1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

loose guard on an old western.

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by lobo9er, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. lobo9er

    lobo9er Active Member

    I received an old western knife as a gift, very nice knife, bird and trout size. good shape, original sheath only issues is guard is loose and theres some gaps in the stacked leather and spacers. I was thinking some sort of epoxy. But before I try anything I wanted to see if anyone here has any ideas.

    I just finished cleaning up one that I had so this is a welcomed addition. These western's are super easy to sharpen and take a wicked edge, at least these two. Hope everyone had a good holiday, stayed safe and stay safe!
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Try soaking it in Neatsfoot oil, or pure vegetable cooking oil for a day or two.

    That should soak into the dried leather washers and swell back them up enough to tighten the handle.

    If that doesn't do it, the only other repair I have successfully used for them is to remove the pommel and add another leather washer.

    Here is a Western L77 (Bottom one) I had to replace all the broken washers on.


    And another G46-6 Shark I re-handled.

    PS: One other option if you don't want to try the oil or replacement washers is Crazy Glue or Hot Stuff CA adhesive. You can get Hot Stuff at any hobby shop.

    It will wick down in the cracks between the washers, harden instantly, and lock everything in place from now on. You will have to "shoe shine" the handle with strips of fine emery cloth or a buffer to get the excess glue off though.

    Just don't glue the knife to your hand while doing it.

    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  3. heron

    heron New Member

    I ALWAYS wear latex gloves when working with glue. The few cents each is really worth it. Get 'em by the box.
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Thats a great tip!

    I always think of it right after I glue something to my hand with Hot Stuff though! :D

  5. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Active Member

    If you can remove all the leather washers, the pommel/hilt can then be soldered.
    For similiar jobs I use Eutectic 157 which is a low temp (450 F) high strength
    (45,000 psi) that I've used in knifemaking for years.
    Carefully done, no blade annealing takes place but a baking soda/water dip is necessary to neutralize the action of the flux.
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    This is true.

    But the handle H-washers will still be loose when you put it back together.

    So, you might as well fix the washers tight against the guard to hold it in place like Western made every knife they ever made if you have it apart.

  7. 308win

    308win New Member

    Just curious, how do you remove the pommel?
  8. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Active Member

    A white spacer SOMEWHERE in the "stacked washer" realm would fill the bill.
    Perhaps a brass spacer next to the hilt/pommel installed before the soldering operation.
  9. lobo9er

    lobo9er Active Member

    Thanks guys should the guard be "glued" on with epoxy or should the spacers keep it in place?
  10. lobo9er

    lobo9er Active Member

    also where do I get "H" spacers from?
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Two steel pins hold the aluminum or plastic pommel to the twin tangs.
    You drive them out with a punch. Sometimes you have to partially drill them out to relieve any riveting or bending that occurred at the twin-tang holes.

    A white spacer would not be in keeping with the original Western handle spacer colors, if you want to try to keep it as close to original as possible.

    The Western U.S. Patent intended for the handle washer tension to keep the guard tight.
    It should not be soldered or glued.

    Western knife handle construction:
    U.S. Patent #1967479:

    You cut them out, one at a time, with an X-ACTO knife.
    Old, or new shoe sole leather works well, as it is already harder then woodpecker lips.

    Spacer material:

  12. lobo9er

    lobo9er Active Member

    RC you'd the man. thanks again RC and everyone here. I have to get to a vice before I can pop out those pins It only needs like a half a width of a spacer to tighten things up so I might try soaking it in Mineral oil? or is vegetable oil the way to go?
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Like I said:
    Mineral oil was never mentioned, by me at least.

  14. lobo9er

    lobo9er Active Member

    'nuff said
  15. BCCL

    BCCL New Member

    I've had good luck with old stacked leather washers, by heating the handle with a hair dryer and applying "SnowSeal" while the leather washers are warm, letting it soak in, and reapplying until they swell up nice and tight.
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I'd forgot about Snow-Seal, but it works good too!

    A heat gun, or warm heated oil always works better to get it soaked in deep.

  17. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Active Member

    rc, I agree about keeping the knife origional but I am quite certain that if I soldered the pommel/hilt it would be un-detectable yet VERY sturdy.
    In my early knife making days, the stacked-washer handle SEEMED to be the way to go and I made a punch to get the job done easily as far as making washers.
    Shortly after, I discovered the works of the late, GREAT, Bob Loveless and the " Slab Handle" design had much more appeal.
    Bob's first knives were of the leather washer design and I had the opportunity to "caress" his "Delaware Maid" #6.
    Not much to look at but today that knife is priceless.
    Respectfully, Zeke

Share This Page