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1973 Puma Deer Hunter...TLC

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by mb>, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. mb>

    mb> Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 24, 2014
    Short back story:

    My dad recently passed along this old Puma. I thought about cleaning it up to sell, then changed my mind on the selling part. My dad's mind is slowly giving way to dementia, and this knife is part of a very limited amount of hunting we did together. So it has much more sentimental value than any cash could cover.

    This was the first knife that made me want a better knife. I shot a couple of does one morning we hunted together. After complaining about the amount of work we had in front of us, my dad used this knife for the processing and skinning chores. It held an edge remarkably well while I fumbled around with my clunky, dull, cheap knife.

    It was fairly corroded when I received it. I didn't have any brass polish on hand, so I looked up a DIY recipe that worked well, at least for removing the tarnish.

    The spring inside the handle is pretty rusty. I dropped some oil on it. Should I bother attempting to disassemble and clean the rust off the spring? I haven't taken apart a pinned knife before, so I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of that. The action is a little rough but passable.

    Some other initial impressions: this thing is heavy! Brass, metal and wood...what a concept! It's really something to handle an older piece after getting into all the modern stuff.

    The blade gets screaming sharp. And I like a good clip point. It's really a sweet knife.

    Only took a couple shots of the initial cleanup:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. LastRodeo

    LastRodeo Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Nov 2, 2013
    You did a nice job giving it a mild cleanup, while still leaving some character.

    I've had good luck with dripping some 3 in 1 oil into the blade well, letting it sit for awhile, dipping the tip of a toothpick in Flitz and scrapping around inside the knife. I then use Wd-40 with the red tube on the nozzle to spray out the well and finally compressed air to clean out any remaining residue.
     
  3. MarkPinTx

    MarkPinTx

    801
    Aug 21, 2003
    I suspect that if you can get that joint cleaned out, you will find that it's like ball-bearings. The old Pumas were really, really sweet knives.

    I have had success doing things like Last Rodeo recommends, but I think I might give the whole thing a soak in mineral oil before trying the area-specific cleaning. Soaks can cause a knife to "give up" amazing amounts of crud and would probably do a nice job reconstituting the slightly shrunken wood. Nevrdull wadding polish is great for brass (and nickel) and I'm not sure I would have any qualms about shining it all the way up as long as you aren't using buffing wheels. Heck, Brasso would be fine, too, most likely although it has a bit of grit, too.
     
  4. mb>

    mb> Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 24, 2014
    I appreciate all the ideas above.

    As far as a soak, would linseed oil work also? Or does mineral oil have better cleaning properties? I have some linseed on hand. Would have to pick up some mineral oil to try.
     
  5. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    Do not use linseed oil, over time it polymerizes and is no longer oil-like (that's what makes it a good wood finish and what makes it "gunk up" around the top of your can) and that probably won't be good for your mechanical action. I always clean out an old knife first with warm or hot soapy water and a toothbrush. You can dry it out with paper towels and then oil her up. If you want a homemade polish, dampen a paper towel and put a little bit of fine ash on it and rub away.
     
  6. MarkPinTx

    MarkPinTx

    801
    Aug 21, 2003
    I wouldn't used linseed oil. I am only familiar with "boiled" linseed oil as used by wood finishers and painters, but from what I can tell, it would be very gunky: a lot of residue.

    You can get mineral oil dirt cheap at CVS/Walgreens/what have you. It's a laxative and unlike most lubricating oils, doesn't contain anything else. So it won't stain or anything and is safe to "eat," and won't flavor food if it leaks out of a joint while cutting an apple for instance. Assuming you have some left after soaking, can put it in a squeeze/dropper bottle and it's a great frequent lube for slipjoints.
     
  7. mb>

    mb> Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 24, 2014
    Got it. I'll pick some up this afternoon.
     
  8. mb>

    mb> Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 24, 2014
    I'm curious if anyone knows what type of steel they used on these. Blade is marked "New Stainless Super Keen Cutting Steel." My how times have changed. ;)
     
  9. Cory Hess

    Cory Hess

    Jul 1, 2014
    Great story, thanks for sharing with us. I think that that knife looks great in the second picture, I personally wouldn't do much more to it as far as polishing. The mineral oil soak is a good suggestion. If you don't want to soak the whole knife I've had good luck with filling the blade well and letting it drain between the liner and springs and repeating. It's amazing how dirty that stuff will be when it comes out. Then I'll put a couple good squirts in the well, tip the joint down, and work the blade back and forth until the oil stops coming out the back. Again, it'll come out black and I keep refilling and working the blade until it starts to come out clear. At that point the knife has way too much oil everywhere to carry so I let it sit for a couple of days on a wad of paper towel and it'll just drain out. Wipe dry and you should be good to go.

    I don't know if I'm just wasting my time with all of this and if I should just let all of them soak in the oil, but it's what I do. I'm sure the action will smooth out quite a bit once you get it cleaned up.

    Again, great knife and great story. Thanks a ton for taking the time to share them with us.
     
  10. afishhunter

    afishhunter

    Oct 21, 2014
    The PUMA lock backs of that era were the smoothest you could get. A couple of my friends preferred them to the Buck 110.
    I'd say clean her up as much as you want, and carry it with pride.
     
  11. meako

    meako Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    Dementia is a curse-my good mates dad is suffering from it and my mother in law was recently diagnosed with Alzheimers.
    I would follow the advice above-nothing much to add there - just a good clean up. That is without question a keeper.
    The more mercenary side of me is suggesting that you should probably be sitting down comfortably when you find out how much it is worth- nevertheless as you say -no amount of cash .
    With the handle -if it was mine I'd give it a wipe with some metho(denatured alcohol) and rub in a bit of beeswax/carnuba wax/healthy organic furniture polish-just a smidge though.
     
  12. mb>

    mb> Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 24, 2014
    Gave her an overnight soak. I filled it repeatedly and worked the blade both before and after. This is what I got out. Mind you this is after I thought I had cleaned it previously:

    [​IMG]

    The action is slightly better. It still feels like it has a rough spot though. I may carry it a bit and repeat the soak process later.

    I didn't notice the wood swelling any to close the gaps.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks again for all the good tips. You guys are better than google! ;)
     
  13. LastRodeo

    LastRodeo Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Nov 2, 2013
    The action may smooth with continued use. I have noticed my less used brass bolstered Buck knives getting gritty after sitting awhile. I think there may be a chemical reaction between the brass and steel parts.
     
  14. afishhunter

    afishhunter

    Oct 21, 2014
    If memory serves, it was the German equivalent to 440C. The "main competition" was the venerable Buck 110
     

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