Penknife care

Joker penknife in need of some care

1Joker penknife in need of some care

In this blog we will be taking a look how, with a little time and care we can rejuvenate a penknife.

Keeping our tools in good condition makes them safer and more of a pleasure to use, and will help extend the longevity of the tool in question so it just makes sense. Let us see how we go about bringing new life to old tools. The penknife we have here is a Joker with a carbon blade and a birch handle. The methods we will apply can be transferred to almost any hand tool. Essentially we are dealing with metal and wooden surfaces and shown the right care they will look better than new.

2Garry Flex

In the image above we can see the carbon steel has become tarnished with signs of rest. Before sharpening we will focus on the metal surfaces. There are many ways of bringing metal up to shine again. Here I am using an abrasive rubber block called a Garry Flex. They are quick and easy to use and come in a range of grades to choose from.

3New shine to old metal

In no time at all we can see how the blade is already transformed. I used a Coarse (blue) and a Medium (grey) Garry flex and literally just spent a couple of minutes with each.

4Time to sharpen

There are as many ways to sharpen as there are knives. I am using a DC4 to bring back the edge. I usually just use the ceramic side for carbon steel, but this example was very blunt so I did a few light swipes with the diamond side and then followed it with the ceramic side until I had a nice edge.

5Time to strop

I’m using this small leather strop which is both handy and convenient to deburr the edge of the blade.

6A light sand

There is much beauty in the handles of old wooden tools as the years impart their own distinct patterning on the wood. In giving a light sand we will keep some of that, but also bring back some of the beauty of the wood by removing some of the dirt that has impregnated the handle. Below we can see the finished result.

7Light sand completed


8A little wood nourishment

With the sanding complete I am now going to add a little boiled linseed oil. A traditional wood treatment that nourishes old and tired wood, enhancing the natural beauty and offering a barrier to the day to day rigours of the elements it will confront. Apply liberally allowing it to soak into the wood, wiping off any excess after it has done so. Be sure to use boiled as it is quicker drying than raw oil.

9A little honing

After the knife is dry it is well worth the extra little effort in honing the edge with a cutting compound. Here I am using Tormax paste. It helps polish your blade and cutting edge bringing it to that infinite sharp edge.

10Clearing out the debris from the cleaning process 

The mechanism will now be cleared of all the debris from years of use and from the cleaning process itself. I am using the edge of a duster here, cotton ear buds can also be useful at this stage. You may need to work the mechanism a little to help clear this out. Once this has been achieved we can apply a little oil to the mechanism to keep is all running smoothly. I used a food safe oil to do this.

11Restored to its former glory

And there we are. In the image above we can see the difference a little care has made, rejuvenating the surfaces and bringing an edge back to the blade that is now much safer and a joy to use. Showing a little care periodically to the wood and metal surfaced will ensure it remains looking this good and safe to use for years to come.


Jay Jenner

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