Ka-Bar leather handles [Archive] - Glock Talk


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03-31-2010, 16:21
I've got several Ka-Bar's, both with leather and Kraton handles.

Just recently picked up a short USMC Ka-Bar with the leather handle because I really loved how well it's big brother has performed for me.

Anyway, I've been very pleased with the knife thus far, but I've noticed the the color of the leather handle seems to be getting lighter which seems kinda odd. Sorta seems like it's drying out somehow, the edges of the washers will turn a sorta off white color if left alone. I'll been periodically giving the handle a little coat of oil to moisturize things again.

Just wondering if this is a normal thing for leather handles? My full size Ka-Bar hasn't done this, if anything the handle got darker. Kinda scratching my head on this one. Any tips on treating/protecting a leather handle?

Jason D
04-03-2010, 17:40
I have a similar knife from WWII, that was made by Pal.
It has never lightened, nor turned white.

I would think putting something like mink oil on it wouldn't hurt.

04-07-2010, 07:39
Probably going to give the mink oil a try. I've got a email in to Ka-Bar as well, I want to see if they have any suggestions.

Dennis in MA
04-07-2010, 07:54

Leather handles can also use a very light coating of oil, avoid certain leather cleaners or conditioners that offer to put the moisture back into your leather.

Most stacked leather disc handled knives such as KA-BAR are already smoothed and sealed by the factory when they are made. They normally will last for years without allot of fuss unless they are handled allot in which case your body chemicals can eat away the sealant after time. Many World War II KA-BAR knives are still around today with their original leather handles intact.

I'd be careful not TOO much oil or any sort of softener, saddle soap, or other product. Some Gum Traganth and high-grit sandpaper should bring em back to normal.

Hitman 47
04-09-2010, 06:06
I've experienced the exact opposite with my Ka-bar. Over the years, the leather handle got darker and darker and is almost black now.

04-09-2010, 07:22
I've experienced the exact opposite with my Ka-bar. Over the years, the leather handle got darker and darker and is almost black now.

Yup, same deal with my full size USMC Ka-Bar, handle got darker. Don't really understand what the deal is on this one though. The leather just seems to refuse to darken up. Doesn't look awful, but doesn't look normal either.

Still no word back from Ka-Bar about it either....guess they don't know or don't care, either way it's frustrating when a company doesn't respond to a consumer inquiry. :steamed:

04-09-2010, 08:23
I'd avoid using anything that could excessively soften the leather (e.g. mink oil, silicones, etc.). I've used Lexol Leather Conditioner with succes on leather knife grips.