The Complete Book of Pocketknife Repair: A Cutler’s Manual by Ben Kelley is a short, somewhat flawed, basic book on the steps you need to take to restore an old pocketknife to its former glory. The first two chapters cover tools needed for basic repairs, including special hand tools specific to knife repair. Chapter 3 is a complete how-to guide on restoring a Case pocketknife that is seemingly beyond repair, although the author replaces the blades with new ones.
We get a two-page chapter on buffing, then a chapter on blade repair which oddly misses the reshaping of the tip. Following that are chapters on handle repair and dying and “jigging” bone for handles. You can skim over a couple of throwaway chapters on maintenance, heat treating, etc. The final section of “general information” has great details on angling blades and “cutlering” (bending the blades so they fold together neatly) blades on an anvil.
So the good: the book covers a bunch of operations in knife repair that may be hard to learn on your own, such as spinning rivets, working bone, and getting the knife to operate smoothly.
The bad: the book skips some important info such as where to get replacement blades, blade tip reshaping, and information on the making of blades. It isn’t a book on making knives from scratch but that info would have been useful.
The worst thing is that the book is out of print…so copies on Amazon are priced in the insane $60-$200 range. The good news is that a copy just sold on Ebay for $12, so there are cheap copies out there, possibly sitting in your local used bookshop. The book isn’t worth much more than that, so it’s probably best to get a copy through your library.