The Knife Network Forums : Knife Making Discussions

The Knife Network Forums : Knife Making Discussions (
-   Fit & Finish (
-   -   Solingen Bowie Restoration (

rockhound 12-30-2013 10:18 AM

Solingen Bowie Restoration
Hi Folks,
I apologize for my nearly year-long absence from the forums. Thankfully the recovering economy brought my log home related business back to life. Long story short... between that and acquiring another mine I've had very little free time to do anything. Now that winter has set in I'm finding a little free time to do the things I enjoy, like knife work!
I'm still digging out of a fiscal hole so I'm continuing to be frugal and finances are limited until the economy is robust again. I still do not own a 2X72 and most everything has to be done with hand tools until I can justify that purchase. I'm close to being able to purchase a Grizzly... which is what I'd like to start with since I'm just a hobby maker and that fits my immediate needs.
Meanwhile...... a friend of mine purchased this old Solingen Bowie at a garage sale for 5 or 10 bucks.
OAL: 10.75"
Tip to Ricasso (working edge): 5.75"
Handle and Spacers: Broken, all junk plastic
Guard: Brass
He wants it to be useable, not a factory spec restoration, low budget. The steel is pitted and looks like it hasn't been sharpened in a coon's age but it is still sharp.
I don't know anything about the history or value of this knife but I suspect that this is quality steel and a worthwhile restoration for a useable utility/Bowie.
Worthwhile? Any advice? Thanks!

Fulmaduro 12-30-2013 11:14 AM

Hello Rockhound, glad to see you are alive and well and still into knives! You seemed really motivated a year ago when I saw your last post.

That blade could use some polishing, but since you don't have a grinder yet I can't recommend the Scotchbrite belts I love to use to get rust and other crap off old blades. Some judicious hand sanding might be in order. I would even try one of those dark green thin Scotchbrite pads and WD-40 and scrub lengthwise from ricasso to tip. Then just hand sand to remove most of the small pits and go to about 400 grit or so.

Then I would just check and make sure the shoulders are square, make a new guard (NS or stainless would look good), maybe a leather washer (black stained) with metal spacers handle and a polished NS or stainless pommel epoxied onto that threaded tang. Just my 2 cents. I was thinking along these lines

I think that would look great fixed up and you really don't need power tools. Please post pics if you decide to do it. Welcome back.

Tony Z
Kansas City, MO

rockhound 12-30-2013 12:23 PM

Thank you so much. I really like the look of that leather with washers! I've never done a stacked handle of any kind so I'll have to look into this but it can't be too awful difficult. Would have to find washers with rectangular center holes though I imagine. Meanwhile I have a lot of work to do on cleaning up that steel and I really appreciate the advice for that as well!

Fulmaduro 12-30-2013 04:14 PM


Originally Posted by rockhound (Post 467514)
Tony, Would have to find washers with rectangular center holes though I imagine.

Or you could cut your own washers out of some 10/12 ounce leather and punch ypur own holes. But, if you don't have the punch or the leather it would cost a lot more than just buying some pre-cut slotted washers from Jantz or similar. I also liked the look of these other A. G. Russell knives.

Good luck!

Tony Z
Kansas City, MO

Ray Roberts 12-30-2013 08:20 PM

My first post on here, but I have been looking for a while.

I don't see why you or anyone for that matter would put a whole load of time and effort into a knife that is of dubious quality. Poor fittings, poor handle and most likely a poor blade. You can buy a top quality blade of decent steel and make a real piece that you could be proud of for about the same cost.

I don't want to come over as a party pooper but after working for years in the motor trade maybe my views are a little jaundiced. I can understand saving a period classic car but fail to get why someone would put a substantial amount of time and effort into a car that was a dog when it was new from the factory.

jmccustomknives 12-30-2013 08:54 PM

Lol, I hate the way those knives were built. I've got one I built a handle for years ago. A friend brought one just like yours with the same problem. The largest problem with the way these were constructed was they just drilled a round hole all the way through. After time the leather washers would degrade and the handle would spin.
Pick you out a nice piece of wood or if you have a piece of stag you can combine or use just one. Drill it out the size of the threaded section and work the rest so the handle will slide on. Looks like your missing the pommel cap but have the threaded nut? You can silver braze that nut onto a piece of brass or steel to make a new one (doing that will be much cleaner in the end). Fill it in with epoxy and clean it up.
Like the others said, it's deeply pitted so about all you can do is scotch bright it.

Chuck Burrows 12-31-2013 02:15 PM

These knives are generally of good steel and IMO are well worth fixing, which I've done over the years on a wholla bunch of them..

As for leather washers you can make them or buy them pre-made

For removing rust you can also use naval jelly or even better then sand

here's one I did a few years ago - it was in real sad shape and I saved as much as possible of the original since it belonged to the gents grand dad........replaced the original handle with antler and glued it all together to prevent future problems

ATalley 12-31-2013 03:46 PM

That's a great transformation! Beautiful work, Sir

Chuck Burrows 01-01-2014 01:59 PM

Thank you and I always feel that old knives like this should be cherished especially when they have a nice family tradition to them

BCROB 01-01-2014 07:30 PM

Rockhound good to hear your back at it !!
worthwhile restoring ? absolutely and sure why not !!
JM and Chuck have offered some good how to's and advice for you.......
I would'nt worry to much about getting the pit marks back to 100%, it'll add some character and possibly some cool texturing.
I did a restore for a fella recently and the pit marks ran deep , he was thrilled the family piece had been restored !!!

here's a before and after ( sorry for the poor quality photo but you get the idea)

BCROB 01-01-2014 07:31 PM


Originally Posted by Chuck Burrows (Post 467545)
These knives are generally of good steel and IMO are well worth fixing, which I've done over the years on a wholla bunch of them..

great restore Chuck !!

rockhound 01-02-2014 09:23 AM

Excellent work Chuck and Rob! Thanks for posting those, very inspiring.
The pitting on this one is markedly worse than the works you guys posted but I still think it's worthwhile. I don't like throwing things away that are broken and still have some potential life. Too much of that attitude in today's disposable world. People always seem too quick to throw away and replace rather than learn to repair IMHO. Not just knives, everything in general. My friend is in no hurry and knows that I'm short on time and tools now. I've done a pretty good hand cleaning on the steel so far but I think I'm going to hold off on this one until I get the 2X72 to complete the resto-mod.

LABlade 01-12-2014 05:49 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Been off the forums a long time. Retired for the 2nd time and hope to be back more. With that said, I'd say go for it. The attached pictures are of a knife I recently restored for a grandson. Not real valuable. You can buy off Ebay for less than a hundred bucks, but his great-granddad owned it and it was of real sentimental value to him. Took me all of 5 or 6 hours and was kinda fun. I've restored a few others and am somewhat hesitant because its too darn easy to break a rusted old tang or some other unforeseen problem, etc. Never know what your getting in to for sure until you take them apart. I was also pleasantly surprised at the quality of steel in this knife.

rockhound 03-27-2014 06:13 PM

I have made progress on this restoration. Currently in the fun stage... shaping the handle. I went with brass and stabilized stacked leather.

Fulmaduro 03-27-2014 09:02 PM

Wow, looks great so far Rockhound! I think the leather and brass will be great for this style and age of knife. Please post more pics as you get along.

Tony Z
Kansas City, MO

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:34 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
The Knife Network : All Rights Reserved