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Inherited Knives


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#1 Dunkel

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 02:55 PM

I just inherited my grandfathers m3 trench knife (marked USMC camillus) with an m6 leather sheath (the writing has faded too much to read the maker), and his Hospital Corps Knife (marked USMC Village Blacksmith) with sheath. The m3 is in very good condition with minor rust on the hilt, while the sheath has the more serious rust problem. The corps knife on the other hand is caked in rust and has minor knicks on the cutting edge.

Does anyone have any advice as to how I can restore the the knife and sheath? Im nervousabout taking it to a regular knife cleaner or doing it on my own because I dont want to destroy the knives on accident. Im also nervouse about the m3, the blade is parkerized and im trying to keep it pristine, but you can see spots where the parkerization seems to be fading (particularily on the sharp edge).

These knives hold both historical and sentimental value for my family, and will be put into a display case a long with some other WWII loot that my grandfathers had. Any advice as to what I should do to preserve and restore these knives would be greatly appreciated!

#2 cwnorma

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 03:42 PM

Dunkel,

The first thing you need to do is coat these all over with a light, high-quality machine or gun oil. This will stop any active rust from worsening.

Do not use motor oil, I recommend "3-in-1 Oil" or "Rem-Oil." Both can be purchased at any department store that has a sporting goods department.

The best way to do it is to saturate a clean rag with the oil, and gently wipe the metal parts of the knife all over.

Avoid getting it on leather washer handles as they can be darkened by the oil. Although I doubt a light coating would hurt them much at all.

That is the first step.

Before recommending a further course of action, I would like to see photographs of the knives to judge what you should do next.

Chris

#3 Dunkel

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 04:16 PM

Sure thing, first the Hospital Corps Knife:

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#4 Dunkel

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 04:18 PM

rust detail:

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#5 Dunkel

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 04:18 PM

More rust detail:

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#6 Dunkel

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 04:19 PM

Now for the M3:

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#7 Dunkel

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 04:19 PM

Small rust stains on the hilt and lettering:

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#8 Dunkel

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 04:21 PM

The Hospital Knife I know for a fact has been cleaned by my father and grandfather at some point, probably using some type of chemical rust remover, which I blame for the darkening of the blade (when I saw this blade for the first time 10-15 years ago, it definitley was shinier as I could see my reflection in spots). sorry for the post spam, couldnt get the pictures small enough to show the detail, thanks again for your reply!

Edited by Dunkel, 26 April 2008 - 04:23 PM.


#9 cwnorma

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 05:06 PM

The Hospital Knife I know for a fact has been cleaned by my father and grandfather at some point, probably using some type of chemical rust remover, which I blame for the darkening of the blade (when I saw this blade for the first time 10-15 years ago, it definitley was shinier as I could see my reflection in spots). sorry for the post spam, couldnt get the pictures small enough to show the detail, thanks again for your reply!

Dunkel,

Here on USMF, since we don't have "rankings" we don't worry too much about the number of posts (unless it gets excessive or is clearly an attempt to get around the "For Sale" section rules).

Those are some nice knives, and my original advice stands.

Wipe the metal parts down with high quality, light machine oil. Let the oil penetrate the rust. Then leave them alone for a few days to allow the oil to penetrate the rust and stop the chemical reaction.

Go to a hardware store and get some 0000 (four-ought) steel wool. If you can find a store that has 0000 brass wool, that is even better (but it is hard to find and the steel wool will do).

After the oil has penetrated the rust for a day or two, try to see if the rust will simply wipe off with an oiled rag. If not, gently (and I mean gently) scrub the rusted parts of the blade with oil saturated steel wool to remove the rust spots. Did I mention to be gentle? Take your time, and you will be happy with your results. If you use too much pressure, the steel wool will remove the finish along with the rust.

Expect that there will be some damage to the finish beneath the rust. This can't be helped, but the over-all result of removing the rust that is there will make them much more presentable.

Finally before storing them, make sure to wipe them down with a light coating of oil.

Chris

#10 Dunkel

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 05:10 PM

cool! Thanks for the info! Is there anything I can do to restore the shiny finish to the Hospital Knife? Like a polish or something along those lines? WHen I received the knife I was kind of bummed that the blade got so dark.

#11 cwnorma

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 05:18 PM

cool! Thanks for the info! Is there anything I can do to restore the shiny finish to the Hospital Knife? Like a polish or something along those lines? WHen I received the knife I was kind of bummed that the blade got so dark.


Dunkel,
I would not recommend it. The only way you could return it to its former shiny glory would be to polish it and doing so would definitely diminish its value.

Steel tends to darken with age, and it is a 50+ year old knife.

Chris

#12 Dunkel

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 05:37 PM

awesome, thanks for the advice! The knives and I appreciate it!

#13 costa

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 07:49 PM

ps guy--- the m-3 is a nice example of an early blade. appears to be in nice shape.

#14 Dunkel

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 08:19 PM

yeah there seems to be no usage marks on it, I think its just been in a sheath ever since my grandfather got it. Im sure my dad or uncles played with it a little bit as a kid but its pretty well preserved. My grandfather served in the navy as an officer for Admiral Nimitz's advisory group, so he and the knife never saw combat that I know of. Im kind of curious how he got the Hospital Knife, but he passed away a few years ago so trying to get the real history behind these pieces is tough.

My other grandfather was in the USMC and fought in iwo jima and guadalcanal as a seargeant, apparently according to family lore, there is a film of the soldiers raising the flag at iwo jima and my grandfather can be spotted in the background, ive seen the film, but since he died before I was born I was never able to validate it. My grandmother has a lot of his stuff which has not been well preserved, she is sickened by all of it and my grandfather didnt like to talk about what he did, so the memorabilia was kind of tossed around. He was in a unit that utilized flamethrowers, and from what I gathered he was a issued a flamethrower and witnessed some pretty crazy stuff, so I can understand why he wouldnt want to talk about it. Im currently trying to find it all and see what I can do with it. She has a bayonet of his (which still has blood stains on it) and she freaks out everytime I bring it up, so im going to have to just wait for the right moment to convince her that its an important part of our family, my grandfather, and history in general. So hopefully that will be added to my collection soon.

I'm pretty excited that I was given these though, I love family history, and to have pieces from that era regardless of value is really special to me. I'm planning on making a couple display boxes for these once I get them cleaned and ready.

Edited by Dunkel, 26 April 2008 - 08:31 PM.


#15 Peace

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 11:11 AM

Nice knives you have there!

I have had exellent results with a simple metalhaired brush. I think it is actually used for cleaning threads from bolts, and various parts. It is actually like a steel wire brush, but the brushes are very very small, and packed together like a regular cleaning brush. I always use it to clean parked metal parts, and it does not scratch the surface. I also use it on parked knives in general. I recently acquired a nice M-3 wich had the same kind of rust as yours has, it cleaned right off, and again, left no scratches. This is my most used tool for militaria cleaning. It has never failed me.

#16 Dunkel

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 08:49 PM

oh cool, Ill check out the hardware store tomorrow and see if they have them, thanks for the tip!

#17 Badger

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 08:01 AM

[quote name='Dunkel' date='Apr 26 2008, 11:55 PM' post='132662']
I just inherited my grandfathers m3 trench knife (marked USMC camillus) with an m6 leather sheath (the writing has faded too much to read the maker), and his Hospital Corps Knife (marked USMC Village Blacksmith) with sheath. The m3 is in very good condition with minor rust on the hilt, while the sheath has the more serious rust problem. The corps knife on the other hand is caked in rust and has minor knicks on the cutting edge.

Hi
Also try using an "old" pure copper penny. "Old" English Pennies are soft copper and the copper being softer 'wears' befor the metal you are working on does, thus not damaging it, but removing the bad rust, works for me on my F-S knives!!

Dave in England
P.S.
While I'm on, I have a M3 marked U.S R.C.CO ( Robeson Cutlery Co. I presume, has crossed cannons on crossguard and NO flaming bomb on pommel, is this right anyone?

Edited by Badger, 21 August 2008 - 08:03 AM.


#18 BOB K. RKSS

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:54 PM

YES, Robeson M-3 is correctly marked; they were only M-3 maker to use crossed cannons acceptance stamping (all others used the flaming bomb).

#19 Badger

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 02:16 PM

YES, Robeson M-3 is correctly marked; they were only M-3 maker to use crossed cannons acceptance stamping (all others used the flaming bomb).


Many thanks for the info. It is much appreciated. Thank you for your time.

regards

Dave

#20 jhs1970426

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 04:56 PM

Dunkel,

The first thing you need to do is coat these all over with a light, high-quality machine or gun oil. This will stop any active rust from worsening.

Do not use motor oil, I recommend "3-in-1 Oil" or "Rem-Oil." Both can be purchased at any department store that has a sporting goods department.

The best way to do it is to saturate a clean rag with the oil, and gently wipe the metal parts of the knife all over.

Avoid getting it on leather washer handles as they can be darkened by the oil. Although I doubt a light coating would hurt them much at all.

That is the first step.

Before recommending a further course of action, I would like to see photographs of the knives to judge what you should do next.

Chris


By gun oil, do you mean something along the lines of Hoppes #9 cleaning solution AND lubbing oil? I JUST picked up an M4 bayonet and the blade is a little dirty. And is there a way to clean the inside of the scabbard so that the blade moved smoothly without the dirty grinding on the blade and causing scratches http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/crying.gif ? Would the Hoppes Lubbing oil be good for that?

#21 brian e

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 12:10 PM

heres another cleaning trick for metal. my dad picked up a civil war spencer carbine which had a coating of surface rust covering most if the gun it looked like a piece of s**t when he got it. i asked if they gave him money to take it away. then we started the cleaning process by oiling all the metal parts liberally and let sit a day or two we used some more oil and a piece of flat brass to rub the rust off you need to use a light hand and lots of oil but it cleaned the rust off when done it looked like new i was very surprised at how well it worked i wished we would have taken pictures of it before and after. when done it sold for over 2000. this is how we remove rust from guns and knives just be careful and take your time brian

#22 orko

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 03:16 PM

be sure to add a pic when your done !

#23 Youngin

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 12:01 PM

Dunkel,
Those are absolutely great pieces of your family's history!! It looks like the m6 scabbard is a Moose Co., with 10 staples at the throat. These were made by the Moose River Shoe Company. They (along with Viner Bros) only made 28,000 of these @ $0.74 ea. This is the only one that uses 10 staples. Others use 8. It's one of the rare more desirable ones. Both the m3 & m6 are very nice!! I wouldn't touch them with anything. I'd leave them exactly as they are, but that's just me. You might want to unwrap the tie down strap. It may eventually rust the metal underneath if it absorbs any moisture. If that's the way your grandpa left it though, I'd leave it as is, just store it where it's "dry" (low humidity). If it's been wrapped like that for many years and the tie downs are original, I'd leave it alone. Hang on to it and keep it in your family.

Bob

Edited by Youngin, 17 November 2009 - 12:12 PM.


#24 Bob Hudson

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 12:18 PM

Whether you steel wool or a brush, the secret it to keep things wet to avoid marking the metal (think wet sanding of varnished surfaces) and really instead of steel wool, get some bronze wool and/or brass brushes. I use those green Scotchbrite pads and soak them with WD-40 and wipe in circles, starting very gently and pressing harder only as needed to get at the rust. Every so often I wipe off the knife (or helmet) with a rag, then soak it all and start again with the scotchbrite pad. They key here is that the brass brushes or scotch pad are softer materials than the steel. I don't have any before and after photos of knives I done this way, but here's a helmet where this method removed the rust and revealed the paint beneath it:

Posted Image

Posted Image

#25 Tom @ Snake River

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 08:12 PM

You have some very nice family heirlooms that you do not want to diminished their appearance or value. The most severe that I would ever get would be to use a light oil or WD-40 and hit first with a tooth brush on the metal and for a little heavier corrosion I would use a a very fine small brass brush. Make sure to be carefull around the handles.
As to the pitting and dark color on the hospital knife, other than cleaning the pitted areas, you will have to live with it, and the dark color adds to it's historic value.
I would not even touch the leather, as it is historic, and when you talk leather preservation, it is a huge can of worms.

The other guy asked about cleaning the interior of a leather scabard, other than trying to stuff a dry clean rag into the scabard, I doubt that I would do any further.


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