Smelly USMC KaBar?

Aug 31, 1999
Well, at 29-08-1989, I bought my first KaBar, I was astonished by it's appearance, in it's white box with a great story.
This knife had a smell on it, it was the coating. This smell was so strong that I couldn't keep it in my livingroom. After years of use and polishing, the coating was gone and the steel became shiny-grey and smelled like an old polished furnace. A beautifull surface with little rustpitts, caused by a seawaterwetsheath. Anyone had this same smell on the parkerized knife? I don't have this KaBar anymore, it got stolen by a pickpocket. The other two KaBar's have epoxy coating. One off them however has(had) a lose pommel and the upper edge is not grinded in the middle, when you look over the knife it looks as if it's bended. The other one is perfect. Anyone knows how to get the coating off? Does KaBar have A and B class knives?

Looking forward to your comment, my fellow knifenuts.
A parkerized surface is absorbent -- it absorbs and retains oil, which is a lot of the reason it helps to prevent rust. What did it smell like? I'm guessing some kind of strong-smelling oil was applied to keep it from rusting before sale ... it could take a very long time for that to wear off. Did you try cleaning it with solvent?

You can sand any coating off and polish the knife to any degree you want.

-Cougar :{)
Welcome, fellow knife knut. I'd use fine sandpaper or rough polishing compound to remove the finish. I have a USMC Ka-Bar too and it's a great knife. I suppose I noticed the smell a little when it was new, but I liked it. I don't think that Ka-Bar has different grades of knives, but they do have some more tactical modern knives available. Check them out at .
Hey Math...

Tim Herman's knives have that very same aroma.

Actually I think Tim sells small bottles of it to "Touch Up" his knives once the smell starts fading...

ttyle Eric...

Eric E. Noeldechen
On/Scene Tactical
Custom,Quality, Concealex Sheaths.

Leading The Way In Synthetic Sheathing.
For a more positive smell -- mineral oil with a drop of clove oil in the bottle is a traditional treatment for katanas. It's often called clove oil but you only want a little clove oil in it to give it a pretty powerful scent. Both mineral oil and clove oil are safe for food. Get the mineral oil at the drugstore; I got my clove oil at a health food store but I think supermarkets have it, too.

It's good for leather, too, and for your skin.

-Cougar :{)
I'm not sure of the smell you are talking about, but those old Blackjack/EK knives had the stinkiest sheaths I have ever seen. I think it was the preservative in the sheath, but it was nasty!

Danbo, soul brother of Rambo
Thanks boys,

Cougar, or is it Allen,

It smelled like an old mining pit at the bottom, old sweat, old oil, old muffie laether, old boots, old cloths, rusty iron and like fish.
I can't remember but I think I did use solvent. I polished the coating off with metalpolish, it took month's to get it shiny. I used metalpolish instead off sandpaper to avoid any scratches not caused by using it as a knife.
I have some special oil, called Ballistol, it is good for everything, a natural product and high quality gun oil too. It'german.
These new epoxy coating is harder to get off.

Roadrunner, miep miep,

How did you deal with the place where the guard meets the blade. Polishing the blade but leaving the guard untouched.
The was known to me, thanks anyway.


I hope the music is better than the smell was.

Well boys,

When the coating is gone, only blank iron is left, the smell off this iron itself is much better than that off any coating. The higher the carbon, the stronger the smell.
I treat it with Ballistol-oil to keep it rustproof and clean. I use this Ballistol also on the leather handle and they became dark red-brown.

My Ka-Bar Sheath smells GOOD! I haven't treated it yet (because I'm lazy). I know I should but I'd hate to lose the smell. Mmm-mm.
Not quite on topic, but I kept a Ka-Bar in the trunk of my car, and some brake fluid spilled on it. Seems to be a pretty good preservative, but it did soften the leather a little.