Bushcraft Knife and Axe Maintenance A How to Guide 2013/07/29
"You are only as sharp as your knife." Keeping a favourite
bushcraft axe in top condition or maintaining a large amount of
teaching knives for the next course; there are a few things we do here
at Ember Survival to make sure our kit is performing well. Read our
full how to guide on Bushcraft Knife & Axe Maintenance.
Introduction to Bushcraft Knife & Axe Maintenance
Most of our tools are an investment. We spend time and money to get
great kit and so it only makes sense to invest back into your equipment
to make sure it performs as well as it should out and about but also in
storage too. We certainly don't want anything silently rusting on our
shelves without us knowing!
Maintenance Kit For Looking After Bushcraft Gear
Boiled Linseed Oil is great for applying to any wooden handles you may
have on knives or axes. There are some differing opinions out there but
what we do is apply a thin coat, taking care not to get any on the blade
itself, and then leave it to soak in. We also make sure to carefully
apply some between the contacts of the metal and wood, this helps seal
it all up. Now depending on how dry the wood is we may need to apply
another coat. However if the wood is not absorbing any more we rub off
the excess with a kitchen towel. Anything coming into contact with
linseed oil should be promptly disposed of in the fire and not binned.
Gun Oil is what we use for our metal parts. Be that carbon steel,
stainless or even cpm s30v! Apply over the metal and let it dry in a
safe place. Gun oil is great for removing any light stains on the
blade and drives away moisture to prevent rusting; just try not to get
any on the wooden parts. Essential for looking after bushcraft gear.
Root Stain is something a bit more exotic. We use this product to darken
our wood, particularly on our bushcraft axes. The stain is absorbed by
the grain and reveals the beauty of the wood a little better than
normal. Apply a liberal coat and let it be absorbed, repeat as desired.
Once that process has completed you can add the linseed. Hestra Leather
Balm smells amazing, it’s probably all the bees wax in it! A great
natural product, we apply on all our leather items from belts to knife
sheaths. This helps the leather stay supple and weatherproof as well as
giving it a lovely shine. Makes the leather parts of your bushcraft kit
Gränsfors Bruk Small Forest Axe and
Outdoor Axe next to a stropping board with honing paste. Stropping Kit
consists of a square piece of flat leather, a flat bit of wood and some
honing paste. Glue the leather to the board and once its dry you can add
the honing paste. Honing paste is basically a mild abrasive polish.
Storage Guidelines for Bushcraft Gear
Stropping the Blade helps preserve the sharp edge for as long as
possible without the need to resort to sharpening the knife or axe.
Stropping simply realigns the atoms on the edge without removing any
metal from the knife; as a result it increases the lifespan of the
cutting tool. The stropping action also removes any mild rusting which
may have occurred on your carbon steel tools.
Storing the Knife. A knife kept in its
plastic sheath is no problem. On the other hand leather and fabric
sheaths are best left stored separately. The reason is, the knife will
slowly distort the shape of the sheath and you may the run the risk of
the knife falling out next time you are using it. I recommend to store
all the leather sheaths separately and use a specialist cabinet to store
your good knives.
Storing the Axe is a lot simpler. Just
make sure it’s not close to a heat source which could potentially dry
out the wood. We store our axes with the sheaths on as the Gränsfors
Bruk axes all come with good sheaths which have clips.