GERBER Mark II™ KNIVES

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Copyright ©2008-2013 by John T. Sabol





KNIFE INTRODUCTION

Throughout the years of its production, from 1967 to 1998, the Gerber Mark II went through many alterations. Changes in blade steel, blade profile, blade serration, handle material, handle coating material and handle coating color resulted in a large number of knife variations.

In 2008 the Mark II, with some design changes, was re-introduced and has since had some minor changes in markings and packaging.

The knives presented here are organized into several categories, most of which are based on easily observable knife shape or handle type/color. The categories can be accessed from the active buttons above.

For each knife, one or more small thumbnail pictures are included. By clicking on the thumbnail, you can access a high-resolution picture of the knife.

I have tried to give an approximate serial number range for each knife. Note that these ranges are just a guide as often there are overlaps between knife types.

I've also assigned an alphanumeric code to each of the knife types to aid collectors in describing a particular variation without resorting to a lengthy description. Listed below are over 50 Mark II knife variations, all that I am aware of:

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CAT'S TONGUE KNIVES
"Cat's Tongue" (Gerber called it "Steel Grip") handled knives gained their name from the rough sandpaper-like surface of the handles. The surface was created by spraying molten stainless steel on the aluminum handle's surface. The molten steel droplets momentarily melted the aluminum and were imbedded in the handle. The aluminum quickly solidified, fusing the droplets on the handle surface. The guard and pommel are coated with black, non-reflective, Duracron paint. These handles provide a very secure grip even with hands that are wet or slippery.

The Cat's Tongue handles are found on the early 1967-1968 knives as well as the 20th., 35th. and 70th. Gerber Anniversary knives and knives made exclusively for the Cutlery Shoppe and for A.G. Russell.

And there are occasional other Cat's Tongue Handle knives on much later knives, but they are rare. For example I have noted Cat's Tongue Handles on S/N's 019785, E0077S, E5601S and L8990S.

All of these knives have 6-5/8 to 7-inch long blades with an overall length of 11-5/8 to 12 inches. The total knife weight is approximately 7.3 ounces. All blades are of a flattened diamond shape cross section and have various profiles which are individually described.


[Cat's Tongue Knife 1 Thumbnail Image] CT1: CAT'S TONGUE TYPE 1 : "COMBAT"; CAT'S TONGUE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; 5 DEGREE CANT BLADE; SLANT 1 LOGO

The CT1 knives are the earliest production knives. They have the narrow wasp-waisted blades with no serrations. These knives were marketed as "Combat Knives". Basically a dagger designed for sticking, but equally capable of cutting and slashing. The blades of these knives are "canted" about 5 degrees. These blades are also referred to as "bent" or "angled" blades. The cant or bend is normally toward the serial number side of the blade. (See Blade Cant for more info.)

The "Cat's Tongue" handles on these knives usually have a dark gray appearance in contrast with the brighter handles of the Anniversary and Cutlery Shoppe knives. The CT1 knives are found on 1967 knives from S/N 001001 to S/N 003747. However, they also can be found outside this range, due to special orders, up to about S/N 004188.

NOTE: The very early serial numbers were stamped facing the blade (read with blade pointing down). I have records of three blades 001001, 001030 and 001049 stamped in this manner. Sometime after S/N 001049 the serial number stamping was inverted (read with blade pointing up) and remained this way until the end of production.


[Cat's Tongue Knife 2 Thumbnail Image] CT2: CAT'S TONGUE TYPE 2 : "COMBAT"; CAT'S TONGUE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; NO CANT; SLANT 1 LOGO

The CT2 knives are basically the CT1 knife, but without any blade cant. They have the narrow wasp-waisted blades with no serrations. These knives were marketed as "Combat Knives". Basically a dagger designed for sticking, but equally capable of cutting and slashing. The blade "cant" of the earlier knives was eliminated due to many owners who assumed they were defective and returned them to the Gerber factory.

The "Cat's Tongue" handles on these knives usually have a dark gray appearance in contrast with the brighter handles of the Anniversary and Cutlery Shoppe knives. The CT2 knives are found on 1967-1968 knives in the approximate serial range of 003541 - 008584.


[SIGMA Cat's Tongue Thumbnail Image] Photo: Anonymous

[SIGMA Etch Thumbnail Image] Photo: Anonymous

CT2S: CAT'S TONGUE TYPE 2S: "SIGMA"; CAT'S TONGUE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; NO CANT; ETCHED WRITING ON BLADE; SLANT 1 LOGO

The CT2S knives are probably the most sought after Mark II knives due to their association with the Green Berets of the Vietnam War. Approximately 50 of these knives were supposedly special ordered and they are referred to as "SIGMA" knives.

SFOD B-56 Project Sigma was formed in August 1966 and located at camp Ho Ngoc Tao near Tu Duc, along highway 1 between Saigon and Long Binh. Sigma teams abducted Viet Cong, placed electronic surveillance devices, setup anti-personnel ordinance ambushes and inserted varied electronic devices in order to impede and harass the enemy along infiltration routes into South Vietnam. In November 1967 operational control of Sigma was given directly to MACV, and placed under the control of the II Field Force. Sigma was relocated to Ban Me Thuot in 1969 and left Vietnam in mid 1971.

The Sigma knives are basically the CT2 knife, but are acid etched. They have the narrow wasp-waisted blades with no serrations. They are Special Forces Presentation blades marked in two lines ' "SIGMA" - GREEN BERETS / VIETNAM - 1968' on the logo side of the blade. The lettering was done with the normal factory acid etching used at that time.

The "Cat's Tongue" handles on these knives usually have a dark gray appearance in contrast with the brighter handles of the Anniversary and Cutlery Shoppe knives.

The CT2S knives are found on 1968 knives supposedly in the serial range of 008001 - 008050. However I have encountered 4 knives in this serial range that had no trace of any Sigma etching. This casts some doubt in my mind about the accuracy of the 008001 - 008050 S/N range.

NOTE: The example shown has it's serial number ground off. The reason for the serial number removal is unknown. Although I have no doubt this example is authentic, I would be very wary of being offered a knife of this rarity, without a serial number, that did not have a foolproof provenance.


[Cat's Tongue Knife 3 Thumbnail Image]

[20th. Anniv. Blade Etch Thumbnail Image]

[20th. Anniv. Box Thumbnail Image]

CT3: CAT'S TONGUE TYPE 3 : "20TH. ANNIVERSARY"; CAT'S TONGUE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; 5 DEGREE CANT BLADE; ETCHED WRITING ON BLADE; SLANT 2 LOGO

These knives are reproductions of the original canted blade knives and were made to celebrate the 20th. Anniversary (1986) of the Gerber Mark II's introduction in 1966. The knives are found with a brown leather sheath on a red velveteen (imitation velvet) lined insert in a black cardboard box with a label that reads "Mark II™ / 20th. Anniversary 1966 - 1986 / Serial # xxNNNN / Item No. 5740". Included are a Certificate of Authenticity, A history card and care instructions.

The knife is a faithful reproduction of the original, the blade being canted and made of the original L6 tool steel and the handle having the "Cat's Tongue" finish. However there are two major differences: 1) The 4 digit serial number has a XX prefix, while the originals have an all numeric six digit number with leading zeros. 2) The Gerber logo on the Anniversary knives is of the Slant 2 type, while the originals are of the Slant 1 type. (See Blade Logos for more info).

There is black script lettering electro-etched on the blade on the logo side that reads "Mark II™ / 20th. Anniversary 1966 - 1986". The blade is also coated with a protective lacquer coating. The coating can be removed with lacquer thinner if desired, but should be replaced with a light coat of oil to prevent rusting.

The "Cat's Tongue" handles on these knives have a brighter appearance in contrast with the usually darker gray handles of the original knives. The CT3 knives are found on 1986 knives in the in the serial range of XX0001 - XX5000. The XX prefix on the serial number is the Roman Numerals for twenty and was used to indicate that the knife was the Anniversary issue and not an original earlier knife.


[Cat's Tongue Knife 3N Thumbnail Image] CT3N: CAT'S TONGUE TYPE 3N : "20TH. ANNIV. NO ETCH"; CAT'S TONGUE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; 5 DEGREE CANT BLADE; NO ETCHED WRITING ON BLADE; SLANT 2 LOGO

Some of the 20th. Anniversary Knives were not marked with the 20th. Anniversary black electro-etch. At some later date, they were repackaged and I believe sold through the Cutlery Shoppe.

The knife is the same faithful reproduction of the original, the blade being canted and made of the original L6 tool steel and the handle having the "Cat's Tongue" finish. However, there is no lettering electro-etched on the blade. Also no protective lacquer coating. The knife was sold with a C3 type Cordura™ sheath in the late, blue and black box with a label that reads "Mark II™ / WASP / #GB5705".

The "Cat's Tongue" handles on these knives have a brighter appearance in contrast with the usually darker gray handles of the original knives. The CT3N knives are found on 1986 knives scattered throughout the serial range of XX3701 - XX4825. Again, the XX prefix on the serial number is the Roman Numerals for twenty and was used to indicate that the knife was the Anniversary issue and not an original earlier knife.


[Cat's Tongue Knife 4 Thumbnail Image] CT4: CAT'S TONGUE TYPE 4 : "CUTLERY SHOPPE"; CAT'S TONGUE; 440A STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; NO CANT; VERTICAL 1 & 2 LOGOS

These knives were made exclusively for the Cutlery Shoppe. They are very similar to the early non-canted blade CT2 knives, but with the following differences: (1) The knives are made from 440A stainless steel rather than the original L6 tool steel. (2) The knives have a four digit serial number with a CS prefix

These knives were sold with a C3 type Cordura™ sheath in the late, blue and black box with a label that reads "Mark II™ / WASP / #GB5705". Note that this is the same box label used for the CT3N unmarked 20th. Anniversary knives that were sold by Cutlery Shoppe.

The "Cat's Tongue" handles on these knives have a brighter appearance in contrast with the usually darker gray handles of the original knives. The CT4 knives are found on 1989-1996 knives scattered in batches throughout the serial range of CS0003 - CS1755. The CS prefix on the serial number stands for "Cutlery Shoppe" and was used to indicate that the knife was not an original earlier knife.


[Cat's Tongue Knife 5 Thumbnail Image]

[Cat's Tongue Knife 5A Thumbnail Image]

CT5: CAT'S TONGUE TYPE 5 : "CUTLERY SHOPPE"; CAT'S TONGUE; 440A STEEL; STRAIGHT; 8 TEETH/IN.; NO CANT & 5 DEGREE CANT BLADE; VERTICAL 1 & 2 LOGOS; "MARK II™" ETCHED ON BLADE

These knives were made exclusively for the Cutlery Shoppe. They have the straight profile blade (no wasp shape) and have two inches of 8-teeth-per-inch serrations in the center of both blade cutting edges. The blades are made from 440A stainless steel. In addition most of these blades have a 5-degree cant but others have been observed with no blade cant. The cant or bend is toward the serial number side of the blade.

There is black lettering, electro-etched on the blade on the logo side that reads "MARK II™" on most knives. Others do not have the etch.

These knives can be found with C3 and C3S type Cordura™ sheaths or FT2 leather sheaths in either the Orange Slide or Blue and Black boxes. They were sold under the model #GB5710.

The "Cat's Tongue" handles on these knives have a brighter appearance in contrast with the usually darker gray handles of the original knives. The CT5 knives are found on 1989-1996 knives scattered in batches throughout the serial range of CS0006 - CS1947. The CS prefix on the serial number stands for "Cutlery Shoppe" and was used to indicate that the knife was not an original earlier knife. Note that this is the only Cutlery Shoppe model that is canted as well as having serrations.


[Cat's Tongue Knife 6 Thumbnail Image] CT6: CAT'S TONGUE TYPE 6 : "CUTLERY SHOPPE"; CAT'S TONGUE; 440A STEEL; WIDE WASP; NO TEETH; NO CANT; VERTICAL 2 LOGO

These knives were made exclusively for the Cutlery Shoppe. They have the wide wasp profile blade with no serrations. The blades are made from 440A stainless steel. There is no electro-etched lettering on the blade and there is no blade cant.

The knife was sold with a C3 or C4 type Cordura™ sheath in both the orange slide box and the late, Blue/Black box with a label that reads "Mark II™ / WASP / #GB5705". Note that this is the same box label used for the CT3N unmarked 20th. Anniversary knives that I believe were sold by Cutlery Shoppe.

The "Cat's Tongue" handles on these knives have a brighter appearance in contrast with the usually darker gray handles of the original knives. The CT6 knives are found on 1992-1996 knives scattered in batches throughout the serial range of CS0461 - CS1802. The CS prefix on the serial number stands for "Cutlery Shoppe" and was used to indicate that the knife was not an original earlier knife.


[Cat's Tongue Knife 7 Thumbnail Image]

[35th. Anniv. Blade Etch Thumbnail Image]

[35th. Anniv. Box Thumbnail Image]

CT7: CAT'S TONGUE TYPE 7 : "35TH. ANNIVERSARY"; CAT'S TONGUE; 154CM STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; NO CANT; ETCHED WRITING ON BLADE; SLANT 2 LOGO

These knives are a limited edition reproduction of the original 1967-1968 non-canted blade knives and were made to celebrate the 35th. Anniversary (2001) of the Gerber Mark II's introduction in 1966. Gerber only made 1250 of these knives. One thousand were for sale domestically and 250 were supposedly sent overseas. The knives are found in a red velveteen (imitation velvet) lined insert in a black cardboard box with dark brown leather sheath and Certificate of Authenticity. It was sold as Model 5710.

The knife is a reproduction of the original. It has the "Cat's Tongue" handle but the blade is not canted and is made of 154CM stainless steel rather than the original L6 tool steel. There is black script lettering electro-etched on the blade on the logo side that reads "Mark II™ / 35th. Anniversary 1966 - 2001".

The "Cat's Tongue" handles on these knives have a brighter appearance in contrast with the usually darker gray handles of the original knives. The CT7 knives are found on 2001 knives in the in the serial range of 010001 - 011250. The 01 prefix on the serial number stands for the year 2001. Although this serial number range on early knives is beyond the end of Cat's Tongue knives, there is a chance that with the removal of the electro-etched script, an attempt could be made to pass these knives off as originals.

NOTE: There are a dozen of these knives that have approximately 1-1/2 inches of multi-depth serrations cut in the narrow wasp portion of both edges of the blade. These were sold on eBay with the following text:

"Japanese customs will not permit entry to any double-edged blade that is over 6 (six) inches in length, UNLESS (and this is very important) the blade is serrated on each side. Therefore, this Gerber Mark II did not qualify for entry as it was not serrated."

"A dear friend of mine, who is an importer in Japan, decided to buy a dozen of these boxed items and have them serrated to enable entry into his country. The serrations were done by one of our country's leading knife makers. Japanese customs found them unacceptable. I have been recruited to auction these knives on eBay."


[Cat's Tongue Knife 8 Thumbnail Image]

[AG RUSSELL Box Thumbnail Image]

CT8: CAT'S TONGUE TYPE 8 : "AG RUSSELL LTD. EDITION"; CAT'S TONGUE; 154CM STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; NO CANT; ETCHED WRITING ON BLADE; SLANT 3 LOGO

These knives are a limited edition made exclusively for A. G. Russell Knives. They have the wide wasp profile blade with no serrations. The blades are made from 145CM stainless steel. There is no electro-etched lettering on the blade and there is no blade cant. Gerber only made 100 of these knives.

The "Cat's Tongue" handles on these knives have a brighter appearance in contrast with the usually darker gray handles of the original knives. The CT8 knives are found on 2002 knives with the serial range of Z00001 - Z00100. The significance of the Z prefix on the serial number is unknown.

The knives are mostly found in a green velveteen (imitation velvet) lined insert in a black cardboard box with dark brown leather sheath and Certificate of Authenticity. The tag on the box bottom reads "KNIFE, MARK II, AG RUSSELL Item: 22-07006". Note that the COA reads much like the COA of the 2002 Limited Edition knives with the letter A prefix serial numbers and black handles (See Black Armorhide Type 8 for more info).


[Cat's Tongue Knife 9 Thumbnail Image]

[70th. Anniv. Blade Etch Thumbnail Image]

[70th. Anniv. Box Thumbnail Image]

[70th. SN'S Thumbnail Image] EU-03 Photo: Valery Yanduganov

CT9: CAT'S TONGUE TYPE 9 : "70TH. ANNIVERSARY"; CAT'S TONGUE; S30V STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; NO CANT BLADE; ETCHED WRITING ON BLADE; ETCHED SLANT 3 LOGO & SERIAL NUMBER

These knives are reproductions of the original Mark II knives and were made to celebrate the 70th. Anniversary (1939-2009) of the Gerber Legendary Blades Company. The knives are found with a black leather sheath on a gray velveteen (imitation velvet) insert in a wood display case with a glass cover. Included is a Certificate of Authenticity

The knife is a somewhat faithful reproduction of the original, but there is no cant to the blade and the blade is made of S30V steel rather than the original L6 tool steel. The handle has the "Cat's Tongue" finish. The major observable difference is that markings on both sides of the blade are laser-etched rather than stamped. Most knives are marked in a brown colored laser-etch with the Slant 3 logo and "S30V USA" on the obverse ricasso and all have have a production code of "08CHO" on the reverse ricasso (although I was told of one 09CHO marked knife). (See 2008 Production Code for more information on the production code).

The 1500 serialized knives have the production code "08CHO" over a four digit serial number in the form of "XXXX OF 1500". However three other markings can be found on the reverse ricasso.

1) A small unknown number are marked "08CHO" over "GLB-SS10". The GLB marking is an abbreviation for "Gerber Legendary Blades" and the SS10 for Shot Show 2010. They were made for the 2010 SHOT SHOW, the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show. Some have an engraved wooden stand that is so marked.

2) There is an unknown number of un-serialized knives that are simply marked "08CHO" over "GLB". Again, the GLB marking is an abbreviation for "Gerber Legendary Blades"

3) There is also a small unknown number stamped with "08CHO" over "EUNN" where "NN" is a two digit number. I received this information from Valery Yanduganov in Russia. I've since noted another with the serial EU25. The meaning of the EU is unknown but could possibly stand for European Union.

All of these knives also have brown script lettering laser-etched on the blade on the logo side that reads "GERBER" / "70th. Anniversary Commemorative" / "Mark II™".

The "Cat's Tongue" handles on these knives have a brighter appearance in contrast with the usually darker gray handles of the original knives. The CT9 knives are found on 2009 knives with the above mentioned markings.

The wood case with class cover comes in a plain cardboard box with the Gerber Item No. 22-01972.

Some very interesting technical details about the knife comes from Thilo Schleinitz, a mechanical engineer and knife collector in Germany. I have shortened some of his information:

He mentions that the knives exist as Wide wasp and Narrow wasp depending on the manual setup done during blade grinding and that the higher numbers tend to be narrow. Possibly there were two manufacturing periods as evidenced by the different grinds. Thickness of the Narrow is about 66% and Wide about 78% of the original blade width.

All the knives should be without a cant. But if the ricasso is ground higher or lower on one side compared with the other, a cant can occur. Also a "banana" curve can occur if the blade grinding pressure is too high on one side. Both alter the stress in the metal of the blade.

He was able to use a YAG laser, at rather high power, to get the exact gold-brown color of the marking on this steel. The laser delivers a rectangular red-line window on the target, and you adjust the knife manually to have that window in correct position. Then you click on marking, and the laser writing is done in that window. He suspects that is how they were produced, without any fixation tooling, because the text is always in a slightly different location on the blade.

He has a 70th. knife with a COA that is a gray metal, laser etched plate with the exact lettering of the paper ones with the exception that there is no serial number line.

He also mentions that the box was made in China and that some have a styropor (styrofoam) form underneath the velveteen (imitation velvet) insert to stabilize it and some do not.

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GOLD HANDLED KNIVES

When production started on the Mark II, management thought it would be a good idea to offer special MKII’s with gold plated handles that would sell at a higher price. In the beginning every even 100th. serial numbered knife would be built with a gold plated handle. Later, it may have been changed to every even 50th. knife. The Mark II's Cat's Tongue handles were plated with real gold in the Gerber factory plating shop.

The only documentation I have is a copy of a flyer from Adrian Van Dyk that states: "A special presentation deluxe Mark II combat knife is now available with a Gold Plated Finish. Supply of these may be limited since only every 50th. knife is a deluxe. Price is $10.00 extra for deluxe."

At that time, the Mark II Combat Knife with scabbard sold for $25.00 and the Mark II Combat Knife with steel and piggyback scabbard sold for $31.95. Since $10.00 was 30-40% of the total cost of the knife, not many were ordered.

I've been told just under 200 Gold Handles were produced but from the very few that I know of, this seems like too high a number. It took a few years for all of the knives to be sold and no more were made.

All of these knives have an overall length of 11-1/2 to 12 inches. The handle length is 5-1/4 inches with 6-1/2 to 7-inch long blades with the narrow wasp profile. There is only one version of this knife.


[Gold Handle Thumbnail Image] Photo: Anonymous GH1: GOLD HANDLE TYPE 1 : "SPECIAL ORDER"; GOLD PLATED; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; CANT & NO CANT; SLANT 1 LOGO

The GH1 knives are very rare and I have knowledge of only five 1967 knives, S/N's 002500, 002600, 002700 003900 and 004000.

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GRAY ARMORHIDE KNIVES
In the later part of 1968 Gerber changed the handle finish from "Cat's Tongue" to a light gray colored crinkle finish called "Armorhide" This finish was made by John L. Armitage & Company. Armorhide is a textured coating system based on vinyl dispersion resins (a fluid suspension of a vinyl resin in a liquid plasticizer system). The coating provided superior abrasion resistance when compared to ordinary paint and easily covered scratches and imperfections in the bare handle surface. The gray finish on the guard and pommel were then coated with a smooth black paint.

Supposedly the handles were painted by a company called Specialty Enameling in Portland, Oregon.

These gray handles are found on the late 1968 through late 1977 knives.

All of these knives have an overall length of 11-1/2 to 12 inches. The handle length is 5-1/4 inches with 6-1/2 to 7-inch long blades.

NOTE: There is a great deal of variation found in the gray handle knives, including blade profiles (narrow wasp and wide wasp), manufacturing process (forged and hand ground) and non-serrated blades as well as 3 serration patterns (two fine and one coarse).


[Gray Armorhide Knife 1 Thumbnail Image] GA1: GRAY ARMORHIDE TYPE 1 : "COMBAT"; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; SLANT 1 LOGO

The GA1 knives are the earliest gray handled knives. They have the narrow wasp-waisted blades with no serrations. The earlier knives were marketed as "Combat Knives" and the later as "Survival Knives". Somewhere between serial no. 024323 and 025186, the Gerber Sword in Stone Logo on the GA1 knives underwent a change. (See Blade Logos for more info.) The GA1 knives are found on late 1968 to early 1972 knives in the approximate serial range of 008696 - 022983.


[Gray Armorhide Knife 1I Thumbnail Image]

[Gray Armorhide Knife 1I2 Thumbnail Image] Photos: Mike Golden

GA1I: GRAY ARMORHIDE TYPE 1I: "I.G.S."; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; 10 DEGREE CANT; IGS STAMPED ABOVE SERIAL NO.; SLANT 1 LOGO

The IGS knives were a special order of approximately 12 knives made for the now defunct Inglewood Gun Shop of Inglewood, California. The knives were ordered with 10-degree canted blades. However the example shown seems to be closer to 18 degrees. They have the letters "I.G.S." above a 5 digit serial number, both being acid etched. I believe they were all issued with a RT5 type sheath. The GA1I knives were probably ordered in 1969. They have the special serial range of I.G.S./00001 - I.G.S./00012


[Gray Armorhide Knife 2 Thumbnail Image] GA2: GRAY ARMORHIDE TYPE 2 : "SURVIVAL"; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; 14 TEETH/IN.; SLANT 1 & 2 LOGOS

The GA2 knives were the result of a new marketing strategy for the Gerber Mark II knife. Vietnam War protests in 1970 caused Gerber to rethink its promotion of the Mark II as strictly a "Combat Knife" and instead market the Mark II as a "Survival Knife". In order to make the knife more acceptable, 2 inches of serrations were added on both sides of the central portion of the blade. The serrations are considered "fine", as opposed to later "coarse" serrations, and have 14 teeth per inch. Typically there are 24-25 teeth on this model. However some knives in the 020210-021291 serial range have 26-27 teeth. The late Al Mar was supposedly the inspiration for this change. (See Serrations for more info.).

The GA2 knives are found on early 1971 to early 1973 knives in the approximate serial range of 019359 - 028087.


[Gray Armorhide Knife 3 Thumbnail Image] GA3: GRAY ARMORHIDE TYPE 3 : "SURVIVAL"; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; WIDE WASP; NO TEETH; SLANT 2 LOGO

The GA3 knives have the "wide wasp-waist" blade profile. The change from the previous "narrow wasp-waist" resulted in a stronger, more robust knife.

The GA3 knives are found on early 1973 to mid 1976 knives in the serial range of 028401 - 060731. They seem to have been produced somewhat after the serrated GA4 type.

NOTE: The GA3 knives are relatively rare, as I've only noted 33 examples out of 1732 gray handles in my records.


[Gray Armorhide Knife 4 Thumbnail Image] GA4: GRAY ARMORHIDE TYPE 4 : "SURVIVAL"; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; WIDE WASP; 14 TEETH/IN.; SLANT 2 LOGO

The GA4 knives have the "wide wasp-waist" blade profile as well as the "fine" serrations of 14 teeth per inch. Typically there are 24-25 teeth on this model.

The GA4 knives are found on early 1972 to early 1976 knives in the approximate serial range of 024966 - 046957.


[Gray Armorhide Knife 5 Thumbnail Image] GA5: GRAY ARMORHIDE TYPE 5 : "SURVIVAL"; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; WIDE WASP; 12 TEETH/IN.; SLANT 2 LOGO

The GA5 knives have the "wide wasp-waist" blade profile but have a slightly coarser "fine" serration of 12 teeth per inch. Possibly Gerber added a second serration cutting machine, and a slightly more aggressive 12 TPI serration was chosen. Note that GA5 knife production was started approximately 2 years later than the GA4 knives, but that their ending serial numbers are very close. This seems to indicate that both the GA4 and GA5 versions of the knife were being produced at the same time during the period from early 1974 to mid 1976.

The GA5 knives are found on early 1974 to mid 1976 knives in the approximate serial range of 034113 - 050796.


[Gray Armorhide Knife 6 Thumbnail Image] GA6: GRAY ARMORHIDE TYPE 6 : "SURVIVAL"; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; WIDE WASP; 8 TEETH/IN.; SLANT 2 LOGO

The GA6 knives have the "wide wasp-waist" blade profile. Possibly the "fine" serrations were not aggressive enough in their cutting ability or dulled quickly, so a "coarse" serration of 8 teeth per inch was chosen. These 8 TPI serrations would become the standard for all future Mark II serrated knives.

The GA6 knives are found on mid 1976 to late 1977 knives in the approximate serial range of 049939 - 062270.

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BLACK ARMORHIDE KNIVES
Very late in 1977, Gerber changed the color of the Mark II's handle to black. This was a change from the previous "Armorhide" textured coating system based on vinyl dispersion resins to an electrostatic dry-powder coated, baked on finish.

Electrostatic coating employs a difference in electrical charge between the coating spray and the item to be coated. As the item is sprayed the dry coating particles are attracted to its edges and back side resulting in what is commonly referred to as the "wrap around" effect. The advantages are a very even coating with no thick spots and little waste in the form of over spray.

The bare handles to be coated are electrically grounded so that the charged powder particles projected at them adhere to the handles and are held there until melted and fused into an even coating in a curing oven.

The change was possibly driven by environmental pollution concerns. This is a more environmentally friendly process as it minimizes the amount of fumes given off by drying a coating containing solvents. It is less costly and there is almost no waste as any dry powder over-spray can be collected and reused.

Although it is not technically correct to call the black handles Armorhide, I have done so to avoid confusion. These Black Armorhide (black fused handles) are found on very late 1977 to the end of production knives.

All of these knives have an overall length of 11-1/2 to 12 inches. The handle length is 5-1/4 inches with 6-1/2 to 7-inch long blades with several different blade profiles.


[Black Armorhide Knife 1 Thumbnail Image] BA1: BLACK ARMORHIDE TYPE 1 : "SURVIVAL"; POWDER COATED; L6 & 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; NO TEETH; BRUSH FINISH BLADE; SLANT 2 LOGO

The BA1 knives have the "wide wasp-waist" blade profile and do not have serrations. These blades were made to satisfy requests for non-serrated knives. There is a lot of variation in the profile of these knives with some knives having a very noticeable wasp shape and others much less.

The BA1 knives are found on very late 1977 to late 1981 knives in the approximate serial range of 063085 - 109347. They seem to have been produced somewhat after the serrated BA2 type.

The BA1 knives were produced in both L6 and 440C. Production was supposedly switched from L6 to a blanked, 440C Stainless Steel, straight profile blade on 1 Dec. 1979. Assuming a steady production rate, a 1 Dec. 1979 knife would have a serial number around 084250. But I've noted many knives with wasp blades much later than this. There are two possibilities: 1) The information is wrong and the 440C Stainless Steel, straight profile blades were produced at a later time or 2) The production was changed and both types were produced concurrently. I don't know at what serial number the 440C blades start to appear. I would just use the blade profile to determine if the blade material is L6 or 440C.

NOTE: The BA1 knives are relatively rare as I've only noted 45 examples out of the 3130 black handles in my records.


[Black Armorhide Knife 2 Thumbnail Image] BA2: BLACK ARMORHIDE TYPE 2 : "SURVIVAL"; POWDER COATED; L6 & 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP & STRAIGHT; 8 TEETH/IN.; BRUSH FINISH BLADE; SLANT 2 LOGO

The BA2 knives have the "wide wasp-waist" blade profile and the 8 teeth per inch serrations. These 8 TPI serrations, started with the gray handles are the standard for all future Mark II serrated knives.

Again, there is a lot of variation in these knives with regards to the blade profile with the early knives of this type having a very noticeable wasp shape and others almost none. Later knives have the straight blade profile.

The BA2 knives are found on mid 1977 to late 1981 knives in the approximate serial range of 060869 - 111914.

The BA2 knives were produced in both L6 and 440C. Production was supposedly switched from L6 to a blanked, 440C Stainless Steel, straight profile blade on 1 Dec. 1979. Assuming a steady production rate, a 1 Dec. 1979 knife would have a serial number around 084250. But I've noted many knives with wasp blades much later than this. There are two possibilities: 1) The information is wrong and the 440C Stainless Steel, straight profile blades were produced at a later time or 2) The production was changed and both types were produced concurrently.

I've noted one knife in this serial number range that is stamped with an "S", BA2 knife 096939S. The "S" indicates that the blade is made of stainless steel. This is a roughly Aug. 1980 knife and is somewhat puzzling as supposedly Gerber switched to Stainless steel around 1 December 1979 which would be around serial 084250. So why stamp an "S" on a knife made 8 months later? Gerber may have considered continuing the 6 digit numerical numbering system and just adding an "S". Instead they chose to adopt an alpha-numeric system.


[Black Armorhide Knife 3 Thumbnail Image] BA3: BLACK ARMORHIDE TYPE 3 : "SURVIVAL"; POWDER COATED; 440C STEEL; STRAIGHT; NO TEETH; BRUSH FINISH BLADE; VERTICAL 1 & 2 LOGOS

In 1982, several changes in the production of the Gerber Mark II were made: (1) A different serial numbering system was adopted. Instead of the previous 6 digit numeric serial number, an alphanumeric numbering system was used. The new serial consisted of an alpha character followed by a 4-digit number and ending with the letter "S" for stainless. The new serial numbering system started with serial A1001S. (2) The Gerber "Sword in Stone" logo was changed to the Vertical 1 type. The new logo has the sword positioned vertically, rather than at a slant. (See Blade Logos for more info).

Gerber was a very accommodating company during this early period and special order requests for knives with L6 tool steel blades were honored. These knives were denoted by stamping with a trailing "T" for tool steel rather than the "S" for stainless. These knives are rare and I've seen only 9 of this model. The earliest S/N is A1095T and the latest is B2251T.

The BA3 knives are found on early 1982 to mid 1994 knives in the approximate serial range of A1783S - L2620S. This serial number range overlaps the BA6 type knives with the "MARK II™" blade etch. I suspect the non-serrated knives with serial numbers above the start of the BA6 knives bypassed the "MARK II™" blade electro-etching process. I have several knives in my collection, I4169S and I4190S, with original brush finish, that show no evidence of the "MARK II™" blade etch.

NOTE: The BA3 knives are relatively rare as I've only noted 32 examples out of the 3130 black handles in my records.


[Black Armorhide Knife 4 Thumbnail Image] BA4: BLACK ARMORHIDE TYPE 4 : "SURVIVAL"; POWDER COATED; 440C STEEL; STRAIGHT; 8 TEETH/IN.; BRUSH FINISH BLADE; VERTICAL 1 LOGO

In 1982, several changes in the production of the Gerber Mark II were made. (1) A different serial numbering system was adopted. Instead of the previous 6 digit numeric serial number, an alphanumeric numbering system was used. The new serial consisted of an alpha character followed by a 4-digit number and ending with the letter "S" for stainless. The new serial numbering system started with serial A1001S. (2) The Gerber "Sword in Stone" logo was changed to the Vertical 1 type. The new logo has the sword positioned vertically, rather than at a slant. (See Blade Logos for more info).

The BA4 knives are found on early 1982 to late 1985 knives in the approximate serial range of A1157S - D4272S.


[Black Armorhide Knife 5 Thumbnail Image] BA5: BLACK ARMORHIDE TYPE 5 : "SURVIVAL"; POWDER COATED; 440C STEEL; STRAIGHT; 8 TEETH/IN.; BLACK COATED BLADE; VERTICAL 1 & 2 LOGOS

Sometime after the adoption of stainless steel blades, Gerber began offering, to the general public, the Mark II with a black coating on the blade. The coating was probably the result of requests for a blade that would not reflect light. There were also rumors that prior availability of the coating was restricted to law enforcement personnel. I can find no record of this restriction, but it could have just been a Gerber policy.

The BA5 knife is similar to the BA4 with a black handle and straight 8 TPI partially serrated blade but the blade is coated with a baked on smooth, non-reflective black coating similar to Gun-Kote.

Gerber was a very accommodating company during this period and special order requests for knives with L6 tool steel blades were honored. These knives were denoted by stamping with a trailing "T" for tool steel rather than the "S" for stainless. These knives are rare and I've seen only one of this model with a T-suffix serial number, S/N A1504T. Interestingly enough, I also have a record of S/N A1504S, indicating that L6 steel special orders were made in addition to the normal production.

The BA5 knives are found on mid 1982 to late 1998 knives in the approximate serial range of A1504S - N4121S


[Black Armorhide Knife 6 Thumbnail Image]

[Knife BA6 Blade Etch Thumbnail Image]

BA6: BLACK ARMORHIDE TYPE 6 : "SURVIVAL"; POWDER COATED; 440C STEEL; STRAIGHT; 8 TEETH/IN.; BRUSH FINISH BLADE; VERTICAL 1 & 2 LOGOS; "MARK II™" ETCHED ON BLADE

The BA6 knives are identical to the BA4 knives but have "MARK II™" electro-etched on the blade logo side, on the upper flat of the blade when the knife point is on the left. Most are centered in the serration area, however on some early BA6 knives the electro-etch is found lower towards the handle. I don't know why the marking was added but may have been the result of a spate of Mark II copies that hit the knife market.

The BA6 knives are found on mid 1985 to late 1998 knives in the approximate serial range of D0314S - N4082S


[Black Armorhide Knife 7 Thumbnail Image] BA7: BLACK ARMORHIDE TYPE 7: "CUTLERY SHOPPE"; POWDER COATED; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; NO TEETH; BRUSH FINISH BLADE; VERTICAL 2 LOGO

The BA7 knives are similar to the CT6 Cutlery Shoppe knives, but have the black Armorhide handle instead of the CT6's Cat's Tongue handle. I don't know why these knives have black handles while all other 1995 - 1996 Cutlery Shoppe knives have Cat's Tongue handles. Possibly they ran short of the Cat's Tongue handles.

The BA7 knives are only found on early 1996 Cutlery Shoppe knives in the approximate serial range of CS1579 - CS1610.

NOTE: The BA7 knives are rare as I've only noted three examples out of the 154 CS knives in my records.


[Black Armorhide Knife 8 Thumbnail Image]

[2002 Ltd. Ed. Blade Etch Thumbnail Image]

[2002 Ltd. Ed.  Box Thumbnail Image]

BA8: BLACK ARMORHIDE TYPE 8 : "2002 LIMITED EDITION"; POWDER COATED; 154CM STEEL; NARROW WASP; 8 TEETH/IN.; ETCHED WRITING ON BLADE; SLANT 3 LOGO

The BA8 knives are a limited edition knife. Designated as "2002 Limited Edition", there were 1500 of these knives made in 2002. The COA reads in part "The 2002 version combines features found on the Mark II throughout its illustrious history, including a sprayed on "cat's tongue" stainless steel grip powder-coated cardinal black...". It seems to imply that Gerber took what I feel is the more desirable Cat's Tongue handle and powder coated it? Seems a shame.

The knives are found in a teal colored (some are red colored) velveteen (imitation velvet) lined insert in a black cardboard box with brown leather sheath and Certificate of Authenticity. The tag on the box reads MARK II "LIMITED EDITION" w/ Sheath Item No. 06993.

The BA8 knives are found on 2002 Limited Edition knives in the serial range of A00001 - A01500.


[Black Armorhide Knife 9 Thumbnail Image] BA9: BLACK ARMORHIDE TYPE 9: "2008 VERSION"; POWDER COATED; 420 HC STEEL; STRAIGHT; CHISEL TEETH; BLACK OXIDE COATED BLADE; SLANT 3 LOGO

Ten years after discontinuing the manufacture of the Mark II, Gerber re-introduced the knife in June of 2008. The BA9 knives have the same powder coated aluminum handle but the blade design is slightly different. The knife has a 6-5/8-inch long and 7/8-inch wide black blade. Overall length is 11-3/4-inches. Note that the blade width is 7/8-inch rather than the previous 1-inch. The blade is black oxide coated and has two inches of serrations but the teeth have a chisel tooth form rather than the previous pointed tip tooth form.

Five separate markings can be found between 2008 and 2013.

1)The 2008 through 2010 knives are marked with the Slant 3 logo and "420HC USA" on one ricasso and have a production code 08AGN, 09AGM or 10AGM over a 5 digit serial number on the reverse ricasso. (See 2008 Mark II Knives for more information on the knife and production code).

2) Sometime in 2011 the knives eliminated the Slant 3 logo and are marked with "GERBER" over "USA" on one ricasso and have a production code 11AGM over a 5 digit serial number on the reverse ricasso.

3) In 2012 two separate markings are found. Early knives are marked with "GERBER" over "USA" on one ricasso and have a production code 12AGN over a 5 digit serial number on the reverse ricasso. Late knives are again marked with "GERBER" over "USA" on one ricasso but have three line code of 0870313D over a production code 12AGN over a 5 digit serial number on the reverse ricasso. This was seen on serial number 10684, the first serial number that I've noted that is over 10,000.

4) Sometime later in 2013 the knife markings were again changed with the newly adopted Vertical 3 logo on one ricasso and an unknown marking on the reverse ricasso. I have only seen a stock photo of the new marking.

The knives have two Gerber product numbers. Model No. 22-01874 comes boxed and 22-41874 is the blister pack version.

The BA9 knives are found on 2008-2013 knives in the serial range of 01001 - ?????. The highest serial number I have noted thus far in any year is 10684 on a 2012 knife.

NOTE: There were 60 blades that were made with the Serial Number “GLB” (Gerber Legendary Blades) for sale at the 2008 NRA show and the 2008 BLADE Show.

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YELLOW ARMORHIDE KNIVES
Sometime in late 1970 or early 1971 Gerber came up with the idea of a yellow handled dive knife. A Yellow color was probably chosen for the Armorhide handle as it was felt that if dropped underwater, the lighter color would be an aid to recovering the knife.

I was told that Gerber first attempted to interest the military, apparently with no success.

In mid 1971, Gerber introduced their Dive Knives to the general public.

All of these knives were issued with a heavy, tallow impregnated leather sheath able to withstand salt water immersion and included two leg straps. They were sold in the brown cardboard box.

None of the Yellow handled dive knives have serial numbers. According to a copy of a letter I have from Joseph R. Gerber III, the Gerber factory doesn't have records as to the total number of yellow handled dive knives made.

All of the "YA" knives have an overall length of 11-1/2 to 12 inches. The handle length is 5-1/4 inches with 6-1/2 to 7-inch long blades with the narrow wasp profile.

NOTE: Some collectors refer to these knives as the "NEPTUNE DIVE KNIFE" but that is incorrect. These knives are properly called the "GERBER MARK II DIVE KNIFE", sometimes shortened to "MARK II D". The NEPTUNE is a completely different Gerber dive knife made around the same period. The NEPTUNE has a clip-point blade with a large-belly and handles that are different from the Mark II. The NEPTUNE can be found in two separate models. It was first issued with an orange Armorhide handle and came with a latex rubber sheath with sharpening steel. A second model was offered in 1971, with a yellow Armorhide handle having a mirror polish butt cap, that came with an oil impregnated leather sheath similar to the Mark II dive knives.


[Yellow Armorhide Knife 1 Thumbnail Image] YA1: YELLOW ARMORHIDE TYPE 1 : "DIVE"; ARMORHIDE; 440C STEEL; NARROW WASP; 14 TEETH/IN.; ETCHED INCH NUMBERS ON BLADE; NO SERIAL NUMBER; SLANT 2 LOGO

The YA1 knives are very similar to the GA2 knives, with narrow wasp blades and with 14 TPI serrations. However, they have a bright yellow handle and black electro-etched inch marks and numerals on the logo side of the blade. Some of these dive knives have electro-etched logos.

I believe the YA1 knives were first sold in 1971. None of the knives have a serial number. It is unknown how many of the YA1 type dive knives were made.


[Yellow Armorhide Knife 2 Thumbnail Image] YA2: YELLOW ARMORHIDE TYPE 3 : "DIVE"; ARMORHIDE; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; 14 TEETH/IN.; ETCHED INCH NUMBERS ON BLADE; NO SERIAL NUMBER; SLANT 2 LOGO

The YA2 knives are very similar to the GA4 knives, with wide wasp blades and with 14 TPI serrations. However, they have a bright yellow handle and black electro-etched inch markings on the logo side of the blade. None of the knives have a serial number.

I believe the YA2 knives were first sold in 1972. None of the knives have a serial number. It is unknown how many of the YA2 type dive knives were made.


[Yellow Armorhide Knife 3 Thumbnail Image] Photo: www.elitemilitaryknives.com YA3: YELLOW ARMORHIDE TYPE 3 : "DIVE"; ARMORHIDE; 440C STEEL; MARROW WASP; 14 TEETH/IN. ON 5 IN. OF ONE BLADE EDGE; ETCHED INCH NUMBERS ON BLADE; NO SERIAL NUMBER; SLANT 2 LOGO

The YA3 knife has a narrow wasp blade and has 14 TPI serrations on the forward 5 inches of only one blade edge. They have bright yellow handles and black electro-etched inch markings on the logo side of the blade. None of the knives have a serial number.

The knife pictured has the serrations cut on the left blade edge. However the knife can also be found with the serrated side on the right blade edge. They have the Slant 2 logo and the knives can be found with both stamped and etched logos. I don't know the years these knives were produced. It is unknown how many of the YA3 type dive knives were made but they are somewhat rarer than the YA1 knives.

NOTE: An identical knife, except for having an orange handle, is the OA5 made for CB Sports.


[WS Dive Knife 1 Thumbnail Image]

[WS Dive Knife 1 Thumbnail Image]

[WS Dive Knife 1 Thumbnail Image]

WS1: WHITE STAG 1 : "DIVE"; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; SHORT 6-INCH BLADE; NO ETCHED INCH NUMBERS ON BLADE; STAMPED "GERBER" ON OBVERSE, REVERSE IS BLANK

I previously believed the WS1 and WS2 knives were prototypes. I have since learned that these knives were made for the White Stag Mfg. Co. of Portland, OR. sometime in 1968-1974 period. The company is no longer in existence as the White Stag Company merged with Selpac in 1980 and they became Ocean Dynamics International. (Ref: http://vintagedivertreasures.com/VDTdecalPage3.htm).

Several individuals stated that "Some of these knives were issued to UDT/SEALs in Vietnam and the SEALs were asked for their evaluations. The SEALs sent back their comments, but were allowed to keep the knives". However, my attempts to verify the named SEALs were failures as the named individuals were not on any of the BUD/S or UDTRA rosters. I have to assume this is just another imaginative story.

There are two versions of this short bladed dive knife which seem identical in appearance until examined closely. The WS1 is the first version and has a short 6-inch L6 tool steel blade and has the narrow wasp profile with no serrations. They have the standard dive knife bright yellow handle.

The logo side of the blade is simply stamped "GERBER" in 1/8 inch high letters. This name stamp is different from the one used on production knives of the same period. They do not have the "Sword in Stone" logo or the Gerber address. The reverse side is blank. None of the knives have a serial number. There were no sheaths associated with these knives.

Mike Silvey states that very few of the WS1 dive knives were made.


[WS Dive Knife 2 Thumbnail Image]

[WS Dive Knife 2 Thumbnail Image]

[WS Dive Knife 2 Thumbnail Image]

WS2: WHITE STAG 2 : "DIVE"; ARMORHIDE; 440C STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; SHORT 6-INCH BLADE; NO ETCHED INCH NUMBERS ON BLADE; STAMPED "GERBER" ON OBVERSE, "STAINLESS" ON REVERSE

I previously believed the WS1 and WS2 knives were prototypes. I have since learned that these knives were made for the White Stag Mfg. Co. of Portland, OR. sometime in 1968-1974 period. The company is no longer in existence as the White Stag Company merged with Selpac in 1980 and they became Ocean Dynamics International. (Ref: http://vintagedivertreasures.com/VDTdecalPage3.htm).

There are two versions of this dive knife which seem identical in appearance until examined closely. The WS2 is the second version and has a short 6-inch 440C stainless steel blade and has the narrow wasp profile with no serrations. They have the standard dive knife bright yellow handle.

The logo side of the blade is simply stamped "GERBER" in 1/8 inch high letters. This name stamp is different from the one used on production knives of the same period. They do not have the "Sword in Stone" logo or the Gerber address. The reverse side is acid etched "STAINLESS" in small 3/64-inch high letters. None of the knives have a serial number. There were no sheaths associated with these knives.

Mike Silvey states that very few of the WS2 type dive knives were made.

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ORANGE ARMORHIDE KNIVES
Sometime in early 1971 Gerber came up with the idea of an orange handle for the Mark II knife. I'm not sure why the orange color was chosen. During this period orange was considered the primary "safety" color. (e.g. Fire engines were red at this time). The aim may have been a higher visibility handle. The color Gerber used is not a pure orange, but has a red tint.

Supposedly the handles were painted by a company called Specialty Enameling in Portland, Oregon.

Unlike the yellow handled dive knives, with one exception, the orange handled knives were standard production knives with serial numbers, the only difference being the orange colored handle. The exception is the orange handled Eddie Bauer knives which are not serial numbered.

WARNING: I have encountered several knives with handles painted orange. A handle can be stripped and repainted orange and double or triple the price of the knife. Armorhide has a distinctive texture that is difficult to reproduce. If the orange handle is smooth or has a shiny surface, it is almost certainly a fake. Your best insurance is to examine and become familiar with the color and texture of original examples. The picture below shows a comparison of a true Orange Armorhide handle (top) and a gray handle that has been repainted orange (bottom)

[Fake Orange Handle Image]



[Knife OA1 Thumbnail Image] OA1: ORANGE ARMORHIDE TYPE 2: "SURVIVAL"; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; 14 TEETH/IN.; SLANT 1 LOGO

The OA1 knives are very similar to the GA2 knives, with narrow wasp blades and with 14 TPI serrations. They are standard production knives with serial numbers, the only difference being the bright orange colored handle.

Due to the rarity of these knives, I haven't seen many examples. My only record of OA1 knives are 1971 knives in the serial range of 020644 - 021243. Unknown as to whether this serial range comprises one or more orange handle batches. It is unknown how many of the OA1 type knives were made.


[Orange Armorhide Knife 2 Thumbnail Image] Photo: John Gibson OA2: ORANGE ARMORHIDE TYPE 1: "SURVIVAL"; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; SLANT 1 & 2 LOGOS

The OA2 knives are very similar to the GA1 knives, with narrow wasp blades and no serrations. They are standard production knives with serial numbers, the only difference being the bright orange colored handle.

Due to the rarity of these knives, I haven't seen many examples. My only record of OA2 knives are mostly 1972 knives in the serial range of 022111 - 028158. This serial range could be comprised of several batches. It is unknown how many of the OA2 type knives were made. NOTE: The serial number ranges seem to indicate that the non-serrated OA2 was produced later than the serrated OA1.


[Orange Armorhide Knife 3 Thumbnail Image] OA3: ORANGE ARMORHIDE TYPE 3: "EDDIE BAUER"; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; EDDIE BAUER SCRIPT ON BLADE; NO GERBER LOGO

The OA3 knives are special order knives made for Eddie Bauer, the outdoor clothing and gear company. They are similar to the GA3 knives, with narrow wasp blades and no serrations. They have the same bright orange colored handle. They are not stamped with the Gerber logo and do not have serial numbers. The blade is acid-etched with the Eddie Bauer script logo.

The OA3 knives were offered with two types of round tip sheaths, the first with and the second without a sharpening steel. The sheaths are similar to the RT5 and RT5S sheaths but are stamped with the Eddie Bauer script logo facing right, where normally the Gerber 3-line name/address stamp would appear. The sharpening steel has no Gerber name stamp but instead is acid-etched with the Eddie Bauer script logo, placed lengthwise on the flat below the thong hole. The sharpening steel chisel tip is the square corner type.

The knives are shown first in the 50th Anniversary Eddie Bauer catalog, 1970-1971 on page 101. They were also shown in the 1971 Spring and Christmas catalogs as well as the 1972 Christmas and 1972-1973 Catalogs. It is unknown how many were made but probably on the order of 100-200.


[Orange Armorhide Knife 4 Thumbnail Image] OA4: ORANGE ARMORHIDE TYPE 4: "SURVIVAL"; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; WIDE WASP; NO TEETH; SLANT 2 LOGO

The OA4 knives are very similar to the GA3 knives, with wide wasp blades and no serrations. They are standard production knives with serial numbers, the only difference being the bright orange colored handle.

Due to the rarity of these knives, I haven't seen many examples. My only record of OA4 knives are 1974 knives in the serial range of 028766 - 035412. This serial range is possibly comprised of several batches. It is unknown how many of the OA4 type knives were made.


[Orange Armorhide Knife 5 Thumbnail Image] Photo: www.primoknives.com 6/2004

[Orange Armorhide Knife 5-2 Thumbnail Image] Photo: ebay 12/2011

[20th. Anniv. Box Thumbnail Image] Photo: ebay 12/2011

OA5: ORANGE ARMORHIDE TYPE 5: "DIVE"; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; 14 TEETH/IN. ON 5 IN. OF ONE BLADE EDGE; ETCHED INCH NUMBERS ON BLADE; UNKNOWN IF SERIAL NUMBERED; SLANT 2 LOGO

The OA5 knives were made as a dive knife. The knife has a narrow wasp blade and has 14 TPI serrations on the forward 5 inches of only one blade edge. They have orange handles and acid etched inch markings on the logo side of the blade. Not sure if they were issued with a heavy, tallow impregnated leather sheath or a standard sheath since the two examples I've seen had one of each.

These knives do not have a serial number but are marked with an acid etched "C & B". It is unknown how many of the OA5 type knives were made. The only information I have states that twenty-five of these dive knives were made for C&B Sports. Possibly more were made but have no information as to how many or for whom they were made.


[Orange Armorhide Knife 6 Thumbnail Image] Photo: ebay 7/2011 OA6: ORANGE ARMORHIDE TYPE 6: "SURVIVAL"; ARMORHIDE; L6 STEEL; WIDE WASP; 12 TEETH/IN.; SLANT 2 LOGO

The OA6 knives are very similar to the GA5 knives, with wide wasp blades and and with 12 TPI serrations. They are standard production knives with serial numbers, the only difference being the bright orange colored handle.

There has been some doubt about these high serial numbered knives being factory issued. But I believe they are legit and that there were very few made. My only record of OA6 knives are two 1975 knives, serial numbers 041536 and 041567.

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VIETNAM TRIBUTE KNIVES
The VIETNAM TRIBUTE COLLECTION is a series of four commemorative combat knives, manufactured by Gerber and issued by The American Historical Foundation (AHF) of Richmond, Virginia. The four knives honor the services of the United States Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force in Vietnam from 1961-1973.

Each knife blade is individually hand ground, so there are slight differences in the blade lengths. The blades are made of stainless steel and highly polished. The ricasso of the display side of the blade has an insignia or patch relative to that specific branch of the United States Armed Forces. The rest of the display side of the blade has an engraved combat scene with banners on each side. The reverse side of the blade has the standard Gerber name, address and vertical "Sword in Stone" logo.

Each knife handle has its own camouflage scheme relative to that specific branch of the US Armed Forces. On the display side of the handle of each knife is a cloisonné seal for that specific branch of service.

Each knife has its own wood case made of mahogany. On the inside of the wooden knife case is a certificate of authenticity that tells you the specific branch of the United States Armed Forces for the knife, and the knife's serial number. If all four knives were ordered, having the same serial number, a "Mahogany Master Cabinet" was included into which the four individual wooden cases could be stored.

There were 2,500 knives made for each branch of the services. The AHF started taking orders for these knives in 1982. The initial price for each knife was $189. which included the wood case. Later, when AHS moved to a different address, the wood case became an option with a cost of $29.

Options included a specified unit insignia on the ricasso for $25., a "Mahogany Master Cabinet" for $29. and a 4-knife, "Gold Leaf Display Mount" with solid brass plaque engraved with the knives' serial number for $139.


[Vietnam Tribute Knife 1 Thumbnail Image]

[Vietnam Tribute Knife 1 Box Thumbnail Image]

VT1: VIETNAM TRIBUTE TYPE 1 : "US ARMY"; WOOD LEAF CAMO; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; HIGH POLISH; NO TEETH; ETCHING ON BLADE; VERTICAL 1 LOGO; 4-DIGIT ENGRAVED SERIAL NUMBER

The VT1 knives have the "wide wasp-waist" blade profile and do not have serrations. The blade has a mirror polish with an engraved combat scene.

The display side of the blade has an engraved combat scene of an air mobile assault with Huey "Slicks" and riflemen securing an LZ. Banners above and below read "IN HONOR OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY" and "VIETNAM 1961-1973". The standard etch on the display side ricasso is the insignia of the U.S. Army - Vietnam. (Other unit insignias could be special ordered). The reverse side of the blade has the standard Gerber name, address and Vertical 1 "Sword in Stone" logo.

The handle is painted in Woodland Leaf Pattern Vietnam era camouflage. Recessed into the display side of the handle is a gold-plated fired enamel cloisonné of the U.S. Army seal.

The VT1 knives are found on 1982 knives in mahogany wood boxes with a serial numbered Certificate of Authenticity in the serial range of 0001 - 2500.

NOTE: The example shown has an optional ricasso etch of the insignia of the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles.


[Vietnam Tribute Knife 2 Thumbnail Image]

[Vietnam Tribute Knife 2 Box Thumbnail Image]

VT2: VIETNAM TRIBUTE TYPE 2 : "US MARINE CORPS"; OAK LEAF CAMO; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; HIGH POLISH; NO TEETH; ETCHING ON BLADE; VERTICAL 1 LOGO; 4-DIGIT ENGRAVED SERIAL NUMBER

The VT2 knives have the "wide wasp-waist" blade profile and do not have serrations. The blade has a mirror polish with an engraved combat scene.

The display side of the blade has an engraved combat scene of U.S Marines armed with M-16's, M-60 machine gun, M-79 grenade launcher and hand grenades closing in on a fortified enemy position while a Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters drop off supplies in the rear. Banners above and below read "IN HONOR OF THE UNITED STATES MARINES" and "VIETNAM 1961-1973". The standard etch on the display side ricasso is the insignia of the Third Marine Amphibious Force, the overall Marine Corps command in Vietnam. (Other unit insignias could be special ordered). The reverse side of the blade has the standard Gerber name, address and vertical "Sword in Stone" logo.

The handle is painted in Oakleaf Pattern helmet cover camouflage. Recessed into the display side of the handle is a gold-plated fired enamel cloisonné of the U.S. Marine Corps seal.

The VT2 knives are found on 1982 knives in mahogany wood boxes with a serial numbered Certificate of Authenticity in the serial range of 0001 - 2500.

NOTE: The example shown has the standard ricasso etch of the insignia of the Third Marine Amphibious Force.


[Vietnam Tribute Knife 3 Thumbnail Image]

[Vietnam Tribute Knife 3 Box Thumbnail Image]

VT3: VIETNAM TRIBUTE TYPE 3 : "US NAVY"; OD GREEN & GRAY; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; HIGH POLISH; NO TEETH; ETCHING ON BLADE; VERTICAL 1 LOGO; 4-DIGIT ENGRAVED SERIAL NUMBER

The VT3 knives have the "wide wasp-waist" blade profile and do not have serrations. The blade has a mirror polish with an engraved combat scene.

The display side of the blade has an engraved combat scene of a coordinated air-sea attack with a U.S. Navy River Patrol Boat, a Monitor firing flame throwers, A-7A Corsair II attack bombers in the air and the profile an aircraft carrier in the background. Banners above and below read "IN HONOR OF THE UNITED STATES NAVY" and "VIETNAM 1961-1973". The standard etch on the display side ricasso is the insignia of the U.S. Seventh Fleet representative of all U.S. Navy forces in Southeast Asia. (Other unit insignias could be special ordered). The reverse side of the blade has the standard Gerber name, address and vertical "Sword in Stone" logo.

The handle is painted in the solid colors of green and gray with the main portion green and the guard and pommel gray. A gold rope, wrapping around the handle at each end, separates the colors. Recessed into the display side of the handle is a gold-plated fired enamel cloisonné of the U.S. Navy seal.

The VT3 knives are found on 1982 knives in mahogany wood boxes with a serial numbered Certificate of Authenticity in the serial range of 0001 - 2500.

NOTE: The example shown has an optional ricasso etch of the insignia of the U.S. Navy SEALs.


[Image Needed Thumbnail Image]

[Vietnam Tribute Knife 4 Box Thumbnail Image] Photo: Anonymous

VT4: VIETNAM TRIBUTE TYPE 4 : "US AIR FORCE"; GREENS AND TAN; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; HIGH POLISH; NO TEETH; ETCHING ON BLADE; VERTICAL 1 LOGO; 4-DIGIT ENGRAVED SERIAL NUMBER

The VT4 knives have the "wide wasp-waist" blade profile and do not have serrations. The blade has a mirror polish with an engraved combat scene.

The display side of the blade has an engraved combat scene of an air support mission with F-4 Phantom jets engaging in a low level attack with bombs. Above and in the background are B-52 aircraft carpet bombing a suspected enemy position. Banners above and below read "IN HONOR OF THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE" and "VIETNAM 1961-1973". The standard etch on the display side ricasso is the insignia of the Pacific Air Forces, symbolic of all U.S. Air Force units in Southeast Asia. (Other unit insignias could be special ordered). The reverse side of the blade has the standard Gerber name, address and vertical "Sword in Stone" logo.

The handle is painted in the U.S Air Force Vietnam era greens and tan camouflage used on SAC, TAC and MAC aircraft. Recessed into the display side of the handle is a gold-plated fired enamel cloisonné of the U.S. Air Force seal.

The VT4 knives are found on 1982 knives in mahogany wood boxes with a serial numbered Certificate of Authenticity in the serial range of 0001 - 2500.


[Image Needed Thumbnail Image] VTBS: VIETNAM TRIBUTE TYPE BS : "BOXED SET OF 4 KNIVES"; ONE EACH VT1, VT2, VT3 & VT4 WITH SAME SERIAL NUMBER EACH IN INDIVIDUAL WOOD BOXES ENCLOSED IN A LARGER, OPEN FRONT WOOD CASE

The VIETNAM TRIBUTE COLLECTION boxed set is made up of one knife from each of the four armed services, VT1,VT2, VT3 and VT4, in their individual wooden boxes. All four knives have the same serial number. The knives are all cased in an additional "Mahogany Master Cabinet" into which the four individual wooden cases could be stored.

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PRESENTATION KNIVES
The Presentation Grade knives are the first Mark II knives that seem to favor appearance over functionality.

The Presentation Knives were made in two versions. Both have the wide wasp blade profile with a mirror polish and no serrations. However, these knives do not use the one piece aluminum handle. Both handle types have three pieces. A brass guard and pommel comprise two of the pieces. The central handle section of the first version is made from Zebrawood or other exotic woods and the second version handle is made of Sambar Stag.

These knives were only made for several years. The first record I have of these knives is a copy of a September 1977 price list that reports the Presentation Grade Mark II for $75. There was no mention of a stag model on that price list.

According to Levine's "Guide to Knives and Their Values", Gerber manufactured these knives between 1977 through around 1985. Approximately 5,000 knives were produced. Serial numbers confirm this with the majority being the wood handle P1 type.

IMPORTANT: The Presentation knives have their own serial number ranges and the Mark II's serial number and date information does not apply.

NOTE: I have heard reports that some of these knives were put to use by their owners and found not to be very durable. This is not surprising as the knives seem to be intended for collectors and to be displayed rather than used.


[Knife 1 Thumbnail Image] P1: PRESENTATION TYPE 1 : "PRESENTATION", ZEBRA WOOD; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; HIGH POLISH; NO TEETH; SLANT 2 LOGO

The P1 knives have the wide wasp waist blade profile with a mirror polish and no serrations. They have a three part handle consisting of a solid brass guard, a central wooden handle and a solid brass pommel with thong hole. There are three narrow spacers at each end of the handle between brass and wood. The spacer colors are red-white-red.

There was a minor change in some of the later serial numbered knives where the normally bare polished brass guard and pommel have a brush finish and are coated with a clear, protective finish.

Although Zebrawood was the advertised handle wood, some observed knives suggest that other exotic hardwoods were used as well.

The knives are found in both the White and Orange-Flip type boxes with either the light-tan P1 type or dark-brown P2 type sheath. The Model Number is 5711.

The P1 knives are found on 1977 to 1985 knives in the observed serial range of 000179 - 004683. Note that these knives are found with both four and six digit serial numbers.

WARNING: Use extreme care if attempting to clean the brass guard and pommel. Keep all polish off of the wood. The dull patina that forms on the brass is "verdigris" (copper acetate) and will stain the pores of the wood handle a green color.


[Knife 1 Thumbnail Image] P2: PRESENTATION TYPE 2 : "PRESENTATION", SAMBAR STAG; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; HIGH POLISH; NO TEETH; SLANT 2 & VERTICAL 1 LOGOS

The P2 knives have the "wide wasp-waist" blade profile and no serrations. They have a three part handle consisting of a solid brass guard, a central Sambar Stag handle and a solid brass pommel with thong hole. There are three narrow spacers at each end of the handle between brass and wood. The spacer colors are red-white-red.

The knives are found in both the White and Orange-Flip type boxes with either the light-tan P1 type or dark-brown P2 type sheath. The Model Number is 5720.

The P2 knives are found on 1977 to 1985 knives in the observed serial range of 000288 - 001191. Note that these knives are found with both four and six digit serial numbers. There was also a small batch of P2 knives made with alphanumeric serial numbered blades. Knives A8315S and A8888S were noted.

WARNING: Use extreme care if attempting to clean the brass guard and pommel. Keep all polish off of the stag. The dull patina that forms on the brass is "verdigris" (copper acetate) and will stain the porous stag handle a green color.


[Image Needed Thumbnail Image] P1S: PRESENTATION TYPE 1S : "PRESENTATION SET", MARK I AND MARK II WITH MATCHED SERIAL NUMBERS; ZEBRA WOOD; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; HIGH POLISH; NO TEETH; SLANT 2 LOGO; BOTH WITH LIGHT TAN LEATHER SHEATHS; IN INDIVIDUAL WHITE CARDBOARD BOXES

The P1S is a matched set of two Gerber knives, a Mark II and a Mark I, both with the same serial number. The Mark II is identical to the P1 Mark II with Zebrawood handle. The Mark I has a brass guard and Zebrawood handle, but does not have a brass pommel. Instead the Mark I has a brass lined wrist thong hole in the wooden handle. Each of the two knives were issued in separate white boxes. Both knives have the light-tan colored sheath.

I have only observed two of the P1S sets, serial number 0046 and 000691. It is unknown how many matching sets were sold.

NOTE: These sets may be an early issue of the President's Collection Knives (described in the next section) before their issue in the wood box.

WARNING: Use extreme care if attempting to clean the brass guard and pommel. Keep all polish off of the wood. The dull patina that forms on the brass is "verdigris" (copper acetate) and will stain the pores of the wood handle a green color.

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PRESIDENT'S COLLECTION KNIVES
The President's Collection is a limited edition matched set of two Gerber knives, a Mark II and a Mark I, both with the same serial number. The two knives were issued in a black-cloth lined walnut box. Four retainer prongs are included if the box is to be used as a wall hanging display. No sheaths were included with the knives.

These knives do not use the one piece aluminum handle. Four types of sets exist. The handle section of two versions is made from Zebrawood and the handle section of the other two versions is made of Sambar Stag. The four versions are Zebrawood, Zebrawood Engraved, Sambar Stag and Sambar Stag Engraved. The engraving was done on the brass guards and pommels and signed by master engravers such as Barbara Pierce, J. West, George Sherwood, Robert Evans, Robert Valade and others.

The COA issued with the knives are numbered and signed by Pete Gerber. These knives were only made for several years. All of the sets that I have observed have a serial number less than 1000. Supposedly there were 1000 sets of each type made. I also noted a type PC2 and a PC2E both sets having the same serial number, 0176.

IMPORTANT: The Presidents Set knives have their own separate serial number ranges and the Mark II's serial number and date information does not apply.


[Image Needed Thumbnail Image] PC1: PRESIDENT'S TYPE 1 : "PRESIDENT'S COLLECTION"; MARK I AND MARK II WITH MATCHED 4-DIGIT SERIAL NUMBERS; ZEBRA WOOD; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; HIGH POLISH; NO TEETH; PLAIN BRASS GUARD & POMMEL; SLANT 2 LOGO

The PC1 Mark II knives have the wide wasp waist blade profile with a mirror polish and no serrations. They have a three part handle consisting of a solid brass guard, a central Zebrawood handle and a solid brass pommel with thong hole. There are three narrow spacers at each end of the handle between brass and wood. The spacer colors are red-white-red.

The shorter bladed PC1 Mark I knives have the standard tapered 5-inch blade with a mirror polish and no serrations. They have a two part handle consisting of a solid brass guard and a Zebrawood handle with a brass lined thong hole. There are three narrow spacers between the guard and handle. The spacer colors are red-white-red.

The COA issued with the knives are numbered and signed by Pete Gerber. They read:

These are very special Gerber Mark I and Mark II knives. They are hand made by our most experienced craftsmen using the finest materials available. We are proud of them and hope you are too.

The steel is 440C Stainless, the very best! It is hardened to 57-59C on the Rockwell scale. The handles are Zebrawood from West Africa. All brass parts are precision investment castings.

I have a copy of a June 1980 price list that offers the President's Collection with wood handles for $212.50.

The PC1 knives are found on 1979 to 1983 knives in the observed serial range of 0035 - 0775. It is assumed 1000 sets were made.

WARNING: Use extreme care if attempting to clean the brass guard and pommel. Keep all polish off of the wood. The dull patina that forms on the brass is "verdigris" (copper acetate) and will stain the pores of the wood handles a green color.


[Knife PC1E Box Thumbnail Image]

[Knife PC1E Thumbnail Image]

PC1E: PRESIDENT'S TYPE 1E: "PRESIDENT'S COLLECTION"; MARK I AND MARK II WITH MATCHED 4-DIGIT SERIAL NUMBERS; ZEBRA WOOD; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; HIGH POLISH; NO TEETH; ENGRAVED BRASS GUARD & POMMEL; SLANT 2 LOGO

The PC1E Mark II knives have the wide wasp waist blade profile with a mirror polish and no serrations. They have a three part handle consisting of a solid brass guard, a central Zebrawood handle and a solid brass pommel with thong hole. There are three narrow spacers at each end of the handle between brass and wood. The spacer colors are red-white-red.

The shorter bladed PC1E Mark I knives have the standard tapered 5-inch blade with a mirror polish and no serrations. They have a two part handle consisting of a solid brass guard and a Zebrawood handle with a brass lined thong hole. There are three narrow spacers between the guard and handle. The spacer colors are red-white-red.

The COA issued with the knives are numbered and signed by Pete Gerber. They read:

These are very special Gerber Mark I and Mark II knives. They are hand made by our most experienced craftsmen using the finest materials available. We are proud of them and hope you are too.

The steel is 440C stainless, the very best! It is hardened to 57-59C on the Rockwell scale. The handles are Zebrawood from West Africa. All brass parts are precision investment castings. Each knife is engraved by a master engraver.

I have a copy of a June 1980 price list that offers the Engraved President's Collection with wood handles for $300.

The PC1E knives are found on 1979 to 1983 knives in the observed serial range of 0085 - 0528. It is assumed 1000 sets were made.

WARNING: Use extreme care if attempting to clean the brass guard and pommel. Keep all polish off of the wood. The dull patina that forms on the brass is "verdigris" (copper acetate) and will stain the pores of the wood handles a green color.


[Image Needed Thumbnail Image] PC2: PRESIDENT'S TYPE 2 : "PRESIDENT'S COLLECTION"; MARK I AND MARK II WITH MATCHED 4-DIGIT SERIAL NUMBERS; SAMBAR STAG; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; HIGH POLISH; NO TEETH; PLAIN BRASS GUARD & POMMEL; SLANT 2 LOGO

The PC2 Mark II knives have the wide wasp waist blade profile with a mirror polish and no serrations. The shorter bladed PC2 Mark I knives have the standard tapered 5-inch blade with a mirror polish and no serrations. Both knives have a three part handle consisting of a solid brass guard, a central Sambar Stag handle and a solid brass pommel with thong hole. There are three narrow spacers at each end of the handles between brass and stag. The spacer colors are red-white-red.

The COA issued with the knives are numbered and signed by Pete Gerber. They read:

These are very special Gerber Mark I and Mark II knives. They are hand made by our most experienced craftsmen using the finest materials available. We are proud of them and hope you are too.

The steel is 440C stainless, the very best! It is hardened to 57-59C on the Rockwell scale. The handles are select Sambar Stag from India. All brass parts are precision investment castings.

I have a copy of a June 1980 price list that offers the President's Collection with stag handles for $250.

The PC2 knives are found on 1979 to 1983 knives in the observed serial range of 0062 - 0277. It is assumed 1000 sets were made.

WARNING: Use extreme care if attempting to clean the brass guard and pommel. Keep all polish off of the stag. The dull patina that forms on the brass is "verdigris" (copper acetate) and will stain the porous stag handle a green color.


[Knife PC2E Box Thumbnail Image] Photo: eBay 8/2007

[Knife PC2E Thumbnail Image] Photo: eBay 8/2007

PC2E: PRESIDENT'S TYPE 2E: "PRESIDENT'S COLLECTION"; MARK I AND MARK II WITH MATCHED 4-DIGIT SERIAL NUMBERS; SAMBAR STAG; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; HIGH POLISH; NO TEETH; ENGRAVED BRASS GUARD & POMMEL; SLANT 2 LOGO

The PC2E Mark II knives have the wide wasp waist blade profile with a mirror polish and no serrations. The shorter bladed PC2E Mark I knives have the standard tapered 5-inch blade with a mirror polish and no serrations. Both knives have a three part handle consisting of a solid brass guard, a central Sambar Stag handle and a solid brass pommel with thong hole. There are three narrow spacers at each end of the handles between brass and stag. The spacer colors are red-white-red.

The brass guards and pommels of both knives are beautifully engraved.

The COA issued with the knives are numbered and signed by Pete Gerber. They read:

These are very special Gerber Mark I and Mark II knives. They are hand made by our most experienced craftsmen using the finest materials available. We are proud of them and hope you are too.

The steel is 440C stainless, the very best! It is hardened to 57-59C on the Rockwell scale. The handles are select Sambar Stag from India. All brass parts are precision investment castings. Each knife is engraved by a master engraver.

I have a copy of a June 1980 price list that offers the Engraved President's Collection with stag handles for $325.

The PC2E knives are found on 1979 to 1983 knives in the observed serial range of 0044 - 0993. It is assumed 1000 sets were made.

WARNING: Use extreme care if attempting to clean the brass guard and pommel. Keep all polish off of the stag. The dull patina that forms on the brass is "verdigris" (copper acetate) and will stain the porous stag handle a green color.

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CARVED IVORY KNIVES
Sometime in late 1980 or early 1981 a contract was awarded to Northwest Arts and Crafts of Seattle, WA for "Special Edition Ivory Knives". They were to be similar to the Mark II / Mark I President's Collection Sets, with mirror polished blades, but would have carved eagle head ivory handles. Gerber intended to market these high-end special knife sets through selected retailers.

Most handles were carved from whale tooth ivory. All these handles have the weight of the carving (in grams) scrimshawed on the underside of the carving along with the federal identification number. These registration numbers make them legal, showing that the sperm whale tooth was federally registered in accordance with the 1972 marine mammals protection act.

Additional versions were also made with some handles in the form of Bear, Lion and Griffon. Carvings were also done with elephant and fossilized walrus ivory.

Hines Lange, the owner of Northwest Arts and Crafts, handled some or possibly all of the marketing. Most of the knives were sold in Germany and Maui, Hawaii, as Mr. Lange had contacts in both places.

Some time in 1985-1986, an order was placed for 25 special Mark II / Mark I ivory handled knife sets. The serialized sets were intended to be gifted to Gerber Executives prior to the Fiskars take-over. (In January 1987, Gerber Legendary Blades was acquired by Fiskars Brands, Inc.)

The total number of ivory handled knives made is unknown but probably less than 100. One source states that only 25 sets were made and this is true for the serialized sets intended for the Gerber Executives. However, other ivory handled knives do exist. I know of a collector that has 29 of the ivory handled knives.

One source of information stated that the painstaking carving of the eagle heads took so long that Gerber canceled its marketing plans. However, it is also possibly the result of the Northwest Arts and Crafts company closing after the death of the owner, Mr. Lange.


[Carved Ivory Type 1 Thumbnail Image]

[Carved Ivory Type 1 Stand Thumbnail Image]

[Carved Ivory Type 1 Eagle Thumbnail Image]

I1: CARVED IVORY TYPE 1 : "EAGLE HEAD"; WOOD/IVORY; 440C STEEL; STRAIGHT; HIGH POLISH; WITH & W/O TEETH; SLANT 2 & VERTICAL 1 LOGOS

The I1 Mark II knives have the straight blade profile with a mirror polish and can be found with but mostly without serrations. They have a handle consisting of a solid brass guard, a short 1-1/4 inch polished wood section and a 5-inch long intricately carved ivory eagle head. There is a shallow, scalloped brass cap between the wood and ivory. There is no thong hole.

The number of these knives is unknown. Some of these knives came with a walnut display stand consisting of a flat base with round posts of different heights at each end. The knife is cradled on the posts with the ivory eagle head displayed at a slight angle and higher than the blade.

NOTE: The example shown is made from a 1986 dated blade. The serrations are unusual and the knife may have be assembled using a standard blade that was given a high polish.


[Image Needed Thumbnail Image] I2: CARVED IVORY TYPE 2 : "BEAR HEAD"; IVORY; 440C STEEL; STRAIGHT; HIGH POLISH; WITH & W/O TEETH; SLANT 2 & VERTICAL 1 LOGOS

The I2 Mark II knives have the straight blade profile with a mirror polish and can be found with but mostly without serrations. They have a handle consisting of a solid brass guard and a 5-inch long, one-piece, smooth ivory handle with an intricately carved bear head on the pommel end. There is no wood on the handle. There is no thong hole.

The number of these knives is unknown but is less than the more popular I1 eagle head.


[Image Needed Thumbnail Image] I3:CARVED IVORY TYPE 3 : "LION HEAD"; IVORY; 440C STEEL; STRAIGHT; HIGH POLISH; WITH & W/O TEETH; SLANT 2 & VERTICAL 1 LOGOS

The I3 Mark II knives have the straight blade profile with a mirror polish and can be found with and without serrations. They have a handle consisting of a solid brass guard and a 5-inch long, one-piece, smooth ivory handle with an intricately carved lion head on the pommel end. There is no wood on the handle. There is no thong hole.

The number of these knives is unknown but is less than the more popular I1 eagle head.


[Image Needed Thumbnail Image] I4: CARVED IVORY TYPE 4 : "GRIFFON HEAD"; IVORY; 440C STEEL; STRAIGHT; HIGH POLISH; WITH & W/O TEETH; SLANT 2 & VERTICAL 1 LOGOS

The I4 Mark II knives have the straight blade profile with a mirror polish and can be found with and without serrations. They have a handle consisting of a solid brass guard and a 5-inch long, one-piece, smooth ivory handle with an intricately carved griffon head on the pommel end. The griffon (also spelled gryphon, griffin or gryphin) is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle with the addition of prominent ears. There is no wood on the handle. There is no thong hole.

The number of these knives is unknown but is less than the more popular I1 eagle head.


[Image Needed Thumbnail Image] IS: CARVED IVORY SET : "EAGLE HEAD SET"; MARK I AND MARK II WITH MATCHED 4-DIGIT SERIAL NUMBERS; WALNUT/IVORY; 440C STEEL; STRAIGHT; HIGH POLISH; NO TEETH; SLANT 2 LOGO; SERIAL NO. ETCHED ON BRASS GUARD RATHER THAN BLADE; IN 2 WOOD VELVET LINED BOXES

There are 25 sets of the IS knives. These are the sets were that were gifted to Gerber Executives prior to the Fiskars take-over.

The IS Mark II knives have the straight blade profile with a mirror polish and no serrations. They have a handle consisting of a solid brass guard, a short 1-1/4 inch polished wood section and a 5-inch long intricately carved ivory eagle head. There is a shallow, scalloped brass cap between the wood and ivory. There is no thong hole. The shorter bladed IS Mark I knives have the standard tapered 5-inch blade with a mirror polish and no serrations. They have the same type handles but are somewhat smaller being about 80% of the size of the Mark II handle.

The serial number sides of the blades are blank. Instead, both knives have a four digit serial number (0001 - 0025) engraved on the side of the brass guard. Each set came with two boxes, an individual, hinged lid, walnut display box with red-velvet lining.

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PROTOTYPE KNIVES
Prototype is an abused term in the knife collection field. The definition of a prototype is "An original type or form after which other types or forms are developed." Prototypes are usually single pieces or few in number and are rarely serialized. Below are knives that I consider prototypes. Some were successful and others not. Still others were modified before being put into production. I'm sure there are more examples of which I am unaware.


[Cat's Tongue Prototype Thumbnail Image] Photo: Anonymous

[Prototype Handle Thumbnail Image] Photo: Anonymous

XKCT: CAT'S TONGUE PROTOTYPE: "COMBAT"; CAT'S TONGUE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; 5 DEGREE CANT BLADE; SLANT 1 LOGO

Little is known about the details and number of original Mark II prototype knives made. According to articles by Robert A. Buerlein in BLADE MAGAZINE, Oct. 1982 and GUN WORLD, May 1983, the original design, proposed by Bud Holzmann, dated 15 May 1966, showed a guard, grip and pommel very similar to a Fairbairn-Sykes but with a wide double edged blade. The blade had a bulbous tip and a square spine down the center on both sides for strength. Its unique feature was the canted blade. The design was submitted to an industrial design firm which made a number of changes. In July 1966 a prototype was made and sent to Fort Lewis for evaluation. The assessment resulted in several additional suggestions and were incorporated into the design. In August 1966 a second prototype was sent to Fort Lewis. This version was given a favorable rating. So it seems there are at least two original prototype versions that exist. (See HISTORY for more details).

One reference states that eight Mark II prototype knives were made and have serial numbers of 000001 to 000008.

But another advanced collector states that the final production prototype and salesman sample knives were stamped with a 000000 (six zeros) serial number and this is the only type which I have seen. The whereabouts of almost all of these knives is unknown.

Although the example shown looks like it has a gray Armorhide handle, it is just the lighting. It has a Cat's Tongue handle with an unusually bright finish. Possibly the stainless steel spray on these knives was thicker than was done on production knives.


[Titanium Nitride Prototype Knife Thumbnail Image] XKTIN: TITANIUM NITRIDE PROTOTYPE : "SURVIVAL"; POWDER COATED; 440C STEEL; STRAIGHT; NO TEETH; GOLD TI-N COATED BLADE; VERTICAL 1 LOGO

These knives represent the first application of a patented Titanium Nitride hard coating to a knife blade. The coating is a rare earth doped titanium nitride of 3 micron thickness. It has a hardness of over 95 on the Rockwell C scale and a melting point of 5468 degrees Fahrenheit. (Steel melts at around 2500 degrees F). The coating has a gold color and is commonly observed today on high wear tools such as drill bits.

In 1982, Mr. Alvin Snapper, the developer and patent holder of the process, was supplied by the Gerber company with 6 Mark II blades for application of the prototype coating. The blades were coated by him and then carried back to the Gerber factory where they were assembled. Three of the assembled knives were retained by Gerber for testing purposes and 3 were returned to Mr. Snapper for his collection. For unknown reasons, Gerber decided not to use the process and no further Mark II knives were ever coated by Mr. Snapper.

The six XKTIN knives are found only on 1981 - 1982 knives. Two of the serial numbers are 110070 and A1560S. The whereabouts of the 4 remaining knives are unknown.


[20th. Aniv. Prototype Thumbnail Image] Photo: Dave Yancosky

[20th. Aniv. Prototype Thumbnail Image] Photo: Dave Yancosky

[20th. Aniv. Prototype Box Thumbnail Image] Photo: http://www.mrbill.net/gerber/

XK20: 20TH. ANNIVERSARY PROTOTYPE"; CAT'S TONGUE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; 5 DEGREE CANT BLADE; VERTICAL 1 LOGO

This item first appeared on http://www.mrbill.net/gerber/ with the following description:

We have the original hand made prototype of the Mark II 20th Anniversary knife made by Gerber. My husband made it. None other like it anywhere. He and two other guys were the only ones to hand produce the 5000 knives for the anniversary.

The history is that my husband, Dale, was in the Fall 1985 Blade Magazine featured making a Frisco Shiv for a government agency that will remain unnamed but let's just say it's abbreviation is three letters (of course this was never revealed to anyone). From that, he was asked to make the prototype of the 20th anniversary Mark II.

He didn't keep the prototype, it was placed in a safe there at Gerber and in 1989, he went to work for a knife company in Alabama. Before he left, his supervisor gave him the prototype but the knife and its sheath were wrapped and not in a display box. He returned to Gerber in 1991 and eventually found a good box for it but it is in the 35th anniversary (2001) box. He left Gerber in 2004 (of course, it wasn't Gerber anymore, Gerber was earlier bought out by Fiskars). So what he did was place an MVP card of Joseph R. 'Pete' Gerber, Jr. in the box and it's remained ever since, never used.

The photographs will show all that. That's basically it. He keeps coming up w/more info. He started with Gerber when he was 21 and worked there from 1980 to 1989 and then 1991 to 2004. He's 49 now.

The item was later sold on eBay in Dec 2009. The knife has an L6 tool steel blade as evidenced by the serial B2238T and is has the laser marked 20th. Anniversary script as well as being marked "PROTOTYPE".


[Flag Handle Prototype Thumbnail Image] Photo: ebay 2012

XKFH: FLAG HANDLE PROTOTYPE"; PAINTED HANDLE; L6 STEEL; STRAIGHT; 8 TEETH/IN.; POLISHED BLADE; VERTICAL 1 LOGO

This item was sold on eBay in October 2012. The sale description said in part:

"For sale, a prototype Gerber MK II knife. This example was a test piece that was never placed into production. It has a high polished blade with the US flag grip motif. The serial is I4509S. This was obtained from Gerber at what can best be described as a ‘garage sale”. Odd pieces and non production knives were sold to persons invited to Gerber in late 2011 or early 2012".

The serial number dates the blade to the later part of 1989. But the handle may have been done before or after that date. The sheath that was included with the knife was a 2002 A.G.Russell Edition sheath.

A very nice design. It's a shame it wasn't put into production.

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UNUSUAL KNIVES
This section lists knives that are unusual or odd. Dozens of variations exist. Most were probably modifications by employees in the Gerber factory and made from production or rejected/damaged blades. Some may be unique items.

Some of these knives I refer to as "Lunch Box Specials", made up in the factory by an employee and then smuggled out of the Gerber factory in a lunch box.

The lack of a serial number usually means the knife is a "Lunchbox Special". Once the knives are stamped with serial numbers, they enter the inventory system and become more difficult to "liberate".

Below are a representative sample of unusual knives. Note that other types exist.


[Unusual Knife UK1 Thumbnail Image]

[Unusual Knife UK1 Sheath Thumbnail Image]

UK1: UNUSUAL TYPE 1: "COMBAT"; MARK II BLADE WITH MARK I HANDLE; L6 STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; SLANT 1 LOGO

This knife, with an early Mark II blade, has a Mark I handle. It also has a long boot knife type sheath. The blade is an early, narrow wasp blade with Slant 1 logo and with serial number 023674. The blade may have been a reject because of an area near the middle of the blade on each side where the grind went a little deep causing a slight dip in the surface contour. This knife may be unique.

The sheath is professionally crafted. It is similar to the sheath used for Mark I boot knives, but has no Gerber markings. I have seen two other sheaths like it and they were paired with Parker Brothers Mark II copies. However, it is not the sheath usually seen with the Parker Brothers knives and may be an earlier version.

NOTE: In Nov. 2007 on eBay a Mark II, S/N K4648S with a Mark I handle was auctioned.


[Unusual Knife UK2 Thumbnail Image] UK2: UNUSUAL TYPE 2: "SURVIVAL"; BLACK HANDLE; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; NO TEETH; CANT; VERTICAL 1 LOGO

This knife with an early Mark II blade and black handle has a 5-degree cant. The knife has a 1982 blade with a Vertical 1 logo and with serial number A6501S. The blade is nearly flawless with factory polished edges. It was found mated with a RT7, 20th. Anniversary sheath but the blade is definitely not a 20th. Anniversary blade.


[Unusual Knife UK3NS Thumbnail Image]

[Unusual Knife UK3NS Thumbnail Image]

UK3: UNUSUAL TYPE 3NS: "SURVIVAL"; NO SERIAL NUMBER; BLACK HANDLE; 440C STEEL; STRAIGHT & WIDE WASP; NO TEETH; VERTICAL 1 LOGO

Two examples are shown of knives without serial numbers. The lack of a serial number usually means the knife is a "Lunchbox Special". The first example has a straight profile blade and the second a wide wasp profile. For these two examples, the Vertical 1 logo stamping dates the blades to the 1982-1990 period. These knives are by no means unique and I'm sure that others exist.


[Unusual Knife UK4 Thumbnail Image] UK4: UNUSUAL TYPE 4: "SURVIVAL"; CAT'S TONGUE; 440C STEEL; WIDE WASP; NO TEETH; NO CANT; VERTICAL 1 LOGO

This knife with a late Mark II blade has a Cat's Tongue handle. The knife has a 1986 blade with a Vertical 1 logo and with serial number E0077S. The handle seems to be one of the 20th. Anniversary handles but the blade has no cant. The sheath found with this knife is a FT2 which is correct for this serial number. Special order? Rehandle?

NOTE: In mid January 2008, an identical type knife with serial E5601S sold on ebay. It came with a Cordura C3S type sheath. More of these knives may exist.


[Unusual Knife UK5 Thumbnail Image] UK5: UNUSUAL TYPE 5: "SURVIVAL"; CAT'S TONGUE; 440C STEEL; NARROW WASP; NO TEETH; EXTREME CANT; NO LOGO

This knife has no serial number and no Gerber logo. Is this one of the fabled "STERILE" knives supposedly issued to U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam? ABSOLUTELY NOT! There are no such knives!

Although it is fairly rare to find a blade without the Gerber Logo, this knife is only a "Lunch Box Special". The blade is probably an unmarked, Cutlery Shoppe, narrow wasp blade but has a very large cant of about 8-10 degrees. The handle seems to be a 20th. Anniversary type. No sheath came with the knife.


[Unusual Knife UK6 Thumbnail Image] Photo: eBay 11/2009

[Unusual Knife UK6A Thumbnail Image] Photo: eBay 11/2009

UK6: UNUSUAL TYPE 6: "EMP SALE"; VARIOUS HANDLE; 440C STEEL; STRAIGHT&CANT; 8 TEETH/IN.; BRUSH FINISH BLADE; VERTICAL 2 LOGO

These knives have an additional marking on the serial number side of the blade which reads "12/95 EMP SALE". I believe the "EMP SALE" marking stands for "Employee Sale" where Gerber offered knives that were scratched or had blemishes to their employees, probably at a reduced price in December of 1995. They were probably marked to prevent them from being returned to the factory under warranty. Undoubtedly there are more knives so marked.

I have observed three of these knives:

K0356S - A 1992 BA6 type knife
CS1136 - A 1994 CT5 type knife having a blade with a large cant
L8022S - A 1995 BA6 type knife with reversed serrations (Pictured)


[Unusual Knife UK7 Thumbnail Image] Photo: Jerry Hall

UK7: UNUSUAL TYPE 7: "MIS-STAMPED SERIAL"; VARIOUS HANDLE; L6 STEEL; STRAIGHT; 8 TEETH/IN.; BRUSH FINISH BLADE; SLANT 2 LOGO

These knives have serial numbers that are inconsistent with their features/appearance. They have 1967 serial numbers but have Slant 2 logos which puts the blades in the date range of 1972-1981. Further, their 8TPI serrations put them no earlier than mid 1976 when the 8TPI teeth were introduced on the gray handles. Finally almost all of these knives have the black handle which was introduced in late 1977.

There could be several possible reasons on how these mis-stamped knives came about. Of course they could have been intentionally mis-stamped. But the most likely explanation is that they were mistakes or trial pieces, done during the stamping machine setup, and were intended to be destroyed. Some obviously weren't, later had handles put on and became "Lunch Box Specials".

I have observed several of these knives: 001142 (Pictured), 001146, 002452, 002454, 002527 & 002556 - All have 1967 serial numbers but have 8 TPI serrations and Slant 2 logos. And all but 002452 (handle repainted dark gray), have black handles.


[Unusual Knife UK8 Thumbnail Image] Photo: John Gibson

UK8: UNUSUAL TYPE 8: "HAND PAINTED 2 COLOR TIGERSTRIPE"; PAINTED HANDLE & SHEATH; L6 STEEL; STRAIGHT; 8 TEETH/IN.; BRUSH FINISH BLADE; SLANT 2 LOGO

Both the knife handle and the sheath face have been hand painted in a tan and green colored tigerstripe pattern. This is probably a unique item.


[Unusual Knife UK9 Thumbnail Image] Photo: Steve Whipple

[Unusual Knife UK9A Thumbnail Image] Photo: Steve Whipple

UK9: UNUSUAL TYPE 9: ""T" SERIAL"; BLACK HANDLE; L6 TOOL STEEL; WIDE WASP; NO TEETH; CANT; BRUSH FINISH BLADE; VERTICAL 1 LOGO

This knife, serial number B2219T is very unusual in that it has 3 features not usually found in a 1983 knife. 1) It has an L6 Tool Steel blade as evidenced by the "T" serial number. 2) It has a wide wasp blade and 3) The blade has a full 5 degree cant.

The construction is flawless, and the knife was obviously never carried or used. The sheath is not a Gerber factory model. It is made of heavy black leather and was apparently custom-manufactured, as it bears the maker's stamp on the rear of the belt loop, "Jerry's Tack Shop, 623-4755, Dallas, OR." The front of the sheath bears the stamp "US / MK 2" indicating that this sheath was most likely made specially for this knife.

This knife could have been a special order or it could have been made up by an employee.

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HANDLES

HANDLES - Handle materials for the Gerber Mark II include exotic hardwoods, Sambar stag, ivory and aluminum. Exotic hardwoods such as Zebrawood were used on Presentation and President's Set Mark IIs. Likewise a smaller number of Presentation and President's Set Mark II's had Sambar Stag handles. Very detailed carved ivory handles, in the shape of eagle, bear, lion and griffon heads, were used on a small number of knives.

However the vast majority of Mark II knives were made with the functional aluminum handle. These handles are a one piece, solid aluminum casting which includes guard, grip and pommel in one strong piece. A practical design, the handle won't rot or corrode.

The handles are 5 1/4 inches long. They have a flattened oval cross section and a tapered, palm swell design. The double guards are angled forward and the tapered pommel has a hole for a wrist thong.

The handles are cast in two part molds and have a preformed hole for insertion of the blade tang. After being extracted from the mold, the flash from the handle centerline and the sprue from the end of the pommel are removed. Then a lanyard hole was drilled in the pommel and the hole entrance and exit chamfered to remove the sharp edge. The handle then had the finish applied.

There are 2 main types of aluminum handles. 1) Cat's Tongue, which is a bare aluminum handle sprayed with molten stainless steel, 2) Colored handles coated with Armorhide, a vinyl textured coating or an electrostatic dry-powder coated, baked on finish. These finishes are explained in more detail in their respective sections. An example of an unfinished handle (flash removed but no wrist thong hole) is shown below:

[Unfinished Handle Image]

The only Gerber factory handle finishes/colors used on the Gerber Mark II aluminum handled knives are Cat's Tongue, Gold, Gray, Yellow, Orange and Black.

The earliest coating was the Cat's Tongue finish. The surface was created by spraying molten stainless steel on the aluminum handle's surface. (See CAT'S TONGUE for more info.)

Armorhide coating was used for the Gray, Yellow and Orange handles. The Black handles had an electrostatic dry-powder coated, baked on finish. (See BLACK ARMORHIDE for more info.)

Gold handles had actual gold plating on the handles. (See GOLD HANDLES for more info.)

Cat's Tongue was used on 1967-1968 knives. Gold was an option on even 100 serial numbered knife handles on early 1967-1968 knives. The Gray was used on 1968-1977 knives. Yellow was used on 1971-1974 dive knives. Orange was used on some of the 1971-1974 knives. Black was used on 1977-1998 knives.

There were rumors of "White Handles". However, these were just a lighter than normal Gray color.

Comparison pictures of a Cat's Tongue Handle, Gold Handle as well as the other colored handles are shown below:

[Cat's Tongue Handle Image] [Gold Handle Image] [Gray Armorhide Handle Image] [Yellow Armorhide Handle Image] [Orange Armorhide Handle Image] [Black Armorhide Handle Image]

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BLADES

BLADES - Gerber Mark II blades have an exposed length of 6-1/2 to 7 inches with an additional 1-3/4 inches of a narrower blade tang in the handle. The blades are 1-inch wide and are of a flattened diamond cross section shape with one of three blade profiles. The blade profiles are: 1) Narrow wasp. 2) Wide wasp and 3) Straight. All three profiles are found with and without serrations (teeth).

Knife blades prior to 1982 were made from L6 carbon steel, a high-strength oil-hardening tool steel with great toughness and fine edge-holding ability. The 1982 and later blades are made from type 440C stainless steel, which resists corrosion much better than L6 steel does.

There is some question as to the exact 440 type used for Mark II stainless blades since there are three common 440 stainless steel types, 440A, 440B and 440C. The carbon content and thus the hardenability, increases from A to C. Conversely, corrosion resistance is highest in 440A and is somewhat less for 440C.

Most references denote 440C as the blade steel used for Mark II stainless blades and I have followed that convention. However other references specify the steel as "Universal Cyclops 440A". (Universal - Cyclops Steel Corporation merged into Dixons Group, PLC in 1987). Early Cutlery Shoppe catalogs state that the CS serial knives were made of 440A steel and I have noted that.

Blade blanks are first punched from 1/4" thick by 1" wide bar stock with the tang and blade point rough formed. The early L6 knife blades up through 1972 were drop-forged and all have a narrow wasp-waist shape. I was told that there were problems maintaining a constant blade thickness with the forging method.

So the L6 blades of the 1973-1981 period were hand ground in the wide wasp-waist shape. Since each blade was ground free-hand, you will encounter some variability in blade shape during this period. The 1982 and later blades are made from 440C stainless steel and the wasp shaped blade was eliminated in favor of a straight blade profile.

At some point the Gerber name, address and "Sword in Stone" logo was stamped on the obverse blade ricasso and the serial number on the reverse ricasso. After heat treatment, grinding, cutting of serrations (if any), sharpening and final polish, the notched blade tang and handle tang hole are coated with a thermosetting epoxy and the blade tang inserted into the handle. I have never heard of a handle that loosened from the blade. Raw punched blade blanks, a flat ground serialized unfinished blade and an early finished blade are shown below.

NOTE: Occasionally one encounters a Mark II knife for sale that is unmarked and touted as being "Sterile" and allegedly used by "Special Forces". To my knowledge, no knives were intentionally produced without markings. This is a rumor, probably inspired by the unmarked SOG (Studies and Observations Group) knives used in Vietnam.

[Blade Blank Image]




[Flat Ground Blade Image]




[Finished Blade Image]

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BLADE FINISHES

BLADE FINISHES - There are only four blade surface finishes encountered on the Mark II blade. They are:

1) Brushed - Found on the vast majority of Mark II blades. This blade finish is accomplished by abrading or "brushing" the blade , usually with a fine grit wheel. The brushing gives the blade a distinctive look, retaining some of its luster along with a pattern of very fine lines. The lines all run in the same direction, along the length of the blade. There are some periods where the just the blade cutting edges are highly polished and are razor sharp.

2) Blued - Found on some early production Mark IIs. Gerber offered a small plastic bottle of Blueing (sic) Solution that allowed a knife owner "to field blue your combat knife for camouflage purposes." (See Bluing Bottle for more info.)

3) High Polish - This is the standard finish for all Presentation, Presidents Collection and Carved Ivory Mark IIs. However, there are standard production knives where the entire blade was factory buffed to a high polish. I don't know if these were special orders or just trial pieces. Polished blades can be found on some Cat's Tongue and early gray Armorhide handled knives.

4) Black Coated - These are the BA5 type knives with a baked on, smooth, non-reflective, black coating similar to Gun-Kote

Occasionally you will encounter a dull gray frosted finish on a Mark II blade. This finish was never offered by the factory and was done after purchase by means of sand or bead blasting.

NOTE: Any pattern of lines running perpendicular to the blade length indicates non-factory buffing. It is usually done to clean the blade of rust, stains or corrosion. Also examine any high polish blade for the same reason. Examine the area of the ricasso near the handle for a change in blade finish as a standard buffing wheel cannot buff this area without removing paint from the guard. Also look for rounding of the triangular ricasso to blade transition edge which indicates heavy careless buffing.

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BLADE CANT

BLADE CANT - The early 1967 knife blades are "canted" about 5 degrees. These blades are also referred to as "bent" or "angled" blades. The cant or bend is normally toward the serial number side of the blade.

There is a lot of mistaken information about the cant design. One of the supposed reasons for the cant was that "the cant was designed for easy targeting of the enemy's kidneys". A second was that "the cant was designed to slip under the ribcage and up into the heart". A third, supposedly attributed to Greg Walker, states "This offset was intended to compensate for the angle of attack between the clavicles and position the blade for a more accurate strike into the vital organs when performing a rear overhead strike or upward thrust into the abdominal area from behind (as used for sentry removal)". How absurd!

The simple truth is that the cant was a design feature that accomplished two things: First it allowed the knife, when sheathed, to be kept closer to the body. The bend allowed a better match to the curved contour of the hip, calf, thigh or inverted carry taped to chest web gear and thus would help to reduce snagging. Second the angle was designed to keep the blade horizontal to compensate for the natural bend of the wrist when the knife is held with the "Fencing foil grip".

However the cant feature was quickly dropped. So many knives were returned from stores and individuals, with requests to straighten their crooked blades, that Gerber just made them all straight to end the problem of returns.

When the blade is assembled to the handle of a Mark II, the tang of the blade and hole in the handle are coated with epoxy and the tang inserted in the handle. The hole in the aluminum handle is somewhat larger than the blade tang. The cant or off-set in the blade was accomplished by simply angling the blade when the blade was inserted into the handles. Simple fixtures were used that would gage the degree of cant or off-set in the blade to maintain consistency from knife to knife. So, if something allowed the blade to fall out of alignment before the epoxy hardens, then the degree of cant will be affected. As a result you will encounter occasional knives in the 001001 to 003747 cant serial number range that have no or only a small amount of cant. By the same token, you will encounter later knives that have a full 5 degree or small (approx. 1-2 degree) cants to them.

The only knives with an intentional factory cant include the following:

1) The 1967 CT1 knives from S/N 001001 to S/N 003747. However, they also can be found outside this range, due to special orders, up to about S/N 004987.

2) The 1969 I.G.S. special order GA1I knives ordered with 10-degree cant from S/N I.G.S./00001 to S/N I.G.S./00012

3) The 1986 20th. Anniversary CT3 and CT3N knives from S/N XX0001 to S/N XX5000.

4) The 1989 to 1994 Cutlery Shop CT5 knives with serrations scattered throughout the serial number range of CS0006 - CS1859.

In addition there are also some "Lunch Box Special" knives, some without a serial number, that have a true cant.

Again, there are later knives that have small (approx. 1-2 degree) cants to them. I want to stress that these knives cannot be considered true canted blades.

[Canted Blade Image]

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SERRATIONS

SERRATIONS - Serrations were first introduced on the Gerber Mark II as an option on the Gray Armorhide handled knives of 1971. Two inches of serrations were added on both sides of the central portion of the blade. The serrations have a scalloped profile with pointed tips and are cut into only one side of the blade, the logo side. (Serrations cut into the serial number side can occasionally be found).

The reason for their introduction was directly due to Vietnam War protests and possibly requests from users or suggestions from the field. The Vietnam War protests in the early 1970's caused the military to threaten to remove the Mark II from the US Military PX system due to its "killer" image. This caused Gerber to rethink its' promotion of the Mark II as strictly a "Combat Knife".

So serrations became an integral part of a new marketing strategy for the Gerber Mark II and Gerber started marketing the Mark II as a "Survival Knife". The late Al Mar redesigned the Mark II and was the inspiration for this marketing change. The "Combat Knife" designation was replaced by "Survival Knife" on all subsequent Gerber Mark II advertising/brochures. The Mark II continued to be offered in the Military PX system after the "Survival Knife" designation was made.

On knives with scalloped type serrations, the serrations are measured by the number of teeth per inch (TPI). Three different serration densities can be found on pre 1999 Gerber Mark IIs. Two types are considered "fine" and one type "coarse" as follows:

1) 14 TPI Fine - Found from early 1971 to mid 1976 knives in observed S/N range of 0193?? - 049650.

2) 12 TPI Fine - Found from early 1974 to mid 1976 knives in observed S/N range of 034113 - 050796.

3) 8 TPI Coarse - Found from mid 1976 to end of production knives in observed S/N range of 049939 - N4121S.

The change towards "coarser" serrations seems to indicate that the original 14 TPI teeth were not aggressive enough in their cutting ability. Possibly Gerber added a second serration cutting machine, choosing a 12 TPI serration. Note that the GA5 knife (12 TPI version) was started 2 years later than the GA4 knives (14 TPI version), but that their ending serial numbers are very close. This seems to indicate that both the GA4 and GA5 versions of the knife were being produced at the same time during the period from early 1974 to mid 1976. In 1976 a change was made to the 8 TPI serrations which became the standard for all future Mark II serrated knives.

Serrated knives essentially cut by tearing rather than slicing. A big advantage is that serrated knives cut much better than knives with a plain edge when they are dull. The big disadvantage of serrated knives, however, is that they are difficult to sharpen, except with a special tool or by a professional.

Examples of the three scalloped serration types are shown below.

[14 TPI Serrations Image] [12 TPI Serrations Image] [8 TPI Serrations Image]

When Gerber re-introduced the Mark II in 2008, the serration design was changed so that the serrated tip shape instead of being pointed was altered to a flat chisel tooth form. There are still two inches of serrations however there are only 11 teeth on each blade edge. This gives a tooth density of about 5.6 TPI.

There is no difficulty in sharpening the flat chisel shaped teeth as they are ground on the same plane as the blade edge. This allows these serrations to be sharpened at the same time as the blade is sharpened, a definite improvement over the previous pointed tip shape.

An example of the chisel tooth serrations of the 2008 Mark II is shown below.

[ Chisel Serrations Image]

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SERIAL NUMBERS

SERIAL NUMBERS - Serial numbers make dating the Mark II knives a simple process. It is fortunate for collectors that Gerber decided to stamp Mark II blades with a serial number as this added an extra step in knife production and thus extra cost.

To my knowledge, no knives were intentionally produced without serial numbers. However knives can be found that have no serial number and some are totally unmarked, missing both a serial number and the Gerber logo.

Mark II prototypes and salesman's samples were all stamped with a 000000 (six zeros) serial number (See the XKCT knife under Prototypes). The number of these knives is unknown. Serial numbering of production knives started with a six digit serial number, 001001 in early 1967 and continued to serial 112000 at the end of 1981. Most of these knives have blades which are made of L6 tool steel.

I've only noted one knife in this range stamped with an "S", S/N 096939S, which indicates that the blade is made of stainless steel. This is a roughly Aug. 1980 knife and is somewhat puzzling as supposedly Gerber switched to Stainless steel around December 1979 which would be around serial 085000.

The very early serial numbers were inverted, i.e. stamped where the digits are read with the blade pointing down. I have records of three blades 001001, 001030 and 001049 stamped in this manner. Sometime after S/N 001049 and before S/N 001116 the serial number stamping was rotated 180 degrees (digits read with blade pointing up) and remained this way until the end of production. There is speculation that the early inverted serial numbers appear only on the first day of the Mark II's production. I have no idea why the change was made.

In 1982 an alphanumeric numbering system was used. The new serial numbering system started with serial A1001S and continued to at least N4121S, the highest serial number that I have encountered.

Special order requests for knives with L6 tool steel blades were honored for a short period after the start of the new serial numbering scheme. These knives were denoted by stamping with a trailing "T" for tool steel rather than the "S" for stainless. The "T" suffix knives are rare and I've seen only three of them, two BA3 models, S/N B2221T and S/N B2251T plus a BA5 model, S/N A1504T.

During production, the serial stamping dies would suffer partial or total breakage. A common effect of a partial breakdown results in missing leading zeros. This is understandable as the leading digits don't change over many blade stampings. For example many S/Ns between 05266 and 05724 are missing a single leading zero. Serial Numbers between 9525 and 9989 are missing two leading zeros. A single leading zero is again missing on many knives between S/N 10034 and 12889. I don't know if the leading zero problem is sporadic or continuous in the range of the above mentioned serial numbers.

A total breakdown of serial number stamping dies resulted in the Gerber factory applying the serial numbers with an electro-etch. The first example I've seen of an etched S/N is 12588(no leading zero etched). Others are 012588-012857 015427-015474, 016356, 016498, 022575, 048102-048162 and others too numerous to mention. Knives can also be found with the Gerber Sword-In-Stone logo etched. The first example of an etched logo is 015427 and has both the logo and the S/N acid etched. Other examples with only the logo etched are 017641, 021157, 021681, 021847, 022476, 024674, 027700, and others too numerous to mention. Several examples that have both the logo and S/N etched are 015427, 015457, 016356, 022575, 048162, 068387, 071952 and 083949. Stamp breakdowns occurred much less frequently with the stainless steel knives, possibly because of more durable production machinery. I have recorded only nine examples of an electro-etched serial number between 1982 and the end of production, A7046S, A7113S, A7731S, B0858S, B5660S, C4815S, K4362S, L6594S and L6905S. I recorded only five examples of the etched Sword-In-Stone logo, C0725S, C3192S, C9889S, H2277S and K1192S.

Examples of several serial number stamps are shown below.

[Serial 0 Image] [Serial S Image] [Serial T Image]

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GERBER LOGOS

GERBER LOGOS - There are seven different logos that are stamped or laser etched on the obverse blade ricasso of Gerber Mark II knives. All but one are of the "Sword in Stone" type. These logos can be used to roughly date a knife in the case of a missing serial number. However, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate the first and second slant logos because of an extra heavy stamp. Also there are periods where either the logo stamping machine broke down or the die itself broke. During these periods the logos were acid etched (earlier knives) and electro or laser etched (later knives) on the ricasso.

The first example of an etched logo I've noted is 015427 and has both the logo and the S/N etched. There are many other examples with only the logo etched in the Slant 2 logo range.

Stamp breakdowns occurred much less frequently after the change to the Vertical 1 logo. The reason isn't clear as it could be the result of a new stamping machine, better stamping dies or the change to Stainless Steel. Only five examples of the etched Sword-In-Stone logo, C0725S, C3192S, C9889S, H2277S and K1192S were noted.

The seven logos in order of introduction are as follows:


[Slant Logo 1 Thumbnail Image] 1) First Slant Logo: This is the first logo used and is distinguished in several ways. First, the sword axis is slanted with respect to the knife blade's long axis and the sword handle is somewhat angular and composed of straight lines. Second, both guards are angled. Third, there is a comma following the period after the letters "ORE." at the bottom of the logo. Note that it is often impossible to make out the comma on a heavy stamping as the period and comma merge into a single mark. This logo was used during the years 1967-1972 in the serial number range of 001001 to sometime shortly after 024499.


[Slant Logo 2 Thumbnail Image] 2) Second Slant Logo: This is the second logo to appear on Gerber Mark II blades and is distinguished in several ways. First, the sword axis is slanted with respect to the knife blade's long axis and the sword handle is more rounded and composed of ovals. Second, both guards are rounded with a hook shape. Third, there is no comma following the period after the letters "ORE." at the bottom of the logo. This logo was used during the years mid 1972 through late 1981 in the approximate serial number range of 024512 to 111094. I believe the change was made when Gerber changed from the narrow wasp to the wide wasp profile blade.


[Vertical Logo 1 Thumbnail Image] 3) First Vertical Logo: This is the third logo to appear on Gerber Mark II blades and is distinguished in several ways. First, the sword axis is vertical and in line with the knife blade's long axis rather than being slanted and the sword has a more stylized look. Second, the stone part of the logo is made up of mostly 4-sided angular shapes stacked together rather than the previous jagged mound shape with cracks. Third, of the two blocks of the "stone" to the left of the sword, the the top of the one further to the left is lower than the one closer to the sword. Forth, the letter "G" in the Gerber name has the normal horizontal portion pointing back to the inside of the letter. This logo was used during the years 1982-1989 in the approximate serial number range of A1001S to I7426S. The logo change was made when Gerber changed to the alphanumeric serial numbering system.


[Vertical Logo 2 Thumbnail Image] 4) Second Vertical Logo: This is the fourth logo to appear on Gerber Mark II blades and is distinguished in several ways. First, the sword axis is vertical and in line with the knife blade's long axis rather than being slanted and the sword has a more stylized look. Second, the stone part of the logo is made up of mostly triangular shapes stacked together rather than the previous 4-sided angular blocks. Third, of the two portions of the "stone" to the left of the sword, the top of the one further to the left is slightly higher than the one closer to the sword. Forth, the letter "G" in the Gerber name does not have a horizontal portion pointing back to the inside of the letter. This logo was used during the years 1990-1998 in the approximate serial number range of I6162S to the end of normal production, N4121S being the last serial number I have noted. I don't know the reason for this logo change. Note that there is a large overlap between the start of the Vertical 2 and end of the Vertical 1 logos indicating that both were being produced at the same time.


[Slant Logo 3 Thumbnail Image] 5) Third Slant Logo: This logo is was adopted in the year 2002 and was used on the Mark II Knives until sometime in 2011. This logo can be found on the following knives:

There are 1500 of the "2002 Limited Edition" knives in the serial number range of A00001 to A01500.

There are 100 of the Limited Edition A. G. Russell knives in the serial number range of Z00001 to Z00100.

The current production of the Mark II, from the years 2008 to sometime in 2011. The highest serial number I have noted thus far is 09925 on a 2009 Mark II knife.

There are 1500 of the "70th. Anniversary" knives in the serial number range of 00001 to 01500. There are also an unknown number of these knives that are not serialized but simply etched "GLB" (Gerber Legendary Blades) in the serial number location.


[GERBER USA Logo Thumbnail Image] 6) GERBER USA Logo: This is the sixth logo to appear on Gerber Mark II blades. Adopted sometime in 2011 it is the only logo that doesn't have a "Sword In Stone" type marking. It was replaced by the Vertical 3 logo sometime in 2013.


[Vertical Logo 3 Thumbnail Image] 7) Third Vertical Logo: This is the seventh logo to appear on Gerber Mark II blades and was newly adopted sometime in 2013. I have only seen a stock photo of the new marking so I don't know any serial number information.


Logos were also etched, for short periods, when the logo stamping machinery broke down. Early knives were acid etched. Later knives were electro-etched.

Acid etching forms a deep etch and the etched area has an uneven pitted surface with a bright appearance. By contrast, electro-etching is very shallow, the etched area has very flat surface and is dark gray or black in appearance.

Examples of several of the etched logos are shown below.

[Acid Etch Logo Image] [Electro Etch Logo Image 1] [Electro Etch Logo Image 2]
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BLADE ENGRAVING

BLADE ENGRAVING - One of the options the Gerber Company offered on the Mark II was "Engraving" the blade with a name and/or serial number. Engraving is a misnomer as the lettering was done by means of acid etching. The method used was to first coat the blade with a "resist", a material that is acid resistant, such as wax. Next the letters are scored through the coating down to the blade surface and an acid applied over the scored lettering. After waiting a period of time to allow the acid to etch the steel, the acid is washed from the blade and the "resist" removed.

Acid etching results in very distinctive lettering which is different from machine engraving, electro-etching or laser marking. When looked at under a magnifying lens, acid etched lettering is seen to be comprised of a series of small uneven pits in the metal.

Machine engraving means the marking wasn't done at the factory at the time the knife was ordered. However, a lot of military personnel bought knives at the Army or Navy PX's (Post Exchange) and some had them engraved after purchase. So the lack of acid etching doesn't necessarily mean it isn't a valid marking.

WARNING: Unscrupulous individuals have been known to use machine engraving on an older unmarked knife in an attempt to fool unsuspecting buyers into believing a knife was carried in Vietnam. If the lettering on a Vietnam era knife is examined and found to be smooth and uniform, the engraving was done at some later time and not by the Gerber Factory. There may be exceptions but again, I would be very wary of a knife with smooth engraving that did not have a foolproof provenance.

An example of Gerber Factory acid etching is shown below:

[Blade Engraving Image]

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2008 MARK II KNIVES

Mark II – 2008 Commercial Edition - The 2008 version of the Mark II is a serrated, fixed blade knife that includes a Ballistic Nylon Sheath. Released in July 2008, this product was designed to have the same look and feel as the original knife with a few modifications for today’s Military.

The 2008 Commercial Edition has a die-cast aluminum handle that is powdercoated black and a 420HC blade that is Black Oxide coated. The handle has a lanyard hole similar to the original and is contoured to fit comfortably into a person’s hand. The Double Bevel blade includes serrations on each bevel. These serrations are different than the original Mark II Knives in that there is a flat area between each scallop, allowing the serrations to be field-sharpened. The black Ballistic Nylon Sheath includes a black, plastic-injection molded, puncture-proof liner to secure the blade, two straps to secure the handle, a leg strap and is MOLLE compatible.

The laser etching on the mark (front) side has one of three logos as shown below. A serial number is laser etched on the reverse side of the knife (starting at 01001) along with a production code to identify some of the specifics of the knife.

[2008-2010 Logo Image] [2010-2012 Logo Image] [2013 Logo Image]


Technical Information

Blade:

Steel: 420HC
Rockwell: RC 57-59
Length: 6 ½”
Width: 7/8”
Thickness: .235”
Shape: Double Edge, Straight Waist, 0º Cant
Finish: Black Oxide

Handle:

Material: Die-Cast Aluminum 380
Finish: Powdercoat
Color: Black
Shape: Contoured, includes Hilt
Length: 5 ¼” to tip of Hilt
Width: 1 1/8” not including Hilt
Thickness: 7/8”

Sheath:

Material: Ballistic Nylon
Color: Black
Style: Belt, MOLLE Compatible
Logo Color: Black
Weight: 5 oz.
Length: 12 ½”

PRODUCTION NUMBERING SCHEME (2008)

First Two Digits - Year of Production (08 onward)

08 2008
09 2009
10 2010
11 2011
12 2012
13 2013

Third Digit - Handle Style (A onward)

A Black Powdercoat
B Black Powdercoat over Cat's tongue, no mask
C Black Powdercoat with Cat's tongue, masked (two colors)
D Gray Powdercoat over Cat's tongue, no mask
E TBD
F TBD

Forth Digit - Blade Coating/Process (G onward)

G Black Oxide
H Brush Finish
J Glass Bead
K Tungsten Carbide
L Ceramic
M TBD

Fifth Digit - Sheath Color/Material (N onward)

N Black Ballistic Nylon
O Black Leather
P Brown Leather
R TBD
S TBD
T TBD

So a typical 2008 Mark II manufactured in 2008 will have a production code of "08AGN".

NOTE: 60 blades were made with the Serial Number “GLB” (Gerber Legendary Blades) for sale at the 2008 NRA show and the 2008 Blade Show.

The above Technical information is courtesy of:

Donda Burnett
Supervisor, Customer Service
Fiskars Outdoor - Americas
Gerber

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