Maintenance of Leatherman products

Rust and corrosion

All Leatherman products are made of high-quality stainless steel. An exception are the bits of the bit holder which are made of tool steel. Even steel that is labeled "stainless" is never completely rustproof, but only corrosion resistant. Depending on the metal alloy the steel is either highly corrosion resistant but relatively soft or less resistant to corrosion but very hard. Cutlery is most likely from soft steel, Leatherman products are very hard. The reason is simple: all the tool parts are stable and the knife blades remain sharp for a long time.

Lack of or incorrect maintenance can thus cause corrosion or rust. You should clean your Leatherman product regularly, dry and oil it to prevent rusting and corrosion. This is especially true if you use it in damp places or such with maritime climate. After cleaning, you should put lightweight, rust removing oil (eg. WD-40) on the movable joints. For polishing stained surfaces is best to use a polishing cloth, a non-metallic scouring pad or a soft brush.

Browning (staining of the protective layer)

All Leatherman products with browning can rub off at the beginning because they are treated with a kind of protective layer. We recommend to first rub the tool with a cloth and then maintain with an oil such as WD-40 or Ballistol for the tool to reach its final quality.

Sharpening the blades

Leatherman products are equipped with smooth grinding blades, serrated blades or reversible blades. All three sections have their own, proper sharpening method.

  • Straight Cut blades should be sharpened using standard methods, for example with whetstones, sharpening steels or other knife sharpeners.
  • Serrated blades should never be sharpened in the same manner as Straight Cut blades. For sharpening serrated blades please use only methods that are especially suitable for wave profiles. Sharpen only the serrated front and never the flat back of the blade. Otherwise, the wave profile would scuff and the cutting force of the blade is reduced.
  • Reversible blades require, as the name implies, a combination of the above sharpening methods. The area with the smooth cut and the area with the serrated edge should always be sharpened separately.

Cleaning methods

The correct cleaning method depends on the type of dirtiness of your Leatherman product:

  • If your Leatherman has come into contact with salt water or used in a location with maritime climate, you should rinse with fresh water it thoroughly, dry and treat with a moisture displacing product. Should you notice any stains or rust, please refer to the instructions in the chapter "rust and corrosion".
  • If there is dirt or sticky contaminants have accumulated between the blades, clean your Leatherman with a solution of mild detergent and water.
  • When tar and similar substances are removed, clean your Leatherman with turpentine, turpentine replacement or mineral spirits. Do not use products containing chlorine.

Dry your Leatherman after cleaning carefully and treat it with a lightweight, rust removing or moisture-displacing oil (eg. WD-40), so that in the movable joints remains damp and your Leatherman is protected against corrosion.