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Any info on western knife company Bowie?

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by Vpetrell, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. Vpetrell


    Jul 14, 2015
    Anybody have any info on this knife?

    Western Boulder Colorado USA

    Was my grandfathers old blade I got yesterday

    I want to clean it up and get the small rust spots off and clean the tip up a bit also.

    If there is an easy way to disassemble the blade without damaging anything let me know

    If anyone has experience with these please do tell!

    It won't ever leave my possession but if there is any history to these fill me in



  2. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    You would have to drive those pins out of the side of the pommel, then you would have to string all those leather and fiber washers on something so they don't get scrambled.
    It looks to be in good shape. I would just polish up the handle with boot oil, sno-seal, mink oil, or Johnson's paste wax. A little wax on the sheath wouldn't hurt either.
    Very nice knife.
  3. Vpetrell


    Jul 14, 2015
    Thanks so much. I may take the chance and try disassembly on it. It has a few rust spots and am not sure how bad it is under the handle

    What would be the best way to drive them out? Just a punch and hammer?
  4. runninmike


    Oct 19, 2005
    Well, the knife and sheath is in pretty good shape. Western made lots of different patterns of hunting blades and folding pocket knives for decades.
    My opinion, if I inherited Gramps' knife like that, I would touch up the blade on a stone, maybe coat the blade with some mineral oil for a day or two and wipe it off good and then rub a little general purpose household oil on to protect from rust. If you remove the pins that hold the pommel and stacked leather on, you will playhavoc getting it all tight as it was....just clean the leather with some leather cleaner you would use for upholstery, or even a wet wipe followed by a bore patch with a little gp oil again to keep it from drying out. I would leave the patina as much as you can to preserve the history of this knife and the good use your Grandfather gained from it.
  5. SAK Guy

    SAK Guy

    Jul 2, 2013
    With that style pommel, it might be a real task getting it all compressed and back together properly without damaging it. You may be competent enough to do it but I'd be hesitant on a knife with sentimental value....but that's just me.
  6. popedandy

    popedandy Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    There's no need to do disassemble the knife. Just take care of it the same way you would any other knife with a leather handle and sheath and you will be fine.
  7. leghog


    Aug 10, 2013
    Agree with popedandy. No visible reason to disassemble. If you do, you may likely live to regret it.
  8. Old Hunter

    Old Hunter Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 12, 2012
    If you don't know what you are doing, you will ruin that fine old knife by trying to disassemble it. Most every knife collector here would simply clean it up with oil and elbow grease and take great satisfaction in owning it. Very nice family piece - you are lucky to own it. OH
  9. afishhunter


    Oct 21, 2014
    Looks like a Western L66. Great knife, one of my personal favorite fixed blades. No need to take it apart, as others have mentioned. I used to clean my L66 with saddle soap, then treat the leather with mink oil, or neatsfoot oil, depending on what I had on hand.
  10. Halfneck


    Jun 30, 2005
    No need to disassemble that knife at all.

    - Clean off the green stuff on the guard.
    - Clean the handle up with some mineral oil.
    - Take some Fitz metal polish to the rust spots on the blade.
    - Scrub the sheath with some saddle soap.

    Last thing would be to reprofile that broken tip. Depending on your ability, that step might require someone more skilled.
  11. Vpetrell


    Jul 14, 2015

    I have since decided to leave it. I am worried about the rust, but will use the metal polish on it and put it in the safe. There is rust on the tang about the middle of the handle. Will it continue underneath? And if so, how problematic will it become? I won't be using the knife at all, but want to keep it in the best shape possible so I can keep it in the family.


  12. The Zieg

    The Zieg

    Jan 31, 2002
    There may be rust underneath the leather handle, but barely. The leather was treated before leaving the factory and it was so compressed as to be impermeable. That's where yours looks good: There looks to be no wiggle or gapping between the washers. Another good way to address the rust on the blade is to use it. The combination of light abrasion from use combined with the regular cleaning you will give it will erode the small spots. It's such a hardy tool that there are probably two generations of serious work left in that knife, if not more!

    If you are worried about damaging the sheath (that's one of my stupid anxieties with classic knives), you can get a generic sheath and fit it to the knife yourself. I think the knife begs to be used, though. Or, as was suggested to me regarding a knife owned by my late brother, you could create a shadow box or some sort of display of your grandfather's things and some photos and include the knife as a prominent piece. Solicit relatives for items they might like to see in a display.

    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
  13. zzyzzogeton


    Feb 17, 2013
    That an L46-5, not an L66.
    L46-5 on the left and an L66 on the right - notice the blade swedge differences
    Also, the L46-5 has a 4-3/4" to 5.0" blade (slight variations by year) and the L66 sports a 4-1/2" blade.
    L46-5.jpg L66.jpg

    The L46-5 was made from about 1947 or 1948 until 1973 or 1974. It is not in the group display of all Westerns knives in the 1975 marketing brochure.

    Prior to WW2, the model number was G46-5 (there was also the G46-4 and the G46-6) and the knife had the "old style" mushroom shaped pommel of the 20s-30s that preceded the "modern bird beak" pommel. Western introduced the bird beak pommel style in 1931 on the Model 248.

    During WW2, the G46-6 and G46-5 were made using the bird beak pommel in aluminum and brown swirl plastic with steel or brown swirl plastic guards.

    BY CONVENTIONAL THOUGHT.... With that stamp, there are 4 options -
    If the knife has a patent number as part of the stamp, then the knife is from 1946/7 to 1952 (maybe to 1955 - more below).
    If it does not have either a reference to the patent or a model number stamped on the pile side of on the guard, then the knife is maybe/allegedly from 1952 to 1955.
    If the model number is on the pile side of the knife, it is from 1955 to 1967.
    If the model number is on the guard, it is from 1968 to 1973.

    Per Western President/CEO in his 1977 book "The Knife Makers Who Went West", he states that reference to the patent was dropped in 1952 and that model numbers were added to the knives in 1955. I took this as gospel until a few knives popped up with both the patent number and a model numbed stamped on the ricassos.

    A 1965 L46-5 was my first fixed blade, given to me by my grandfather when I was 10 y.o.

    It is not any newer than 1973 because that is the year that BOULDER COLO was dropped from Western ricasso stamps on fixed blades. Don't know when it was dropped from folders, but probably about the same time frame.
  14. tongueriver

    tongueriver Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    ZZ to the rescue! Thanx for saving me typing all that out myself, which I was going to do! A side-note: The best way to preserve the stacked leather handles is with a wax-based leather product rather than an oil-based product, which tends to swell and weaken that type of leather. To the owner: Please don't take it apart; you will regret it. And if you want to use one just like that, they are readily available at a reasonable price (in that blade length) on ebay.
  15. Coyote3855


    Jun 17, 2008
    It's a great old knife that needs very little to protect/preserve it as others have suggested. I agree there is no reason to take it apart, which would be difficult and serve no good purpose. I have a small collection of Westerns. They are not top-of-the-line knives, but decent working blades. Sadly no longer available. No offense to the OP, but I do not understand the desire to take a vintage tool, be it a knife or firearm, that has obtained a working patina from honest use and polish it up. There are things that can be done to preserve an heirloom, but I would not reblue my Dad's well worn Colt Woodsman or his S&W 28 that he carried on the ranch for 30 years. Too many memories, too much history to subject either to a refinish. Treasure what you have for what it is - your granddad's working knife.
  16. Vpetrell


    Jul 14, 2015

    Thanks for all the feed back guys,

    No offense taken. The only reason I wanted to disassemble the blade was for the rust issue. Based on everyone's concerns that idea went out the window. This will get a wax treatment on the leather, I'll clean the grime off and put it in the safe.

    I don't plan on using it, just wanted to make sure I get a few more generations out of it

    Thanks again!

  17. zzyzzogeton


    Feb 17, 2013
    Just kill the rust using 0000 steel wool and mineral oil and gently scrub the active red rust until it becomes greyish-black. The hardest areas to work are the exposed tang surfaces of the handle. When I'm killing rust there, I use tooth picks and loooow doses of the oil (so it doesn't spread significantly into the leather disks) to gently remove and kill the rust. It's tedious and slow going, but that's what I do.
  18. afishhunter


    Oct 21, 2014
    Thank you for the education. If I offended by misidentifying the knife, my sincere apologies.
    My last L66 was lost in a move from Cali to Iowa in ... 1980(?). I forgot about that hump on the spine. (a friend referred to the hump as a "bone cracker")
  19. r redden

    r redden Platinum Member Platinum Member

    May 23, 2015
    I definitely agree don't disassemble your knife even if you get the leather stacked right again as already mentioned it will be almost impossible to get enough pressure on it to compress it to the point it needs to be. I use some stuff called Leather Honey on everything from car seats to knife handles to saddles. It works great. And I second the Flitz for rust if you have a Dremel Tool buff it with the little white buffing pads just be careful to not get your blade to hot. Good luck.
  20. zzyzzogeton


    Feb 17, 2013
    I definitely was NOT offended.

    Misidentifications occur all the time, especially with the "pre-model number" versions. Some of the differences are subtle, with the ONLY difference between models being 1/4" of blade length. Other times, the difference is blade shape. The L46-5 and the L46-6 shared model numbers, but the blades were different lengths AND slightly different in blade shape. They were also guard differences - 1/2 vs full.

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