Original U.S. WWII USMC Customized Blade Marked KA-BAR Knife with WWI Mark 1 Trench Knife Brass Grip
Original Item: One of a Kind. We've had a large number of "field made" USMC knives over the years, but never one quite like this! This example is comprised of a very nice early U.S.M.C marked Mark 2 "Ka-Bar" fighting knife blade, made by Union Cutlery. Marine Corps issue knives are much harder to find on the market than the U.S.N. marked variety. This blade was mated in field workshops to the Brass Knuckle guard from a 1918 dated Mark 1 Trench Knife made by Landers, Frary & Clark (L.F. & C.). The blade is mounted with the edge opposite the knuckles, which may seen counter intuitive, but this would depend on how the soldier who owned this would fight with a knife. It comes complete with the original USMC style leather sheath, definitely intended for a KA-BAR with the original grip, but it also works for this knife.
Overall length of this Custom KA-BAR 2 knife is 11 1/4 inches, with a 7 inch clip-point blade. This early production example is marked on the blade ricasso with USMC, while the reverse ricasso is marked with the Union Cutlery Trademark logo:
Condition of the knife is quite good, with some of the original finish on the blade, and a nice oxidized patina. It is not currently very sharp, but could definitely be cleaned up and sharpened. We left it intact to preserve the patina of age. The grip is also in very good shape, with a lovely oxidized color, and crisp markings. It does not appear to have been modified much at all, except at the bottom. The blade was attached to the handle by brazing the tang in place at the bottom of the grip, which shows some grinding marks from after it was attached.
The leather sheath is the standard type used with the Mark 2, and is in very good used condition. All of the stitching and rivets are still intact, and it is structurally very sound. The securing strap is intact, and the snap is still functional, with all the leather having a lovely dark brown color from decades of age.
A great example of a WWII USMC Custom Fighting Knife, made from parts of two legendary knives. Ready to display!
More on the KA-BAR Mk2 Knife:
The Mk2 Knife was developed as an improvement over the Mk1 design, which had issues with blade snapping due to the thinner design. Working with Union Cutlery, USMC Colonel John M. Davis and Major Howard E. America contributed several important changes, including a longer, stronger blade, the introduction of a small fuller to lighten the blade, a peened pommel (later replaced by a pinned pommel), a straight (later, slightly curved) steel crossguard, and a stacked leather handle for better grip. The knife was officially known as the 1219C2, but it was commonly called the "Ka-Bar" after the trademark of Union Cutlery that was on the blades of early examples such as this one. The first production order went out to Camillus Cutlery Company, who produced the largest number of knives during WWII. The design was subsequently adopted by the Navy as the US Navy Utility Knife, Mark 2, and the USMC adopted it as the USMC Mark 2 Combat Knife, or simply the Knife, Fighting Utility.
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