A well-oiled pocket knife is easy to use and protected from corrosion. It is important not to use any re-greasing oil and to avoid all types of grease that can become rancid. Although, in principle, even ordinary salad oils, petroleum jelly and butter are possible, there are more suitable lubricants.
Properties of suitable oils
The two best and most popular lubricants or oils for pocket knives are considered to be Ballestol gun oil and Multi Tool Oil from the manufacturer of Swiss Army Knives Victorinox. Both oils have the crucial properties to support the pocket knife in function and durability:
- High wear protection due to adhesive effect.
- Oxidation and aging reducing at any temperature
- High corrosion protection
- Fluid behavior (viscosity) appropriate at any temperature
Especially with the special oil from Victorinox comes odor and taste neutrality, which is important for use with food. Ballestol is also safe for use with food, but develops its own odor over a period of time, which must first dissipate.
Ballestol, Vaseline and Teflon greases
Ballistol is a little controversial on relevant forums among pocket knife enthusiasts. Apart from the sometimes very annoying and unpleasant odor, it is suspected of dissolving brass. In many pocket knife models, this primarily affects the handle attachment, which could become loose as a result.
Caution is advised with Vaseline and Teflon greases. While they are a good lubricant when applied, they react to temperatures. For example, if the pocket knife heats up considerably, as can happen quickly in a pants pocket or by exposure to sunlight in the open air, flocculation or liquefaction and “leakage” cannot be ruled out.
Vegetable and fine-mechanical oils
Among edible oils, linseed oil and olive oil, which do not go rancid, are most suitable. Inferior sunflower oils or other vegetable oils pose this risk.
Special fine-mechanical oil is well suited, but is not approved for contact with food. In addition, there is a taste and odor impairment. If an oil that is too liquid is used, there is also the risk that it will cause unpleasant stains in clothing, bags, backpacks or other textiles due to leakage.
Tips & Tricks
To keep your oiled pocket knife in optimal condition, you can store it occasionally or permanently in a rag that is slightly saturated with oil. When doing so, you should pay attention to its ability to breathe.