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Thread: Effect of heat on knives

  1. #1
    Spyderco Forum Registered User DutchBlades's Avatar
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    Effect of heat on knives

    I've been wondering about this for quite some time now,
    but I can't find a definitive answer.

    One of my display cases spends quite allot of time in the sunlight. Normally I put a white pillowcase over the glass top to prevent direct heat from the sun.
    Sadly, I forgot to do this last night and when I held a knife 10 minutes ago, it could burn your hands...

    How does heat affect the knives?
    Is it bad for the steel tempering, the FRN, oil, etc?
    One of my micarta scaled knives had a damp film on the scales... I'm guessing from the epoxy.
    Please enlighten me on the effects of this!
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  2. #2
    Spyderco Forum Registered User JNewell's Avatar
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    I would worry more about UV than heat. UV can fade, embrittle and otherwise damage just about any part of your knives other than the steel.

  3. #3
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    It was 103 (f) yesterday and will be 106 this week. I'm not worried about a knife in this weather, but I don't leave one on my dash board during the day, the truck is about 140f inside when I leave from work.

    I agree about the UV light and damage to certain types of plastics, but most common window glass will absorb UV light due to iron & other manufacturing components in the glass itself. That's why it's difficult to get a sun tan inside your house by sitting by a window exposed to sunlight.

    Don't worry, be happy...

  4. #4
    Spyderco Forum Registered User The Deacon's Avatar
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    It takes temperatures well in excess of 400 F to damage the temper of a blade. 150 F will burn you, or at least feel like it's going to burn you. As others have noted, the biggest issue with sunlight is the effect of UV rays on the non-metallic parts, and even that takes prolonged exposure. As for the damp film on the Micarta, it could be wax that softened. Or, if it's a fairly new knife and the Micarta is "original recipe", it might be formaldehyde from the phenolic resin.
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  5. #5
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by DutchBlades View Post
    Is it bad for the steel tempering, the FRN, oil, etc?
    The heat would do nothing to the steel, the FRN, or most handle materials. Direct sunlight damages oils, but in a way that makes them not good to eat, other than that it is not significant. The only real concern is long term exposure to extreme heat and UV on woods as they are just a natural material and can be subject to just drying and cracking so they should be checked periodically and oiled/waxed as necessary if you are not using them, similar for leathers.

  6. #6
    Spyderco Forum Registered User DutchBlades's Avatar
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    Thanks for great repsonses everyone
    I was a little worried about the temperatures,
    but that won't matter all that much on the steel.
    The UV won't pass well through glass, and this is double glazing.

    All in all I can rest asured.
    And just in case, I won't forget the pillowcase
    A tiger has claws,
    A wolf has teeth,
    An eagle has talons.
    We, have Spyderco.

  7. #7
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    The window is where the window is, not much we can do about that.
    Is the display case moveable ?
    Do you not have curtains ?
    O.

  8. #8
    Spyderco Forum Registered User The Mastiff's Avatar
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    Other than bleaching out some kinds of wood grips sun won't affect your knives. I agree with the others.
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  9. #9
    Spyderco Forum Registered User JNewell's Avatar
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    I've seen Spyderco knives in a glass display cabinet that got partial light from a glass window that were visibly faded. I wouldn't assume that glass = glass = glass as far as UV resistance goes.

  10. #10
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
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    Visible light that passes through glass can cause fading, too. It isn't only UV light that fades colors.

  11. #11
    Spyderco Forum Registered User DutchBlades's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by O,just,O View Post
    The window is where the window is, not much we can do about that.
    Is the display case moveable ?
    Do you not have curtains ?
    I do have curtains, but I spend quite allot of time in my room during the day.
    The cabinet is moveable, but it weighs about 25kg due to the amount of steel in it...
    It won't do the wood any good moving it around.

    I'll keep putting the pillowcase over it, hoping not to forget anymore...
    And regarding wood bleaching out, I treat all my wooden scaled knife with oil or a really fine grit sandpaper and oil when needed.
    This will be done about once a year.
    A tiger has claws,
    A wolf has teeth,
    An eagle has talons.
    We, have Spyderco.

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