Types Of Knife Blades For W.R. Case & Sons

Hello, welcome back fellow knife enthusiasts!  If this is your first time, welcome and thanks for reading!  

I had a request to write about knife blades and a little history on this subject.  Thank you very much for that awesome request!  Here at Hersandhistreasures.com, we love receiving your input on topics that you are interested in learning more about.  All you have to do is put your request in the comment section below about a topic that you would like to hear more about and I will try my best to feature that topic in our monthly blog.

So this month I am going to continue the topic of Case pocket knives and dig in a little further and talk about their various styles of blades, types of steel used and the abbreviation letter marks on the blades.  I found this real exciting to learn more in depth about and I hope you will as well!

First, lets start off from the beginning.  Do you know how W.R. Case & Sons came about using their well known "XX" Trademark and what it means?  This trademark goes back to the early days when the "XX" was used as a quality check system during the process of heat treating when making their blades.  When the blades were put through the initial hardening furnace, an X was marked on the pan holding the blades.  Then when the blades were returned to the oven for tempering, a second X was added.  "XX" then showed that each blade had been properly and fully treated.

Still today, the Case "XX" trademark stands for the quality that is placed into making each knife.

Case uses a few different types of steel materials in making their blades and since you can't hone a good knife blade from bad steel, that is why Case uses only premium quality steels for their knives.  They are ordered and have them tested in order to fit their high quality standards.  Here are a list of the types of steel they use.

1.  Chrome Vanadium (CV) ~ a special formula of alloyed cutlery steel                    known for its ease of re-sharpening.  A quick touch up will bring back a chrome vanadium blade's original sharp edge.  You need to use extra care with these blades.  Keep a thin film of oil on the blade to maintain the finish of the steel.

2.  Case Tru-Sharp "Surgical Stainless Steel" ~ A special high-carbon steel that helps the blades hold an edge longer than conventional steel.  This steel also provides extraordinary blade strength and corrosion resistance.

3.  ATS-34 ~ ATS is the brand name for their premium steel used.  It's reputation for edge retention is second to none among the stainless varieties.  It is manufactured with very few impurities.  It consists of combining three principal elements; carbon, chromium and molybdenum.  Added levels of carbon and chromium enhance the steel's hardness and rust resistance qualities but re-sharpening requires a bit more effort.

Case makes a variety of blade styles for their pocket knives.  I have used the pictures found in SARGENT'S American Premium Guide To Knives & Razors book for the illustrations of blade styles below.




 Pictured below and according to Sargent's, "Between 1962 and 1965 Case changed the master blade of their XX991/2 pattern to a smaller design.  The "A" blade is the older and larger of the two and is more valuable."  



Also, between 1963 and 1967, both the Muskrat and the regular blade was used in the trapper.  The narrower Muskrat blade is more valuable.



In addition to the pattern number on Case knives, they will often have additional letter or letters that will represent a blade type or signify characteristics unique in the knife.  The blade abbreviations may be located either behind, below or on a different blade than the pattern number.  Below is list of abbreviations and what the abbreviation stands for.  Sometimes the abbreviations run together.

CC = Blade will have a concave grind.

D = Blades made from Damascus steel.

DR = Rear bolster will be drilled for lanyard. 

EO = The knife will have an easy open feature. 

F = The knife will have a file blade or a fisherman’s blade.

HP = This knife will have both a sheep foot blade and a spay blade.

HE = This knife will have a sheep foot and pen blade.

I = The knife will have iron liners.

J = The knife will have a long spay blade.

K = The knife will have a corkscrew. 

L = The knife will have a locking mechanism. 

P = The knife will have a punch blade.

PEN = The knife will have a pen blade. 

PU = The knife will have a punch blade. 

R = There will be a bail in the handle, or the knife will have a razor blade.

RAZ = The knife will have a razor blade or one armed man blade.

SAB = The blade will be saber-ground. 

SHAD = The knife will not have bolsters. 

SC = The knife will have a pair of scissors.

SICS = The knife will have a pair of scissors.

SP = The knife will have a spay blade. 

SS = The blades and springs will be stainless steel.

SH = The knife will have a sheep foot blade. 

S = The knife will not have bolsters.

SSP = The blades and springs will be stainless steel and will have polished blade edges.

T = The knife will have tip bolsters.

W = The knife will have a Wharncliffe blade. 

X = Used to signify a change in the handle dye.

1/2 = The knife will have a clip master blade. 

3/4 = The knife will be saber ground on one side and not the other. This is a rare.


 Click here for the link to our website to view our Case and other brand of pocket knives.

We thank you for taking the time to read our blog. Make sure to leave a comment below.

Next month we will be talking about the Schrade knife company and looking into some of their history and other facts. 




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