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5" Air Corps Knives


dustin

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Next is the Camillus family. From the top is the first production strait tang markings followed by the second production arced tang stamp. The third production not pictured has a black plastic pommel. Also pictured is the AAC procured pattern 5665 with stag and rosewood handles.

 

The two Camillus examples I have in my collection are the following.

 

The second production Camillus pattern 5679 L36 with the arced tang stamp and a screw-on pommel -

 

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And the AAC procured pattern 5665 -

 

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dustin, sorry to have taken so long to respond to your question. I thought I hit post and obviously didn't. I blame it on Tim and his exceptional pictures. :rolleyes:

 

Bill's knife from the ETO doesn't have any brass spacers.

 

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It was polished steel before it developed all it's character over the years.

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It is difficult to tell but it appears your knife has the same patina or tone going on as mine. Note the brass looking tone or patina on the tang, I assume this is the wear of the plating? My example is the same as yours without brass spacers.

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The plated example I have is impervious to a small drop of liquid gun blue. Placing a very small dot of liquid gun blue on the back strap of the knife in my last post stains the steel immediately. Don't worry it is tiny and looks much like the rest of the stains on it.

The plated knife has brass spacers between the red and black spacers.

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Great thread, lots of good information and photos. If you'd like to get more information and detail check out the excellent article that Frank Trzaska did on these two months ago in Knife World magazine.

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  • 5 months later...

I found this Kinfolks 5" a while back. I think it might be a WW2 era pilot knife, but need some expert eyes on it. Aluminum pommel and guard. Rode hard and put up wet. Sheath missing original closure and re-sewn with copper wire. Comments welcome. Thanks, Al.

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Frank Trzaska

That is a well used Kinfolks with the war time stamping. Kinfolks had their knives adopted circa 1939 as it was shown in the 1939 Kinfolks catalog but used the Kinfolks Inc stamping.

 

As Bill pointed out I wrote an article about these knives for Knife World a few months ago and placed them in the proper AAC class not as Mark 1's or as Western Baby Sharks.

 

All the best

Frank Trzaska

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That is a well used Kinfolks with the war time stamping. Kinfolks had their knives adopted circa 1939 as it was shown in the 1939 Kinfolks catalog but used the Kinfolks Inc stamping.

 

As Bill pointed out I wrote an article about these knives for Knife World a few months ago and placed them in the proper AAC class not as Mark 1's or as Western Baby Sharks.

 

All the best

Frank Trzaska

Many thanks Frank. As usual, you have come through once again with great information. Al.
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  • 1 month later...

Yesterday I acquired what I think is the correct scabbard for my Kinfolks Air Corps knife. It's not in the best of condition, but either is my knife, so it seems like a good fit. Comments encouraged. Thanks, Al.

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Frank Trzaska

That is the correct sheath for the knife and it looks like they belong together wear wise so I would say great score. Finding a sheath that matches a knife in about the same condition is a real chore.

 

All the best

Frank Trzaska

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That is the correct sheath for the knife and it looks like they belong together wear wise so I would say great score. Finding a sheath that matches a knife in about the same condition is a real chore.

 

All the best

Frank Trzaska

 

Once again, many thanks for the confirmation and have a Happy Thanksgiving. Al.

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  • 4 years later...

Back again. Estate sale find while we were visiting in northern Indiana. Pre war 5" Kinfolks with INC under the name. Seems to be the correct scabbard. I understand that these knives were conscripted for Air Corps use prior to contracts being let for additional knives. Additional pictures upon request. We are still traveling, so responses may be delayed. Are these scarce?

 

Thanks, Al

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Back again. Estate sale find while we were visiting in northern Indiana. Pre war 5" Kinfolks with INC under the name. Seems to be the correct scabbard. I understand that these knives were conscripted for Air Corps use prior to contracts being let for additional knives. Additional pictures upon request. We are still traveling, so responses may be delayed. Are these scarce?

 

Thanks, Al

mm

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  • 10 months later...
  • 3 months later...

Ah yes, Okay.

 

In my opinion any of the three Kinfolk types procured by the USAAC or USAAF are common to find. You can find them in very excellent to NOS condition with a little patience. Rare or Scarce are classifications I would not apply to this type of knife. 

 

Your knife in question does have the correct scabbard and is a fair example. 

 

The original hunting knife procured by the USAAC was the Marbles Ideal No.45 as early as 1934. It had remained cited in specifications throughout the war. In all specifications for equipment requiring a 5-inch hunting knife, they state Marbles Ideal No.45 or Equal. Equal is where the other types lie i.e. Kinfolks, Camillus, Western, Case etc.

 

To my knowledge, I do not think there is a precise procurement schedule for hunting knives that has surfaced for the Air Corps. Just more like bread crumbs. 

If I were to play with a sequence I'd start with Marbles then Kinfolks and Case would be a tie for second. Western and Camillus came to answer the wartime call.  There is a major grey area from 1940-1942. It was in this period that the requirement for the hunting knife grew, then accelerated in 1942. This was in direct response to development of emergency kits.

Whenever the publishing business gets back on track Vol3 will be out where I have some very comprehensive chapters on USAAF emergency kits that will really give an insight to all this.

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As a quick summarization, in the period from 1940-1942 there were multiple individual emergency kits in development that were slated to include hunting knives. Additionally, there were wilderness sustenance kits in development that were to include hunting knives as well. Thus began the expanded procurement program. I believe the records for these purchases cannot be found simply because of such small quantities at any given time. 

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In my particular corner of the country I don't see much of the 5" fullered Kinfolk marked knives. With either the metal or plastic guards.  When I was more actively hunting for them on line that also tended to be the case, with the relatively few I did see having asking prices that were beyond what I felt they were worth.  Less common still were examples with a Kinfolk marked sheath.  It appears your results have differed from my experience.  Others may have a better take on how rare the Kinfolk example is compared to other makers.

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Thank you to both dustin and sactroop for the informative replies.  Would either of you feel OK to give me an approximate value of mine?  Much appreciated.

 

Thanks again, Al

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Sure sure, its a personal observation. 

 

As a quick survey, if you do a completed auction of Kinfolks knives you will see a dozen or more third production types. These have the composite pommel and guard with kinfolks sheaths. 

There is a really nice INC stamped ricasso on right now, metal guard.

 https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Kinfolks-INC-Knife-with-Sheath/254712844847?hash=item3b4e11922f:g:pUcAAOSwTFBfVxY2

 

Over the last several years I've had a half-dozen or so metal guard types cycle through my hands. 

Here in the PNW there is a huge knife show in April, there you will see many kinfolks knives. I guess they are congregating in this region, haha.

 

Here's the thing about the Kinfolks knife, it was a commercial pattern that was subsequently purchased by the USAAC especially of those procured in the pre-war years. So exactly how many were made by Kinfolks and those procured by the USAAC? whomever can find those records would have a gold nugget. Marbles is in the same boat.

 

This Kinfolk debate will be an impasse, agree to disagree based solely on personal experience as there are no actual numbers to work with, unfortunately and all we are going to get are opinions.

 

If one were to play the rarity game, then hands down the Western procured AAC knife would be at the top.  Case types would be next.

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Thank you dustin.  The knife you referenced is like new, beautiful.  But you know, since I am a collector of WW2 militaria,  and I know the knife came from a WW2 Veteran, I like mine better.

 

Thanks again for your help.

 

Al

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For a little fun, I thought I would post of a few select images of the AAC hunting knife. In the up coming Vol4 I have a 125 page chapter on knives and machetes and will have hundreds of vintage images of all types of edge tools in use by the USAAF and US Navy. These are a couple that did not make the cut for the chapter. 

 

Since we are currently yammering on the Kinfolks. 

First is a second gen Kinfolks with composite guard and zinc pommel, September 1944.

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This next may be of interest to others as it has the MILK knife as well. It is a composite general purpose arctic kit, circa 1947. It includes the third gen Kinfolks. The scroll work in the image on the sheath is a bit more visible. 

 

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Another arctic kit that includes the Case type hunting knife.

 

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