This page is part of the official ARCHIVE COPY of the pioneering but abandoned Thrower website on knife throwing. Copyright and details
Complementary page on Caring for knives

Caring For Your Throwing Knives

Updated 1 Jan., 1998

What you might need:

Hot water
Non-abrasive scouring pad
Rust removing compound
Light machine or other oil, or a high tech. lubricant.
Electrical tape
A pair of bricks

Most of the time, you just want to clean dirty knives. They've been in the mud after all... Just rinse them with hot water, and wash with soap, Sometimes, you might have to scrub a little bit with some non-abraisive scouring pad made from plastic, or that green stuff they use in furnace filters.

After you clean them, dry them thoroughly. If you use hot water, the knives will be warm, and that warmth will evaporate the last bits of water.

To store, wrap in a dry towel. If you are going to store them for a long time, you might want to coat them LIGHTLY with a light machine oil, but be very careful that they are completely dry. If not, any water can be trapped by the oil and make things worse.

There are some climates that are so moist and warm most of the time that keeping a non-stainless knife from developing rust spots is an impossible task, though recently there have appeared some possible high tech. solutions. If you live in such a place, go to a hardware store and buy some rust-removal compount (usually a spray or a liquid you paint on) and treat your knives as required.

Also check into these products designed to protect metals from Sentry Solutions. There is also Militec, and Grizzly Imports Inc. carries rust erasers and many other metal-related products.

If the knife gets dinged on a rock or by striking another knife, use your file and smooth out the ding. Dings are not usually a real problem except:

So use your file and just smooth out the ding.

Otherwise, throwing knives are usually pretty rugged, and don't require much care. For that matter, rust doesn't usually affect the throw-ability of the knife.

Handled Throwers

The above applies to the steel part of any throwing knife. Some throwers though have handles, usually simple slabs attached to the steel with rivets. If the handles are wood or some breakable material, I would definately cover them with a layer or two of electrical tape. Make sure that your last layer spirals UP the knife (toward the point) so that the layers of tape overlap down toward the end of the handle. This will prevent them from impeding release. Some knives like those from Tru-Balance, or Lowcountry have handles that are made from a vulcanized card-board-like material, pretty indestructable. Even if these do become cut up after much use, they can always be replaced. The only real problem with these is that they may trap moisture under them and promote rust. If this happens, there is not much you can do other than remove the slabs, clean off the rust (see above), and re-attach the slabs. Otherwise, try not to use such knives if there is much moisture about. For example, if I'm out throwing after a rain, I don't use my handled knives because if they hit the ground, they're going to get muddy, and I can't clean and dry off the part of the knife under the handle!

Unbending the Curve

Throwing knives are not hardened like knives designed for cutting. They are not supposed to be too soft either, but just hard enough to be springy and withstand the compression and/or impact of striking a hard target, point first or otherwise! Steve McEvoy and others found the best compromise to be around 46 on the Rockwell hardness scale.

I have many knives hardened to this point, or a little under, and after a while, they sometimes develop a gentle curve, a bow, either throughout the length of the knife, or sometimes centered a few inches from the tip.

Very small knives, like the Hibben I, will sometimes bend just a few millimeters (less than 1/4 inch) from their tip if thrown against hard wood. I have found it impossible to bend these tips back without breaking them unless I first soften the steel a little bit with a torch. A short time in a gas fire or hot charcoal will to the trick too. Just bend back with a pliers after you've softened it.

You are then faced with the matter of re-hardening the tip appropriately. I am not going to engage in any metalurgical speculations here. I have tried fast cooling, slow cooling (hot sand), medium cooling, etc., and never got the steel back exactly to where it started. Experimentation is fun, however, and remember some steels are easier to re-treat than others.

Getting back to larger knives that are properly hardened in the first place, just do the following:

Take two bricks or flat stones a few inches high. Place them on the ground and place the knife, bow-up, on them. The bricks should be far enough apart that the last inch or two of both the tip and handle ends of the knife rest upon them. This can vary somewhat depending on the tickness of the knife (the thinner it is, the more should be supported by the bricks), and where the bend occurs. In general, you want to place the center of the bowed part right in the middle of the opening.

Now apply weight to the center of the bow by standing on it. Do this slowly, and do not apply much weight without stopping and checking your work. If all of your weight is not enough to do the job (a possibility with very thick knives), you may want to have a friend try it...

Militec Weapons Lube and Throwing Knives
Jan 1, 1998

I first heard of this product on rec.knives. It is designed to lubricate the articulating *metal* parts of guns. It's PR says that it "bonds with" metal in some sub-microscopic or molecular way, and has therefore superior durability, protection, and lubricating properties. People on rec.knives were asking about what it might do to protect blades.

You can get some of this stuff directly from the Militec folks. (Sentry Solutions carries stuff that may well be the same thing). A one ounce bottle is $3.95 (plus shipping of course). I know you are wondering so I'll tell you now that I've treated some 30+ knives with my first bottle, and I've used about a sixth or a seventh of it! Thats around 200 knives per ounce!

All of my non-stainless throwers have developed a patina of rust at one time or another. Northern California winters are wet, and while I don't throw knives in the rain, I do throw when it's still wet on the ground. If I didn't, I wouldn't be doing much winter throwing at all. I don't usually go through the ritual of cleaning, heating, and drying the knives as described on this page, so eventually, they all rust.

Having obtained my Militec, I proceded to clean my throwers of rust using various metal cleaning products from Grizzly Imports Inc. as described above. I then coated all of my non-stainless sets, and even my stainless ones, with some Militec, process described below. So far, after having thrown all of these knives for several months under wet conditions with no care other than a wipe down with a dry cloth after use, I have seen no evidence of developing rust!

Coating Process

Use a small soft rag (not something you are going to want to use again for any other purpose), preferably cloth, but good paper towel will do in a pinch.

Hold your knife in one hand and place a few drops along the flat, up the whole length of the blade and handle (assuming a metal handle). One drop every 2 or 3 inches is enough, especially after the cloth gets soaked with Militec. Now use the cloth and buff the Militec into the metal. Don't forget the knife spine and edge. You will notice that it seems to disappear very quickly. One coat is all you seem to need.

One reader tells me you can save your little Militec-soaked cloth in a baggie for future use, further extending the life of the small bottle. Discard however when the cloth gets dirty or gritty.

Put the knife down and let dry for a couple of minutes (a thin coat takes seconds to minutes to dry, a thicker coat up to 30 mins). Then do the other side the same way. That's all there is too it. Put the knife away, or go throw it in the mud!


Please NOTE that I have applied this ONLY to my throwing knives. I am curious about how this compound would protect my other knives as well, but almost all of them (axes, saws, and machetes being the exceptions) are also used (if only occasionally) in the preparation of FOOD, and I suspect that consuming Militec might not be good for you!

Mail to mjr, goto Survival, or back to Thrower

This page is part of the official ARCHIVE COPY of the pioneering but abandoned Thrower website on knife throwing. Copyright and details