I went to visit the family of my best friend who passed away a year ago. The family has had a rough go.  He left behind a wife and two sons (age 21 and 23, now)   They have been going through Mike’s stuff for the last year, sorting through what they need to keep, what they want to keep, and what they need to throw out.    Mike had a lot of stuff.  He collected several things.  Apparently he also had a bunch of knives.

When I came over, I wasn’t looking for stuff, and I’m a firm believer that  things such as knives should be passed down to the kids.  To make a long story short, the knives they were going to give me were a Japanese Bayonet for the Arisaka Rifle, late WWII production, and a German Modified Sawback Butcher bayonet from WWI. Both were complete with scabbards.  Both bayonets were in good-to excellent condition.  The saw back on the German Bayonet had been filed down as was the case with most of these bayonets that saw use in WWI. (The saw teeth  got caught on the wool great coats.  When the German stabbed the French and English. The Germans couldn’t pull the blade out which meant every time they jabbed someone they couldn't use their guns.  This was a problem when storming trenches!. Remember that the next time you see a saw on  knife spine and think, Cool!  It’s actually  a bad idea with a fighting knife!) 

Anyway, I was able to control my drooling and convince the boys, that they should really hang on to those bayonets.  (If they ever decide to sell them, I hope I get first dibs!)  Sometimes it is more important that knives stay where they belong.

But that isn’t what this post is about.  The post is the story of a box-o-knives.   And in this case it really is a “Box-o-Knives!”

The boys dropped a box in front of me. In the box was about 75-100 knives. Most are junk knives  as you can tell from the pictures.  The story goes like this.  The knives were all confiscated at one time or another by a Chicago Police Officer who lived down the street from Mike.   Apparently the knives never made it into evidence and for one reason or another, they ended up in the box.   The cop never really did anything with them, just kept dumping them in the box.  ( At one time, I was told during a gang raid, they confiscated a whole bunch of knives. I guess it  must’ve been right after some gang banger bought a large selection of Frost 5 in lockbacks because there were about 20 of the same knives in the box All wioth cheap wood handles with a tand stamp of "Stainless Pakistan"!)

When the Police officer retired, he decided to clean out his garage and was going toss them in the trash. Mike asked if he could have the box, and brought it to his basement.  There the box sat, again doing nothing but collecting, dust and rust.


As you can see from the photos, the knives were not stored at all properly.   But within the rust, the frozen blades, and Pakistani Junk metal, there were a few gems.

At the very top is a copy of the old German Parachutists Gravity knife.  Blade is just stamped Stainless Steel so I don’t know where or who made it.  But it functions properly, has the massive spike  and an nu-sharpened gravity blade.  The nick in the top of the blade is supposed to be there.  It is used to lock  the blade in the handle.


Beginning on the left side and going down:

a Camillus Electrician knife  The tang stamp was used in the late 1970s into the early 1980s.  Blades were frozen.  Some Coon P solved the problem.   Major rust had to be carefully cleaned off.  End results left me with a good user  with strong springs and blades with no wobble and great snap.  The spear-master has a small knick.  It needs a little sharpening

Next up a “Made in USA”  WWII era utility knife.  The knife is all carbon steel, blades, springs, liners, and bolsters  with bone scales putting in the 1942-3 era.   I’m not 100% suree but I think this was made by Kingston.  The knife was full of junk and the blades wouldn’t open.  I used a lot of WD-40 followed by Coon-P to get the blades out.  Afterwards there was sanding involved to remove surface rough but I made sure all Patina remained.  Blades now open and close smoothly and stay and paly is excellent.   It is now a nice little WWII memento and hangs proudly next to my WWII  Camillus 4-line  USA  utility knife.

Next up a  “U.S. Marine Corps” Utility knife.  It saw some heavy use and the spear-master was sharpened way too much and not very well.  When I got it, the blades were frozen shut and rusty.  Same old story and the same process as the other knives.  I would never buy a knife in this condition because of the main blade but it's  the stamping that makes it worth hanging on to.  I might see about getting that spear-master swapped out.  As it is, it is still a decent user.

At the very bottom is a small Japanese made lockback from the  Jet-Aero Corp in Patterson New Jersey.  I’ve never heard of the company. Knife Makers no. 806 choice. Is what the back side of the blade reads.  Seems exceedingly well made, blades are nice and tight and scissors are excellent.  It was a little junked up but light cleaning and oil and now it works smoothly.   Really nice smooth wood handles and stainless steel bolsters. a definite keeper.  Probably worth tow or three dollars and if it were made new, I'd bet it would go for $15-30 if made in Japan.



Middle  Row!  All of these  were completely rusted shut and required major work opening the blades. A lot of hot water, WD-40,  and honing oil to get things loosened to the point where I could finally pull the blades open with a pair of needle-nose pliers!   The end results:

Top to bottom

 Case XX USA era 6206 mini-trapper  (Back scale is broken and missing a big chunk.  What a pity. Lots of patina but otherwise solid.  I'll need to repair or replace the back scale.

Utica three blade Girl Scouts of America knife.  Pretty rough, in poor condition.

SCC barlow.  Never heard of the company but it is USA made.   Fair condition a decent user.

A  Colonial slim line Tapper.  Fake bone scales, it decent condition.    Would make a decent user.

A Schrade “Improve Muskrat”   About the same as the Case.  Would make decent EDC but in too rough shape for any real collection.

Finally to the right are knives that managed to avoid rust and poor sharpening from the start.  I think it is very probably all were from the early days of Tom O’Dell The top and bottom  are "Stainless Pakistan"  The brass and wood  5 in LB is Klein tools, Japan.  The black handle is Stainless, Japan.


Not yet shown because they are soaking in Coon-P is a Case 64052 ten dot congress and a Schrade  Yello comp Stockman.   I hope to bring them back from the dead but they are an ultimate challenge..  With any luck it will go from totally frozen unusable to poor condition user.   I was real lucky with the WWII utility knife, hopefully I’ll luck out with these two as well.  There are also a few other knives still hiding in the box I might try to fix.

I know it sounds a little silly to devote time and energy doing this kind of stuff but I’m doing it for  afew reasons.  First, every crappy knife I restore is one more brand new knife I can leave in the box and not use. Second, occasionally I can manage to bring a worthless piece of rust into a small piece of history, such as the WWII utility knife.  But in the case of this box of knives, every knife I can restore is a small memory of Mike. 

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Replies to This Discussion

 With all the cautions recommended any special tools , I suggest for some uses the products Flitz and Kroil.    Sounds like   names for Hogan Heroes guards bringing extra women at night , Private Flitz and Corporal Kroil is mit das frauline Roseundschninct,.  Goldilocks type products, but if you need a hammer you need a bigger one, you need something else.

Thanks for the tip Ken.  I've also used other types of penetrating oils in the past with  good results. ( Primarily Gunk Liquid Wrench.)

Oohh noes. Toby we're talking specialty products, a little dab will do ya, Stuff and don't  getting all crescent wrenchy and vise grippy on me. 
Tobias Gibson said:

Thanks for the tip Ken.  I've also used other types of penetrating oils in the past with  good results. ( Primarily Gunk Liquid Wrench.)

I think Mike qualifies for Honorary Member status here on iKC by virtue of his "Box O' Knives!" Bless ya, Mike -- May you rest in eternal peace.

And, Toby, your post about Mike's Box of Knives should qualify for the IKC Posting Hall of Fame!

Having been a Paratrooper myself I envy you the German Parachutist Gravity Knife. That in and of itself is a great score! I completely agree with you about the Bayonets, and leaving them with Mike's boys. That was the right thing to do.

Kudos for such a great post, my friend! I thoroughly enjoyed the read and the pictures. I can also appreciate the time and effort it must have taken for you to put this piece together. Thank you for presenting this tribute to Mike's memory!


Looks like a box of fun to me! I love messing with knives. If I had a nickel for every time I messed with knives like those just to end up just throwing it in the round file, I'd be a millionaire! But it's still fun to me just to have messed with the knives. Shoot look how many people waste their time NOT doing knife stuff! LOL!


Mike has a good friend n you.  To care enough to be sure the boys retain Dad's memories is awesome. I think cleaning the old ones in the box must be joy.  I can almost hear you talking with him as you work.  Excellent post!

Thank you my friend for all you did to put that together. It is a great story to knife collectors like us because it has real meaning. I can't think of one true collector who would not just love to sort through that box just to see what is there. Selfishly perhaps but I am pulling for the Schrade Yellow Composition stockman which is currently soaking. If that one comes back I would love to see it!

Here ya go, Steve.  

Schrage yellow comp middleman Stockman  (Clip, Sheepfoot and pen blade.)  3 1/4 in overall, 2.5 inch clip.  Badge shield.  (Tang:  Schrade/Walden/ NY USA)

Case Sob Buster Jr.  Black Delrin Handles, brass birds eye rivet. Brass liners,  3 1/2 in overall, 2 3/4 inch skinner blade.  No Shield,  (Tang:  Case XX / USA)

A lot of  patina on both of these knives  but both are very tight and quite sound.  They still have plenty of life.  Good snap in the blades, and it was easy to get an edge back on them.   Still working the joints getting junk out but this is typical.  


Steve Hanner said:

Thank you my friend for all you did to put that together. It is a great story to knife collectors like us because it has real meaning. I can't think of one true collector who would not just love to sort through that box just to see what is there. Selfishly perhaps but I am pulling for the Schrade Yellow Composition stockman which is currently soaking. If that one comes back I would love to see it!

Nice Toby! If I was back in my Schrade-Walden days I would try to wrestle that Stockman from you! LOL!

Toby, we have some interesting things in common--I have the German parachutist knife--from an old German First Sgt host I had for a Reforger Exercise(me:interrogator)--I started my collection there with several Pumas.  I also had 5 jumps at Benning, then I taught ground training for the Air Force (SERE) and threw darts in the Law Enforcement Olympics.  I'll learn how to post pictures here some day.  I now care for Vets at the Bristol, VA CBOC.  You put out an interesting story-thanks. Chicago is probably not in my future, but if you visit Smokey Mt Knife Works (or Bristol Thunder Valley), hollar.

This is a wonderful story, and memory for a knife collector.

Good luck with the restore of the memories and thanks for sharing it with us.

What a great find!!


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