Picture of Restore an old knife

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.

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Step 1: Sand Blast

Picture of 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.

Kinkin5211 months ago
Is it for survival or what?
Anyone want me to make one of my home aid knife? Please comment

Wow, it looks like new by the end!

bhscolleen1 year ago

Wow, does that look great! Last year, when I took my 30-plus year old "Old Hickory" s in for new edges, the gentleman told me he had a pair as well, and to just wipe them dry after using them and use a bit of vegetable oil before putting them back in their sheaths.

BARKing1 year ago
As it is a high carbon steel and not a stainless steel the blade should be treated properly to minimize rust. There are many ways to do that but it is the same idea as a rifle barrel. Blue it, which is a controlled way of rusting it in a fine finish so that the large red rust has a harder time getting started. Having a bright silver blade is a stainless blade fad.

Nice job. I always find it very satisfying to buff up an old peice so it is really nice.

Ryan271828 (author)  russ_hensel1 year ago

Thanks, I agree!

great piece. Did you do anything to the handle, it looks darker by the end.

Ryan271828 (author)  clockworkfish1 year ago

Ahhh, good observation! The wood is darker in the last pics because it's wet.

acuchetto1 year ago
Thank you for sharing your knife tale. It is awesome to imagine, as you said, how wide the blade probably was when you started. I wouldn't have thought as sandblasting as a means of reconditioning (perhaps because I don't have access to one--sigh). The rosewood handle lasted the blasting, but it looks considerably smaller. For future adventures, perhaps wrapping the handle in masking tape (to protect from sandblasting) and using varying grades of steel wool/sandpaper (as you did for the blade) would achieve restoration with less loss to the source material.

Mineral oil (NOT the smelly baby oil kind) would help preserve the wood. Would mineral oil help keep the knife from oxidizing? I bought some food-grade mineral oil in the pharmacy section of my local big grocery store for this purpose. (Much cheaper than at the regular pharmacy around here.) It's sold as a laxative but it is 99.9% mineral oil with 0.1% of tocopherols (vitamin E?) added for stabilization. So far it has worked very smoothly (pun intended). :)
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Ryan271828 (author)  acuchetto1 year ago

Must be the camera angles and/or lighting that make the handle look smaller post sandblasting; it didn't shrink (save perhaps a 64th or thereabout of an inch).

Yeah, actually, I did contemplate doing something to the blade to keep it shiny, but I figured it's a high carbon steel knife - they oxidize, it's just what they do. Especially one that's used on a daily basis. Smart thought on the mineral oil though!

wow, I can't believe it! I just restored the exact same knife! as well as 3 others. I used a vinegar bath to remove the rust, and then a lot of sanding with different grits. I was wondering what the wood was, Thanks!
Ryan271828 (author)  Shields13133 1 year ago

Smart move on the vinegar! Yeah, rosewood is a rad material for knife grips, super durable (it can withstand sandblasting) and doesn't get too slippery, even when caked with fat.

The handle's kinda big and clunky, I feel like I'm holding a 2x4 when using the knife; I'm contemplating putting some contour on the handle, grooves for my fingers. Sand the wood and grind the metal. I don't suppose you did anything like this?

great piece. Did you do anything to the handle, it looks darker by the end.