Restoring an Old Knife

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by farson135, May 1, 2017.

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  1. farson135

    farson135 Member

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    I was looking through a relative’s house this weekend, and I found a plaque with a reproduction Bowie Knife on it. It has a fair bit of spot rust, the copper has oxidized, and the steel is lightly tarnished, but I think it is salvageable.

    I would like to get it professionally restored. Does anyone know of a good knife repairman? I live in the Houston area. If there is someone good in that area, all the better. If not, they need to accept shipping. I found a few shops online, but this is not the kind of business that attracts a lot of reviews.
     
  2. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    Professionally restoring will be expensive. Best to find out if it's a real knife or a decoration first. Anybody to ask? Just the fact there's copper and not brass makes me think decorative. Very much a WHAG though.
    Lot of it can be DIY too. If you don't have machines(fine brass wire wheel in a bench grinder), 0000 steel wool and light oil will remove the rust and copper oxide. Then just polish the steel.
     
  3. farson135

    farson135 Member

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    For the record, I am sure a restoration will cost in the neighborhood of $200, and probably north of that (especially if I have to ship it).

    Unfortunately, no, there is no one to ask. My Great-Aunt just died a few months ago, and I found it cleaning out her house. It was probably my Great-Uncles. My Aunt and Uncle were quite wealthy. Among the firearms I inherited was a Browning Olympian (estimated value, north of $10,000). Even back in the day that was an expensive rifle, and my Uncle gave it to my Aunt for her birthday, and had it specially engraved. I have no problem believing that my uncle bought a high quality replica.

    TBH I do not know for sure that the metal piece is copper, and not brass. I probably should not have referred to it as copper without knowing for sure. The piece has turned green. It could be either. Does anyone know of a good way to tell at that point?

    Short of handing it over to an expert, I can’t tell if the knife is particularly valuable (at the very least, there are no visible manufacturing marks). My hope was to find the name of an expert on this site, and have them tell me. I figure, if a person knows enough to repair antique knives, they probably can tell me something about them. I know how to clean it up myself, but if it is valuable I do not want to Bubba it up, and reduce its value.
     
  4. redneck

    redneck Member

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    If you can post pictures someone may be able to recognize it and help you find more info. If it was a production piece, someone else has probably seen or owned one, and if it was a custom, many custom makers have a recognizable style.
     
  5. farson135

    farson135 Member

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    Ok, here are some pictures. If anyone needs me to show something specific, just ask. For the record, there are no manufacturing stamps anywhere on the knife, or the plaque. Also, they could have purchased this knife at any time since 1950s (probably). It was in the corner of an office, and no one ever saw it.

    DSC00111.JPG DSC00113.JPG DSC00114.JPG DSC00118.JPG DSC00119.JPG DSC00120.JPG
     

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  6. redneck

    redneck Member

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    I put part of the quote on the tag into a google search and came up with pictures of several knives that look the same, and are on very similar plaques.
    Here is an estate sale listing that says they were manufactured by carvel hall:
    https://www.ebth.com/items/5029091-1830-bowie-knife-replica-by-carvel-hall

    I have never seen these before now. The one in the estate sale had a final bid of $50 if that influences your decision at all.
     
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  7. farson135

    farson135 Member

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    Why didn’t I think of imputing the quote? Thanks redneck. Your Google-fu saved me a bit of trouble, and money.

    I will probably clean it up myself. A new project.
     
  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Bronze wool and light oil and lots of elbow grease. Avoid power tool if you aren't completely comfortable with them.
     
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