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Restoring an Old Knife

Acting on a tip from frequent SOSAKOnline contributor, I managed to get my hands on this beautiful old AMEFA Dutch Air Force Knife from 1965. Tragically when it arrived it was, as are many old knives, rusty and seized shut- I've had nail breakers before, but the only way I could open this one was by using a screwdriver in the nail nicks to pry them open, and even then they put up a good fight.

 

 

So, I figured now was as good a time (and this was as good a knife!) as any to do another article on knife restoration! To start off with, this knife follows the same pattern as the Dutch Army knives and Swiss Army Issue models, in that it features a main blade, awl, can opener and bottle opener. Like Wenger's Standard Issue model, it also includes a bail. It also has nice brass liners under all the gunk, and celluloid fiber scales, and given that this knife is around 45 years old, it has obviously served someone well, and deserves to be restored.

Before we begin, I'd like to remind everyone that since knives like this require a certain amount of pressure to open, and whose edges can be sharp and/or jagged, please make sure you take any and all safety precautions that may be necessary before starting something like this. Blades can snap shut unexpectedly, and fingers covered in oil can slip into places where they wouldn't ordinarily go. Kevlar gloves come in handy, as do eye protection, as it's very easy to slip when pulling on a stubborn blade.

Prying the blade open, we see that casino online unlike a lot of old, well used knives, this one doesn't suffer from a broken tip or excessively ground down blade. It has obviously been sharpened a number of times in it's life, but it has been sharpened well by someone who knew what they were doing. That is refreshing after having seen so many knives that have fallen victim to electric grinders over the years!

The first thing I like to do is apply some penetrating oil to the pivots- in this case I use a product called INOX as it's mineral oil with a food safe penetrating compound added. Being food safe is important to me, as I never know what a knife will encounter on it's journey, so I'd rather err on the side of caution. If you don't have any INOX, you can just use plain old mineral oil found at the grocery store or any pharmacy/chemist. Some folks like to soak the knife overnight in mineral oil- I don't bother, I just add a few drops and rotate the blade a number of times. I'll repeat these steps for each tool's pivot, and I'll keep adding oil and pivoting the blade until I feel it start to loosen. When I can open it without a screwdriver or breaking off my thumbnail, I know it's ready!

Wiping off any excessive oil is a must before going any farther. You aren't going to do yourself or the knife any favors by allowing it to slip out of your hands while you are working with it. The next step is to try and get some of the gunk out of the liners, since before long that gunk will end up back in the pivots. With the blades closed, I flatten the end of a Q-Tip (or similar cotton swab) with a pair of pliers, then use the tip to run up and down each channel on the outside of the pivots. Then I use a toothpick to extract any crud from the corners that the Q-Tip may have been unable to reach.

The next step is to (carefully!) open all the blades so you have unhindered access to the inside of the knife, and with more Q-Tips, swab away anything inside the knife that shouldn't be there, then follow up in the corners with the toothpick.

By now your knife should be functioning normally again, but probably still looks like crap, with rust spots and other random stains all over the implements and backsprings. It's time now for some polish- and I usually use DISPLEX, a compound I got from our own Rotokid that works wonders not only restoring metal but also works beautifully on plastics and cellidor. A while back I posted an article on how well this polish works by polishing part of a translucent Classic, and I still stand by the great job it does.

And, without further adieu, here is the finished product, ready to once again fly missions, ready to get it's pilot out of just about any jam he may find himself in!