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Old 09-12-2018, 08:41 AM
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Default Interesting WWII Theatre Knife

I recently purchased this at a small gun club swap meet. The seller got it out of his fathers estate and knew nothing about its history. It's not uncommon to find knives that were made or modified by servicemen during WWII, but they're usually not this ornate.

These were typically created by support staff at maintenance facilities or machinists aboard ships, using scrap materials on hand. They often used plexiglass from aircraft canopies, brass from shells or cartridge cases and whatever blade material they could find.

This blade appears to be from the tip of a pattern 1905 Garand bayonet. The handle was constructed from plexiglass, brass and aluminum, all held together with 13 brass pins. The brass guard is fairly thick and is inscribed, "CPL H KASTU" on one side and "MARY" on the other. I searched online military records and didn't find anything on a Corporal H. Kastu. He either had a warm spot in his heart for Mary, or he planned on using the knife on her when he got home! The leather sheath is homemade and the "lucky" die on the box knot tassel adds a nice touch.

If you have any examples of theatre knives, please feel free to post them here. I'd love to see 'em!

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Last edited by s&wchad; 09-12-2018 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:36 AM
AJ AJ is offline
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Interesting knife. Never have seen one so ornate. You are right was probably made by someone in the rear with to much time on their hands.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:47 AM
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One to share.
My Father WWII on a Destroyer in the Pacific.

His knife. Western made in Boulder Co., 8 in. Blued blade
He had a machinist mate fabricate the handle, obviously
using the materials that the OP mentioned
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:56 AM
mauser9 mauser9 is offline
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Certainly a unique handle. Some folks sure have talent.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:58 AM
GRT3031 GRT3031 is offline
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That there's the perfect Bin Laden tongue depressor!
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:52 AM
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Interesting Knife!
I'm thinking its from North Africa or the Middle East and made by a local artisian.
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Old 09-12-2018, 01:08 PM
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I like it,never seen one before.
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Old 09-12-2018, 02:25 PM
HOUSTON RICK HOUSTON RICK is offline
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You won't find that on Cutlery Corner! Thank you for posting.
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:35 PM
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I think the Pilgrim nailed it. That handle is very African or middle east in design...possibly turkish were east meets west.

When I find them locally, I tend to pick them up along with trench art. Very good history for not a lot of money typically. No pictures unfortunately, because I am friends with people who actively collect militaria and particularly, WW1, WW2, Desert Storm, and Iraq/Afgan veteran items (retired servicemen). My thought is that their interest is greater than mine, although I do very much appreciate these items, sometimes you have to give 'material goods' to an appreciative home/caretaker.
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:43 PM
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Quick somewhat related note: I was at a gun show maybe 3-4 years ago and a fella was selling a bunch of Iraq vet bring back items. We got to talking about anything and everything and he told me that he was a Desert Storm vet.

Turned out he was selling a bunch of his items from when he was in theatre. I couldn't believe his asking prices...they were really cheap. I paid them more than he was asking and thanked him for his service. He was totally dumbfounded that I paid him more and thought when I was countering the price I was going to try to talk him down, but instead went up. I asked him if he was sure he wanted to sell them and he said he was just done with the stuff. I asked him again, because I thought he should keep it and it quickly became evident he just was going to sell to whomever had the money. I paid him more than he wanted, not that I was a big collector but valued what he did for us.

My personal favorite item was a Beretta 92F holster that the locals hand tooled with the ''historical sites'' of Iraq. Very interesting. My friend who is collector just 'had to have it' so I gave it to him for free.

I guess the moral of my short story is I am not good with money, but know that it isn't everything and am just fine with that.
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:52 PM
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A friend's Dad, a WW2 Vet, had one similar to post#3 he had made it while on Naval Vessel. Looks like there was a lot of shattered plexiglass around for use on knife handles.
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