26 March 2017

Relic Hunting Post #148: Cattaraugus 225Q WWII Quartermaster Knife

And I didn't even need a metal detector for this amazing find! A while back, I bought a 1966 Ford F100 pick-up and am currently in the midst of an off-frame restoration for that old classic. When I picked it up, I asked the previous owner if he wanted anything still in the cab of the truck, i.e., some jumper cables, an old socket set, etc. He said, "No, you are welcome to anything I left in it." When I got it home, I found what appeared to be just an old rusted hunting knife under the seat. I almost threw it away, but decided to toss it up on my workbench so I could use it for a digging tool or something. I picked it up for the first time since then yesterday and began using a wire brush to clean it up. It was then I noticed the maker's mark: "Cattaraugus 225Q."

The Cattaraugus 225Q was a *general issue utility knife used by the U.S army during WWII. It is often referred to as the "Quartermaster knife." It has a 6" blade and is a full 3/16" thick. The handle is made of stacked leather rings. It sports a steel butt cap that's almost a full 1/2" thick. Besides a fighting weapon, the knife was often used to pry open crates, as well as a makeshift hammer. It has that quality "heft" feel to it. I got all the rust off, put a quick edge on it, cleaned and put a conditioner on the leather and oiled the steel. It is one tough tool and I'm so pleased to have been able to save this piece of American military history.

Leather handle before conditioning.
Leather handle after conditioning.
Butt cap

*I originally indicated this knife was issued to U.S. Military Special Forces units. That is incorrect.


Anonymous said...

Richard, Introduce your readers to your project F-100, and let us follow you along on the restoration.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Anon - I've thought about doing that. Ok, I'll put that in the "to do" stack and post something by week's end. It does have an interesting back story. Ideally, I want to have it completed by Thanksgiving, but due to cost overruns, that's looking less likely, though still possible. We'll see.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

In the meantime, see this:


And this:


Douglas (Jine) said...

A very nice piece of history there, Rick. When my uncle, who was a Pacific Theatre Marine passed I was blessed and graced to receive all of his related documents, medals, and most special to me a "British Commando Fighting Knife", the storied Fairbairn-Sykes, along with its sheath designed to be worn on the lower leg above the ankle. It has been issued to elite forces since WWII and remains in production today.

Uncle Charles participated in action at Iwo, Saipan, Marianas Islands, Guam and Volcano Islands; may his memory be a blessing. If only these pieces of history could talk.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hey Doug - neat story. The knife you have commands quite a price on ebay, though I know you wouldn't sell. I just purchased an original WWII U.S. Military Army Combat Knife PAL R.H. 36 to add to my collection. Got a fair deal on it, though it's not worth nearly as much as your Fairbairn-Sykes. Talk to you soon.