I joined up some time ago, and mentioned that I had an old Western brand knife that my wife had brought back from an auction - badly abused and just getting dumped basically, so she paid 25c thinking I might get some fun out of it, or just throw it away.

This was my first restoration project ever, and basically my first real knife work since I have some kit knives I want to make but wanted to get some experience on something that I didn't really mind if I ruined. Of course the hope was that I would not ruin it!

Jan and a few others showed some interest and said come give feedback - and now I'm ready. I'm reasonably happy, learned a lot, and of course can only get better with time.

I was going to post photos here, but then thought, I already have them on a Google photo album so some friends and family can see - so here's a link. I could still post some here, but I see a daily limit, while the Google album has all of it there already anyway. 


Tags: knife, repair, restoration

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I am so happy you chose to give it a go!  What a shame about the leather but also what a great opportunity to give the knife your own touch.  You did a great job and I appreciate that you documented it.  Thank you for sharing and GREAT JOB!

Sooo, does it make you want to do it again??? 

Thanks Jan. I will definitely do it again, but I have learned a number of lessons and would do things a bit differently.

You and others will probably be amused at my tools. I have a small Black & Decker belt sander with 3" wide belt, like you would use for a home deck refinishing job, a hand held power drill, a hand "tenon" saw, a few chisels and a hammer, a rubber sanding block and sand-paper, and a Dremel rotary tool with thin cut off disks, buffing/polishing wheel, a little sandng "drum" and few very fine 1/2" diameter black "water" paper sanding disks on one of my mandrels. That's it. :-)

I used a piece of Cali Bamboo hardwood flooring for the handle - Java fossilized strand woven bamboo with a Janka rating of 5574, so very hard. 9/16" thick, whcih was far from ideal - it meant I hd to cut pieces to size, then split with chisels since I don't have a power planer, or power saw - and do a lot of sanding.

Lessons learned - get scale material that is a better thickness, like 1/4 or at most 3/8, possibly get a small power saw or plane, and maybe get a small belt sander which has a long adustable belt more suited to shaping the scales. The Dremel worked well, but one of the long flexible belt sanding machines would clearly do a far better job.

Actually rather than a restoration again - I'm more interested now in starting on my new kit knives. The restoration was a good exercise to learn more about the shaping, but it was a lot of work cleaning things up and cleaning away rust under the leather.


EXCELLENT !  Hey Donnie did not start with much more and he still uses his 1 X 30 belt sander at times even though he has a 2 X 72.  This is what he started with 1X30 he says buy the replacement warrenty

He uses his dremel all the time

It can be done without all the fancy tools (you just proved it) 

Nice job , allanm.


The best way to gain some experience before starting on your kit knives is exactly what you did. Mistakes made here are lessons learned & experience gained BEFORE you start on the kit knife. AND .. mistakes made with the 25 cent knife are SO0ooo very much easier to live with than when made on the kit knives !!!


Re: Belt sander. I have a Grizzly 1X30 that I've put a lot of hours on. I'm quite happy with it. Pretty much the same can be had from Harbor Freight and they've so many more brick & mortar stores that it could save you the shipping cost if you've a local Harbor Freight. It is my experience the Harbor Freight is ever so slightly lower quality & fit-n-finish ..BUT.. we're talking a sub $75 dollar belt sander that you will get hours & hours of use out of .. whichever you buy. The same (or, very similar) can be had @ Lowe's, Menard's, etc. Also, the 1" X 30" belt sander can make quick work of the cleaning up of the rust under the leather washer you mentioned.


I also have a 4" X 36" belt sander that has a 6" circular disc built in that sees even more use. However .. I started with the 1X30 & will replace it with same when it does eventually die.


!!! .. The standard 1" X 30" belt sander is a great starting point .. !!!


Re: wood scale material. The Woodturners Catalog has some good pricing on their "turning blanks" ..however.. you'd still need to cut them to size. Even with their "exotic woods" .. the 1"X 1" X 12" are quite cost effective ..&.. the 1.5" X 1.5" X 12" are still very competitively priced. Cutting them to size generally consists of slitting them lengthwise & then cutting them to length. This could be accomplished with a simple & inexpensive coping saw. Use their finished outside edge to mate against the knife blank & position your center slit "rough cut" edge on the outside .. you'll be sanding it down in the finishing process anyway.


Again .. nice job on the wood scales !!!


D ale

Great job Allan you will be wanting to do more now ,  a great buy for 25c and a bit of wood .

Fantastic job, Allan. I'd say that was 25¢ well spent.

Thanks Jan, and all. That 1x30 sander from HarborFreight was already in my wishlist as a potential to buy. Very likely the next tool I get. Fortunately we have one within a few miles of work, maybe 10 miles from home.

Dale's suggestions are good too - and I already also have a combination 1 inch belt and 5 inch disk sander in my wishlist similar to what Dale suggested. Given Dale's comment of the 4x36 belt and 6 inch disk sander seeing even more use than the 1x30 belt, I might lean towards one with a disk as well.

While some seeing my first knife project might say otherwise, as I said when I joined a hunting club last year with one previous season hunting white-tail deer but many years of small game in Africa - I still consider myself a novice. Three buck last year and many of the long time, experienced hunters were grumbling (in a friendly way) that I'm no novice when I brought home three and many of them had not got any, some had not even seen any deer! In the same way, I'm absolutely a novice here and open to all suggestions and advice as I go forward.

Jan Carter said:


EXCELLENT !  Hey Donnie did not start with much more and he still uses his 1 X 30 belt sander at times even though he has a 2 X 72.  This is what he started with 1X30 he says buy the replacement warrenty

He uses his dremel all the time

It can be done without all the fancy tools (you just proved it) 

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