Occasionally I take on restoration projects.
There can be a fine line between repair and restoration; restoration typically involves a lot more detail and/or repairs of several parts of a knife and/or sheath. Restorations may include cleaning, rust removal, polishing, regrinding, sheath or handle retreating and occasionally replacing missing or broken parts, like guards, etc. Refer to the list on the Repair page for more ideas.
These restorations are meant to restore the knife’s functionality and not meant to be “museum quality restorations”. This means that the goal is not specifically to preserve, or improve, the collectors value. This because in almost all situations, any work completed on an knife, often even sharpening, will have a detrimental effect on its collector value.
I really enjoy restoration projects; they can be very challenging at times, but the results are always a great reward to me.
I enjoy being able to take a tool that a person can’t use anymore, or is reluctant to use because it is in disrepair, and help them be proud or happy to use and share that tool with others again.
I am still learning to do mirror polishes on blades, so for now limit my polishing to various degrees of satin finish.
To give you an idea the work I can do, and how I might be able to help you, below I share a few examples of restoration projects I have completed.
This classic Western Bowie had been left in it sheath for too long in a damp environment, and have severe rust and pitting. I was able to remove most of the rust and all but the deepest pitting.
These two handmade bolo knives were acquired by a client in the Philippines, while completing a jungle survival training course in the 1970s. After 40+ years of use, they were pretty rough looking, and the horn handles had not survived very well, being cracked and badly warped.
These were probably forged from truck springs; two very solid blades.
I attempted to retain some of the forging marks on them, and the client opted for presentation Cocobolo handle scales.
A very enjoyable project for me, although it was tough not to head out to the bush and work with them! This type of tool ranks high on my favorites list. I love indigenous edged tools, the more primitive the better.
An old Western Boy Scout knife that was a very cherished family heirloom soon to be passed from grandfather to grandson on a special birthday. Unfortunately it had been stored in the sheath for too long and had quite a bit of rust built up on the
blade. Over the years the handle had lost
several pieces of stacked leather, as well. Although the pitting in the blade could not be removed, the family was overjoyed at the end result.
This one with a similar story and condition.
Both of these massive knives had acquired some surface rust over time in storage.
Each knife’s sheath was cleaned and re-conditioned, as well.
This is an old Ka-bar hunting knife that a client brought to me. The stacked leather handle and the sheath had mildew on them and the sheath leather was dried out. There were also many dents in the pommel and tarnish throughout. A little elbow grease and both the sheath and knife were ready for many more years of service.
This is an old Hubertus hunting knife that had been in a house fire. It had a stag handle that had been ruined and the blade had considerable tarnish and some pitting from the lye of the ashes. I informed the client that any heat-treat of the blade had surely been lost in the heat of the fire and I would be hard pressed to replicate it, but he only wanted the knife for it’s sentimental value and didn’t plan to cut anything with it. This knife required a complete restoration: cleaning, polishing and installation of new stag handle slabs, tang pins and lanyard hole. I enjoyed this one a great deal.