WWII Western Knives


October 22, 2012, 04:36 PM
L77 – 7” Commando
Here are two.
The first is a late war with a steel guard and Bakelite butt cap used after aluminum became harder to get?
The second is an early one with the aluminum butt cap, brass guard, & black blade.
Shown with old handle parts.


Anyway, both came my way without sheaths, so both are replacement sheaths made by me.
The early aluminum butt knife had no handle either, as it had rotted off, although the blade itself is an pretty good condition.

I made new red & black fiber spacers, and leather handle washers, and restored it to pretty nice condition, I guess.
Which opens up a whole nother can of worms.

The Western Patent #1,967,479 covered a dual tang design using H-shaped leather washers and two butt cap pins.

The Western leather handles require each washer to have an H-shape slot cut in them in order to stack on the dual tang. And there are approximately 26-30 leather, 4 Black fiber, and 2 Red fiber washers in each handle.
Thats a lot of slots to cut out by hand!!!

This is uncommon, in that all other leather washer handles I am aware of are simple washers with oval holes punched in them to fit on a single tang.
Of course Western held the patent at the time, so nobody else could use it if they wanted to.

But why they did it, I cannot say.
It seems to offer no advantage I can see over simple leather washers as used on most all other U.S. military knives of the time.
And the thin H-sections of the washers rot & break off much easier then a simple solid leather washer with a hole in it.
Oh well, somebody must have wanted something different to sell I guess?

G46-8” Fighter
That’s not a knife, This is a knife!!
Crude sheath was apparently made by a Swabby.


G46–6” Shark
They sold for $3.50 in 1946.
Westerns Shark knife was designed to defend yourself if your ship got blown out from under you I guess!

I replaced the rotted leather handle & sheath on this one.


USN & AAF Life Raft Knife
Designed to be attached to inflatable rubber life rafts.
The blade has a dull tip to prevent inadvertently puncturing the raft while fighting hallucinations from drinking salt water I guess. :eek:

The handle is hard balsa wood or something? and the blade is drilled with lightening holes so the knife will float.
It is attached to the sheath by a self-storing 5’ cord in the hollowed out back of the handle.

Sheath is a replacement I made, and is missing the Lift-The-Dot female snaps for raft attachment.
I haven't found the period correct ones yet.


L71-5” SeeBee
This is a post-WWII reintroduction similar to the other Quartermaster & Navy MK-I’s from other manufactures.
Probably around 1950 something.


F39-5 1/8” Black Beauty
Probably also from the early 1950’s, and definately not from the military line.
The leather handle version sold for $3.00 in 1946.


W49-9 3/8” Bowie
Don’t recall what I paid for this one at an Army PX, but pretty sure it was well under $20 bucks or I wouldn’t have bought it.
This one is late Vietnam era just before the blade markings changed again in the mid-1970’s.
The sheath was also changed at that time to a ring and loop swinger type instead of a belt loop on the sheath like this one.


Other WWII Westerns I don’t have but wish I did?
The L76-7” Commando double-edge dagger (same basic design as the single-edge L77-7” above)
Hard to find without the tip of the blade broken off, and second rarest of the WWII Westerns.
I have seen one perfect salesman’s sample sell for $1,000+.

The rarest of all is the W31-4 3/16" USMC Parachutist knife.
Aluminum butt & guard with a Cocobolo handle.
One in really good condition would likely sell for about $3 grand!


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October 22, 2012, 08:10 PM
Excellent! I really like those Commandos (just straight out mean) and SeeBee. The SeeBee is like a classic hunter style.

October 22, 2012, 09:11 PM
Very cool.

There was a great article on the Black Beauty line from Western in an edition of Knife World (http://www.knifeworld.com/) this year.

October 22, 2012, 09:16 PM
I gotta subscribe to that.

I used to see it on the news stands, but haven't for some time.


October 22, 2012, 09:42 PM
I got 2 around here that came back from the my senior trip. I dig them out and post some pics,

October 22, 2012, 10:20 PM
Post'm up and we will see what we can see!

Maybe you got yourself one of them there Western USMC Parachutist knifes on your senior trip!! :what:

October 24, 2012, 09:34 PM
Love them all my favorite WW2 knife is a Kinfolks Bowie.

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