The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

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JonLeBlanc
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The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby JonLeBlanc » Tue May 21, 2019 8:11 pm

Hello all, may I ask what folks do to care for carbon fiber scales/handles ? Are there any products that are particularly good for cleaning CF, or that are not particularly good to use ? It seems like CF is at least somewhat porous, and if it is, maybe it would not be good to apply certain agents to it, but I could be entirely wrong about that. Thanks in advance for any input !
My collection so far: 52100 Military (2); 52100 PM2 (2); 52100 Para3; Stretch2 V-Toku; KnifeWorks M4 PM2; BentoBox M390 PM2; BentoBox S90V Military; Police4 K390; S110V PM2; SS Delica AUS-6; Wayne Goddard Sprint VG-10
Wish list: Hundred Pacer; Sliverax; Mantra; 52100 PM2 SE; Kapara

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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby Sharp Guy » Tue May 21, 2019 8:29 pm

I really don't do anything to my CF handles except wipe them off once in a while. If they got dirty enough that I thought I needed to actually clean them I'd probably use dish washing soap and hot water. I don't think they're porous at all btw.
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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby Enactive » Tue May 21, 2019 8:46 pm

I don't know about care and maintenance, but remember 'carbon fiber' consists of carbon fibers in a matrix of epoxy. It has structural similarities to G10, but carbon instead of glass fibers encased in the matrix.

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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby Stuart Ackerman » Tue May 21, 2019 9:00 pm

Toothpaste and an old toothbrush... that is all...

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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby Crux » Wed May 22, 2019 6:41 pm

Blood and guts....
Can you find it and can it cut? :eek:

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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby vivi » Wed May 22, 2019 7:23 pm

If it gets dirty I scrub it with an old toothbrush and dish soap.

I have never done anything aside from that. In my experience carbon fiber scales do not require any additional care than that.
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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby JonLeBlanc » Thu May 23, 2019 7:34 am

Thanks for the replies; does anyone think that CF might be harmed by absorbing any cleaning agents (that is, even if it's not porous, it may still absorb fluids)? I may just be paranoid lol
My collection so far: 52100 Military (2); 52100 PM2 (2); 52100 Para3; Stretch2 V-Toku; KnifeWorks M4 PM2; BentoBox M390 PM2; BentoBox S90V Military; Police4 K390; S110V PM2; SS Delica AUS-6; Wayne Goddard Sprint VG-10
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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby soc_monki » Thu May 23, 2019 8:38 am

You have nothing to worry about. Just use soap and water, should clean anything you come in contact with. Toothbrush if you need some agitation. Carbon fiber is similar to fiberglass, and G10. I wouldn't dunk it in acid, but mild cleaners will be fine and it won't absorb anything.
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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby N. Brian Huegel » Thu May 23, 2019 8:46 am

Dawn dish-washing soap and/or Simple Green work wonders.

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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby bearfacedkiller » Thu May 23, 2019 8:49 am

It is an epoxy resin base. Chemicals won’t hurt it unless they are strong enough solvents to dissolve the epoxy resin. Don’t use stuff like acetone on it and you will be fine. Normal cleaning products should be fine.

Even acetone will take a minute. I had to remove some super glue from carbon fiber once and used acetone to do it. After about 30 seconds the super glue was gummy enough to wipe off but the CF was still fine. I wouldn’t expose it for much longer than that though.

Carbon fiber is stable and strong. All i do to care for it is to try and avoid dropping it. That is the only way to really hurt it. It isn’t fragile stuff but in my experience it chips easier than G10 and micarta.
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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby JonLeBlanc » Thu May 23, 2019 1:32 pm

bearfacedkiller wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 8:49 am
It is an epoxy resin base. Chemicals won’t hurt it unless they are strong enough solvents to dissolve the epoxy resin. Don’t use stuff like acetone on it and you will be fine. Normal cleaning products should be fine.

Even acetone will take a minute. I had to remove some super glue from carbon fiber once and used acetone to do it. After about 30 seconds the super glue was gummy enough to wipe off but the CF was still fine. I wouldn’t expose it for much longer than that though.

Carbon fiber is stable and strong. All i do to care for it is to try and avoid dropping it. That is the only way to really hurt it. It isn’t fragile stuff but in my experience it chips easier than G10 and micarta.
That's what I was getting at, I should've said "what WOULDN'T you put on CF ?" I'll just stick with mild soaps if I have to lol. Thanks for that ;)
My collection so far: 52100 Military (2); 52100 PM2 (2); 52100 Para3; Stretch2 V-Toku; KnifeWorks M4 PM2; BentoBox M390 PM2; BentoBox S90V Military; Police4 K390; S110V PM2; SS Delica AUS-6; Wayne Goddard Sprint VG-10
Wish list: Hundred Pacer; Sliverax; Mantra; 52100 PM2 SE; Kapara

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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby JD Spydo » Sat May 25, 2019 4:11 am

Now personally I wouldn't use a solvent as hot as "acetone" to clean or strip grime from a Carbon Fiber handle. I would also include any other really hot solvents like Laquer thinner or thinners for any type of automotive paint because they are solvents that are so hot that you could potentially do damage with them in some cases>> and you just don't need anything that hot anyway in most cases. Believe it or not I have had excellent results overall by just using a high percentage rubbing alcohol to clean just about any type of knife handle I've had to clean. You can get 91% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol at your local Walgreen or other popular drug store chain for as little as $3.99 per quart. I've found it on sales for as low as a 2 for 1 sale at the same price which I just did recently in the past 2 months.

Now for G-10 handles I've found the petro-based cleaner/lubricant product known as "Ballistol" has given me excellent results. I've found that "Ballistol" even rejuvenates a really dirty and faded G-10 handle to where it makes it look like new. Ballistol has a lot of lubrication properties to it and doesn't seem to harm anything I've used it on over the past 12 years or so.

Also depending on what all you got your Carbon Fiber handle dirty with you can also use a regular Mineral Spirits type paint thinner. A Mineral Spirits paint thinner will remove a lot asphalt or tar based product like roofing cement or any type of automotive type oil or grease. I've yet to have ever gotten one of my CF handles dirty enough to even want to use any of those aforementioned products fortunately. But do check out Ballistol. I've had nothing but great results with it with everything I've used it on.

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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby The Deacon » Sat May 25, 2019 4:40 am

Spyderco has used CF with a variety of surface types. Gloss, semi-gloss, matte, peel-ply, basket weave, corrugated, and diamond textured come to mind. Some may require more frequent and more aggressive cleaning than others. Wouldn't use anything abrasive, especially on gloss CF. And, as noted, would not use any solvent known to dissolve plastic - or at least use it only in extreme cases and be very careful using it.
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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby JD Spydo » Sat May 25, 2019 5:18 am

The Deacon wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 4:40 am
Spyderco has used CF with a variety of surface types. Gloss, semi-gloss, matte, peel-ply, basket weave, corrugated, and diamond textured come to mind. Some may require more frequent and more aggressive cleaning than others. Wouldn't use anything abrasive, especially on gloss CF. And, as noted, would not use any solvent known to dissolve plastic - or at least use it only in extreme cases and be very careful using it.
Yeah everything you just said is what I was trying to expound on. It's been a long while since Spyderco had those glossy type CF handles but I still have a couple of them and I wouldn't dream of using Ajax or something similar on it. However I have used Bar Keeper's Friend cleanser on certain materials with good results because it's one cleanser that works on a chemical basis instead of being an abrasive cleanser like a lot of your older cleansers are formulated.

And you're so right because a lot of really hot solvents like Acetone and Methylene Chloride are not only bad on knife handles but are hazardous to use anyway without chemical resistant gloves and adequate ventilation. You just don't need anything like that in 99% of the cases.

Now some of the rougher CF handles might benefit from some type of soaking. That's where I like to use the newer "Overnite Platinum Dawn" dish soap and let it soak for hours>> and I've had some really good safe results using that stuff. And again just using 91% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol just works miracles in many cases>> it's cheap and safe with very little potential of damage.

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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby The Deacon » Sat May 25, 2019 5:54 am

JD Spydo wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 5:18 am
Now some of the rougher CF handles might benefit from some type of soaking. That's where I like to use the newer "Overnite Platinum Dawn" dish soap and let it soak for hours>> and I've had some really good safe results using that stuff. And again just using 91% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol just works miracles in many cases>> it's cheap and safe with very little potential of damage.

Very true, Joe. I've also heard that soaking in Simple Green can be very effective. Can't recall ever needing to use isopropyl alcohol on knife handles, but I've found it works great for getting just about any tape residue off blades, even the nasty sticky brown/black stuff from packing tape, so am sure it would work on any type of plastic/resin scales or metal handles as well.
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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby JonLeBlanc » Sat May 25, 2019 5:59 am

JD Spydo wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 5:18 am
The Deacon wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 4:40 am
Spyderco has used CF with a variety of surface types. Gloss, semi-gloss, matte, peel-ply, basket weave, corrugated, and diamond textured come to mind. Some may require more frequent and more aggressive cleaning than others. Wouldn't use anything abrasive, especially on gloss CF. And, as noted, would not use any solvent known to dissolve plastic - or at least use it only in extreme cases and be very careful using it.
Yeah everything you just said is what I was trying to expound on. It's been a long while since Spyderco had those glossy type CF handles but I still have a couple of them and I wouldn't dream of using Ajax or something similar on it. However I have used Bar Keeper's Friend cleanser on certain materials with good results because it's one cleanser that works on a chemical basis instead of being an abrasive cleanser like a lot of your older cleansers are formulated.

And you're so right because a lot of really hot solvents like Acetone and Methylene Chloride are not only bad on knife handles but are hazardous to use anyway without chemical resistant gloves and adequate ventilation. You just don't need anything like that in 99% of the cases.

Now some of the rougher CF handles might benefit from some type of soaking. That's where I like to use the newer "Overnite Platinum Dawn" dish soap and let it soak for hours>> and I've had some really good safe results using that stuff. And again just using 91% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol just works miracles in many cases>> it's cheap and safe with very little potential of damage.
Thanks for that input JD; isopropyl is one agent that I might have thought would alter the properties of CF, especially 91% isopropyl, but you are saying it's ok to use? You've used it in the past on CF?
My collection so far: 52100 Military (2); 52100 PM2 (2); 52100 Para3; Stretch2 V-Toku; KnifeWorks M4 PM2; BentoBox M390 PM2; BentoBox S90V Military; Police4 K390; S110V PM2; SS Delica AUS-6; Wayne Goddard Sprint VG-10
Wish list: Hundred Pacer; Sliverax; Mantra; 52100 PM2 SE; Kapara

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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby JD Spydo » Sat May 25, 2019 6:06 am

You shouldn't have any trouble at all even with the more potent 91% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol. You must consider that it's even safe to use for massage and cleaning wounds on people so you just know that it isn't going to hurt anything like CF. It's always my first choice before going up the ladder. It's not often that I run into something that I can't clean with Mineral Spirits paint thinner>> and it's not often at all that I'm forced to use anything like that.

And I can say the same about BALLISTOL too. I've used Ballistol on several types of materials with no problems at all. And like I said BALLISTOL really works miracles on G-10 handles. I've not yet used it on a CF handle but I'm fully confident that it won't hurt CF at all.

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Re: The care and feeding of your carbon fiber

Postby gundamaniac » Mon May 27, 2019 10:15 am

My peel ply CF/G10 laminate scales were getting pretty dull and worn looking where my hand usually fits on the handle, so I went ahead and scrubbed the scales with a towel and some handsoap and water. The peel ply CF layer is all shiny and sparkly now, and the handles look like new. Made me fall in love with Spyderco's peel ply CF all over again (even if the scales on mine are "just" a laminate :D )


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