Basic Leatherman Pocket Knife Maintenance

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A Leatherman pocket knife is a great tool, but you probably don’t need us to tell you that.

Here’s what you do need. You need to know how to take care of that thing so it continues to serve you well. Here’s what you should know.

Keep the Blade Sharp

One of the most basic aspects of Leatherman maintenance is keeping the blade sharp.

A sharp blade is a safe blade. Dull blades will require more effort on your part, which will equate to straining, which can result in slipping and injury.

When you notice your knife is starting to wear, give it a few passes on a good pocket stone or bench stone to raise a sharp edge. Then keep it that way.


Keeping your Leatherman pocket knife clean will keep it in service for longer.

There are two aspects to this. One is that Leatherman pocket knives, though made from stainless steel, will still rust if neglected.

The other is that when pivot points attract dust and dirt, they will wear more rapidly because these things are abrasives.

So cleaning your Leatherman pocket knife is imperative for these two reasons.

  • For quick cleanings, simply rinse and dry your Leatherman with fresh water and dry thoroughly before storing.
  • You can also use a penetrating cleaner/oil/lubricant, like WD-40 or Liquid Wrench. These will help to drive out moisture (the “WD” in “WD-40” stands for “water displacement”).
  • If there’s a buildup of tar or gunk on the blade or any other metal surfaces, clean with a mild abrasive to remove it. You can also use turpentine or mineral spirits to help clean these areas.
  • Best practices are to use a dry lubricant, such as PTFE, on pivot areas to prevent liquid lubricants from attracting particulate matter.

Periodic Maintenance

As you wear and use your Leatherman, over time, the pivot points and other fasteners may work loose. Every few days or weeks, use a small screwdriver to tighten this hardware to ensure your Leatherman’s action stays tight.

You should also give your Leatherman a once-over at least every week to ensure that no hardware is missing. While it can be hard to find the right driver and fasteners for replacements, it’s better to replace them than them missing.

Missing hardware will serve as an ingress point for moisture and dirt and will hasten the deterioration of your tool. Moreover, missing screws and hardware, over time, will loosen the fit and finish of your Leatherman.

Should You Lubricate Your Leatherman Pocket Knife?

Yes, you should lubricate your Leatherman, especially if you use it in a highly corrosive environment, such as a marine environment.

Lubricants, specifically oil-based lubricants, serve two purposes. One is to keep the action smooth and limber.

The other is to create a barrier between the steel and corrosive agents like saltwater. Apply a machine oil or gun oil to the Leatherman’s blade and exposed surfaces, then wipe excess clean before storing.

If you own a leather sheath, do not store your Leatherman pocket knife in it except when you are actually carrying the tool, as leather traps moisture. 

Is It Time for a New Leatherman Pocket Knife?

Are you in the market for a new Leatherman pocket knife to round out your collection? Do you need a spare for the glove box or toolbox to complement your EDC?

Check out White Mountain Knives. They carry a wide range of Leatherman tools, in addition to other top brands and multi-tools, such as Victorinox Swiss Army Knives.

Plus, all orders in the United States get free shipping. Check out their collection today and get yourself something new.

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