Vintage Camillus Electrician's Knife

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by Dave_Markowitz, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. Dave_Markowitz

    Dave_Markowitz Scout

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    I picked up this old Camillus electrician's knife off eBay for a whopping $11.50 shipped.

    camillus-electrician-knife.jpg

    It showed signs of use and some neglect, but no outright abuse. E.g., it was dirty and had some rust which I removed by an overnight soak in Evaporust. (That's what turned the carbon steel blades black.) The blades snap into position nicely with no side-to-side wiggle. The brass liner lock positively keeps the screwdriver in the open position.

    After cleaning it off and blasting out some gunk from inside, I started sharpening it. I still have a ways to go as it was very dull when I received it. However, I expect the spear point blade to take a keen edge.

    I plan to keep the edge on the screwdriver blade relatively dull for use as a scraper. I expect it to throw sparks from a ferro rod rather well.

    Anyone else use such a knife?
     
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  2. A K Church

    A K Church Guide

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    I suspect the Military version is still issued. TL-29?

    Growing up, this was a knife a ton of school custodians and office building handymen carried. But I have never had or used one.
     
  3. Jbradshaw

    Jbradshaw Scout

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    I've never owned one. But they show up pretty regularly in garage sales around here, along with many other varieties of Camillus knives. I live about a mile from the old Camillus knives factory.
     
  4. A K Church

    A K Church Guide

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    A very cursory internet search yielded that both Colonial and Klein Tools make them in 2018, and the pattern goes back to (at least) WWII.
     
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  5. Jim L.

    Jim L. Supporter Supporter

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    Makes you wonder what you might find at that old factory.
     
  6. Seahunter

    Seahunter Scout Bushclass I

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    I think they issued TL-29s in WWI also. I really like spear points and the old camillus knives are really nice.

    Here is one that has wood handles and steel liners (WWII era) This poor thing was in rough shape when I got it, but it was only about 10 bucks. I sharpened the screwdriver blade on this one. I have another one that has steel liners, bone handles and looks un-issued except it is missing the bail. Its got the old 4 line stamp and was also about 10 bucks.

    DSC_0090.JPG

    Here is a newer kline that I removed the screwdriver blade, tuned into an easy opener, and put black walnut scales on. I did one of these for my brother and moved the liner lock to the knife blade. He doesn't carry a steel anymore for flint and steel. He just uses the spine of the blade.
    DSC_0899.JPG
     
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  7. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    I've got a couple in the box, I picked up for a few bucks like everbody else.

    I've thrown one in my pocket for a few days, and they're as good as any vintage carbon. Takes a great edge, and if you use it much, just needs touched up and you're razor sharp again.

    @Seahunter........ I really like that modified one, even better as you described with the single locking blade. Great idea!
     
  8. mcblade

    mcblade Scout

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    I was issued those in the 70's in the NAVY about the mid 80's started getting the silver ones with U.S. on the side.
     
  9. A K Church

    A K Church Guide

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    Seahunter, your mod TL-29 is great! I said it before, you're who I want to be when I grow up.
     
  10. A K Church

    A K Church Guide

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    I've seen a picture from WWII of a US soldier in either Burma or the South Pacific. I think Burma. Anyway, 3 days beard, beat to crap fatigues, maybe with a hole at the knee. Slung behind him is either an 03 or more likely 03-A3 Springfield.

    On his web belt is the leather set for linemen-pliers and a visible TL-29. Wonder how long that leather pouch lasted in the awful humidity.

    Mentioned that to a friend last night. He just retired, and is volunteering at a Catholic church in the rural SW US. Dwindling congregation, shared the priest with other churches. Anyway, he mentioned he found a no-name TL-29 copy in the custodian's room, and uses the heck out of it trying to work in the not well maintained little church building. He suspects "his" is Chinese.
     
  11. pecktron2000

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    My Dad had that knife in his toolbox when I was a child. Nice find!
     
  12. Bobsdock

    Bobsdock Still going Supporter

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  13. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I still have my issued linesmen pliers and TL-29 with the piggy back sheath.
    I was supposed to be a telephone man (wireman) in the Corps. Went to the school and all. The units that I were assigned to didn’t have time to string up phones...
     
  14. Seahunter

    Seahunter Scout Bushclass I

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    Thanks guys. It wasn't my idea. I saw some other guys doing all kinds of mods to TL-29s. One of the other mods they did was to re-profile the screwdriver blade into a sheepsfoot blade. Its a pretty cool mod and when done right the knife looks like it came from factory with a sheepsfoot.

    Here is some better quality work than my attempt:
    https://knifedogs.com/threads/some-of-my-mods.38099/

    I messed around with a few of these knives. For me my two favorite configurations are either unmodified like @Dave_Markowitz 's knife, or the main blade gets the liner lock and the screwdriver blade get discarded.

    Here is my other Camillus TL-29 and my grandpa's compass which I think was issued to him in WWII. DSC_0008.JPG
     
  15. mosinjoe

    mosinjoe Scout

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    I've had a slew of these knives and got them fairly cheap at fleas and second hand stores. Very good knives and I gifted them to guys I work with who always ask to borrow someones knife for whatever cutting chore comes up. Often with bad results for the lender. So....the borrower/co-worker gets one of these along with a good lecture as to the utility of having a knife on hand for work. These are fairly tough knives and dang heavy. You know you have one in your pocket.
     
  16. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I have a couple of Kleins that need some TLC. The 3 blade is tight, the hook bill is needing tightened. All from the 70s I think.

    7F399762-95C3-43FE-B926-94811423D1C0.jpeg
     
  17. highlander

    highlander Supporter Supporter

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    Utica Cutlery made them as well. Two and three blade “workman’s series.” Brown delrin scales.
    They a heavy as lead, but they take a sharp edge. Handy to have when you forgot your screwdriver in the toolbox. I had a Camillius with the screwdriver sharpened for scraping and carving.
    I’ve always wondered why they didn’t put a lock on the blade side too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  18. TRYKER

    TRYKER Guide

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    back in 1969 i started working as a lineman and was issued one of the cammies, a 9'' klien, and a 10'' wesket. i still have them all, just not the job , left in '72. i still use the kife for craft work and it sits in the lazy susan on the dinning room table.
     
  19. ozwolf

    ozwolf Scout

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    I used to work with a guy that's used one of these.
    I've always wanted one but haven't come across one.
    Good to know Klein makes them.
     
  20. Dave_Markowitz

    Dave_Markowitz Scout

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    I spent some more time cleaning it up and putting an edge on it. It was very dull, so it took about an hour using a DMT fine diamond bench stone, followed up by some time on a Worksharp field sharpener. It'll shave now. I left the edge on the screwdriver blade as-is.

    I also cleaned off most of the black residue from the Evaporust bath.

    Camillus_TL29.jpg

    It'll get some use later this month when I help a buddy with his off-grid cabin project.
     
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  21. Red Yeti

    Red Yeti Mostly Harmless Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Yes!

    I have a few of those I got to do some mods to and to use as the handles and spring for forged folder blades. One hangs over my work bench as a great all purpose shop knife for every nasty job. Just keeps on ticking...
     
  22. Jbradshaw

    Jbradshaw Scout

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    A fire destroyed a good piece of it. What's left is apartments.
     
  23. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    A couple more: Holub Sycamore-top, Cattaraugus-bottom IMG_5475.JPG

    A man without a knife is the same as a golfer without balls-useless.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  24. grizz78

    grizz78 Tracker

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    I use a Buck workman.
     
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  25. Wasp

    Wasp We are GO for Sting! Supporter

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    I think the screwdriver blade is saying "please make me into a warncliff"!
     
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  26. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Like this?

    [​IMG]

    I had to look it up. Interesting idea.
     
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  27. Daniel Klinglesmith

    Daniel Klinglesmith Ornory Old Dog Supporter

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    I kept one of these in my tool box for the past 42 years. Been helping my grandson on his scooter and truck and just gave him a full set of tools of mine, including the knife.
     
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  28. Southern Greenman

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    I carried one as a Navy Seabee Electrician in the mid 80s. Still have it somewhere around the house ,great Tool . SG
     
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  29. tankerjockey

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    image.jpeg Here is one I ground on a little.
     
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  30. bigfoots

    bigfoots Scout

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    I got this one for 2 bucks at a flea market. It has a few dings on the handle but it's still in very good condition. It's a IMG_20180716_080701.jpg well made knife!
     
  31. JasonJ

    JasonJ Guide

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    I think the other function of the screwdriver blade actually was a scraper. It was used for anything and everything by those who had them though! lol.

    I think this is correct. TL-29 is a beefy and very well built knife.
     
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  32. Daniel Klinglesmith

    Daniel Klinglesmith Ornory Old Dog Supporter

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    @bigfoots you stole that old Cammilus, great score. It's exactly like the one I gave my grandson.
     
  33. bigfoots

    bigfoots Scout

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    lol yea the guy had 2,i should have bought both but I didn't know much about them at the time.
     

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