Knife Crafters World War II Fighting Knife
- Product Code: EWSK-1124-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is a wonderful World War II fighting knife that is attributed to Knife Crafters of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA. Knives of this pattern were produced from old sword blades, with three knives typically being manufactured from a single sword blade. Various Civil War era swords, as well as more modern Patton sabers were used in the making of these knives. The handles were made of hollow steel and covered in leather. The leatherwork is always very fine and well executed. Most of the scabbards are of same basic pattern, with a unique, three-piece construction. The back panel of the scabbard was over sized, with an extension at the bottom that was pieced for use with a leather tie down. The top section was doubled over and sewn down in the front to create a belt loop. The actual sheath portion was two pieces of leather, a large covering piece that was the front of the scabbard and another small, narrow piece that was a spacer between the front and back of the scabbard. The entire scabbard was then sewn together and reinforced at the mouth with two small rivets. A single leather grip-retaining strap with a metal snap was also riveted to the front of the scabbard above the throat. The quality of the leatherwork on the hilts and the quality scabbards with their complicated construction make some experts believe that this quality leather work was not performed by Knife Crafters and the knives may have been made by Philadelphia area luggage makers. A number of knives of this style and pattern, with these scabbards, are documented in Bill & Debbie Wright’s THEATER MADE MILITARY KNIVES of WORLD WAR II. Examples can be found on pages 154 & 155 of that book, as well as on page 188. The top knife pictured on page 188 has the Knife Crafters’ logo on both the leather covered grip and the scabbard, thus leading to Wright’s attribution of all knives of this pattern as being their work. It is quite possible that both schools of thought are correct and the knives may well be the work of Knife Crafters and leatherwork may have been let out to local luggage makers to execute.
This particular Knife Crafters WWII fighting knife is in VERY FINE condition. The knife is completely unmarked, which is the way most of these knives are found. However, the scabbard is ink-stamped on the back: S-8189, the meaning of which I do not know. The blade of the knife is mostly bright, retaining much of its original polish, and shows only some light age staining and minor scattered peppering. The majority of which is on the reverse of the blade, near the tip. There is also some additional brownish staining on the reverse that appears to be dried grease. A small amount of oxidized freckling is present around the hilt as well. The blade appears to have been made from tip section of a Civil War era M-1850 foot officer’s sword. The knife has a 7” long (measured from the hilt to the tip) Bowie style blade that is 1” wide. The original fullers of the sword blade that it was made from remain, with the narrow upper fuller being about 4” long and the winder fuller in the center being about 5 ““ long. The hilt is about 5” long and the overall length of the knife is just over 12”. The leather covered hollow handle is in fine condition, and the leather retains nearly all of its original finish with only the most minor light wear and handling marks. All of the stitching is tight, original, and in excellent condition. The scabbard is in about FINE condition, showing only some minor surface crazing and light use. The stitching is all original and tight and the original leather retention tab and closure snap are in place. The scabbard is slightly dry and might benefit from a very conservative oiling, but I will leave that to the new owner. Other than some minor wear from real world use, the scabbard shows no abuse or damage at all.
Overall this is a really lovely example of a very desirable and quite attractive purpose made World War II era fighting knife. Many small makers and machine shops around the United States turned out fighting knives of all styles to help arm the young men who went forth to fight in the European and Pacific theaters. These knives represent American patriotism, ingenuity and industrial capability. No collection of World War II militaria is complete without at least a small selection of fighting knives, and an authentic, identified maker “theater” knife would be a great one to add to such a collection. These knives were being valued at $700 to $800 each 10 years ago, and rougher ones that this fetch prices in that range today and often higher, especially at auction. I am glad to offer this fine Knife Crafters fighting knife at the decade old price, and I think it is a good value and worth every penny.SOLD