WWII Tabletop Commando Knife Display Cabinets

A Cincinnati resident started in the late 1960'sw a hobby collection of World War II British commando knives in the late 1960's. The collection has grown to over 130 knives, some with scabbards.

The knives are mainly British, but include a few American, Dutch and French. The collection includes a couple prototypes hand-made by Wilkinson Sword and a few early ones with a longer blade guard.

The collector wanted a suitable pair of clamshell display cabinets to protect the knives and facilitate transport and presentation at annual shows. In the following picture, the left side shows one half of the interior of a cabinet, and the right side shows one half the exterior of the other cabinet.

Commando Knife Display Cabinets

As most of the knives in the collection were British, it was felt that a dovetailed mahogany frame would be most appropriate. Replicas of British "campaign chest" brass corners were included to further the connection to the British military.

The veneered panel insert is replicated for each of the four cabinet doors. The field consists of four bookmatched pieces of fiddleback mahogany.

Commando Knife Cabinet Medallion

The full-sized knife silhouette and elllipse border are cut from black dyed veneer. The knife silhoutte background is maple.

The veneered panels are screwed to poplar cleats that are in turn screwed to the mahogany frames. Delicate shop-made mahogany cove molding makes the transition from panel to frame.

Cabinet Corner

The cabinets were first wiped with a thin coat of boiled linseed oil, to emphasize the figure in the fiddleback mahogany veneer. All surfaces were then given a number of coats of padded pale deawaxed shellac to further "pop" the figure and tie all the components together. Finally, all surfaces were given a couple coats of good furniture wax. (Shellac is not the toughest finish on the market, but is extremely easy to repair and renew.)