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Reconditioning/Polishing Question

Sat May 04, 2013 2:31 pm

Sharpening has already been covered ad nauseum throughout this forum ... my question concerns how to recondition the look/finish of an old carbon steel knife that's heavily stained and pitted with rust due to long decades of neglect.

This will probably be my first restoration project: an old traditional 10" carbon-steel Dexter Butchering/Heading knife, circa 1910-1932, which I inherited from my late grandmother's estate, and which hasn't been used regularly in many decades. Historically, I suspect my late Grandfather got it from his cousin, who ran a butcher shop and produce store in town, so it was probably used to break down large critters into primals, in the days before home refrigeration. It's a very inexpensive knife, whose chief value now is mostly sentimental and self-instructional.

Resharpening will be trivially easy, since the steel is soft & flexible, and the edge seems to be a simple 50:50 V-bevel. The part I'm unfamiliar with is how to clean and polish the sides of the blade, and letting a new (and properly managed) patina form.

Pics to follow ...
Last edited by ISI-Society on Sat May 04, 2013 3:18 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Re: Reconditioning/Polishing Question

Sat May 04, 2013 3:05 pm

Blade = 10" length, 1/16" thick at spine, 1 5/16" height (probably 1 8/16" when new), Handle 5 5/16" long (I'm guessing rosewood).

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Any advice on how a beginner like me could tackle something like this is welcome.
Last edited by ISI-Society on Sat May 04, 2013 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Reconditioning/Polishing Question

Sat May 04, 2013 3:21 pm

Just like I explained to you the last time you asked this question http://www.chefknivestogoforum.com/post20656.html#p20656, start by scouring it with rough steel wool and an abrasive like Bar Keepers Friend or Bon Ami. You will be thoroughly amazed at what that does. Follow that with a stainless wire brush and more abrasive. Follow that with the wire brush and a cleaner/polish like Flitz or Wenol. Then buff the residue off with a terry cloth. This will bring it to a state in which you can really investigate the pitting to see where you have to go from there. You might be able to just polish it from there with more Flitz & a microfiber, or you might have to start working away deeper corrosion with a dremel (watch the heat treat) or items like:

I just saw the pictures that you added, and that's not bad at all. It will be a piece of cake...

Furthermore, the handle can be sanded down and treated with tung oil, or you can do a beeswax/oil dip. Let the wood get wet and then let it air dry. This might have no effect on your handles, but in all likelihood will cause the grain to rise. I then sand it lightly with fine paper, then with 000 steel wool. Slather the handles pretty liberally with a beeswax/mineral oil paste consisting of 20% beeswax:80% mineral oil mixed in a double-boiler, wipe off excess, let it sit overnight, then buff it in the morning. You could do that a few nights in a row or as needed until the handle feels silky smooth, polished and “sealed” (although, technically it’s not really sealed).

http://www.chefknivestogoforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=254&hilit=00%20steel%20wool

Practicing what I preach:
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Re: Reconditioning/Polishing Question

Sat May 04, 2013 3:37 pm

Thanks for the basic roadmap and links. :)

Re: Reconditioning/Polishing Question

Sat May 04, 2013 3:42 pm

Always trying to help...

Re: Reconditioning/Polishing Question

Sat May 04, 2013 3:47 pm

I will more than likely never have a need to use this particular blade - but restoring it will be educational. :)

Re: Reconditioning/Polishing Question

Sun May 05, 2013 12:59 am

Well the first decision is whether to keep the patina od some part of it for 'historical' reasons or to turn it into a working knife, which is what I suspect you want. This will loose it's sense of history to a degree, but give you a new knife to use for it's functional value.

In this case, which I believe is the preferred route, Melampus' suggestions are excellent ones :)

And Melampus, your example shows some beautiful work!

---
Ken

Re: Reconditioning/Polishing Question

Sun May 05, 2013 7:27 am

i have an old hickory i reconditioned. i kept the old patina.

Re: Reconditioning/Polishing Question

Sun May 05, 2013 7:47 am

ken123 wrote:"And Melampus, your example shows some beautiful work!"

Thank you, sir! It was a lot of fun...
http://www.chefknivestogoforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1281

Re: Reconditioning/Polishing Question

Mon May 06, 2013 5:37 pm

Now that is some very nice work indeed, I get knives like this a lot and agree that BKF is an exceptional product. The stainless wire brush is a new one though.......cool.
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