AR15.Com Archives
 1918 Trench knife knuckle question/NOW WITH PICS OF MY OWN CONVERSION>>Thanks Hobo
ChromeLined  [Member]
2/28/2009 2:45:39 PM
Did the Navy during Vietnam make cast brass knuckle guards marked 1918 to be used as is or for custom knives made in the field.
Paid Advertisement
--
Steve_Canyon  [Member]
3/1/2009 3:14:01 AM
To my knowledge, the 1918 trench knives that appeared around the Vietnam era were almost exclusively reproductions. IIRC, there were two companies that were making these at the time and they are the nicest examples this side of a "real one". To my knowledge, they weren't issued but were primarily purchased in PX's.
raf  [Site Staff]
3/1/2009 6:22:29 AM
Originally Posted By ChromeLined:
Did the Navy during Vietnam make cast brass knuckle guards marked 1918 to be used as is or for custom knives made in the field.


Ditto to the above, but it wouldn't surprise me if some guys on a Destroyer Tender used the facilities to make a few, either. General issue, I doubt it highly.

GENESMITH  [Life Member]
3/1/2009 6:29:11 AM
Looking at the one in the EE are ya?


I passed on that one when I saw the navy part. Must have been a machinist on the ship who got bored or something.

dfariswheel  [Member]
3/1/2009 11:51:43 AM
The original knife was really the US Mark One trench knife.
Since it was marked "1918", everyone calls it that.

Most of these replicas were made and often bought in Japan during the Vietnam war.
These earlier Japanese made versions had much higher quality handles than the trash made today, and were much closer to the original American made knife in shape and size.
Strangely, the current Taiwan or Chinese versions have much better made blades than the Japanese version, but the handle is crap, and is no where near the shape of the original knife.
All these replicas have blades thinner than the original US knife.

Usually the Japanese versions had no scabbard with them. Later replicas have a really trashy thin sheet metal scabbard with very weak belt hooks on the back.
These hooks break right off with a tug of your fingers, and it's not unusual to open the box and find the scabbard fallen apart into it's two halves.
These are totally unusable as a real scabbard.

An original US Mark One trench knife.
The handle is actually cast bronze. Scabbard is steel with a blackened copper plated finish to prevent rust. Maker initials cast on the handle. L.F.&C. or Landers, Frary, and Clark, the prime maker.


A current Taiwan crappy copy.
Handle is porous cast brass, blade is thinner and stainless steel. Scabbard is thin, weak steel.


An unknown make very high grade replica.
The bronze handle was made using an original L.F.&C. handle as a mold master.
The blade is original thickness, but is differently shaped and is stainless.
Very high quality, and almost as good as an original. Unlike the Asian replicas, this one could have actually been usable in combat.
I've been unable to find out who made these or when.
Scabbard is not original or original to the knife.


The original scabbard had two hooks on the back. The scabbard was to be carried INSIDE the cartridge belt.
During WWII, people put them on pistol belts, which required bending the upper hook, and they didn't know to wear them inside. The bending or a tug on the knife broke the hooks off.
Here's how it was to be worn.

ChromeLined  [Member]
3/1/2009 9:22:04 PM
Nice trench knives man..to Gene thats the oneI got a little bored my self and fit a repro D guard of a 1917 knife to my Kbar..I didnt think I could do it but its done and I just have to finish the leather and metal...it looks real nice
Steve_Canyon  [Member]
3/3/2009 2:22:14 AM
I hate seeing "real" trench knives. I had a chance to buy one at a small town pawn shop when I was 17 for the princely sum of 35.00. While that is/was a smokig deal*since I am not that old*, it was alot of money to have my parents confiscate it an hour after bringing it home. I bought a bunch of AK ammo instead....

I thought having one of the new "Budk" replicas might heal my wounds, and for 20.00 it was worth a shot. Total POS. Very much a toy that would likely explode and take your hand with it if you should try to use it for anything serious. I guess I will have to continue using both my brass knuckles and my Benchmade CSKII. A little awkward, but the same effect...
WiseguyThreeOne  [Team Member]
3/8/2009 9:11:46 PM
A friend/mentor of mine was at 1st Ranger Battalion when they reactivated in 1974, and he said several crates of them showed up from a dusty warehouse at Anniston and were issued to the Rangers. His lasted ten years before it vanished during a PCS.

I've been trying to find a GOOD repro for years, but haven't been in the right place at the right time.
dfariswheel  [Member]
3/9/2009 11:45:05 AM
The best replica is the one shown above, but apparently, very few were made, and they seldom show up.

The next best is an early Japanese made version.
These are usually unmarked on the blade, and look close to an original, except for the thinner stainless blade and a cast brass handle with slightly thicker knuckles and guard.

The late type crappy Taiwan and Chinese versions as pictured above have a much better made thin blade, but the cast brass handle is really crappy looking. It's WAY too thick in the knuckles and guard, and isn't even shaped much like an original or the Japanese replica.

Keep looking for a better one, you won't be satisfied with the newer crap.
raf  [Site Staff]
3/9/2009 1:58:58 PM
Originally Posted By dfariswheel:
The best replica is the one shown above, but apparently, very few were made, and they seldom show up.

The next best is an early Japanese made version.
These are usually unmarked on the blade, and look close to an original, except for the thinner stainless blade and a cast brass handle with slightly thicker knuckles and guard.

The late type crappy Taiwan and Chinese versions as pictured above have a much better made thin blade, but the cast brass handle is really crappy looking. It's WAY too thick in the knuckles and guard, and isn't even shaped much like an original or the Japanese replica.

Keep looking for a better one, you won't be satisfied with the newer crap.


What I did with my Jap/Taiwan unit was to use a round file on the insides of the handgrip in order to open them up and smooth out the casting marks on the inside and the outside, for that matter. Finished up with a dremel with fine sanding drum to remove filing marks/smooth things out, and "point" up the outsides of the knuckle-duster. Glass bead blasted as a final touch. It's not cast bronze, but is now useable, and has a decent appearance.

The blade was a poor fit to the handle, and would rattle if the end cap loosened even a bit. I dammed around the area where the blade exits the guard, and filled the entire insides of the hollow handle with epoxy. Made certain all was aligned properly, and epoxied the end cap on to finish things up.

The thin nature of the scabbard is troublesome, but can be overcome, to some extent, by carefully epoxying the halves of the scabbard together.

All of this is probably more effort than the thing is worth, but I enjoy tinkering, and all the work cost me nothing but a couple hours of my spare time.

md10mm  [Member]
3/11/2009 10:31:38 PM
Here is one I have it is a repro it was purchased in the 70's.. I bought a Lot off a guy 3 Aussies 2 large 1 small, Broken Au Lion, and this..
I was going to go over it with a dremmel and maybe put KABAR Blade in it??
brad


AxlRose  [Member]
3/12/2009 2:50:39 PM
Originally Posted By GENESMITH:
Looking at the one in the EE are ya?


I passed on that one when I saw the navy part. Must have been a machinist on the ship who got bored or something.




Where/What is the EE? Is that a forum I'm missing with stuff for sale?
dfariswheel  [Member]
3/12/2009 4:03:08 PM
Originally Posted By md10mm:
Here is one I have it is a repro it was purchased in the 70's.. I bought a Lot off a guy 3 Aussies 2 large 1 small, Broken Au Lion, and this..
I was going to go over it with a dremmel and maybe put KABAR Blade in it??
brad


http://i39.tinypic.com/28cf5mf.jpg


That's one of the Japanese Mark One replicas that were a lot closer to the original.
The blade was stainless and too thin, but the handle was a lot closer to the original in shape and size.

md10mm  [Member]
3/13/2009 12:48:59 AM
Any Idea of Value on my Japanese model??
Thanks
Brad
dfariswheel  [Member]
3/13/2009 4:50:00 PM
Since few people know (or care) about the difference between the old version and the current junk .....Probabaly around $30.00.
ChromeLined  [Member]
3/14/2009 3:56:19 AM
I fixed my problem got a repro 1917 knife with a spiked D guard for $20...just wanted the guard and recut it for a Kbar blade.Removed the Kbar pommel its pinned in then the stacked leather and the original guard.Put the blade in the D guard and replaced the leather.Had to shave 1/4 inch off the last piece of leather grip so the pommel would gop on over the rear part of the guard to be pinned in.Now I have a devastating D guarded camillus Kbar.I have pics if someone wants to email me at ...bigdavebigd@aol.com ill send pics so some one can post them.If anyone really likes it id be more than willing to do the conversion.I was inspired by the one on the EE only it was in a brass 1918 knuckle guard.I couldnt afford the $125 so I spent $20 on the repro and used a Kbar I already had.
dfariswheel  [Member]
3/14/2009 1:50:08 PM
In 40 years it'll be sold and the new owner will be asking if it's an original WWII conversion.
There'll be great discussion about whether it was done by perhaps an early Ranger or paratroop unit for semi-official issue.

FormUnknown  [Member]
3/14/2009 3:58:40 PM
You need the freakishly huge mark terrell trench knife.

It's somewhere in this thread.
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=587111
ChromeLined  [Member]
3/14/2009 7:30:24 PM
Mark Terrell has some nice knives
Nameless_Hobo  [Member]
3/15/2009 12:24:35 PM
Here are some pictures, the OP sent them to me.



ChromeLined  [Member]
3/15/2009 12:45:03 PM
Thanks man
wsix  [Member]
3/15/2009 1:28:42 PM
wow those pics suck. But , I like it.
dfariswheel  [Member]
3/15/2009 1:34:40 PM
Early in WWII, the experts finally realized, why would you want to smack someone in the face when you'd be better off stabbing them real good? So, the knuckle guard disappeared from serious fighting knives.
The knuckle bow was too limiting in the gripping options for real use.

On the original Mark One the spikes weren't necessarily intended to make a better striking surface, they were also to prevent an opponent from grabbing your knife hand. The spikes would make it impossible to hold on.
The individual stall knuckles on the Mark One were also intended to prevent you from dropping and losing the knife if you were knocked unconscious.
It was a well-thought out design for the time by Major Eugene McNary of the AEF.



With the spiked knuckles and "skull cracker" nut on the butt, these were fearsome weapons, but you don't kill someone with a punch in the face or belly, or by hammering them on the head. You kill them by stabbing and slashing with a sharp blade.
ChromeLined  [Member]
3/15/2009 1:48:13 PM
Yea maybe the knuckle is cumbersome if your facing off withj someone on equal terms but if im on my back or im reaching for the knife in an awkward posistion and I can only get a punch of Id rather have a studded guard wrapped around my hand and if my blade breaks or becomes damaged I still have a useable weapon.Im around 250 lbs 6 foot and if I got on top off somebodys chest and the blade was broke im sure I could strike a death blow with 250 behind a hammer punch.Its not about finess its about survival.

I like having protection for my hand as well as making a punch more devasting.Im sure with a hard enough punch and weight behind with knuckles you could most certainly fracture a skull or kill with a strike to vulnerable areas like the temple,eye socket ect.Living in a concrete jungle in the city you could hurt or kill by simply redirecting the momentum of an oponent or using your own stregnth and force into a car,wall or side walk very easily.Not all fight situations give you time to prepare and square off or it wouldnt be called a street fight.
WiseguyThreeOne  [Team Member]
3/15/2009 5:35:24 PM
And sometimes you want an impact-weapon option for someone you're trying not to kill. "Corporal so-and-so, you hang onto this colonel we just snatched. If he gives you any crap on the long walk back to our positions, smack him a bit to keep him moving".

I await the day I find an affordable original or a good repro.
grendelbane  [Member]
3/15/2009 6:16:31 PM
Here is my repro. I picked it up for next to nothing over 20 years ago. The original blade was butter soft, it would have dulled opening envelopes. I found this blade, already threaded, and just popped it in the handle, and tightened the original nut.

Opens letters like crazy!

I might polish it up a little bit, and Duracoat it some strange color. Purple handle and pink blade, maybe?

axl  [Team Member]
3/17/2009 1:37:51 PM
My father was an electrician's mate on the heavy cruiser USS Chester in WWII. The USS Coolidge was torpedoed in 1942. The Chester picked up survivors. Each member of the crew was assigned one of the survivors. When the crewman was on duty the survivor uesd his bunk. They shared clothes, underwear, everything. The guy who used my dad's bunk gave him the knife. he wanted to give him a rifle (03) but there was no where to keep it hidden.



Another photo

juan223  [Member]
3/22/2009 3:16:22 PM
nice photo
ChromeLined  [Member]
3/23/2009 11:24:57 AM
I just got a Rothco made Kbar...its cheap and not near thequality of a Camillus,case or Kbar brand but it has a threaded end on it.Im gonna see if I can fit this to a set of 1918 repro knuckles.
80sgyrene  [Member]
3/24/2009 5:31:45 PM
Originally Posted By axl:
My father was an electrician's mate on the heavy cruiser USS Chester in WWII. The USS Coolidge was torpedoed in 1942. The Chester picked up survivors. Each member of the crew was assigned one of the survivors. When the crewman was on duty the survivor uesd his bunk. They shared clothes, underwear, everything. The guy who used my dad's bunk gave him the knife. he wanted to give him a rifle (03) but there was no where to keep it hidden.

http://www.hunt101.com/watermark.php?file=479724&size=1

Another photo

http://www.hunt101.com/watermark.php?file=338329&size=1




He carried an '03 into the water after being torpedoed? Don't know about that.
ChromeLined  [Member]
3/25/2009 8:29:17 PM
No pics are coming up with those links.
Paid Advertisement
--