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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    3,073

    Exclamation Repair or replacement for leather washer knife grips?

    Is there a sight with detailed information on how to repair leather washer knife grips?

    Does anyone restore these grips?

    I need to restore a USGI WWII era knife.
    Semper Fi,
    ret_Marine2003

    Located at American Legion post 300, somewhere in Northern Michigan.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,125

    Default

    I don't know of anyone who offers restoration, but it's at least possible a company that originally made the knives might be willing to do it.
    Camillus is out of business, but Ka-Bar is still making the WWII type Ka-Bar Navy and Marine knife.

    To rebuild, you need to make or buy a new set of leather washers.
    Again, an original maker like Ka-Bar might sell new washers, or you can buy them from Texas knife maker's Supply.
    You can make your own from 12 to 13 ounce saddle leather.
    Many knives also had fiber spacers of red or black fiber material.
    Knife maker supply houses will sell this in small sheets, and MAY have a source for pre-cut leather washers.
    http://www.jantzsupply.com/
    http://www.texasknife.com/ (Sell leather washers as "leather Ring Spacers").

    You'll have to remove the butt cap from the knife, most of these are pinned and/or staked on. Some early WWII Ka-Bar type knives had the cap threaded on, but most were pinned and staked.

    With the cap off and the old washers off, clean up the tang of any rust and inspect the guard for corrosion.
    Stack new washers on, using the same type of fiber washers if needed.

    You'll have to make some sort of compression press to compress the washers TIGHT in a stack while you re-pin or stake the butt cap.
    You cannot compress the washer stack enough by hand, you'll need a vise or a press to do this.

    Once the cap is back on, use files and sandpaper to shape the washers into the original oval cross section.

    Use a round wood file to cut the grooves in the handle to match the original. Note that each maker had a specific spacing, width, and depth of grooves.

    Once the handle is fully shaped, use finer and finer sand paper to smooth the handle, then finish with a couple of coats of Johnson's Paste Wax, or even a coat or two of fast drying polyurethane.

    The only difficult part of it is compressing the washer stack.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    3,073

    Default

    Thank you for the information.

    This is exactly what I was looking for.
    Semper Fi,
    ret_Marine2003

    Located at American Legion post 300, somewhere in Northern Michigan.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dfariswheel View Post
    I don't know of anyone who offers restoration, but it's at least possible a company that originally made the knives might be willing to do it.
    Camillus is out of business, but Ka-Bar is still making the WWII type Ka-Bar Navy and Marine knife.

    To rebuild, you need to make or buy a new set of leather washers.
    Again, an original maker like Ka-Bar might sell new washers, or you can buy them from Texas knife maker's Supply.
    You can make your own from 12 to 13 ounce saddle leather.
    Many knives also had fiber spacers of red or black fiber material.
    Knife maker supply houses will sell this in small sheets, and MAY have a source for pre-cut leather washers.
    http://www.jantzsupply.com/
    http://www.texasknife.com/ (Sell leather washers as "leather Ring Spacers").

    You'll have to remove the butt cap from the knife, most of these are pinned and/or staked on. Some early WWII Ka-Bar type knives had the cap threaded on, but most were pinned and staked.

    With the cap off and the old washers off, clean up the tang of any rust and inspect the guard for corrosion.
    Stack new washers on, using the same type of fiber washers if needed.

    You'll have to make some sort of compression press to compress the washers TIGHT in a stack while you re-pin or stake the butt cap.
    You cannot compress the washer stack enough by hand, you'll need a vise or a press to do this.

    Once the cap is back on, use files and sandpaper to shape the washers into the original oval cross section.

    Use a round wood file to cut the grooves in the handle to match the original. Note that each maker had a specific spacing, width, and depth of grooves.

    Once the handle is fully shaped, use finer and finer sand paper to smooth the handle, then finish with a couple of coats of Johnson's Paste Wax, or even a coat or two of fast drying polyurethane.

    The only difficult part of it is compressing the washer stack.
    Can you give me an idea of how to remove the butt cap from the handle of the knife. I am trying to restore Cattaraugus 225 Q and I need to replace the leather spacers. I don't want to do any damage to the knife and want to proceed cautiously. Thanks in advance ... Tim Sangalli

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,125

    Default

    I've looked at the 225 Q and never could figure out how the cap is retained.
    On the end are what looks almost like nail heads, but they aren't.

    If the handle is in really trashed condition, you might be able to figure out cap retention by cutting the old leather washers off so you can see the under side of the cap.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful, my 225 Q knives were in good condition and I didn't restore or alter original collectible knives.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Wow ... fast response. Thanks. I did cut off the old leather and you are correct, there are 2 "nail looking" things that seem to have penetrated the first 2 or 3 rings. Maybe they also serve to hold the 3 metal sections of the butt cap together. They don't seem to be involved in securing the butt cap to the blade handle. I imagine careful filing of the blade handle will release the butt cap. Do you have any experience with bayonets in getting the cap off? The m4 leather handle bayonet seems somewhat similar. Again, thanks for the response. TJS

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,125

    Default

    Most of the later US bayonets had the cap assembly staked or riveted on.
    If you look at the end of the cap, you see a "usually" rectangular stud that's been riveted to secure the cap.

    Getting the cap off can be a problem, since if you grind the staked area, you're also shortening the tang and it won't stake back on properly.

    One technique is to get the leather off, put the tang in a vise between loose jaws and use a large punch to drive the riveted tang down and through the cap. You have to do this without further riveting the tang.

    As for the "nail heads" on the M4, "as I recall", these are actually the pins that retain the locking latches. They have nothing to do with the leather handle.

  8. #8

    Default

    Check out US Patent 2,350,494 for the configuration of the Catt 225Q pommel and it's construction.

    The pommel is built in three pieces, the center section is installed and turned 90 degrees in a groove in the tang. All three are then held together with the rivets or nails driven through all three. Pretty simple design and very effective.

    All the best
    Frank Trzaska

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,125

    Default

    And if the holes are blind, disassembly is going to be almost impossible.
    If the holes for the pins don't pass all the way through all three pieces, I don't see any good way to extract the pins.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    6,348

    Default

    I personally wouldn't bother. 25 years ago, maybe. 225Qs are pretty common. Unless your knife has personal, or historical value, buy a complete one, and pass the project on to someone else.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    243

    Default

    I have restored/replaced the leather handles on many WW-2 USMC knives. If you still need help. let me know. Will walk you through it.

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