Camillus knife handle material

The Camillus Cutlery Company was one of the oldest knife manufacturers in the United States with roots dating back to 1876. The company manufactured Camillus branded knives and was a prolific contractor for other knife brands up until its last days in 2007 when the company filed for bankruptcy.
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Camillus knife handle material

Postby Beag1eGal » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:20 pm

I found an old Camillus over the weekend and am curious about the handle material.It is a short line and model number 14.
The material is a brownish gold. It does not have depth like celluloid, nor does it smell like celluloid when you rub it. It is heavier than most knives I have had this size. I do not see any cracks, or chips. At first I thought it was some type of stone but I really do not know.
I am attaching pictures and appreciate any help. ::shrug::
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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby americanedgetech » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:51 pm

It looks like Maple "burl" to me.
The knotty areas you find in bowls growing on trees.
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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby Tsar Bomba » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:58 pm

I agree, that looks like a rehandled Camillus in some sort of wood burl. Oddly, the short lines always had pinned scales, so I think the rehandler went ahead and glued the wood slabs on like some of the newer Camilluses featured.
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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby orvet » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:37 pm

I agree, this knife has had the handle replaced after it left the factory.
It does appear to be some type of burl wood.
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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby jerryd6818 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:53 pm

Bingo, bingo, bingo. And now you know. ::nod::
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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby philco » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:16 am

For what it's worth, I think it's a very nice looking knife. ::tu::
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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby americanedgetech » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:22 am

philco wrote:For what it's worth, I think it's a very nice looking knife. ::tu::


Agreed!

I've been replacing handles on beaters, and found a cool method for keeping the handle pins by cutting them shorter, and using them as dowels to keep the scale alignment secure. I think it's a cool method, and may have been used in this knife.

It's a looker for sure. ::tu::
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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby Tsar Bomba » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:08 am

philco wrote:For what it's worth, I think it's a very nice looking knife. ::tu::

I have a rehandled Imperial (IIRC) scout in a wood burl shadow pattern, it is an interesting look for that knife. Checked the case where I normally keep my scouts but it's nowhere to be found... ::paranoid:: I'll have to hunt it down and take some photos,

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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby philco » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:20 am

We'll await your report. :)
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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby Toejammer » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:32 am

Birchbark - I got some from Culpepper earlier this year, looks a lot like your knfe handles.

http://www.knifehandles.com/media/catal ... chbark.jpg
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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby americanedgetech » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:06 am

Toejammer wrote:Birchbark - I got some from Culpepper earlier this year, looks a lot like your knfe handles.

http://www.knifehandles.com/media/catal ... chbark.jpg


The color is similar but yours is a straight grain.

I'm pretty sure the OP knife is Maple due to the lighter wood showing thru the finish. Burl wood (knot wood) is very dense, and does not take penetrating stain(s) well. It does take surface finishes beautifully tho.
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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby Beag1eGal » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:58 am

Thanks all. Its a keeper for me. I just like the look and feel.

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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby orvet » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:11 am

americanedgetech wrote:I'm pretty sure the OP knife is Maple due to the lighter wood showing thru the finish. Burl wood (knot wood) is very dense, and does not take penetrating stain(s) well. It does take surface finishes beautifully tho.


Not to be argumentative Ken, but it really depends on the type of tree the burl came from; for example maple and cedar burl usually absorb stains and dyes very well, until they are stabilized.
Most of the burl wood you buy that is sold specifically for knife handles has been stabilized. Stabilizing helps keep it from cracking and splitting and it also makes it much denser (in the case of maple). The stabilizing process usually makes finishing the wood much easier because it fills minute pores and often all you need to do is buff the stabilized wood with a fine compound to achieve a beautiful finish.
One burl wood seller says that maple burl generally doubles in weight when it is stabilized because of the amount of polymer it absorbs. Other woods like desert ironwood and cocobolo absorb very little of the stabilizing medium due to the density of the wood.

The stabilizing process increases the weight of the wood and also seals the pores of the wood so that stain and dyes do not penetrate it well. However, the stabilizing material can be colored and the wood can be dyed prior to stabilization. I have seen some truly spectacular burls with multicolored dye jobs.
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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby americanedgetech » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:52 pm

orvet wrote:
americanedgetech wrote:I'm pretty sure the OP knife is Maple due to the lighter wood showing thru the finish. Burl wood (knot wood) is very dense, and does not take penetrating stain(s) well. It does take surface finishes beautifully tho.


Not to be argumentative Ken, but it really depends on the type of tree the burl came from; for example maple and cedar burl usually absorb stains and dyes very well, until they are stabilized.
Most of the burl wood you buy that is sold specifically for knife handles has been stabilized. Stabilizing helps keep it from cracking and splitting and it also makes it much denser (in the case of maple). The stabilizing process usually makes finishing the wood much easier because it fills minute pores and often all you need to do is buff the stabilized wood with a fine compound to achieve a beautiful finish.
One burl wood seller says that maple burl generally doubles in weight when it is stabilized because of the amount of polymer it absorbs. Other woods like desert ironwood and cocobolo absorb very little of the stabilizing medium due to the density of the wood.

The stabilizing process increases the weight of the wood and also seals the pores of the wood so that stain and dyes do not penetrate it well. However, the stabilizing material can be colored and the wood can be dyed prior to stabilization. I have seen some truly spectacular burls with multicolored dye jobs.


I should have said it is very dense "once stabilized".
As you point out, not many people will use raw materials, and the majority of finishes are indeed surface finishes.

I tend to think more than type so my thoughts are often incomplete in this format.

You are a champ sir for adding the extra information. ::tu::
Ps... I still think it's Maple. :lol:
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Re: Camillus knife handle material

Postby orvet » Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:38 pm

I made the point to help other people avoid the mistake I made when I first started doing knife handles. I went out and bought some really beautiful maple burl and got home and discovered it was way too soft for knife handles without being stabilized. So I have some beautiful Maple burl then I can't use for knife handles unless I send it out somewhere to be stabilized. I did make a couple of clocks with it. The burl I have is very light in color.
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