soapy water. It works well. And the isopropyl alcohol works well after that, to completely flush out any residual moisture in the pivot or between liners & springs. After that, apply a little bit of oil.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    Uncle Timbo likes this.
  6. marchone

    marchone Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 13, 2013
    WD40 leaves a residue and builds up. Guys in the firearms forums hate it.
    Getting older likes this.
  7. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    Wd 40 leaves a slight bit of mineral oil. That's all.
    I'm "one of the guys in the firearms forums" and I have been working on guns and knives for 50 years.
    I have done testing on WD 40 to see if there is residue and build up. I have a bottle that I filled with WD 40 6-8 years ago. I let the carriers evaporate. All that is left is mineral oil.
    I have used WD 40 in my career as a steam and refrigeration engineer also. No build up.
    As a musician, I actually use it on my bass guitar strings. If there was build up or residue it would certainly show there.
    Please stop perpetuating this rumor.
    WD 40 doesn't gum, build up, or leave any more residue than any other petroleum based oil.
  8. marchone

    marchone Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 13, 2013
    Interesting. Thanks for your report. As an aside, I've had three gunmakers tell me not to use it for buildup. I had long forgotten the explanation as to why but this piece refreshed my memory.


    Why do you use it on your bass strings? I play bass also but never treated them with anything. Flats? Roundwounds?
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  9. soc_monki


    Apr 5, 2019
    Probably to slow corrosion and to keep them from squeaking when sliding. I used finger ease on my guitar strings a long time ago. It helped keep them a little cleaner longer, especially after gigs where I sweated a lot.

    Im thinking I should have used wd40 now, and used the money saved for more strings... Lol
    marchone likes this.
  10. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    Different alcohols, rubbing alcohol is isopropyl alcohol and hand sanitizer is ethyl alcohol (the kind in booze). The glycerin probably slows the evaporation down a bit but It may act as a lube as well. I use hand sanitizer a lot for cleaning dry erase boards and taking glue gum off of stuff, usually because it's readily available at work (work in a microbiology/chem lab).

    I like 3-in-1 myself for cleaning/lubing needs. I do have a GEC moose that is getting some lint build up and a bit of a gritty sound between the spring and tang, so it's due. I haven't been using it as much after getting a possum skinner, both super knives for EDC.
  11. marchone

    marchone Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 13, 2013
    I vaguely recall hearing something like that but never felt the need. Sometimes I think I’m the least technical person around. What I do know is flats can last years. Roundwounds go bad faster. Still, it never became an issue I needed to address. I always wiped them down after sessions.

    There is an apocryphal story about McCartney going to Manny’s for strings when they played the Ed Sullivan Show in ‘64. Counter guy asked what kind of strings he wanted. He replied with, “I don’t know. Long shiny ones.”

    Apparently someone else there knew he played a Hofner. I guess they sold him Pyramids.
    Uncle Timbo likes this.
  12. soc_monki


    Apr 5, 2019

    Flats are good for jazz, or mellow sounds. I use nickle plated round. I mostly play rock and metal though. Strings will last if you care for them, but they can dull over time. Some prefer that tone (Eddie van Halen did for recording, he'd even boil strings to make them last longer supposedly, but he's been known to mislead people like with his "modded" Marshall's).

    I get bulk boxes of daddarios. Sound good, last a while, never broke one and never had a bum string. Can't beat that.
    Uncle Timbo likes this.
  13. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    Any oil will dry out eventually. I guess if you put a tiny squirt of WD 40 in a dirty action it could dissolve some of the dirt/carbon and then dry out. Any oil will do that, but used properly WD 40 won't gum anything up. Remember- the world is full of people who can't operate a screwdriver. WD 40 cleans guns pretty well, too.
    I use it on my basses for much the same reason one would use Finger Eze. I use mostly Dean Markley round wounds, and I rub them down with a WD 40 soaked rag before, during, and after performances. I have 21 basses-all have round wounds and I want the strings to last as long as possible, but still sound bright.
    Here are pictures of the evaporated WD 40 after 6-8 years. Just fluid mineral oil-no gumming.
  14. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    Double post
  15. Spideyjg


    Nov 7, 2017
    My wife complains about my 16, I'm gonna use you as a comparison Bill. ;)
    Uncle Timbo likes this.
  16. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    Ask how many pairs of shoes she has....
    Uncle Timbo likes this.
  17. MTHall720

    MTHall720 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    I usually use WD40, work the pivot and leave it to air dry overnight, and then apply a small amount of Sentry dry lube. It's not actually dry but so far I have been happy with it.
    Uncle Timbo likes this.
  18. flintbone


    May 10, 2010
    I'm a locksmith and have been using WD40 in locks for over 40 years without any problems.
    I have taken many locks apart for rekeying that I know have had WD40 in them and I have yet to see any gumming in the springs and tumblers. I think most of the problems I hear about are a result of using WD40 in something that is dirty. I make sure the lock is clean before squirting with WD40.
    Uncle Timbo and Bill DeShivs like this.
  19. Bob6794


    Apr 21, 2013
    I use a hose.

    I work a job where a knife can get that gummed up in one job so a quick spray with a hose, wipe clean, a d touch up on a stone as it's good to go again. It's why I avoid the carbon steel blades their more finicky with this type of treatment.
    Uncle Timbo likes this.
  20. Uncle Timbo

    Uncle Timbo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    Back in what seems a former life now, I was a commercial carpenter and did a good deal of metal framing with steel studs. We all used those smaller, wide mouth vice grips ALOT. When ever those got all bunked up, I'd clean them with soap and water, using an old toothbrush, underneath the hottest water I could get to come out of the slop sink faucet. Then blow dry them and oil them. Leave sit on a bunch of newspaper and use the next day.
    It made them like brand new.
    cwsmith17 and woodysone like this.

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