Mobile Alabama Sharpening Service
Sharpening the Case USMC Combat Knife
Marine Corps Fixed Blade
Hunting season is upon us and our knife sharpening business is busy with sportsmen bringing in camping equipment and hunting equipment to be sharpened. Most hunters want and need a rugged field knife with the intent of skinning game and using for camp chores such as whittling tent pegs and such. A customer recently brought a Case USMC Combat Knife which is about as close to the original as I have ever seen. It is a strong thick bladed knife with leather grips and tough as tough can be.
The problem with this knife is no different than every new knife one can buy; it is not sharp. The customer said he had done all he could do and wanted us to see if we could put an edge on the knife. This knife, a dead-on reproduction of the prototype submitted to the U.S. Armed Forces, is made of blackened 1095 carbon steel. It has a 7″ blade. The knife was intended to be a commemorative knife and offered as a gift to knife collectors or others that appreciate quality knives. Therefore, not much effort was made to have the knife extremely sharp right off the assembly line. And, to boot, 1095 is an alloy carbon steel – iron with 0.95% carbon added. It is hard, hard stuff and heat treated to 56RC – 60RC. This is exactly why the customer could not get an edge on it. Unless you have the equipment, knowledge and time, you will be pretty much wasting your time.
Take a look at the width of the factory edge. Anyone that purchases this knife should be extremely grateful that Case went to the trouble of doing this. There is years and years worth of edge to work with here. Here is what I did and what you should do to sharpen this knife:
First, forget about “razor sharp.” This knife and others like it is designed to be a fighting or survival knife capable of doing many things but not shaving. Putting a “razor sharp” edge on this knife is possible but it would not hold up to the many things the knife will be used for. You cannot cut animal hide or chop a tree limb with a razor. Try it some time to see for yourself. So, this knife was reprofiled with a 24 degree edge starting with a 220 grit stone and made progressively sharper using 400 grit, 600 grit and finallya 1000 grit stone. Then the edge was polished with 2000 grit and 3000 grit finishing tape. It is sharp as all get out but you cannot shave with it.
This is a picture of the knife as I was holding it in bright sunlight with the cutting edge towards the camera. As you can see, there is no shiny edge showing. If there was, then that would mean the blade was not sharp. A sharpened blade will be too thin to reflect any light.
Here is a view with the blade turned to show the reprofiled edge. A nice job even if I do say so myself.
This knife should be maintained with a ceramic rod only.
If you have hunting knives, chainsaws, hatchets or axes you need sharpened, please give me a call. I guarantee satisfaction.
Published: September 28, 2015