How do I maintain my Skaha Folder?

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Keeping your Skaha folder running smoothly and cutting superbly is not difficult. Like any other knife, your Skaha works best when you keep it sharp. And because it has moving parts, cleaning, adjustment and lubrication is something you can expect to do occasionally.

Sharpening

The steel we use holds an edge exceptionally well, but does need maintenance to stay sharp.  Many systems will work. We cover a variety of sharpening tools on our sharpening page. Avoid pull through sharpeners that use tungsten carbide blades to peel away metal; they remove too much steel and don’t produce a good finish.

Routine Cleaning

It’s important to be aware that several components in the Skaha are made with martensitic stainless steel (heat treatable types of stainless) Such steels are highly stain resistant, not stain proof. They can corrode in very extreme environments, such as prolonged exposure to salt water or strong acids. As soon as possible after exposure to corrosive environments, wash the knife as described in the next paragraph.

An important part of folding knife maintenance is keeping the moving components clean and lubricated to insure smooth operation. If your Skaha feels gritty or stiff it probably needs a thorough washing and some lubricant. Wash it in warm soapy water. Work the blade back and forth under the water to help get all the dirt out. If possible spray into the pivot area with strong pressure (eg. kitchen sink faucet with spray mode) and move the blade through its travel. Do this until the gritty feeling is gone. Then rinse any remaining soap away and allow to air dry. You may blow the knife out with compressed air to speed drying. Once dry, lubricate the pivot, bearings, and detent ball with a few small drops of light oil. A fine tip oiler like the one we sell on our website is very useful for reaching into this area while the knife is assembled. Washing for long enough will remove almost any dirt but if this procedure doesn’t cure the grittiness of your knife, you may partially disassemble it to clean and lubricate See below.

Skaha screw and driver sizes

  • Pivot screw: threads 6-64, T10 Torx
  • Spacer screws: threads 4-40, T8 Torx
  • Pocket clip screw(s):
    • V1: threads 2-56, T8 Torx
    • V2: threads 6-32, T10 Torx

Adjusting pivot tightness

For maximum smoothness and to minimize wear on the bearings, the pivot screws must be correctly adjusted. We adjust the pivot before shipping and it should remain properly adjusted for quite awhile. However, eventually wear and other factors cause the pivot screws to require adjustment. The pivot screws should be just tight enough to eliminate lateral (side to side) “blade play”. Any tighter can cause the action to become stiff and will cause unnecessary wear on the bearings. To check for play, gently push and pull sideways on the blade when locked open. You shouldn’t see or feel any obvious slack. If slack is present, tighten either pivot screw very slightly. Repeat until play is gone. If the blade’s travel feels stiff and no lateral play is present, your pivot may be too tight. In that case, loosen until you get play then tighten as described.

Disassembly and Reassembly

To take the Skaha apart for cleaning, follow the steps below. We have also made a video showing the process.

 

Note: The Skaha pocket clip screw(s) serve the dual role of securing the clip and anchoring the lockbar to the handle scale. We recommend you leave the pocket clip installed during service. If you must remove the pocket clip, don’t remove the lockbar from the scale unless absolutely necessary; re-installing it improperly can cause your knife to function incorrectly.  Also, repeatedly removing and reinstalling the lockbar could eventually cause slack in the press fit. If you decide to use the knife without a clip, the screw(s) must be reinstalled to make sure the lockbar stays secured in the handle scale. The screw(s) are just short enough that they won’t interfere with the blade but it is a good idea to check the clearance after assembly.

  1. Before you start. Make sure you are working on a clean surface. Have a small container or dish ready for small loose parts. Don’t work over an area where small parts could go missing easily.
  2. You’ll need torx screwdrivers with T8 and T10 drives, as well as a 1/4″ or wider flat tip screwdriver that’s covered with two layers of electrical tape ( to prevent marking). Have some paper towels or cloth handy as well as light oil with a fine tip needle applicator.
  3. Tape the cutting edge of the knife with a a couple of layers of masking or electrical tape before you go further. This protects both you and the edge.
  4. With the blade closed, loosen and remove the rear spacer screws from the side opposite the pocket clip.
  5. Then loosen and remove the pivot screw from the same side. With all three screws removed from that side, use the flat tip screwdriver to tease the scale away from the rest of the assembly, you may use a turning motion (as if you were turning the driver to remove a screw), but this can mark up the G10 if you aren’t careful. Be careful not to pry on the edge of the blade. Open it partially if necessary. Be sure to work the scales apart evenly at each end so the scales stay as parallel as possible
  6. The scale should then come free of the pivot, stop pin and the two spacers.
  7. As the scale is lifted off, the bearings are exposed. Each side of the blade has a thin washer which goes into the bearing pocket on the scale. The caged bearing is sandwiched between the washer and the blade. Keep track of the part order and orientation of the bearings and washers. The washers have a shinier side which should face the bearing.
  8. Wipe the pivot pin clean and rinse the bearings with solvent (isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol is good because it evaporates quickly and is not too aggressive), and pat dry with a lint free cloth.
  9. Wipe off the lockbar (still attached to the scale) and other exposed surfaces of the blade and scales, using the same solvent, as needed.
  10. To reassemble, make sure the stop pin is in place on the lockbar side scale (it may have pulled out with the scale you removed.
  11. Assemble the parts in order onto the pivot, oiling each bearing with a couple drops of oil. Also add a drop or two inside the pivot hole in the blade.
  12. Lower the loose scale evenly into place onto the mating holes where the pivot, stop pin and spacers protrude. Be very careful that these all align and gently coax the scale into place with hand pressure only.
  13. Check for parallelism of the scales and correct as needed.
  14. Install the 3 removed screws and fasten lightly.
  15. Seating the stop pin fully is crucial. Usually this can be achieved by squeezing hard on both handles right  above the stop pin. You may also carefully use a clamp or other tool to carefully apply pressure to this area. Steel will scratch G10, keep this in mind if you use a tool.
  16. Adjust the pivot as described above
  17. Tighten the spacer screws snugly but avoid over tightening.
  18. Check blade centering and smoothness of operation. If not quite right, try loosening the screws and repeating the tightening sequence
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