How to Lubricate a “Flipper” Folding Pocket Knife

I really like assisted opening folding knives.  For example, I routinely carry either a Hogue X5 that my wife and kids bought me for Father’s Day or a ZT 350.  I am working all the time and often find myself needing to cut something.  In the old days, that meant I would have to fish out my pocket knife, open it with two hands and get back to work.  Now, I find the knife, open and cut all with one hand – it’s way more fast and efficient.  There’s one catch though – you’ll notice the action can get slower/less efficient with time whether it is spring assisted or not.

There are two likely causes for this – grit/dirt/debris working into the action from your pocket and just plain use as well as a loss of lubrication.   This is actually really easy to remedy.

First, if a knife was oiled, I like to use brake cleaner to remove the oil or it will just attract more dust and debris in the future.  Brake cleaner cuts oil and grease quickly and does not leave a residue.  Now, be careful on real cheap knives.  Some plastics do not like brake cleaner but you will not run into a problem with materials like metals, epoxy laminates such as G10, Micarta and so forth.  The cheapest way for you to get brake cleaner is from any place that sells car parts – Auto Zone, Pep Boys, O’Reilly, etc.

Second, I blow out the mechanism with compressed air.  Since I have an air compressor, doing this at 60-90 PSI is really easy.  If you don’t have a compressor, a can of Dust Off or something like that will also work.

Third, I lubricate the blade mechanism with Dupont’s Teflon Dry Film aerosol.  This stuff is just what the doctor ordered to lubricate a pocket knife.  You see, oil causes dust, sand and other junk you do not want to get stuck in the action.  In short, yes, oil helps the blade open and close easily but stuff will stick to it.  Instead, use a dry lubricant.

Dry lubricants leave some form of slippery substance behind that is not a liquid.  In the case of the Dupont branded product I use, it leaves Teflon behind.  So the Teflon is suspended in a liquid that then evaporates away and leaves just the Teflon.  I spray it into the action, work the action to get it everywhere and evenly distribute it.  I then use a cloth to wipe off the extra.

The above three steps works great for me.  The one caution I would give you is to make sure whatever dry lubricant you choose to use really does leave a dry residue.  A while back I did some testing and found that the “3-in1” brand product does not leave a truly dry film behind for example.

I do the above for all my flippers and find it really helps.  I hope you find it useful as well.


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