Seasonal Knife Care: How to Prepare Your Knives for Storage

As the warm months of spring and summer transition into the colder days of winter, it's essential to prepare your tactical automatic OTF knives for long-term storage. Proper maintenance ensures that your knives remain in optimal condition and ready for action when needed. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to clean, oil, and store your OTF knives to keep them in prime working condition over the winter months.

Cleaning and Oiling OTF Knives

  • Gather Your Supplies: Before you begin, gather the necessary supplies, including a soft cloth, mild detergent, warm water, cotton swabs, and high-quality knife oil. Ensure that your workspace is well-lit and ventilated.
  • Cleaning the Blade: Using a soft cloth dampened with warm, soapy water, gently wipe down the blade to remove any dirt, debris, or residue. For stubborn stains or buildup, use a cotton swab dipped in mild detergent to carefully clean hard-to-reach areas.
  • Drying the Knife: Once cleaned, thoroughly dry the knife with a clean, dry cloth to prevent moisture buildup and potential rust formation.
  • Applying Knife Oil: With the blade and components dry, apply a few drops of high-quality knife oil to the pivot point and any other moving parts. Knife oil helps lubricate the mechanisms and prevents corrosion, ensuring smooth operation when the knife is next used.

Understanding How OTF Knives Work

OTF knives, short for "out-the-front" knives, are characterized by their unique blade deployment mechanism. Specifically, double-action OTF knives feature a mechanism where the blade emerges from the front of the handle with the push of a thumb stud, which can be moved forwards or backwards to extend or retract the knife, respectively.

Inside the knife, a spring-loaded restraining pin locks the blade in position, while spring carriers and a slide assembly facilitate the blade's movement. When the thumb stud is pushed forward, tension on the main spring increases, causing the blade to extend. Conversely, pushing the thumb stud backward releases tension, allowing the blade to retract.

Why Cleaning OTF Knives is Essential

Regular cleaning of OTF knives is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it removes dirt, debris, and residue that can hinder the knife's performance and lead to mechanical issues over time. Secondly, cleaning helps prevent rust and corrosion, particularly important for knives exposed to outdoor elements.

Storing OTF Knives in a Protective Case

Once cleaned and oiled, it's time to store your OTF knives in a protective case for long-term storage. Hard cases, such as Pelican or Nanuk cases, offer excellent protection against drops, dust, and moisture, keeping your knives safe and secure until they're needed again.

Remember to place moisture-absorbing packets or rust prevention tabs inside the case to maintain optimal storage conditions. Additionally, consider using knife shields or sheath waxes to protect the blades during storage.

By following these steps to clean, oil, and store your tactical automatic OTF knives properly, you can ensure that they remain in top condition and ready for action whenever you need them. Proper maintenance is key to preserving the longevity and performance of your prized OTF knives.