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help me clean and care for a 64 year old knife!
September 1, 2009 7:29 PM   Subscribe

Just inherited a knife from my grandfather on a visit back home. He bought it in 1945; it is stamped "SCHRADE-WALDEN N.Y. U.S.A H-15" it has been in his Silverado's cab for the last 30 years or so, stored in a leather sheath (I've just read that's bad.) I have questions on cleaning it.

1) Do you have any info about the knife?
2) the blade isn't rusted, but isn't pretty -- how do i clean it?
3) the leather wrapped about the handle needs help -- what do i do to it?
posted by phritosan to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total)
 
I can't help you myself, but the folks over at Blade Forums are very knowledgeable and pretty helpful.
posted by anansi at 7:57 PM on September 1, 2009


Would help if you posted a pic. The leather, if it is too far gone, would need to be replaced. What you're seeing as a grey dull lifeless blade may actually be what others deeply value as patina..hard to tell without a photo though.
posted by Muirwylde at 8:15 PM on September 1, 2009


My dad had a pocket knife made by a company that Schrade bought out years ago, and the blade had irretrievably tarnished. He called Schrade to see if they had any replacement blades that would work in the knife. They told him to ship them the knife. When he did, they replaced the blade free of charge - and it's a beauty of a blade that they gave him. I'd suggest trying to contact Schrade directly and asking them if they can help. Only one data point, but it seems like a pretty decent company to me.
posted by dilettanti at 9:56 PM on September 1, 2009


Knives that old are probably carbon steel, not stainless. They will darken. Live with it.
A little light oil and good storage will discourage rust.
posted by the Real Dan at 10:58 PM on September 1, 2009


"1) Do you have any info about the knife? "
Worthopedia has several listings, with pictures, most from eBay. Apparently, you have a decent quality, mass produced hunting knife, in questionable condition. It probably has greater sentimental value to you as your grandfather's knife, than it does economic worth.

"2) the blade isn't rusted, but isn't pretty -- how do i clean it? "
The suggestion to try returning it to Schrade isn't a bad one, but if you don't get satisfaction there, you can try using a fine, mildly abrasive polishing compound like Simichrome to remove mild surface discoloration and oxidation. Storage in a leather sheath, of vegetable or oil tanned leather, in dry storage conditions, isn't particularly harmful for most knife steel. A little oil on the blade, or wax for long term storage, is all that a knife generally needs to be stored in good condition for many years. Living in a truck for 30 years was far from optimal, but then again, your grandfather probably thought of this knife as a utilitarian tool, not a keepsake, when he kept it there.

"3) the leather wrapped about the handle needs help -- what do i do to it?"
That depends, greatly, on just what is wrong with the leather. Pictures and more detailed comments as to condition are needed to answer this.
posted by paulsc at 11:06 PM on September 1, 2009


Schrade: should be a decent knife. I'm sure you've googled. It's probably not outstanding.

I can't find a link to the product; it's like a large pencil rubber but it's got some grit in it. I bought (or maybe it was a freebie throw-in) mine from knifecenter.com more than a decade ago. Removes rust and tarnish easy and leaves a satin finish.

Leather; remove and replace. Otherwise, get a tin of "saddle soap;" rub a rag in the tin, rub into the leather, rub out with a clean rag.
posted by porpoise at 11:14 PM on September 1, 2009


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