Vintage Camillus Electrician's Knife

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

  1. Dave_Markowitz

    Dave_Markowitz Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,004
    Likes Received:
    1,395
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    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?
     
    gila_dog, pab1, DavidJAFO and 26 others like this.
  2. A K Church

    A K Church Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,273
    Likes Received:
    1,795
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2013
    Messages:
    805
    Likes Received:
    583
    Location:
    Camillus, New York
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,273
    Likes Received:
    1,795
    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.
     
    Rooster, NevadaBlue, MrFixIt and 4 others like this.
  5. Jim L.

    Jim L. Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Messages:
    2,585
    Likes Received:
    12,760
    Location:
    Brunswick, Georgia

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

    Seahunter Scout Bushclass I Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2017
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    5,949
    Location:
    Northern California
    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
     
    oldmandave2, DomC, Rooster and 16 others like this.
  7. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Hobbyist Hobbyist

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2014
    Messages:
    3,768
    Likes Received:
    19,264
    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 Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    1,062
    Location:
    Orange Park Fl
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,273
    Likes Received:
    1,795
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,273
    Likes Received:
    1,795
    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

    pecktron2000 Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    337
    Location:
    Everglades, Florida
    My Dad had that knife in his toolbox when I was a child. Nice find!
     
  12. Bobsdock

    Bobsdock Still going Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Messages:
    3,393
    Likes Received:
    19,369
    Location:
    Shell knob mo.
  13. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2014
    Messages:
    23,841
    Likes Received:
    100,775
    Location:
    Bogart, GA
    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...
     
    RMAR, dreamin, rustystove2017 and 6 others like this.
  14. Seahunter

    Seahunter Scout Bushclass I Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2017
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    5,949
    Location:
    Northern California
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    435
    Location:
    Tidewater,Va
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Messages:
    7,285
    Likes Received:
    45,215
    Location:
    Under the Blue Nevada Sky
    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
     
    Rooster, JasonJ, garry3 and 7 others like this.
  17. highlander

    highlander Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    4,949
    Likes Received:
    14,605
    Location:
    Scott County,Tennessee
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2017
    Messages:
    2,081
    Likes Received:
    9,539
    Location:
    MASSHOLE
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2015
    Messages:
    432
    Likes Received:
    569
    Location:
    Maine
    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 Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,004
    Likes Received:
    1,395
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    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.
     
  21. Red Yeti

    Red Yeti Mostly Harmless Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    1,556
    Likes Received:
    12,289
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2013
    Messages:
    805
    Likes Received:
    583
    Location:
    Camillus, New York
    A fire destroyed a good piece of it. What's left is apartments.
     
  23. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2014
    Messages:
    7,185
    Likes Received:
    19,283
    Location:
    Maine
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    484
    I use a Buck workman.
     
    central joe, MrFixIt and NevadaBlue like this.
  25. Wasp

    Wasp We are GO for Sting! Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    Messages:
    9,595
    Likes Received:
    40,233
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I think the screwdriver blade is saying "please make me into a warncliff"!
     
    central joe, MrFixIt and NevadaBlue like this.
  26. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Messages:
    7,285
    Likes Received:
    45,215
    Location:
    Under the Blue Nevada Sky
    Like this?

    [​IMG]

    I had to look it up. Interesting idea.
     
    central joe and MrFixIt like this.
  27. Daniel Klinglesmith

    Daniel Klinglesmith Ornory Old Dog Supporter Banned

    Blog Posts:
    1
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2018
    Messages:
    1,033
    Likes Received:
    5,884
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    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.
     
  28. Southern Greenman

    Southern Greenman Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    229
    Location:
    South Carolina
    I carried one as a Navy Seabee Electrician in the mid 80s. Still have it somewhere around the house ,great Tool . SG
     
  29. tankerjockey

    tankerjockey Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    255
    image.jpeg Here is one I ground on a little.
     
  30. bigfoots

    bigfoots Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Messages:
    458
    Likes Received:
    1,605
    Location:
    Baltimore county md
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2014
    Messages:
    2,275
    Likes Received:
    6,867
    Location:
    Bay City, MI
    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.
     
  32. Daniel Klinglesmith

    Daniel Klinglesmith Ornory Old Dog Supporter Banned

    Blog Posts:
    1
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2018
    Messages:
    1,033
    Likes Received:
    5,884
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    @bigfoots you stole that old Cammilus, great score. It's exactly like the one I gave my grandson.
     
    bigfoots and central joe like this.
  33. bigfoots

    bigfoots Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Messages:
    458
    Likes Received:
    1,605
    Location:
    Baltimore county md
    lol yea the guy had 2,i should have bought both but I didn't know much about them at the time.
     
    central joe and NevadaBlue like this.
  34. Dave_Markowitz

    Dave_Markowitz Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,004
    Likes Received:
    1,395
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Last weekend I got to put the TL-29 to good use, stripping the ends of pigtails for a 12VDC electrical system a friend is installing in his cabin. The pigtails will connect to Anderson Power Poles on one end, and the main bus on the other.

    TL29-pigtails.jpg
     
    Land, gila_dog, central joe and 4 others like this.
  35. Rooster

    Rooster Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    304
    Location:
    In a van down by the river
    I inherited this old Colonial that spent a few decades in my dads toolbox. I remember always seeing it in the old Kennedy box he used for work, then after he retired he kept it in an old no name box at home. It looks a bit rough I suppose, but like seeing my dads toolbox crud on it and don't really care to clean it up.

    08 27 2018 00001a.jpg 08 27 2018 00002a.jpg 08 27 2018 00004a.jpg 08 27 2018 00005a.jpg
     
  36. mtngunr

    mtngunr Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2018
    Messages:
    625
    Likes Received:
    2,051
    Goes back to WWI and running of phone cables to trenches and bunkers being regularly obliterated, late in the war, I think.
     
  37. mtngunr

    mtngunr Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2018
    Messages:
    625
    Likes Received:
    2,051
    Nothing....it was all cleaned out and auctioned off.....
     
    central joe, NevadaBlue and Jim L. like this.
  38. mtngunr

    mtngunr Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2018
    Messages:
    625
    Likes Received:
    2,051
    The screwdriver blade on any multitool serves an invaluable purpose in providing a blade to do things which will destroy a sharp knife blade. Such as open electrical cabinets, boxes, aircraft doors, strip insulation, scrape wire to bright metal, pry, etc. To lose that only to duplicate a sharp edge already there would be counterproductive.

    They were a favorite in our issue tool boxes, used for everything. Freely admit an older true SAK far lighter and less bulky, and able to accomplish most same chores, but, takes more blade flipping as the SAK screwdriver not much of a stripper/scraper.

    Have given dozens of these to kids...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
  39. mosinjoe

    mosinjoe Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    435
    Location:
    Tidewater,Va
    I've gifted guys at work with these knives that I picked up along the way at thrifts and used tool swap meets. I work in shipbuilding and it chaps my lower posterior to work with folks who lack the sense that a knife is an essential tool to have for tasks that come along in the shipbuilding world. These old TL-29's more than fit the bill and don't draw attention like some of the useless 'tacticool' fare I've seen in my trade. My SAK'S fill the niche along with a Benchmade Griptillian or Spyderco Tenacious. I have a bunch others but those two folders get the nod most times. The electricians knive is a skosh heavier than I like in my pocket so they wind up gifted. These old knives are great work tools for those who choose to carry them.
     
  40. will62

    will62 Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,098
    Likes Received:
    3,177
    Location:
    Southwest Missouri
    Still have the one I was issued in Iceland in 86. The screwdriver blade was great for light duty prying and scraping. It also makes a great ferro rod scraper
     
  41. SkipJunkie

    SkipJunkie Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2018
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    614
    IMG_20180901_003645222.jpg
    Crappy cell phone pic . Now of to some spa care . Hadn't opened it in quite a while
     
  42. bigfoots

    bigfoots Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Messages:
    458
    Likes Received:
    1,605
    Location:
    Baltimore county md
    How ironic is this?! Some on here have been talking about grinding the screwdriver blade into a different profile and this morning at the flea market I find another cammilus .i think it's older than the one I already have. It has wood scales and a shield or whatever you call it with T-29 stamped on it. It's a bit smaller than the other one and they ground the screwdriver blade into a drop point more or less. It's funny because that blade is much sharper than the main blade. Guess that destroys any value it might have had. I like the wood it looks like it was cut from an old ship or something. IMG_20180901_124949.jpg
     
  43. Robert Highhawk

    Robert Highhawk Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2016
    Messages:
    466
    Likes Received:
    1,630
    Location:
    Swamps and flat woods of Florida
    One of those was included with the helicopter support kits. First ones I remember were made by Queens then calumus started showing up. That squared off lock blade was good at getting rigging untied
     
    bigfoots likes this.
  44. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    3,014
    Likes Received:
    7,799
    Location:
    New Mexico
    I was issued a TL-29 in the Navy. It was really useful for opening access doors on airplanes. It was also useful for popping the canopy opening button on the side of the fuselage. We had an A7 Corsair come in too low one time, smash its belly on the ass end of the flight deck, and then its tailhook miraculously snagged a wire and dragged the plane to a stop. The pilot was knocked unconscious and the plane burst into flames, but one of the flight deck blue shirts ran up, popped the canopy open with his TL-29, and a couple guys dragged the pilot out and down onto the deck where a couple of corpsmen put him on a stretcher and carried him away. The plane blew up shortly after that. The blue shirt and his TL-29 is what saved the day for that pilot.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
    Land, happywanderer and bigfoots like this.

Share This Page