I turned an old crappy knife into an old nice knife!
My boss told me that an old widow brought this knife into the shop and gave it to him, saying that it was her husband's - who was a butcher and that she wanted the knife to stay in the butcher business. It's an old Dexter 8" boning knife - it's not terribly nice, rare, or exotic, and you can see that this thing has been used a lot (I'm sure that the blade started it's life as wide as the handle, but after years of sharpening it's been worn down). My boss offered it to me, and mostly because I wanted a boning knife bigger than my existing 6" and I like high carbon steel (all of the rust/corrosion on the blade is clear evidence that this has a high carbon blade) I took it.
One of my co-workers commented on seeing it "holy [explicative], if the Health Inspector saw that in this shop they'd shut us down." Suffice it to say, it looked like crap.
Step 1: Sand Blast
First thing I did was sand blast this thing. I was a little reluctant because I didn't know how the rosewood handle would stand up to sandblasting, but I figured what the heck.
As you can see from the picture, the results were good. It left a pretty typical sand-blast finish on the blade: clean, but a very dull luster.
I was pleased that the handle was just fine in the sandblaster. I don't really know the properties of rosewood - perhaps a different wood wouldn't fare so well, but at any rate the sandblasting worked wonders on the handle: took the gunk and crap off and left nice, clean wood. Plus it left a good finish (good for a knife, that is): not too smooth - textured for grip, and certainly not too rough.