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#187069 - 10/31/09 04:27 PM Ka Bar Fighting Knife Care
KenK Online   happy
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2080
Loc: NE Wisconsin
My son recently earned his Eagle Scout rank, and has his Eagle Court of Honor coming up in a few weeks. Though he doesn't yet know it, we will have a contingent of U.S. Marines present him with a certificate of congratulations. Along with that he'll be presented a Ka Bar Marine Fighting Knife. Cool eh?!

My question: Do Ka Bar knife blades, handles, or sheathes need any special care? I've only seen pics on-line - never held one myself.


#187071 - 10/31/09 04:50 PM Re: Ka Bar Fighting Knife Care [Re: KenK]
JohnE Offline

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 601
Loc: Southern Cal
Congrats to your son and to you. My son is a Star rank Scout working on his Life rank requirements that's hoping to make Eagle.

Can't comment on the Ka Bar, sorry.


"and all the lousy little poets
comin round
tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson"

The Future/Leonard Cohen

#187076 - 10/31/09 05:55 PM Re: Ka Bar Fighting Knife Care [Re: JohnE]
Tom_L Offline

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
Nice! I'm pretty sure he'll love the Ka-Bar. It's a heckuva knife, and not just because of its history.

The blade is carbon steel so easy to sharpen, gets wicked sharp and stays that way for a long time. But it's not stainless so some maintenance will be necessary. Except for the cutting edge itself the blade (as well as the crossguard and pommel) is parkerized so rusting is not a big problem. A quick wipe with Tuff Cloth or a little bit of gun oil is generally all that is needed unless you live in a very humid climate. In any case, make sure to always clean and oil the blade after use, especially if you've been cutting meat, fruits, vegetables or green wood.

The handle is made of stacked leather discs. The sheath is leather as well (assuming he's getting the original USMC Ka-Bar and not one of the newer versions with a synthetic grip and Kydex sheath. The leather can be treated with ordinary shoe polish or neatsfoot oil.

#187084 - 10/31/09 07:23 PM Re: Ka Bar Fighting Knife Care [Re: KenK]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2818
Loc: La-USA
oil for the knife and saddle soap for the scabbard.
The best luck is what you make yourself!

#187085 - 10/31/09 07:23 PM Re: Ka Bar Fighting Knife Care [Re: Tom_L]
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1372
The old Ka-Bar (original) used a steel that holds a very good edge. The steel is somewhat soft, and therefore needs sharpening more frequently. But you can hone one of those old Ka-Bar blades down to a VERY sharp edge.

Always take care of blades, clean them frequently, and don't let them rust.

Ka-Bar came out with a new blade design and a different alloy. I have not heard any firsthand accounts about the new knife.


#187089 - 10/31/09 07:37 PM Re: Ka Bar Fighting Knife Care [Re: KenK]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Carbon steel, so you don't want to store it in the leather sheath. ESPECIALLY if that sheath has gotten really wet. Oil it lightly with an oil you wouldn't mind getting in your food if you are likely to touch food with it. If it going to be stored for any length of time, I wrap it in length of cotton cloth.

The sheath is good leather. I use neatsfoot oil on it as needed- doesn't need it often. If it gets wet, I set it in a warm place with air convection as soon as I can.

The leather washers are the only place I do anything odd. *blushing* I use the skin oil from alongside my nose. I know it sounds really gross, but it is symbolic/symbiotic in a way. It is also the best performer that I've found, neatsfoot allowed it to dry too quickly.

Despite the care, I prefer the leather handle becuase it doesn't get stupid at very low temps like all but a handful of synthetics will, and works just as well at high temps. The steel butt on some of my Ka-bars aren't so pretty because they've been used, but it works well for things like tent stakes.


When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#187100 - 10/31/09 09:55 PM Re: Ka Bar Fighting Knife Care [Re: ironraven]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 831
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
+1 on "keep it dry and clean." I treat it the same as handgun; clean, dry and light oil after use. I have never used anything on the leather grip, and after many years it has taken on a dark sheen quite different from the brown it was originally. Sort of a personalization.
"Better is the enemy of good enough."

#187146 - 11/01/09 05:57 PM Re: Ka Bar Fighting Knife Care [Re: bws48]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
Olive oil works well on carbon knives. I use it on all mine-never had a rust issue.
my adventures

#187155 - 11/01/09 07:16 PM Re: Ka Bar Fighting Knife Care [Re: oldsoldier]
Tom_L Offline

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
Olive/vegetable oil might be a decent choice too, especially for carbon steel knives used in the kitchen... Do keep in mind it will go rancid after a while, though.

Mineral oil is better but if you have second thoughts about it I would suggest camellia oil (a.k.a. tea seed oil). Good protection against rust, more stable and the Japanese also use it for cooking so it's completely safe.


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