View Full Version : Wusthof Scimeter - My first restoration

02-01-2012, 01:26 PM
So I wanted a nice scimeter and I couldn't afford a custom. Did some searching on the fleabay and I found a 12" carbon steel old Wusthof 153-12 model scimeter. I figured it had a shot at being pretty good since it was supposedly made before 1987 when most of the Germans switched over to recycled steel. It came to me pretty cruddy with some pitting on the blade, a part of the handle broken off, corroding pins, and dull as could be.

Here's how it turned out! New handle is curly walnut with a tung oil finish and copper pins. No patina yet because I had to take pictures as soon as I finished putting an edge on it! There's a few small gaps where there was some minor flake out from reinserting the pins, but it's my first attempt and I don't mind it not being 100% perfect. Oh, and I couldn't resist taking a picture of my boxer puppy since he was out back when I was snapping the "after" photos.

Couldn't figure out embedding the photos but there's a lot so it might just be easier to take the link to imgur. http://imgur.com/a/Oq46V#0

02-01-2012, 01:54 PM
That came out great. What were your steps for restoring the blade? All hand sanding? Did you sand through past the pitting? I've got an old beast of a chef's knife that when I get a chance want to bring the blade back to a nicer condition. Scared to think how many hours it would take to sand through to get past the pitting.

I'm a fan of scimitars too and had Dave rehandle one for me, came out beautiful.

I've already one loin into steaks so the patina is coming along nicely.

02-01-2012, 02:07 PM
It was all by hand, 180-600 grit wet/dry sand paper on a foam sanding block. I didn't get quite all of the "character" out of it, but i got most of it. I also ended up getting a lot of the edge grind marks out (they were pretty rough actually). There's really just one section on the front side that has any sign of the pitting now. I just realized most of the pictures hide it pretty well, haha! You can see it best in the last photo where the reflection on the blade turns darker.

02-01-2012, 03:47 PM
Great job! I just love bringing old tools back to life!

NO ChoP!
02-01-2012, 05:02 PM
I like how you extended the front of the new handle down to cover the heel up; looks a million X's better!!!!!

02-01-2012, 05:16 PM
Nice job! Where did you get your hardware?

02-01-2012, 05:32 PM
No Chop, the original handle looked roughly like mine on the side not shown in the "before" photo. That bit was just broken off ;)

The pins are just solid copper brazing rods (bought online actually). The handle was quite secure just from friction fit, but I used an epoxy for something more permanent. BTW, drilling out holes so those pins would fit through the tang was no fun. I'm debating whether to do that again on my next handles (old Sabatier chefs knife and a forged Dexter carving fork) or to suck it up and buy some corby bolts.

Eamon Burke
02-01-2012, 07:04 PM
Nice! It looks great.

02-01-2012, 07:17 PM
Hell.. now i want a scimitar too..

02-01-2012, 08:38 PM
Nice knife. Nice dog too.

02-01-2012, 08:41 PM
Impressive. You must be pleased.

02-01-2012, 09:08 PM
Thanks everybody! Yeah, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The first set of scales I put on it was a decent piece of eucalyptus burl, but it broke when I removed the wooden dowels I used to hold them in place during rough shaping. But I think the walnut turned out pretty nice. The figure in the wood really pops in person. Now I just need to cook a roast or something to use it and see how reactive the steel is.

02-01-2012, 09:28 PM
Looks good

Line cooked
02-02-2012, 12:34 AM

Andrew H
02-02-2012, 12:36 AM
That turned out well! Nice job, Jason!

02-02-2012, 04:34 PM
Did some searching on the fleabay and I found a 12" carbon steel old Wusthof 153-12 model scimeter. I figured it had a shot at being pretty good since it was supposedly made before 1987 when most of the Germans switched over to recycled steel.

I think it could be much older, as I don't remember Wüsthoff to use carbon steel in the eighties. What is that story about recycled steel??

HHH Knives
02-02-2012, 04:47 PM
That looks really nice. I like it!

02-02-2012, 05:52 PM
Benuser, I don't know much more about it. I was actually hoping to find some information on how old it might be, but i haven't found much online. I'm fairly certain that it is carbon steel from the condition of the blade when I received it, but when i used it to slice a bit of salami this afternoon I saw no patina begin to form at all. I was expecting it to be at least slightly reactive because I had removed the old patina and exposed some fresh metal on the sides (granted I didn't grind very deep at all and there's still a bit of the old pitting showing). I will say that it took an excellent edge and works better than expected. It was also quite abrasion resistant on the stones. I couldn't get a burr with my Bester 500 and I had to drop down to my DMT XXC and work back up.''

As far as the point about German makers switching to recycled steel in 1987, that was just what I had read while searching around at some of the old "vintage" cutlery, mostly on ebay. If it helps, I snapped a picture of the stamp on the side of the blade.

http://i.imgur.com/yHY1t.jpg (http://imgur.com/yHY1t)

Also mine is slightly different than a couple of the other old Wusthof scimitars I've seen online in that the tang is a full tang extended all the way to the bottom of the handle. Most of the ones I see have tangs like CalleNak's beautifully rehandled Gustav Emil Ern that was linked earlier in this thread. The old handle also had no Wusthof W stamp in the wood.

02-02-2012, 06:33 PM
So.. does anyone know where to get ahold of cheap but good scimitars.. i just want one for having.

I've been checking a bit on ebay but they're not too happy with shipping to Sweden.

02-02-2012, 06:51 PM
I'm certainly no specialist, but it looks to me to made in the late sixties. Our German colleagues from messerforum.net may surely help you. Send me a PM if you want some help contacting them.

I just assumed it to be carbon because of the look. If you have no instant discolouration this might be due to the relatively polished finish. When you degrease a small part, and apply some mustard and vinegar, you will know within half an hour.

The mystification about vintage carbon is huge. During WWII French makers hid large carbon steel and blade stocks to the German occupier, and had almost no use for it after war as the stainless had come en vogue. When these numerous small firms had to close in the seventies, their stocks came on the market.
It has nothing to do with others using massively recycled steel. Nobody has ever at some scale, as far as knife production is concerned.

By the way, very nice pictures!

02-02-2012, 06:57 PM
For reference, I went digging through again and most of my information about the steel of the knife goes back to the ebay seller ralph1396, who has quite a large selection of old cutlery and seems to know a thing or two if you cut through all the sales jargon. One of his item descriptions includes this quote "...that is a conservative estimate, and it could be as old as the 1920's or 30's. That's a very good thing, too, since most European cutlery companies switched in 1987 from using fine virgin steel to using recycled inferior "world steel" (i.e., recycled Hyundai's, food cans, and waffle-irons), so this knife pre-dates that by a long-shot." He also describes a Wusthof Chef's knife with exactly the same style stamp on my knife with, "The knife predates the industry's conversion from virgin steel to recycled and represents a level of craftsmanship and quality that are now lost to the economic realities of our age. If you treasure fine cutlery or are collecting Wusthof, you'll want to be buying because Wusthof carbon steel knives just don't come up very often, especially not like this one." I should add he's looking for $200 for his chef knife and I picked mine up for a paltry $30. Looks like I lucked out with quite a ...steel. :D

02-02-2012, 07:28 PM
I hate the virgin steel superiority to recycled steel myth. Grrr.


02-02-2012, 08:51 PM
Well myth or not (and I wouldn't be suprised if it was) the knife still took a really nice edge. Guess all I can do is wait and see how it holds up.