Review Winkler Knife rusts in sheath and can't be pulled out

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by Downunder, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. Downunder


    Dec 2, 2015
    We recently did a night navigation exercise and got a decent downpour on us. I had my Winkler Knife Recon on my chest rig and as soon as we got back to the camp site around 10pm we just found a dry spot under the tarp and called it a night. The next morning I wanted to clean up the knife and found that it was impossible to draw the knife from the sheath due to oxidization. In a matter of several hours the knife got completely covered in rust and cemented in the sheath. I had to take the sheath off the chest rig, remove all screws from the sheath and pry out the blade using another knife. Below you can see the pics of the knife how it came out.

    I understand that a carbon blade tends to rust but the fact that you can't draw the blade from the sheath after some rain, is just a liability in my view.

    Anyone else encountered this problem with Winkler Knives after the sheath and knife got wet?
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  2. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    Not uncommon, really, with carbon steel. no matter what the make. Protect the blade with a rust preventive -- there are lots around, but good old Vaseline works great.
    Insipid Moniker likes this.
  3. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    Haven't had issues with mine out hare on the wet coast. I keep it pretty well oiled with either Fireclean or Boeshield.
    Insipid Moniker and Downunder like this.
  4. broe


    May 8, 2011
    I agree with Danke. I also have heat here in Florida to go along with the rain. Upright leather sheath and uncoated carbon steel means trouble. You must dry it out and oil immediately when you stop. Ask some Vietnam vets what they did. Or you could turn the handle down draw. I do not know how you have your knife in the rig set up. Sounds like the leather swelled up too. I know the maker does kydex sheaths for his stuff, ask for one.
    Downunder likes this.
  5. Downunder


    Dec 2, 2015
    Hi thanks for the tip. Still with the blade being oiled before it went into the sheath as well as the winkler knife having a protective coating on the blade the amount of rust that built up after less than 12 hours is shocking in my opinion. Plus the fact that the knife is stuck in the sheath afterwards pretty much tells me that this knife+sheath combination has never been field tested properly. A change to the sheath would probably make a big difference already.
    Garrett Ferrell and Dragon_Man like this.
  6. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    Probably need a different kit for wet work.

    Try a Busse in INFI with a Kydex sheath.

    Or another corrosion proof steel.

    Or get a Kydex for that one, and clean it up.

    I'd suggest a hot wax dip for any leather you think will get rained on.

    That is a bummer, though!
  7. Boru13

    Boru13 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Apr 25, 2000
    I doubt any manufacturer/maker/designer tests their knives by leaving them in a wet sheath overnight.

    Winkler sheaths are 3 pieces, leather over kydex with a felt liner. I would imagine the felt liner soaked up quite a bit of moisture from the downpour and would have needed time to dry out.

    Leaving a carbon steel blade in a wet sheath overnight is user error and not the fault of the manufacturer.
  8. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    I can totally understand the desire not to mess with the knife in those circumstances, but there's no carbon steel knife/sheath combo that's going to do well in those circumstances. Leaving any knife in a wet sheath overnight is abuse, but if that kind of thing may be unavoidable then you definitely need something that's a whole lot more stain resistant. I would maybe look into something by Spartan in S35VN or similar.
    Garrett Ferrell, Downunder and Boru13 like this.
  9. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    The felt in my sheath is no doubt now well soaked with oil.

    I'd clean off the rust; put some silica packs in the sheath aid in drying it out and then oil up that blade till it's glistening and have it in and out of the sheath a few times. Don't store it in the sheath till you're sure it's dry and from now on keep it oiled up; before and after wear it. Just add it to your list like checking batteries and other gear.
    Garrett Ferrell and Boru13 like this.
  10. d762nato

    d762nato Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    I'd go kydex for sure with a drain hole and some Vaseline on that blade. The Vaseline can also help to start a fire if need be.
    Garrett Ferrell likes this.
  11. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    Operator error / neglect .

    Learn to maintain or get more "maintenance free" type gear .
    Garrett Ferrell, brownshoe and jux t like this.
  12. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    That's why they invented stainless :)

    Some things can promote rust very quikly, maybe the oxidation came not just from the rain, but a combination of water, what was last cut, or something on the cloth you wiped it down with.

    Ask Winkler, he responds to customers, I think he's a forum member.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  13. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    That sheath design sounds like a design for disaster: felt absorbs water, so does leather. Stick to Kydex/Concealex or a waxed leather sheath that will not absorb moisture.
    Garrett Ferrell, jdk1 and popedandy like this.
  14. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    Yeah , that sheath design does seem odd . :confused:
  15. Boru13

    Boru13 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Apr 25, 2000
    Numerous makers do leather sheaths with a kydex liner, nothing wrong or odd about the design at all.

    Eagle Industries used to make a nylon sheath that had a kydex liner that was also felt lined for the KA-BAR USMC knife. I personally have one that's over 15 years old and have never had any issues because of the felt lining.

    The OP has been on the forums for a little over 4 years with a total of 4 posts... out of those 4 posts, three of them are negative comments about Winkler Knives :rolleyes:
  16. AmosPaul

    AmosPaul Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 17, 2014
    I would sell the Winkler knife and buy a tactical knife, a knife that is made and designed for your use. Get one with a Kydex sheath and a stainless steel blade.

    For a budget options the Gerber Strongarm would do well. For a more expensive option try Bradford Knives (opt for the Kydex sheath, their default sheath is usually leather).
    Garrett Ferrell likes this.
  17. Mikel_24


    Sep 19, 2007
    We can argue as much as we want about the knife being neglected, "he should have known better", carbon steel is what it is, felt liners are great to reduce ratling, he seems to be here to bash Winkler knives, yada yada yada...

    But the truth is that it is a bummer that such a praised knife rusted so much so quickly. I have some carbon steel blades and I know how they can rust if not taken care off but I think that amount of rust is just too much.

    And regarding felt liners... well... I don't think I like them because besides moisture, they could trap debrish (sand, small stones, abrasive particles, etc.) that would scratch the blade as it is inserted and widrawn from the seath... I would stick to non lined kydex or waxed leather.

    Also, if someone is planning on getting wet, get something else. Say a Fallkniven F1/S1/A1... for example.

    thebrain likes this.
  18. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    The bolded part of what I quoted seems like an absurd statement to me, because it's physics and science and has little bearing on the maker or quality of the knife. Carbon steels can rust and it does not matter who makes it or designs it, coatings excluded. The amount of rust is still subject to the conditions it was placed in. It's not like a designer is slapping in stainless steel elements under a layer of carbon steel to make sure it doesn't rust too deep.

    I get the part about it sucking, but the truth is that the physical nature of the steel of the Winkler blade is that it will rust. It will rust more if it's left in more water for more time, and this is the problem the OP faced. It's just not a great option for what the OP was subjecting it to. The falkniven recommendation is sound advice, or at least get a coated blade if you want carbon steel.

    If you buy a performance sports car, and don't take care of it and change the oil or tires every now and then, it won't be very high performance for long. They're usually pretty bad in snow too because it's the wrong condition for what it's designed to perform well in. Apply that to the Winkler, it's non-stainless so it's not designed to perform well in the rain, and it wasn't properly taken care of so the performance diminished.
    Garrett Ferrell and Student762 like this.
  19. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    I own several Winkler knives ... with Winkler sheaths ... I have never had any issue with rusting any more or quicker than any carbon steel blades. And the sheaths are great if you take some care in how you use and store knife and sheath.

    If you are in such a corrosive environment maybe a different choice of a stainless steel would be a good idea. But even stainless steels for the most part will not take kindly to being stored wet ... you can't fault a blade for reacting to being stored that way ... and it isn't a "Winkler" issue.

    why it's stuck in the sheath I think would have more to do with gunk in it than rust ... nothing for the blade to corrode and bind to.
    Boru13 likes this.
  20. Boru13

    Boru13 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Apr 25, 2000
    Nothing to argue about, it's obvious the knife was neglected.
    His posts would seem to indicate that.
    Honestly, I'm having a hard time believing that the knife rusted that much from one overnight exercise.
    You can have the same issues you mention with kydex... moisture would definitely be more of an issue with the felt liner as opposed to one without though. As far as debris scratching the blade, any sheath regardless of material can have that issue.
    Garrett Ferrell and JJ_Colt45 like this.

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