Ka Bar?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by jmr40, Feb 5, 2022.

  1. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I was in an antique store today and spotted a knife that caught my interest. The tag said Ka-Bar. But I could find nothing on the knife or sheath indicating a brand name. It appears to be a pretty decent quality older knife in serviceable condition. But I passed because I wasn't sure of what I was looking at. But after getting home and doing a search of Ka Bar knives found this. The knife I saw was just like this, with I'm guessing a 6" blade.

    The one I saw didn't look quite as good. There is some surface rust that would clean up. The handles were in great shape. It appears to be plated with something, nickel maybe?

    il_fullxfull.1868640307_pzcb.jpg

    It had this style sheath. The sheath on the one I looked at was almost pristine. In was in MUCH better condition than this. But this was the only similar photo I could find online with rivets and this type of belt loop.

    2220522725_ceb6a56fb3_b.jpg

    I'm thinking about going back tomorrow. I wish I'd taken photos in the store, but these are pretty representative of what I saw. Is this a Ka-Bar? If not, what?
     
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  2. 1942bull

    1942bull Member

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    KA-BAR was originally a trademark name of the Union Cutlery Company. KA-BAR was stamped on all the military and hunting knives. In WWII they made the now legendary USMC fighting/utility knife. It was so durable that the Army and Navy ordered them. That knife made the trade name famous so the company changed its name to KA-Bar. Once they did that they stamped all knives with that name. It is possible that Yuen knife you saw was made before they began to use the trade name. Them added the name to newer versions of the same knife. So it might be a Union Cutlery knife. I have owned KA-BAR fixed blade and folding knives sine omgotnoutnofbghe Corps in 1969. Everyone if them was stamped KA-BAR. Maybe the knife is a forerunner of the one stamped KA-BAR in the photo. Another thing, the USMC knife was also ordered from other manufacturers under KA-BAR license. Some of them did nit say KA-BAR. The most common was made by Camilus. It was stamped with that name. Problem is that the market was infected by knock-offs with no name on the knife. My guess is that you are looking at a Union Cutlery knife.
     
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  3. armydog

    armydog Member

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    I was given a KA-BAR when I graduated Jumpmaster School in the 90s and I still have it. I was also given an AF survival knife but I preferred the KA-BAR. If only has Camilus engraved on it and New York. Just so happens my favorite folding knife is a KA-BAR my brother gave me a long time ago. It is built like a tank. That has KA-BAR engraved on the blade with Olean, NY USA.
     
  4. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I've done a little poking around the internet and Union Cutlery looks like a possibility. And based on asking prices on E-Bay I should have bought it. They are asking double what this one is priced at and are not in nearly as good of shape.

    The knife appears to be decent quality whoever made it. I was afraid of getting a cheap knock off was the only reason I didn't buy it earlier today. It appears to have been used very little, if at all. The knife was stored in the sheath in the display. The surface rust on it appears to simply be from sitting in the leather sheath for years rather than from use.
     
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  5. Boattale

    Boattale Member

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    Without photos of the knife you're asking about, any answer is a 100% guess.
     
  6. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    The knife I saw was identical to the one in the top photo, but with more surface rust. Without any markings that I could find. The one above has, "Carbon KAR-BAR Chrome" stamped on it. Other than that stamp on the blade, the one I saw today was the same knife. I suppose that lettering could have been obscured by the surface rust on it and I didn't see it.

    Also, this isn't one of the knives designed for military use. It is a civilian hunting knife. Looking online at similar knives I am seeing some advertised as Union Cutlery which appear to be the same. At any rate I'm beginning to think it isn't a cheap knock-off. I'm just not exactly sure what it is yet.
     
  7. Bazoo

    Bazoo Member

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    We'll I'm excited. Looking forward to you getting it and some pics.
     
  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Ask us after you get a picture to us.

    Remember that the company made a range of knives from the USN MkII people think of as Ka-Bar to various hunting knives and folders. One of the most sought after switchblades is the Grizzly that the company made.

    If it says "Carbon Ka-Bar Chrome" on the blade it is probably from the 1207 model era of the 50s-70s.

    So, buy it, or at least get pics, and post it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2022
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  9. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Administrator Staff Member

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    I have a little Ka Bar I bought years ago. It has some kind of plating on the blade, like your knife. I can tell because it has actually worn through in spots. If I had to guess, I would say it's chrome plating.

    The sheath looks similar to the original sheath that came with my knife. I didn't actually care for it as eventually one of the rivets near the tip started contacting the blade as the sheath became worn.
     
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  10. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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  11. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Search Ka-Bar USN Mark I, Mark II, and subsequent marks. They currently make a Mark VI i believe.
     
  12. rust collector
    • Contributing Member

    rust collector Moderator Staff Member

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  13. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I went back and bought it for $60. There were some minor details I mis-remembered. I didn't note the blood grove or the groves in the leather handle. But it is a 6" KA-BAR. It was stamped on the front of the finger guard which was coated with grime and dirt. I couldn't see it until I cleaned it up some. I'm assuming it is chrome plated. There was less rust than I thought, mostly dirt that cleaned up well. It is extremely dull. I plan to clean it up, condition the leather, sharpen it and use it. Unless someone tells me that it is worth more than I think.

    IMG_1748.JPG IMG_1749.JPG
     
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  14. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    It looks like a KA-Bar that was plated and a new handle made or repaired. The sheath does not look like it was made by KA-Bar.
    7F3E18CD-518B-4ABC-9ABA-2D9E6D8E3BEA.jpeg 0239AA3F-0737-462E-BB35-3D2C359BF8B8.jpeg
     
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  15. Bazoo

    Bazoo Member

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    Hey that's neat. Thanks for posting it. Be cool to see it cleaned up too.
     
  16. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I think it is original. This is different than military issued KA-BARe's. I believe this is a civilian version made after WW-2. While doing my research I found lots of photos with similar sheaths, handles and with what I think is a chrome plated blade. The blade is a shorter 6" version vs the standard 7". Hoping someone can provide more details.

    The sheath is a big part of the appeal to me. It is a much thicker leather than I've seen on most standard Ka Bar's, and the loops for the belt will allow it to ride higher. That combined with the shorter blade would be easier for me to use.
     
  17. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Nope, that's just a model that isn't seen very often is all. Everything you showed are the USMC Fighting Utility/USN Mk II and that model is a tiny fraction of Union/Ka-Bar models.

    It is a separate model.

    Y'all have to remember that there are a lot of knives like this before WWII and after. Specifically, look at the Marbles knives. Ka-Bar got the fame from their one WWII contract, but Camillus made most of the Fighting Utility/MkII knives for the government.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2022
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  18. Bazoo

    Bazoo Member

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    I think its a pretty sweet find. Specially if it gets restored. Thanks for sharing. And thanks hso for your contributions.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2022
  19. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    When the Navy Department was developing the Mk II, a number of makers submitted examples. Union CutCo was able to take one of their existing designs and tweak it to fit the DeptNav contract requirements. The rest, as noted above, is history.

    Ok, we need to get Gunny at least the one plastic scabbard for his collection.

    Harumph, looking on eBay, maybe not, no one is selling just the empty scabbards (anymore) and the beaters are going for $175 and up o_O
     
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