Introduction: Minor Knife Restoration

This is an Instructable on how to do a few cosmetic changes to change your $10 yard sale knife into a real dandy. I am using a pretty rough off Bowie Knife but these steps are pretty much universal for any stainless blade with a wooden handle. This includes removing rust, staining, creating a new sheath and a few upkeep tips. Before you commit to this project though, consider whether your knife would would be losing value if it was restored. I WOULD fix up a yard sale special but I WOULD NOT touch a old heirloom or historic knife.

Things needed:
Protective gear- Goggles, dust mask, gloves
Wood stain of your choice
Tape- I used painter's but duct tape would be good
Acetone and something to apply it with
Steel wool
Dremil tool with steel and brass wire brush heads (optional)
Aluminum foil
A block of lead or soft metal
Leather and leather sewing accessories
Thin sheet metal with snips
Good fabric glue
A "D" ring
Small rivets
A grommet
A knife sharpener or whet stone
Blade polish and Brasso
1. Clean off your knife with very little water and dry immediately. Take steel wool and rub the whole length of the blade in a up-down motion. Any rust with come off and a black color will be left where the red rust was. Now take the aluminum foil and scrub only on the rusted spots, if you do the same thing as the steel wool, it is very easy to scratch your blade.

2.If using a Dremil, use your steel brush now on the black spots, but be careful.Be sure your lead or other soft metal is clean and will not provide much resistance to the blade. Blade could cut my chunk of lead and that is the consistency you need for this application. Now take the lead and rub over the black spots. This will give them more of a silver shine. now take the steel wool go over the blade just as you did before.

3. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the blade looks nice or it is at a condition of your liking.

4. Tape off the hilt and handle to help protect the and pour acetone on the whole blade. give it about 6 seconds and the run steel wool or you steel Dremil brush over the whole blade, especially on the bad spots. If done correctly, these spots won't be dark anymore. Now wipe off your blade and flip the knife over and repeat on the other side.

5. Run steel wool in a up and down motion again to make everything look professional and clean off your blade. OIL YOUR BLADE AS SOON AS YOU ARE FINISHED WORKING ON IT (I have had blades rust in a matter of minutes just after refinishing them if
I didn't oil them).

6. If your hilt is brass, then use a brass brush head for these hilt steps, if steel, use steel. Now gently touch up with the brush, any bad spots on the hilt and polish your pins in the handle. if you have a brass hilt, weigh your potions first because if you use a Brasso to polish it and there is not much damage in the lacquer, the Brasso will strip the lacquer right off. I just stripped all my lacquer off on mine and worked with the raw brass.

7. Now dry off your hilt and tape it off. Gently sand down the handle just enough for the top layer of the stain to come off. Be careful not to modify the handle by sanding off too much, however. Carefully apply wood stain to your handle. I normally do two coats and then seal it with some polyurethane.

Now we can start on the sheath.

1. If there was a previous sheath, use that to get the shape of the backing. Trace the desired shape on your leather and cut it out. be sure to allow the room for the belt loop at the top of the sheath. If the sheath bottom is still ok, skip this step and use the sheath bottom instead of one you make.

2. Now take your knife and lay it on the sheet metal. Trace the tip of the blade to down about one inch and near the hilt about the same distance. Be sure to allow for folding later on in the project. If wanted, you could trace the outline of the blade pretty much. Now cut out these parts. You now fold them so they fit on top of the desired part of the knife like a hat. Make these folds by folding small angles around the knife blade with the extra metal you allowed. lay these parts on the sheath bottom and glue them there. They will be secured later by closing in the sheath by sewing it shut. Lay these parts like in the picture on the bottom of your sheath.

3. If using your own sheath, insert the "D" ring near the belt loop of the sheath and fold and sew over the extra leather. this allows for the knife to sit lower and move with your movements more once you secure the actual belt loop to the sheath.

4. Cut strips of leather and sew them to the bottom of the sheath over the sheet metal bits. Be sure to make sturdy stitches to pin the metal to the backing leather. This leather is the glue's reinforcement.

5. Now take your top leather (or in my case, pelt) and lay it over your sheath so far. It should fit over the sheath and wrap around slightly to the back, use this to your advantage. Start sewing on the back to hide your ties and sew up the sides of the sheath but be careful, if you stitch too far in, your knife won't be able to be sheathed. Now you have closed up the sheath and the knife should be able to go in and out.

6. Cut two slits near the spot where the knife's handle would slit for securing by ropes or buckles.

7.make a belt loop to attach on the outside of the "D" ring and rivet it together instead if stitching to provide a secure hold. If you want an extra strong rivet hold, find a washer that just barely fits the butt side of your rivet and place it on the opposite side of the leather to your rivet tool. This will make the rivet expand into the washer making a bigger place to grip for support.

8. Put the final polish on your knife and be sure to OIL THE BLADE  (for some reason, once the blade has rusted, it tries even harder to come back after the blade has been restored) and then customize your sheath. Remember, its YOUR sheath so make it meaningfully yours.

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