Old Western Restore Project


My bro in law in NW Montana, an avid hunter and rancher sent me this Western L36 to restore and make a sheath for. It has dressed many a bear, elk, and deer and was given to him by his father. It has so much character I hate to touch it- game tallow helps form guard and the blade has recurve from so many sharpenings. I'm no Western collector but think it is pretty early. I plan to make a sheath for it, do some basic conditioning, remove the tape and fix anything broken but not go much farther-too much?. If have input on best restore for this please chime in.
See 3-10-12 update in this post



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WOW, personally I work hard to make them look like that.
Western Cutlery started as the Platts & Sons Cutlery Company, established in 1896 in Gowanda, New York, by Charles W. Platts, an immigrant knife maker from Sheffield, England. In 1911, H.N. Platts moved to Boulder, Colorado to take advantage of the booming western knife market and changed the name to Western States Cutlery and Manufacturing Company. Made tons of knives and hatchets for their name and several others including Case. Sold to Coleman in 1984 and to Camillus Cutlery in 1991. Imports and union wages put them out of business in 2007.
What a shame. Great American company and very invocation models.
The sheath you hold was part of a hatchet/ knife combo. The knife has an aluminum promel and some models had silver guards.
I have wanted this set....forever.
In my opinion I would loose the duct tape, restitch where necessary, oil the leather and cherish the memories it has acquired.

Here's the only pics I've found of the entire set that I have looked for..

western knife combo.jpgWesternHatchetHunterBladeTraderSheath.jpg

Notice the interchangeable handle...This set sold before I saw it.....Sad face...

And the set with the stacked leather handles...

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I'm with Randy,I know it's not up to you,but I would try and get him
to leave it the way it is,without the ducktape............If only it could talk??
Thanks for showing

God bless,Keith
Thanks for the history on Western, Randy. I run in to the x-VP of Western at gun/knife shows here in CO and he has told me some history but you have really summarized it well. I think will restore the sheath, but I think was not original one as not long enough to cover blade. So will probably make user sheath and restore this one as well- he doesn't have the hatchet to my knowledge. And like you say Keith, I think best to leave way it is as much as possible. It is an heirloom and a piece of his personal history I want to keep intact.
Clean it up and minor repairs, put it on the mantle and dream of years gone by. Make him a new user and he has two to hand down to his kid/kids.Wade
Wade I like the idea of a whole second user for him and clean up the old set for him- thanks for the advice.
My first fixed blade knife that I got in a trade of ?? Back when I was a 14 Y/o was a Western Model 36.

This model may have changed at one time? The one with the interchangeable handle with the thumb ramp was the one I had and a BIG influence when I stated knife making and Rhino Custom Knives.
Almost all of my knife models have a thumb ramp due to this knife.

The solid purchase and safety that the Thumb ramp added stayed with me until my late thirties when I got into knife making. I have the knife until about my mid 20's and one day it grew feet and disappeared?

I would take away the tape and see what's under it? Then go from there.
There is a rumor that the Cold Steel Carbon 5 Steel is a copy of that western steel.
That knife was so strong for it's size, And held a edge well!

Brings back lots of memories!:3:


Mike thanks for that confirmation- I think that's the best thing to do.

Laurence thanks for your Western story- seems we all have one- and for the Cold Steel Carbon 5 note on the steel- interesting.
I am probably too late for a comment, but put some Obenaufs Leather Preservative on the leather after cleaning. I first started using this stuff on my Whites firefighting boots while stationed in Boise, ID several years ago. I understand about keeping the knife as is, but these stacked leather handles do not last in a dry western climate. They don't last in a wet climate either! IMHO I would totally rebuild this and remake the sheaths if necessary. The knife may have been sharpened to many times to re-build, but it can be reground into another blade to be handed down in almost new condition. I always let the customer make the decision. I also had Western knives in my young years and they always took an edge well. Like this one, mine lost the integrity of the leather handle after several years.
Not too late- thanks for info on the stacked leather deteriation and the Obenaufs Preservative. This may be why he wrapped so much tape on handle (or his dad did). The knife could be rebuilt but I would like to repair what is there the best I can to preserve the character as much as possible. I haven't started on it yet but will post what I end up doing.
Well I removed the tape from handle and leather was rotten and hard as rock and basically broke apart when I put it in a vise to work on it. So I had to put a new leather handle on it. Had to drill out pommel pins as they were frozen in place. Saved all the existing spacers and put them back as were. The old spacers do not clean up like want- I've seen this before, I guess the plastic composition changes throughout the spacer when gets old and subject to moisture and deteriation. The cast aluminum pommel had corroded and was unable to completely polish but left pits on blade so guess matches. Will post sheath restoration and user duplicates knife when completed.
Tape removed

Rotten Spacers!

Treating the rust

New leather made and ready to glue up

Glue drying- Exciting!

Handle polished to 400


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