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WESTERN G 46-8, QUESTIONS


GMPETE

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Retaining straps near the guard have their good points as well as bad points. They are much more likely to get sliced up while removing and replacing the knife in the sheath... however, if they get streched out a little (as they usually do) they'll hold the blade into the sheath better if located close to the guard.

The beatings will continue until morale has improved..

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Bill-My main thing with the sheath is not that it is cheaper/inferior, but (correct me if I am wrong, because again I dont have the original) that the slits are not big enough to put it on a combat belt. You have to cut them longer. There is not enough leather left to go up, so you have to cut down almost to the throat which results in the belt interfering somewhat with insertion and withdrawal of the knife. WESTERN must have known this......

Greaser-

With the smaller knives for sure. But this big knife you can barely wear on your trouser belt under your utility jacket tail over which is your combat belt/suspenders/pack/gear etc. You can't really get to it. I know the guys did it, but all the pictures I have seen that show this seem to be taken after they had been at it a while, and had a chance to reconfigure their gear post landing.....and this knife was on the beach within the first half hour of the invasion, so everyone there was fully buttoned up and combat loaded. I must confess, though, I had not really thought about them suiting up that way...knife underneath......But no question, you always kept it close.

Bill-

I noticed an interesting thing about your knives. Your bright blade with the single stitch sheath has the snap closure up near the pommel, whereas all the regular ones I am familiar with have it down near the crossguard as with your other two. (Again, beautiful examples!) This may be nothing, but it seems to me the 'pommel' snap position is better for field service as it minimizes the possibility of snagging the handle on something. Off the top of my head, all the government contract Mk II and stiletto type knives had 'pommel' snap positions didn't they? What exactly is that bright blade one? Could it be the early version/configuration produced to entice the government? Do you have a date range for that knife?

 

Here's mine, anyway........(hope this works....)

 

 

I'm not sure other than the during the WW2 era when these Western 8" knives were manufactured. The bright bladed variation is very difficult to find and may have been preceded the Western 8" with the blue blade. The only Western reference book that I have only shows the photo of the knives made by Western during the war 1941-1945. This is the same photo that Cole uses in his book.

 

I have never seen a blue bladed variation marked Western. Are there any other markings on the knife, including on top of the pommel?

 

Bill

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elbertson-Agreed.

 

Bill-

My knife has no markings on it other than WESTERN on the ricasso, so I am thinking it is a 'transitional' variant....and that the WESTERN marked blades were meant to go with a 'pat'd' pommel, until they gave that up as a labour intensive procedure and began putting all marks on the ricasso (see below).....

 

Your bright blade 8: Everything about it says early production to me. The single stitch sheath with flat rivets is less common than the double. The mark is unusual.....a thing like that has got to be more or less standardized in production. The stamped pommel can only be put on the knife the one way then, which slows the assembly process down if you have to check each part to make sure the stamp is the right way out.....thus, put it all on the blade or not at all....

And I wonder, did WESTERN actually make their sheaths, or did they job it out? Perhaps they jobbed out the single stitch, high snap, flat rivet version (as the proposed contract model for the government?) Or maybe it was what they were comfortable producing under contract at a reasonable price in volume at a high rate of manufacture....ie. don't show the government something you can't or don't want to give them.... Or both? Any of this would result in a limited quantity of knives turned out like this, before they straightened it all out.

 

Somethiing is going on there. I can't believe it is just a variation. Especially considering (again please correct me) the 8 was not a model until the war when it was made specifically to interest the government as a combat knife. (SOMEONE PLEASE CONFIRM.) I don't want to assume too much, as I do not have any references that address this...

 

Also, on a more general note: When did WESTERN begin bluing their knives?

ACTIVELY SEEKING INFORMATION, INTERVIEWS, STORIES, NARRATIVES, COPIES OF PHOTOS, RELATED TO:

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Somethiing is going on there. I can't believe it is just a variation. Especially considering (again please correct me) the 8 was not a model until the war when it was made specifically to interest the government as a combat knife. (SOMEONE PLEASE CONFIRM.) I don't want to assume too much, as I do not have any references that address this...

 

I believe that is the general consensus among many military knife collectors. The G46 was made before WW2, but not in an 8" version. Believed to have been made to try and one up the 7" Mk2. I don't know of any documentation to back up the information. I don't know how long they were made after the war, but a wood handle version was made in the '50s.

The beatings will continue until morale has improved..

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Frank Trzaska

Sorry to be late to the party.

 

The G46 was made by Western since at least 1931 when it appears in the catalog as a 5" blade. It remained that way in the 1941 catalog as well, the last printed before the war. The 1945 one page flyer shows it in the 8" length for the first time. So we can narrow it down to between 1941 and 1945. Nothing else that I am aware of. The USMC sent a request for proposal to Western on December 18 1942 to provide the Knife, Fighting and Utility and Western responded but never received a contract for that knife. If I were to guess I would think this is when the G46 grew those few extra inches.

 

There are two distinct models of the wartime G46-8 in the grind lines. The bright bladed version stamped only WESTERN has the early style used by Robeson and the earliest Kabars on their Fighting Utility Knives. A much shorter false edge and a more upswept, almost blunt tip. Check out Cole III pages 59 and 63 for the differences. The Western only marking is on the early style blade grind.

 

The G46-8 stayed on the Western production line up until the company went out of business. It was resurrected by Camillus when they purchased the Western line and again went away in 2006 when Camillus folded. The official nomenclature changed to L-46 for the leather and W-46 for the wood handles later in the years and the pommels changed from a small aluminum birds beak to the large aluminum piece used on their axes as well.

 

As for Western making knives for the military... Knife Knotes 2005...

The question often arises among collectors of which knives did the US military actually purchase from Western States Cutlery. Most collectors will be quick to tell you that Western knives were strictly private purchase, to this we say emphatically NO! We then remind folks about the Western USMC Parachutist knife, it was a military purchased knife. To that we add the Western Bushmaster machete often miss labeled as the V44. It was official Army Air Corps purchase for inclusion in the Emergency Sustenance Kits. Well you say OK but only those two, the answer is no again. The six inch G46-6 “Shark” knife was an official purchase as well. Early in World War Two the military designation of “Hunting Knife” was any six inch blade knife made as a hunting knife in the traditional pattern. Most had leather handles like the PAL RH 36 or the Robeson or the Kinfolks, they were all official purchase “Hunting Knives.” Another designation was “Sheath Knives” used by the Navy. Western had a “Sheath Knife” contract with the Navy in 1944, most likely the Mark 1 commonly called the Seabee knife by collectors. Western also made life raft knives for the US military. These were made for the Army Air Corps in large numbers in 1944 as well. Life raft knives can often be found mounted on a small orange vinyl backing which can be glued to the vinyl raft assembly. The same knife can be found mounted to a larger backing with a leather sheath on it and two Lift The Dot snaps. These knives are for mounting inside the rear of an aircraft fuselage such as the B29 or the like. The knife was used to cut away clothing and gear from a wounded airman and avoid cutting the airman. Today we call them seat belt knives and such, rounded points and blades to avoid cutting the patient and only cut the belt or clothing. In any case it is an official US military purchase. Well OK you say so what, a few were official purchase but most were not, again we say not so. The L76 was a unit purchase piece coveted by the Marine Raiders while training on the west coast. The Marine Parachutist’s also had unit purchases of the Western L76 and later the L77 when Western improved the breed. But is a unit purchase official purchase, well then consider the Camillus Marine Stiletto, it was a unit purchase knife. How about the V42, only with the First Special Service Force was this standard (albeit a Navy ship did end up with some in an official manner) How about SOG knives?? Some of the most collectable knives are attributed to high profile groups and they were officially unit purchased items. An exciting new discovery just came to us this past week on of all places eBay. We followed and auction of five still in the box Western baby shark knives. These knives were bright bladed and had plastic guards and pommels. Surely they could not be official purchase could they… Well the knives were still in the box and the box told the story. We contacted the seller and found it to be our friend Bill Nemitz who was more then willing to shoot a few photos of the box labeling and send it to us. The label gives the contract number and the nomenclature: Hunting Knives, Western States Cutlery & Mfg. Co. Boulder, Colorado with contract number W585-A.C. 30316: Order No. (535) 42-2234 6P; Item No. 2, Part No. Marvel (5); Manufacturer’s No. G-46-5 in Plastic Knife, So we have a 1942 contract for the Army Air Corps for the all plastic outfitted baby shark knife. It was an Aircrew knife plain and simple. As time goes on we find more and more information linking the Western States Cutlery products with official purchase. We still can not place the G46-8 to official purchase but we are still searching, can you place it in the hands of the government officially??

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to all.

 

All the best

Frank Trzaska

All The Best

Frank Trzaska

Visit us at USMilitaryKnives.Com

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Thanks Frank...once again your knowledge is greatly appreciated. Merry Christmas!

The beatings will continue until morale has improved..

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When I was a member of a knife club years ago one of the speakers spoke about the Western Company.He stated that many of the knife/cutlery Companys during WW2 not only Western had to produce knives for the military or be subject to not recieving adequate amounts of steel for production.Steel being an item that was a essential war material and rationed or allotted to manufactures who had prime war contracts.He stated during the war to stay in business or recieve larger steel alotments these companies needed to be able to supply to the military.

Makes sense to me

Any truth to this?Just wondering if he had his referances correct.

 

RD

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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Hey Gang! Ron brought out a good point. I've read that companies were allotted certain amounts and types of steel .I always thought it was for certain knives that were contracted, but it makes sense for others to be ready for immediate production and issue. Frank had a real interesting load of info on Western, that was cool. I think we're all in agreement on how great Western Cutlery is. It's a shame all these great companies have disappeared. Hope we don't get into dire straights like happened at the beginning of WW2. Being a retired soldier I'd donate my stuff if needed, in a heartbeat, but it might be tough to let go of 43 years of collecting. Anyway, I'm rambling, must be the turkey in my system. SKIP

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When I was a member of a knife club years ago one of the speakers spoke about the Western Company.He stated that many of the knife/cutlery Companys during WW2 not only Western had to produce knives for the military or be subject to not recieving adequate amounts of steel for production.Steel being an item that was a essential war material and rationed or allotted to manufactures who had prime war contracts.He stated during the war to stay in business or recieve larger steel alotments these companies needed to be able to supply to the military.

Makes sense to me

Any truth to this?Just wondering if he had his referances correct.

 

RD

 

I can't imagine any American company not wanting to contribute to the war effort in WWII, unless it was for religious reasons of the owner(s). Not only was the patriotic thing to do, but also lucrative.

GB

 

 

 

 

 

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Ron,

 

As far as references, any such restrictions would have been imposed by the Defense Supplies Corporation (DSC). If anyone has access to their rules and regulations, it should be on there. Hope this helps.

 

About the DSC

 

Established, August 29, 1940, to finance or administer programs that had no direct relationship to other Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) activities; to stockpile strategic and critical materials; and to pay subsidies for the relief of inflationary pressures and the promotion of domestic strategic and critical materials production. Dissolved, July 1, 1945. Functions transferred to the RFC, which established the Office of Defense Supplies to administer those projects that related to the reconversion program.

GB

 

 

 

 

 

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We still can not place the G46-8 to official purchase but we are still searching, can you place it in the hands of the government officially??

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to all.

 

All the best

Frank Trzaska

 

Hello Frank, and thanks so much for joining the discussion.

gunbarrel mentioned in his reply that he alerted you to this thread, and I gathered you would have many answers as well as additional information (which, clearly you have!)

I have been off-line a while with the holiday and was pleased to see that the discussion has continued when I logged in just now......

 

I do not believe I have any information about my knife that I am aware would mark it as a government purchase and/or contract item. That, I guess, is what I thought I was trying to find out about when I began this topic. I did not really consider that the knife might have been private purchase, but I am learning as I go........

I don't mean to wear everyone out with too much incidental or repetitive information, but I really can't be certain what might be useful or meaningful, so to reiterate:

My grandfather found it on the beach on Namur Island on Feb.1 1944 within the first hour of the invasion. He was a 1st Lt. artillery Forward Observer with the 14th Marines, 4th Marine Division and went in the assault waves with a rifle company of battalion landing team 3/24. He swapped out his knife for the WESTERN, and carried it for the rest of the war. What he said about the knife to me always suggested that he found it unusual, at least at the time that he got it, so I do not believe he recognized it as any sort of issue item or he would have said so. He speculated it was lost by the UDT, but I think this has more to do with it being where it was when it was, rather than what it was (and that he presumably had not seen any in the hands of other marines). For example, he did NOT say 'the UDT guys had these Western's...' He recognized it to be a higher quality, flashier product, and I imagine he might have been familiar with WESTERN products as he was from a farming/ranching community in Texas and at least would not have been a total stranger to a good knife.

 

The knife is the earlier blade grind and marked only WESTERN, (no marks on pommel), and had the mirror blue finish. All I can offer beyond that is that it belonged to someone who hit that 200 or so yards of beach in the first hour. To my knowledge, most all of the invasion force left San Diego aboard ship in December and met additional elements in Hawaii without disembarking before sailing on to the Marshalls. The marines (and probably the UDTs and everyone else) did not leave the ships until the assault, so the knife must have been made before December '43. I don't know how long it took WESTERN to respond to the Marine Corps December 18, '42 request you mention, but this starts to tighten things up a little. Most of the elements involved in the Roi-Namur invasion were in California for some time training prior to shipping out, so I imagine the knife was likely put into service somewhere around Camp Pendleton. PX purchase? Official purchase?

 

Given that this knife has a solid provenance, it would seem to demonstrate that WESTERN made a blued-blade, early grind, WESTERN marked G-46-8 sometime between Dec. '42 and Dec. '43, and that at least one of those knives made it into combat. From what you say, it sounds like some of that could be new information.

Merry Christmas to all, and keep it coming! THANKS.

GMP

ACTIVELY SEEKING INFORMATION, INTERVIEWS, STORIES, NARRATIVES, COPIES OF PHOTOS, RELATED TO:

V AMPHIBIOUS CORPS ARTILLERY, WWII

* 14th MARINES, 4th MARINE DIVISION

* 4th 105mm HOWITZER BATTALION

* 4th 155mm HOWITZER BATTALION

* 5th 155mm GUN BATTALION

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

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........and could someone explain to me how 'unit purchase' worked. Pardon my ingnorance. GMP

ACTIVELY SEEKING INFORMATION, INTERVIEWS, STORIES, NARRATIVES, COPIES OF PHOTOS, RELATED TO:

V AMPHIBIOUS CORPS ARTILLERY, WWII

* 14th MARINES, 4th MARINE DIVISION

* 4th 105mm HOWITZER BATTALION

* 4th 155mm HOWITZER BATTALION

* 5th 155mm GUN BATTALION

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

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During my own research of WW2 pilots knives I ran across some documents that showed the government only paying 1 to 2 cents a piece for sheaths. While I don't think this would be true of all contracts. It makes me wonder how much thought, at least initially was given towards the need and purpose of this item.

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During my own research of WW2 pilots knives I ran across some documents that showed the government only paying 1 to 2 cents a piece for sheaths. While I don't think this would be true of all contracts. It makes me wonder how much thought, at least initially was given towards the need and purpose of this item.

 

True but when you look at the overall quantity they were buying the contracts were pretty lucrative....say rifle slings.Can you imagine the millions of them made in leather and then canvas.Not only to fill the need but for replacement also.I would also assume these companies had to be also a bit compeditive price wise to get the contract(s).

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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........and could someone explain to me how 'unit purchase' worked. Pardon my ingnorance. GMP

 

 

Pretty much the way it sounds.If they unit has a need for an item and its not in inventory they will purchase it to fill the need.I read in a book by Roy Boehm that when the first SEAL Team was organized and needed items for deployment the unit bought a lot of its equipment.Even the camos were bought at SEARS if I recall correctly from the book.I spoke to James"Patches"Watson and he stated that when the Float vest was developed they tested it in Switliks pool at his home.I had inquired into the vest/jackets when he took over the Museum in Florida.He wasnt able to get back to me at the time they were under a remodel of the facility.

 

RD

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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Just to add a little,there is a huge amount of local purchase being done. Most units are authorized a fairly large budget for everything from boots to knives, climbing ropes and any other conceivable items to say the least. Since 911 it's really taken off. My daughter used to work for a local outfitter that sold tons of stuff, plus they would fill even larger orders for units if requested. It's turned into big business. But, the troops are getting from what I've seen good , top of the line equipment. SKIP

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I finally ran across the date I was looking for. Prior to 1954 Western would have out sourced their sheath requirements. 54 was the year they expanded their operations to include a leather shop.

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Just to add a little,there is a huge amount of local purchase being done. Most units are authorized a fairly large budget for everything from boots to knives, climbing ropes and any other conceivable items to say the least. Since 911 it's really taken off. My daughter used to work for a local outfitter that sold tons of stuff, plus they would fill even larger orders for units if requested. It's turned into big business. But, the troops are getting from what I've seen good , top of the line equipment. SKIP

 

Skip, I would certainly agree with the above. Around Ft. Lewis there are a lot of businesses of various sizes setup to primarily support our troops. I've also noticed that Sog seems to be one of the more popular choices when it comes to knives and multi tools.

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Ron,

 

As far as references, any such restrictions would have been imposed by the Defense Supplies Corporation (DSC). If anyone has access to their rules and regulations, it should be on there. Hope this helps.

 

About the DSC

 

Established, August 29, 1940, to finance or administer programs that had no direct relationship to other Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) activities; to stockpile strategic and critical materials; and to pay subsidies for the relief of inflationary pressures and the promotion of domestic strategic and critical materials production. Dissolved, July 1, 1945. Functions transferred to the RFC, which established the Office of Defense Supplies to administer those projects that related to the reconversion program.

 

 

Thanks GB

 

intresting stuff :thumbsup:

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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I finally ran across the date I was looking for. Prior to 1954 Western would have out sourced their sheath requirements. 54 was the year they expanded their operations to include a leather shop.

 

 

Thanks sactroop. Great info! I thought that might be the case. What is your source?

 

doyler- thanks for the reply regarding unit purchase. I am still a little foggy about it though.....I understand in smaller elite units such as the raider battalions etc. (or perhaps UDTs) that funds might be available for special purchases deemed necessary by the commanding officers?, but was it the same for regular units? For example, could the officers of any given battalion (or company) in a marine division decide they wanted a certain type of knife and then purchase them? I am somewhat ignorant of how discretionary funds could be used and at what organizational level....company, battalion, regiment..? and what the approval/procurement process would have been like. Who asked for something, and who decided yes or no?

 

I also want to correct an ERROR IN MY LAST POST. The ships left San Diego for the Marshall Islands in January of '44, NOT December of '43 as I incorrectly stated. (I think it was Jan. 1).

 

Happy New Year to all.

ACTIVELY SEEKING INFORMATION, INTERVIEWS, STORIES, NARRATIVES, COPIES OF PHOTOS, RELATED TO:

V AMPHIBIOUS CORPS ARTILLERY, WWII

* 14th MARINES, 4th MARINE DIVISION

* 4th 105mm HOWITZER BATTALION

* 4th 155mm HOWITZER BATTALION

* 5th 155mm GUN BATTALION

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

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Thanks sactroop. Great info! I thought that might be the case. What is your source?

 

"The knife makers who went west" By Harvey Platts. Harvey is the grandson of the founder of Western and at the time he wrote this book (1978) he was the CEO of Western Cutlery. If your interested in the history of American knife makers this book is a must read. If your researching Western knives there is information here that I haven't been able to find anywhere else. However Harvey wrote this book more as a family history and from the point of view of a knife manufacture and not as much as a reference to individual Western made knives. Over the years some things that Harvey wrote have been taken out of context and expanded upon with out verification. Some of the misinformation and outright myths out there about Western IMHO can be traced to this.

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GM

 

Here are a couple of my Westerns.One has some faint markings on the scabbard.I could barely make out a 3rd Div on the front.The owner had scratched out the writing on the back.I purchased it from a man who got it at an estate auction and he knew the man had served in the Navy.Im thinking the veteran had put his division of his ship on the scabbard.

 

doyler-

Which of your kives are marked which ways? I am particularly curious about the ricasso stamp on the one that belongs to the single stitch sheath.....and which sheath is marked 3rd Div./ which ricasso mark belongs to it?

ACTIVELY SEEKING INFORMATION, INTERVIEWS, STORIES, NARRATIVES, COPIES OF PHOTOS, RELATED TO:

V AMPHIBIOUS CORPS ARTILLERY, WWII

* 14th MARINES, 4th MARINE DIVISION

* 4th 105mm HOWITZER BATTALION

* 4th 155mm HOWITZER BATTALION

* 5th 155mm GUN BATTALION

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

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  • 5 months later...
G-46-8 > KABAR

Great thread, very informative. So I thought I'd post here.

 

I used to own a G-46-8 and sold it. I had been kicking myself ever since, and I just got this one from Ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...RK%3AMEWNX%3AIT

 

I thought I got a good deal, even with no sheath. I got a sheath for it, and plan on bluing the blade and sharpening it. (The edge looks like it's pretty much original and in great shape) It's going to be a user, and while I may get some flak here for that, I feel that unless it's mint, or near mint, it should be used, as that's what they were made so well for! And from my experience with these knives, they're fantastic and perform really well.

 

I've owned a 7 inch KABAR knife once, it was made around 1990 when they were being made and sold again, but I feel that the G-46-8 is superior, hence my registered user name, lol.

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Nice knife, and I think you did well on the price. You won't get flack from me for using it. I won't use a rare, 1 in 500 knife probably, but it's usability would still be a consideration in my buying it. I use a lot of vintage knives...they're usually not my only examples of the given model...but they are after all knives, and I know the difference between use and abuse. I use old lamps and furniture, why not old knives?

The beatings will continue until morale has improved..

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It's your knife, isn't it? I see both sides of the argument. But knives are a personal thing so it makes sense to me what you do with it.

:thumbsup:

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