Dodge

KA-BARs

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I see no one has posted to this thread for a while so I thought I would blow the dust off ;) I have been collecting Marine K-Bars for a while. I know, they aren't hand made but the name of the thread it "Historical Blades" and KA-BARs are nothing if not "Historical!" :D My collection is not large but the ones I have are special to me. For those that don't know, the KA-BAR is the classic "Fighting Knife" developed specifically for and issued to Marines during WWII. They were originally made by as the name implies, the KA-BAR cutlery co., formerly Union Cutlery Company of Olean, New York. Before that it was Union Razor Company. A few other companies also made Ka-Bars and so far I find conflicting histories as to their authenticity. I do know that Camillus and Conetta were issued to Marines. After WWII, other branches adopted the use of the famous knife but the only true KA-BAR in the eyes of most Marines is the Genuine KA-BAR, identified by the USMC marking on one side of the ricasso and KA-BAR, Olean NY on ther other. Some Conetta and Camillus also have USMC stamped on them but I believe they are newer reissues. The older ones say, simply, U.S. Pictured is my collection. The really ugly one is a genuine KA-BAR that was my fathers. I plan to restore it one day. BTW if anyone has any tips on getting the stacked leather handle shaped correctly, I’m open to ideas. My thought at this point is chucking it up in a wood lathe after I have the leather discs properly glued. The one next to it is a Conetta and then a Camillus. I have another “real” KA-BAR that was my father’s also but he found it somewhere and it had been badly abused. It’s not even in its original sheath, but rather a crudely hand made one. I plan to put a custom made handle on it and make a nice sheath for it. I don’t have a picture of it at this time.

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Edited by Dodge

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I have two k-bars myself. One was my fathers and the other one was given to me by my father in law. They were issued to each while in the service. Both say USMC but my father was in the Navy and his is larger than the other one that was issued to my father inlaw, he was in the Marine Corp. I have made a couple knives and used leather discs in the handle, I found it is easier to clean up and shape the disc with a wire brush on a bench grinder. Thanks for your history on them.

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Just a fast comment about no one pasting here in a while, Unless I am really confused, this category did not exist until a few days ago. These existing threads were pulled from the others, to clean things up.

So bluntly, you get credit for the FIRST intentional post to this one ! :D

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Interesting that they are different sizes. Both military "Issue"? How long is the longer one? Original issue should be 11 1/2" with a 7" blade. The brand new ones seem to be produced at 11 7/8" overall. I am, by no means, an expert, so just by internet research and speaking with other collectors I'm guessing that if it is shorter than 11 1/2" its probably not military issue but perhaps a commemorative issue. Got pics?

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Just a fast comment about no one pasting here in a while, Unless I am really confused, this category did not exist until a few days ago. These existing threads were pulled from the others, to clean things up.

So bluntly, you get credit for the FIRST intentional post to this one ! :D


Do I get EXTRA soup then?? :D

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time definitely has not been kind to those KA-BARS;) but i guess half the fun is bringing life back in to them.

If you do find a way to shape those handles, I would be interested in the "how to". A friend who was also in the corp wanted to make one with leather stacked handle. He came to me and asked a bunch of questions that i really didn't know. I myself am just starting out with knife making(i have made a few but from kits and parts from here and there) got to start somewhere anyway, one thing i found is that on this site all you have to do is ask and there is usually one or two who either know how or where to find out. Best of luck, any research I find I will be most willing to share. Chad J

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I have a friend who works for a company that, among other things, grinds up railroad crossties. He was running the grinder one day and spotted something on one of the ties. It was an unground Ka-Bar blank. It has the stamps on both sides, but no bevels ground into it.
He doesn't make knives, but will not part with it for anything. H4e says ( and i agree with him) that it's a great conversation piece.
I'm sure there's a pretty good story behind how it came to be there.

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I have a K-Bar that I had in Viet Nam...39 years ago, so it is older than that....you can have it..............if you can pry it from my cold dead fingers...:)

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time definitely has not been kind to those KA-BARS;) but i guess half the fun is bringing life back in to them.

If you do find a way to shape those handles, I would be interested in the "how to". A friend who was also in the corp wanted to make one with leather stacked handle. He came to me and asked a bunch of questions that i really didn't know. I myself am just starting out with knife making(i have made a few but from kits and parts from here and there) got to start somewhere anyway, one thing i found is that on this site all you have to do is ask and there is usually one or two who either know how or where to find out. Best of luck, any research I find I will be most willing to share. Chad J


That would truly be a treasure!!

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I have a K-Bar that I had in Viet Nam...39 years ago, so it is older than that....you can have it..............if you can pry it from my cold dead fingers...:)


Yep, the knife you humped all around is kind of special to each digger.

Keep it for ever, I will be keeping mine.

Ours were not K-Bars but just as effective. Edited by rmcpb

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Dodge, after epoxying the leather spacers, just take it to the belt grinder and shape it. To preserve the leather, soak in mineral oil. That will tighten up loose handles also.
That's a nice batch of old knives ya got there. I'm pretty sure the original specs are available thru the patent office.
Union Razor Co. was originally located in Tidioute Pa. and made mostly pocketknives and razors. 1896-1911.

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I want soup! Hahaha. My dad is in the federal police here in Brasil, and hes got a Ka-Bar. I mean, it really looks like one. God bless!

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Dodge, after epoxying the leather spacers, just take it to the belt grinder and shape it. To preserve the leather, soak in mineral oil. That will tighten up loose handles also.


After more consideration I realize my wood lathe idea wouldn't work; at least MY lathe won't work ;) The the handle isn't round, but rather oval shaped and would require one of those lathes that can cut oval shapes like hammer handles. My concern now is how to get the grooves nice and concentric by hand. I suppose - careful marking and filing.

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Thanks Stan!
Once again, I've been waaay over thinking it! ;) I thought it was something on that manner but was trying to over complicate it :D

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Dodge I finally found the knife I was telling you about. You were right the smaller one is not a ka-bar here are some pics of it. It is 9.5 inches long with a 5 inch blade.
100_3660.JPG 100_3661.JPG 100_3663.JPG

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It is not wood, I think its plastic. It says its a Mark 1. This one was my father-in-laws. It was issued to him when he was in the Marines, around 1944.

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I know what plastic you're talking about. Might be bakelite.
Larry Thomas owns the Military edged weapons museum in Intercourse Pa is agood one to ask if ya need any info on these knifes. He's a wealth of info!

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if you want to make leather spacers try to get some old shoe leather from a cobbler. they usually have some scraps that are really thick. they work for me. they ight not look right on a kabar though. there good for just about any other knife though.

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This isn't the "KABAR" you've posted about , and not sure if it fits "historical", But it is a Kabar and I know it's old.

(If this doesn't fit here feel free to move.)

Maybe circa 1920's 0r 1930'?

Its very small.

Anyone able to date this , or know about this knife?




Thanks
Mark

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There were knives issued and bought by all servicemen through out the war. If a company made knives they made them for the troops. the mark 1 was a need it now knife. What could be made now was bought and issued from all kinds of manufacturers.
The mark 2 is the knife that the marines named and made famous called a kbar. Made buy the major knife companies. You can find kbars stamped usn as well as usmc. If you are looking for washers or sheaths [email protected] has left over stock he sells. I have a mk2 usn from that era best all around knife ever made.

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