Essentially a complete rebuild. I wanted to find one for my father-in-law for Christmas, but the cost of one in good condition was cost prohibitive. My FIL retired from the Navy shortly after Vietnam, and from his stories and comments, I came to the conclusion that he was issued a Mk2 knife.
I did finally find a sale for just the blade. No handle, guard, buttcap, sheath... just the blade. Of course the blade was a bit rusty and because of the rust, needed a bit of cleaning.

This was my first attempt at parkerizing, making a leather disc handle, and making a buttcap and pin.

I used my Robeson Mk2 as a reference for the handle dimensions.

Using an original era (≈1943-44) blade, and pretty much everything else was hand made by me, I was hoping that my FIL would appreciate it.

All in all, I think that the end result turned out fairly well, and my FIL did indeed seem to thoroughly appreciate the knife.

Success! :)

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Comment by George R Naugle on February 26, 2023 at 7:54

It is pretty obvious to me that my knife has been sharpened quite a bit.  I suspect that the tip may have been broken off and the blade reground at one time, thus leaving it a bit shorter.  None of the negatives detract from the value of this knife to me.  I am trying my hand at restoration in order to give it to one of my hunting buddies who is a former marine, and is very interested in giving it a home.  

I appreciate all the help you have given me, and will take photos of the knife for you when I am done.  At this point, I think I have enough information to finish the job.



Comment by Kevin D on February 26, 2023 at 7:33

The pommel type was one of the main reasons that I thought yours was a Mk2 as opposed to the Mk1s below.  And an obvious difference from the regular RH knives.

With you blade length being 6¼", I am completely convinced that it cannot be a Mk1.  In pristine condition, the Mk1 has a blade length of 5-3/16 to  5¼".  While I do not think you knife is completely intact, iit is far in excess of the Mk1s.  My Mk2 blades measure about 6-7/8" long.   So lets proceed under the assumption that this is indeed a Mk2.  Those dimensions that I sent you should be good for that handle.  Once you get the handle shaped to those dims, you can add the chamfers up by the guard.  From all of the Mk2s that I have seen in  person, the chamfer did not extend pass the first groove.  So you may want to mark out the location of the grooves before you put in the chamfers.  That will give you a good measure to work from. 

For the grooves, take the length of the handle that you measure for the leather disc portion and divide is by 6.  The resulting number will be the distance from the guard and pommel to the centerline of the first and last grooves.  I would carefully mark all 5 grooves all the way around the handle before I started to cut them.

Looking forward to seeing how your knife turns out.  good luck!

Comment by George R Naugle on February 26, 2023 at 4:46

Length of my blade is 6 1/4 inches, Kevin.  The pommel on my knife is disc like and much different from the pommels of the three knives in your photo

Comment by Kevin D on February 25, 2023 at 19:52

darn it...  I mis-typed.

the top two knives are Mk1s.  Not Mk2s

Comment by Kevin D on February 25, 2023 at 19:48

Good Evening George,

I am not sure if this will help or not, but here is a photo montage of a couple Mk2s (one of which is a PAL RH35), and a PAL RH36.  All three of these knives exhibit a smooth handle.  The Mk2s were designed to have a better grip (feedback from the Marines and their clandestine field work - the smooth handles got a little slippery when covered with blood)  The grooves helped.

Please note the differences in the guard of the two Mk1s.   Note also that the RH36 was not designated as a Mk2.

Comment by George R Naugle on February 24, 2023 at 4:40

Thanks, Kevin.   I really appreciate your advice since you have already done this.

I had thought a chain saw file would be the tool used for the grooves.  That step will take some time and care.

I will hold off on the shaping of the handle until I hear further from you as to dimensions.

Comment by Kevin D on February 23, 2023 at 20:30

Oh!   I did not use a dye on the leather.  I heated BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil) to about 150°F and soaked the leather (after it was installed) until it stopped bubbling.  That helps keep the leather from drying out and shrinking, as well as darkens the leather a nice bit.  After it is exposed to the air, the surface will 'harden' up a little giving the same feel as the originals (that I have had the chance to hold).

Comment by Kevin D on February 23, 2023 at 20:24

All of the USN MK2s that I have from 1943 to 1945/6 (Robeson and Camillus) have the grooves in the handle.  So I used this as my reference for the one that I re-built.  My Mk1 has a smooth handle, as does the PAL RH-35 & RH-36.  

In regards to the grooves, I shaped the handle real nice to the dimensions (which I will have to get to you), and then I measured the overall length of the leather discs.  Divided that measurement by 6 (5 grooves), and then carefully laid out the location for each groove.  I used a Ø1/8" chainsaw file to put the grooves in.  Go slowly and carefully with this step, as the file wants to move and not go straight unless you are careful.

Comment by George R Naugle on February 23, 2023 at 17:28

A better photo:

Comment by George R Naugle on February 23, 2023 at 17:26

PS:  I noticed that on the handle of your knife, about every fourth disc is inlet.  I have three other fighting knives from that period and none of them have inletted discs; all have smooth handles.  The best example of that in the ones I have is the PAL 35 in the following photo.

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