Western USA L66 B


February 22, 2009, 05:32 PM
30 some years ago I bought a fixed blade hunter probably from K-Mart. I gave up hunting before I turned 20 and tossed the knife into a duffle bag then promptly forgot about it. Yesterday I rediscovered it, cleaned it up and I'm wondering in the grand scheme of things where these fall quality wise.
On the blade near the handle it says Western USA L66 B. It has a stacked handle (rawhide I believe) with an aluminum pommel. It's probably 8 inches long. The dang thing is still sharp as hell, the blade, brass and pommel polished up real well with some 1000 grit paper then semichrome on a dremel. I figure these are /were pretty common.
Like I said, just wondering if these knives were considered a quality piece, general workhorse or simply disposable.




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February 22, 2009, 10:52 PM
I have one that I have used for years for feild dressing, skinning and quartering with zero complaints. Mine is a Western Coleman version and my grandfather has a much older one that is an original Western and he won't part with it.

Big Bill
February 22, 2009, 11:00 PM
In that condition, I'm guessing it could bring between $50 and $100 on ebay. The Western Brand is somewhat collectable and your knife looks to be in great shape.

February 22, 2009, 11:29 PM
Western used a very very fine grade of steel. It is similar (if not the same) as Case Chrome Vanadium and other names /denotations used by Camillius and a few other companies.
Western heat treated these knives correctly as well.

Basically you have a better knife than made today by many companies, with the steel, heat treat, and craftsmanship .

Keep it , or make sure whomever receives it, appreciates what it is.
hso, JShirley, Valkman, JTW Jr, sixgunner455, bikerdoc, Will Fennell, Rupertis, ToddA, others, and of course myself appreciate the Western knives of yesteryear.

February 23, 2009, 12:02 AM
I figure these are /were pretty common.

They were, but aren't any more since Western died along with Camillus.

February 23, 2009, 05:56 AM
There was some very minor pitting on the blade (maybe I should not have polished it) and as a kid I must've used the butt of pommel on something hard because there are a few dings. Tsk.. tsk.. kids, what can I say?

The sheath is nothing special but it is the one the knife came with when I got it in the 70s. Should I be treating it with anything? Neatsfoot? Just leave it alone? There was a little green corrosion where the knife brass was against a rivet.

Thank you all for your comments folks. Someday I'll probably give it to family but for now I won't use it as a prybar.


February 23, 2009, 11:45 AM
Sm included me with some really knowledgeble knife guys, Im honored.
Yes, use neatsfoot on the leather. Coat the blade with a light coat of oil.
Sharpen and enjoy, thats a fine knife you have.

February 23, 2009, 12:31 PM
maybe I should not have polished it

Never use a dremmel to polish on anything you suspect of being valuable. Avoid doing anything other than cleaning an antique to preserve the value to a collector. If it is old all I recommend is a brass or copper brush and oil.

February 23, 2009, 01:01 PM
I am not a big fan of neetsfoot oil on old leather.

1. It can cause certain types of stitching to rot.
2. It can promote bacteria growth that will destroy the leather over time.
3. It will make leather soft & floppy, which encourages a knife blade to cut the sheath, or the point to stick through the bent & floppy sheath.

I am using Camp-Dry leather lotion on my old collectible knife sheaths.

It is a water based wax cream that will penetrate the leather and then can be buffed to a fine finish.

Western was one of the better brands, and they made a gazillion knives during WWII that are quite collectable today.

The major failing on really old ones is the sole leather (not rawhide) handle washers.
Western used a patented double tang, and the washers have an H shaped slot cut in them to slide on the tangs. Over time the leather dries out and cracks, and the washers break off. Especially those carried in the jungles of WWII. Jungle rot got in the handles and ate them up.

Your handle however, looks to be in excellent condition and should last for a very long time.


February 23, 2009, 07:09 PM
Weeeellll I rubbed the sheath down with Lexol neatsfoot just before I logged on tonight.

I figure the vintage of this knife to be 1974-75. The handle material is as solid as the rest of the knife and the blade almost shines like chrome. It seems to hold an edge and fits my hand well. It's history is a couple refrigerators worth of rabbits and I helped a buddy skin a deer or two, not too rough of a life.
As far as monetary value I checked ebay I saw a several heavily used versions holding at $6 and $9 and one that sold for $21 and change. Not much chance here of retiring early ;) . It's worth more for the memories of me and my buddies stomping around the woods with our boomsticks and camping out.

Thanks for the history, and especially the advice, it's always appreciated.


February 24, 2009, 04:57 AM
Keep it , or make sure whomever receives it, appreciates what it is.
hso, JShirley, Valkman, JTW Jr, sixgunner455, bikerdoc, Will Fennell, Rupertis, ToddA, others, and of course myself appreciate the Western knives of yesteryear.
And don't forget alaskanativeson! Despite my Native roots in The Last Frontier, I spent most of my school years on the Front Range of Colorado in Longmont where Western Knives were made. I had a beautiful yellow handled little 3 inch bladed Western my father gave me when I was young. It got stolen by someone who really needs to be whomped with a knotted plow line.

February 24, 2009, 03:52 PM
A knotted plow line!
thats got to hurt

March 8, 2009, 08:20 PM
I recently bought one of these cheap, but not in pristine condition. The leather handle washers are VERY dry. They appear to all be there, but they've shrunk quite a bit so the tang sticks out on both sides. The blade seems in good shape (no dings) but it's pretty dark.

So, is there any way to rehydrate those leather washers, or is that a lost cause? Should I treat them with something, regardless of whether they can be rehydrated? And is there a preferred way to polish up the blade?

March 8, 2009, 09:05 PM
My handle is fine but I was wondering the same thing, if a little neatsfoot would help the handle or make it soft and ruin it.
I polished my blade with semichrome (spelling?) and a dremel but if you read above that's no way to treat an antique. These appear to be a pretty good knife for the price.

Good luck

March 8, 2009, 09:25 PM
Man, I've got a soft spot for stacked leather handles. Thats a beauty. Definately not disposable.

March 9, 2009, 12:46 PM
See post # 9.

Don't put neatsfoot oil on an old leather handle.

Camp-Dry Leather lotion.

For really bad ones that are starting to crack?
I use a thin CYA adhesive like Hot Stuff and impregnat the washers with it to harden them and prevent further cracking. It also glues them together, and too the tangs to prevent further looseness.

As soon as it cures, I use a power buffer to clean off the excess adhesive, then use Camp-Dry and paste carnuba wax to restore the finish.

In extreme cases, the only solution is to tear down the handle and replace the washers with new ones, then reshape the handle.


March 9, 2009, 04:19 PM
Thanks rc.

If I try the Camp-Dry leather lotion and don't get any expansion of the leather, is it too late to use the adhesive? Would it adhere with a layer of the lotion on the leather?

Also, any tips on polishing up that blade?

March 9, 2009, 04:44 PM
Yes, it should.

Thin Hot-Stuff has an affinity for cracks.
It will suck down in between the washers so fast you will think it evaporated!

If the handle is already shrunk up that much though, nothing is going to swell the leather back up.

I'd just go ahead and "do the glue" and get it over with.


March 9, 2009, 08:43 PM

March 11, 2009, 09:52 AM
Thanks rc.

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