The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
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.
Still big fun to go through HUH , great story and neat pics , Thanks for sharing
This is my box full of knives LOL
Me thinks I spy a Hobo in that box!
LOL yep its a old Camillus made hobo, Ill dig it out monday and take some photos LOL
Tobias Gibson said:
Me thinks I spy a Hobo in that box!
Great post Terry. Thanks for sharing.