Most of the time when I have to lubricate, clean, sharpen, and perform routine maintenance on my knives, the last thing I want to do is pull stuff from every corner of my shop.
A microfiber cloth here, oil there, a screwdriver in my toolbox, a sharpener in a cabinet – you get it, it can become quite the production.
Keeping this in mind, staying organized can make things easier regardless of if you have only one blade lined up, or ten that need some TLC.
Organization, coupled with the right tools can make things much easier when performing knife maintenance.
A kit for at home, or even in your go-bag can be very minimalistic, or a fully baked out, ready for nearly anything you’d like to do.
With that said, either kit should have a few bare essentials to get you through.
1. KNIFE OIL
There’s not much sense in doing any sort of maintenance unless you can lubricate your knives.
As we here at KPL can attest to, we’ve got the best knife oil on the market, regardless of your task.
With that said, making sure you have at least one type of lube in your kit is a basic step ( 2 is 1, 1 is none!).
Be sure to include anything like separate detent lube, or something that you favor for a particular style of knife (such as an auto).
2. Cleaning Accessories
For me, this consists of a microfiber cloth, a piece of flannel, toothpicks, and a few q-tips. Between these three items, you can effectively remove gunk in both obvious and tight spaces.
A flannel or cotton rag can get most obvious dirt and debris out of the way, where the q-tips and toothpicks can get hard to reach places without scratching surfaces like a metal pick might.
Last but not least, microfiber cloths are fantastic for finishing off your cleaning. They can shine up surfaces, and remove fingerprints ahead of snapping your snazzy Instagram shots!
A fairly obvious, but often overlooked item is the array of small bit drivers you may need.
Whether regular head, hex, torx, or torx plus, you’re going to need a few different types to get your knife stripped down.
I personally favor a small bit driver with various attachments, but if you have an array of knives with common fasteners, this can be simplified with just one or two drivers in your kit.
Pro-Level Kit Knife Maintenance Tool Kit
As mentioned before, it’s easy to go beyond the basics.
This can make knife maintenance not only easier but more enjoyable, which leads to a cleaner, smoother blade.
Going past just what you need to keep your knife going is what can increase the longevity and functionality of your most prized blades.
4. Sharpening Stone
Believe it or not, for the longest time, I barely kept a “field" sharpener in my go-bag!
It’s worth argument to say that a sharpener is one of the essentials, but some folks choose not to sharpen as frequently, depending on their blade steel.
Since adding a fine/rough stone to my mobile, and home kit, it’s come in handy for touch up work, when I don’t necessary need to bring out an entire sharpening system.
The knife world simply would not be complete without Loctite Blue, and neither would be the kit of an enthusiast!
It goes without much saying, that when reassembling, a touch of Loctite can make a world of difference in securing the threads of your fasteners.
Given all of the bouncing around your knives do, in addition to opening and closing, giving the threads some love goes a long way.
6. Cleaning Mat
When you disassemble, the last thing you want is to lose a clip, bushing, fastener, or any other small part.
Having a solid cleaning mat with dedicated areas for small items (and tools) can be a game changer.
7. Spare Parts
Where this may be a bit more difficult to accomplish, seasoned vets with many blades are always quick to have replacement parts if the rogue fastener disappears, or in the event of excessive wear on a part.
If you’ve got an idea of the bushings, fasteners, and washers that your blades most commonly have, it’s a great idea to stock up just in case.
The best part is, they’re often very inexpensive – even in bulk.
Based on the above examples, it’s certainly a wise point to not only have an idea of what to keep in your kit, but why you’re including it.
As you purchase a more varied array of blade types with different use cases, your kit will naturally evolve in step. Keep in mind, that no matter what, you need a good knife lube as a base!