View Full Version : Brand new member. need your expertise and help. GUSTAV EMIL URN i.d.

02-01-2013, 01:25 PM
my first post. i want to make it a good one.

first a bit about myself. i love all things sharp. knives, axes..err..chainsaws? i am getting much better at sharpening these things too. i grew up a chef family. my stepdad, who recently passed was a fantastic chinese chef. he has some great vintage german chef knives he thoroughly abused in his career. my mom still uses them.

anyways, he instill in me a love to cook. i can rock the kitchen. he also burnt in me the love of all things sharp. i'm the guy running around ebay looking for a vintage chef's knife. my boss was heading off to the goodwill store to donate some knives. he asked me, do you want this one? i jumped on it. it is an (he says it is old) older Gustav Emil Urn chef knife. overall length is 14", blade is 9.25". handle is wood, with 3 rivits. the tang is tapered. it is thicker at the blade end and tapers to a thinner material as it heads toward the handle end. blade has some minor staining. it is shaped more like a modern chef's knife and doesnt have that thinner profile like an old Sabatier.

what knife is this? thanks for all of your help. this forum looks dangerous for someone like me :D


i'll try to attach a pic. hmm..how to post pics from my files?

02-01-2013, 01:29 PM
grr..gotta use photobucket?

02-01-2013, 01:42 PM
Welcome--this is probably the place you can find the people you are bidding against on the Bay! Photobucket works well!

02-01-2013, 07:11 PM
Gustav Emil Ern knives are made in Solingen,they were a rival to Wustof .If the bolster is quite thin it is an older one and more likely carbon.They were very popular high end knives in Europe amongst professionals.I still have my 22 year old Gustav boning knife but its not a brand non-europeans are that familiar with as Wustof dominated the market.

02-01-2013, 08:28 PM
I read somewhere that their earlier carbon was considerable in quality to Sabatier. I know nothing about the stainless though.

sachem allison
02-01-2013, 08:40 PM
it was a fairly small German knifemaker who was known for exceptional quality. They at one point were regarded much more highly than Henckels and Wustof. where these two companies jumped on the mass production market after World War 2 Gustav did not. They believed in quality over quantity and that in the end killed them. They couldn't compete in the global market and were crushed. Their production methods were old fashioned and much more expensive. They were one of the last manufactures to employ skilled craftsman to make their knives. I think they finally gave up the ghost in the 70's or 80's after they went into receivership and eventually closed their doors. about 10 years ago or so someone decided to reopen the company under the same brand and sell vintage overstock, when that ran out they decided to make new knives and the quality that they were famous for didn't come back. They are branding themselves as a wustof or Henckels type company.
If you can find truly vintage pieces jump on them, but beware of the new pieces being sold as vintage, because they suck. I have several including one with a 16 inch blade that is so well balanced that it feels like an extension of your hand. It takes and holds an edge better than any newer German knife I have used. You can sometime find some on ebay for a great price because people don't know what they have. in short the vintage ones (pre 1980'S) are awesome, new ones not so much.
Hope this helps

sachem allison
02-01-2013, 08:44 PM
Sounds like you have a tapered tang there and possibly the walnut handled version, is it a dark wood kinda dull grey black? If so, you quite possibly have an older one. If it looks new it maybe some of the NOS I talked about earlier.

02-01-2013, 08:48 PM
Sounds like you have a tapered tang there and possibly the walnut handled version, is it a dark wood kinda dull grey black? If so, you quite possibly have an older one. If it looks new it maybe some of the NOS I talked about earlier.

yes.!! let me get a photobucket account going. this thing took and edge!! might be my sharpest knife in the mag rack!

02-01-2013, 08:56 PM

02-01-2013, 09:03 PM

sachem allison
02-01-2013, 09:36 PM
yep, vintage 1960's walnut handle tapered tang. you got a good one, way better then wustof.

02-02-2013, 12:52 AM
thanks Sachem.

thank you for the info.

El Pescador
02-02-2013, 12:57 AM
Nice knife! There are some good threads on refinishing a knife like that.

sachem allison
02-02-2013, 02:37 AM
I have two somewhere in California on with a 16in blade and one with a 14in blade and they are both just as nimble as can be.

02-02-2013, 05:21 PM
my boss was throwing away all his old knives and offered me the stack. this was the only interesting one. the rest i am taking to goodwill.

i got it FREE!

02-03-2013, 01:51 AM
pretty sweet. specially that it's free.

sachem allison
02-03-2013, 01:58 AM
my boss was throwing away all his old knives and offered me the stack. this was the only interesting one. the rest i am taking to goodwill.

i got it FREE!

hold on there, you may have some other hidden treasures, take pics, show em. we may have a pay it forward situation here.

labor of love
02-03-2013, 02:06 AM
that vingage gustav is a nice discovery. it looks like its in good condition too.

02-03-2013, 02:41 AM
Nice blade profile... Good find! And welcome to the forum!

06-30-2013, 05:04 PM
Reviving this thread and thank you Son for the history on this maker.

I was as a party yesterday and some friends said "hey Mike we got you something it's in the car" wow - was I treated to a great surprise -


14.5" blade, thin guard and tapered tang. It's a monster - what a great gift.

Here it is next to my 270 Kono HD for comparison.

I'm looking forward to bringing this bad boy back from the brink. Nasty chip in the edge, but what's left of the sticker is still on the handle. It's going to look good in ironwood. :pirate1:

06-30-2013, 05:15 PM
Those are some good friends you got there Mike!
That's a killer find. Me jealous!

06-30-2013, 05:49 PM
Great friends, indeed! I'm sure we get a WIP with a lot of pix. What is the original handle alike?

06-30-2013, 06:11 PM
Whatever the slabs are they are dry, dry, dry. I'm thinking of ironwood for a replacement after rounding the spine and easing the finger guard some. Balance point is about 2.5" in front of the guard - it's a ridiculously long knife by my standards.

sachem allison
06-30-2013, 08:05 PM
black walnut slabs on the Gustav, lightly sand it and then soak it in mineral oil over night and watch what happens.

06-30-2013, 09:14 PM
I'll give that a try Son - muchos thanxos

07-01-2013, 03:40 AM
I imagine this beast being used with some kind of claw grip in front of the bolster, like some hold a cleaver, by the spine. Than that balance point would make a lot of sense.