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Repairing and Rebuilding Vintage Pocket Knives

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Forum topic by summerfi posted 12-31-2015 04:59 PM 1021 views 1 time favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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summerfi

3315 posts in 1148 days


12-31-2015 04:59 PM

Anyone have experience repairing or rebuilding old pocket knives? I have a vintage Boker that my dad gave me years ago. It was well worn when he gave it to me, and now it’s too worn out to even use. I’d love to have it rebuilt, but based on what I’ve found online it would cost hundreds to have a professional do it. It’s a skill I wouldn’t mind learning anyway. I see a lot of quality, worn out or broken knives on ebay that go for a reasonable amount. I’m not even sure if replacement blades are available anywhere. If you have knowledge about pocket knife repair, please share it here.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html


23 replies so far

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Bluepine38

3341 posts in 2546 days


#1 posted 12-31-2015 07:29 PM

Bob, do not know of any real scource of knowledge on knife repair, but they have a knife show in
Missoula every year with a lot of knife makers that show up. There would have to be one or two
people in that group that would have the information you seek. If not it is a nice group to just visit
with.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

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MrUnix

4208 posts in 1660 days


#2 posted 12-31-2015 07:50 PM

I’ve made replacement handles for a few (out of wood as well as homemade micarta), but never more in-depth than that. There are some good resources out there though, such as USAKnifeMaker that have lots of parts, guides, videos, etc.. A quick google will also turn up a bunch of information.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View terryR's profile

terryR

6314 posts in 1769 days


#3 posted 01-01-2016 02:12 AM

Will be glad to help any way I can, Bob.

Never restored a knife, but should be similar to a plane or drill? :)

Are you hoping to restore a folder or fixed blade knife?

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

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CFrye

8738 posts in 1301 days


#4 posted 01-01-2016 02:33 AM

I’m watching this thread with interest. I am replacing scales on an electrician’s folding knife and will gladly learn anything to make it better than new when I reassemble it.

-- God bless, Candy

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summerfi

3315 posts in 1148 days


#5 posted 01-01-2016 03:35 AM



Are you hoping to restore a folder or fixed blade knife?

- terryR


Folding pocket knife Terry, like the one in the picture. This isn’t my knife, but it’s the same make and model. Mine is way way more worn out though. Need to replace the blades, and my scales have a chip out on one side.

The seller of this knife says it was made in the 1930’s and I don’t doubt it. Mine is similar vintage.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html

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terryR

6314 posts in 1769 days


#6 posted 01-01-2016 02:51 PM

I assume the pros disassemble the tool, clean all the moving parts, replace what cannot be restored?

I’ve never taken a folder apart…maybe buying a cheap folder kit could teach us how the parts go together?

Making new blades shouldn’t be too difficult. Maybe eBay has vintage parts??? :)

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

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summerfi

3315 posts in 1148 days


#7 posted 01-01-2016 03:20 PM

That’s my assumption too Terry. Good idea on buying a kit, or maybe even buying a few cheap knives and taking them apart to see how they’re made.

I think it would be possible to make new blades out of blank steel. I’m not sure how you’d put the little groove in them for opening the blade. I’ve seen a few Schrade brand replacement blades on ebay, but I don’t know if the shape of the end that goes in the knife is the same on all brands. I’ll keep looking.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html

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terryR

6314 posts in 1769 days


#8 posted 01-01-2016 03:25 PM

A dremel might carve out that lil thumbnail indention?

Looks like some quality time ahead with blank steel and files!

Here’s a site to get you started on folder parts and kits…

http://www.knifekits.com/vcom/index.php?cPath=60&osCsid=hn9lqs4ud8845cvieuuuek6uj5

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

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terryR

6314 posts in 1769 days


#9 posted 01-01-2016 04:25 PM

http://youtu.be/X44CxU2wtOk

Try youTube…tons of ol’ timers repairing vintage knives!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1711 posts in 1644 days


#10 posted 01-01-2016 04:51 PM

+1 to a dremel with a cutting disk plus a steady hand for cutting the notch.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View summerfi's profile

summerfi

3315 posts in 1148 days


#11 posted 01-01-2016 05:38 PM

Thanks guys. I can see there’s a lot to learn about this, and it will take some time. I wish there were 48 hours in a day. The days just aren’t long enough to develop the skills to be good at everything. I’m going to go watch some youtube videos. :-)

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html

View terryR's profile

terryR

6314 posts in 1769 days


#12 posted 01-02-2016 03:28 PM

Bob, you sound a lot like me…always wanting to learn new skills! I still want to shape ceramics and glass. Welding would be a handy skill. AND, saw sharpening one o these days again…

Got yer vintage knife apart yet? :)

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

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summerfi

3315 posts in 1148 days


#13 posted 01-02-2016 04:07 PM

Come visit me for a day Terry and I’ll teach you to sharpen saws. Then you can check that off your list.

Haven’t started on my knife yet. I’ve got a couple more saws I’m trying to knock out. Dang orders keep coming faster than I can fill them!

My son sent me a link this morning and I thought about you. This would be really cool to try on a turned bowl that has a crack in it. http://woodworkingcrazy.net/index.php/diy-glowing-inlaid-resin-shelves-by-mat-brown/

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html

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terryR

6314 posts in 1769 days


#14 posted 01-02-2016 04:34 PM

That’s wild; I’ve used Acrylic, but never glow in the dark crystals!

Glad to hear about all the saw orders. Gives you more practice before I place an order! LOL

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

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summerfi

3315 posts in 1148 days


#15 posted 02-05-2016 03:52 AM

I made my first baby step into learning about knife repair. I picked up this Congress style knife for a reasonable price on eBay. It’s a John Primble knife sold by Belknap Hardware, probably sometime between the 1930’s and 1950’s. I think it’s a good knife, and I saw another identical NOS one that sold at auction for almost $90. This one, however, had some issues when I bought it. I knew this, but it was cheap enough that if I messed it up, no big loss. I failed to take any before pics. This is the knife as it looks now, after working on it.

The knife showed signs that someone had worked on it previously. The first issue I had to deal with was the bolster pins (A) were too short, leaving one side of the knife loose, which also made the blades wobbly side to side. I removed the pins with a small punch. This made all the blades come out, and made all the remaining parts rotate on the brass center pin (B). I took advantage of this to clean all the interior parts with fine steel wool. I then made new bolster pins out of appropriately sized nails. I’m sure this isn’t the best material, but it’s all I had, and this was mainly a learning exercise. Putting the blades and pins back in was a bit of a challenge because the blades are under pressure from the springs. However, I figured out a technique to do it without too much difficulty. I then cut the pins to just a bit longer than the bolsters and peened them. It doesn’t look great, but for a first effort it is effective. The knife sides are now secure and the blades no longer wobble. They are actually a little too tight, but probably will loosen quickly with a little use.

The second issue was that the blades are so worn from many sharpenings that the blade tips expended out of the knife when closed. This would cause the knife to cut you when you stick your hand in your pocket. By trial and error, I filed a little off the blades at (C ) until they would go all the way inside the knife. I also reshaped the blades a bit with a file where sharpening had made a concave profile. I then sharpened the knife to a razor edge, and I’m now carrying and using it. At 3-5/8” it’s a little smaller than I prefer, but otherwise I like it. I have a lot to learn, but at least my first attempt at knife repair produced a usable pocket knife.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html

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