ZT knives:  The Best Way to Wear and Care for Zero Tolerance Knives

ZT knives:  The Best Way to Wear and Care for Zero Tolerance Knives

Posted by Clayton on Oct 12th 2017

ZT or Zero Tolerance knives are far from your average knife. They are skillfully crafted, and in addition to being highly functional, each one is a work of art. Initially made for military use, ZT knives are now also available to the serious knife enthusiast who wants a solid, well-built knife that looks good and works hard. You can’t go wrong with a ZT knife.

Each knife is expertly designed by some of the top names in knife design and then carefully crafted using top-quality materials. They are proudly 100 percent made in America. The result is an exceptional knife that is tough and ultra-durable.

If you want to keep all that high quality and top value looking good and performing well year after year, you must understand how to properly maintain and clean it. This is not a difficult task and, when it’s done correctly, it will ensure the knife lasts a lifetime.

How to Wear a Zero Tolerance Knife

Many people wonder what is the best way to wear their ZT knife in order to safeguard it. The folding knife comes with a standard quality deep-carry pocket clip. These are designed to keep the knife easily accessible but safely out of the way. Do not clip it to your belt or the outside of your pocket. Rather, secure it inside your pocket with the blade end against the inner pocket seam.

The clips are made from durable material and are built to last. For fixed blade knives, use a sheath for safety.

Zero Tolerance Knife Care

The first and most important part of caring for a Zero Tolerance knife is keeping it clean. It is not only the blade that needs to be cleaned, however. Debris and dirt can get into the locking mechanism and the moving parts of the knife.

In most cases, simply wipe the knife with a soft cloth. If it has become extremely dirty, use soapy water for a deeper clean. If you do this, however, you must be sure to dry the knife thoroughly afterward and then apply oil. Use a quality gun oil, 3-in-one or WD40. Ensure you clean, dry and oil all parts of the knife, paying particular attention to the locking mechanism and pivot points.

Rust Removal

ZT knives are coated in a non-reflective, specially formulated coating to protect them and improve performance. If the knife is used regularly, you can expect to see some wear on the coating over time. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about.

Despite the high-quality materials used in the blade, rust spots can develop. If buffing with a dry cloth does not remove these spots, you can use a polish or light abrasive to remove them. Bon Ami or Flitz Metal Polish are both good products. Another trick you could try for rust removal is vinegar. Just let the blade soak in vinegar for a few minutes and then wipe it down. For more serious rust, use WD-40 or naval jelly.

Just remember to remove the rust as soon as possible to avoid pitting.

Storing Your Knife

When storing your ZT knife, ensure it is clean, dry and well-oiled, then store it in a dry place. If it’s not in regular use, take it out and give it a wipe and oil every four months or so.


It is not recommended that you attempt any repair on your ZT knife yourself, as this will void your warranty. Contact your supplier to see if warranty covers the problem. Any damage not covered by warranty can be professionally repaired at a reasonable price.

Sharpening Your ZT Knife

Sharpening the blade yourself can be intimidating for some people, but it is a relatively simple procedure — provided you follow a few basic guidelines. Use a whetstone or the convenient Smith’s Tri-Hone Knife Sharpening System. This has fine, medium and coarse sections to get the required level of sharpening. This compact device can quickly restore a perfect sharpness to your ZT knife.

Simply run the blade across the Ultra-Tek sharpener from the back to the front several times, ensuring you do the same on both sides of the blade. You want to angle the knife at around 18° to 22° for best results.

Final Thoughts

Zero Tolerance Knives are made with pride, but they still require basic care. Following these guidelines will ensure your knife will remain working perfectly and looking good for years to come. These popular tactical knives are designed to be used in tough situations, and if you look after them, they will look after you.