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Got a Beatty cleaver -- what amount of restoration is acceptable?
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Thread: Got a Beatty cleaver -- what amount of restoration is acceptable?

  1. #1
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    Got a Beatty cleaver -- what amount of restoration is acceptable?

    I've always loved the craft of butchery and old cleavers are way cool, so of course I needed a Beatty. This thing has a cracked handle and the spine is banged up but other than that it seems pretty solid. I love old things, but I really love old things that still work and get used as they were intended. I'd really love to put this thing back to use, even if it's just as a really cool BBQ chopper. I know that most of these old Beattys aren't particularly rare or valuable, but I still don't want to destroy it. So I'm curious, what sort of repairs and restoration are OK and what is sacrilege?

    My dad has a friend in town that is a knifemaker (johnharrisknives.com if you're interested, he makes his own damascus- cool stuff but no kitchen knives) I'm thinking of taking it down him to put a new handle on it. Nothing crazy, just a new wood handle that looks like it belongs on it. I also want him to grind a new edge on it. I'm pretty sure this work should be OK as these are basically needed to get it functioning again.

    Is it worth it to have the dings in the spine ground out or should that as is?

    Finally, and I think this might be taking it too far, is it OK to completely clean the blade on a belt sander (or some other abrasive method)? I kinda like the idea of starting fresh on it so when the patina forms it becomes MY blade. If I don't do that, what is an acceptable way to at least clean the blade up? Can I use electrolysis or a similar method (I've heard of using Coca Cola) like for cleaning cast iron?

    Thanks in advance for any advice. As I said before, I'd love to start using this thing again while still respecting it's history.

    I just realized I didn't take any pictures of the whole cleaver, I'll add some later.





    Last edited by Kyle; 03-30-2011 at 11:27 AM. Reason: Original photos too large

  2. #2
    Senior Member monty's Avatar
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    Personally, those dings on the spine shout "history" to me. I'd leave them and show them off proudly. I'm sure each one tells a story. I am currently refurbishing an old hunting knife of my dad's and I am removing the rust and cleaning the blade by hand. Takes forever, but I'd hate to go too far with a belt sander. Plus, doing by hand is a lot of fun. I'm sure others will have better opinions, but I'd start by hand and see how far you get. Just my $0.02.

  3. #3
    Senior Member monty's Avatar
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    Cool cleaver, BTW!

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    Quote Originally Posted by monty View Post
    Personally, those dings on the spine shout "history" to me. I'd leave them and show them off proudly. I'm sure each one tells a story. I am currently refurbishing an old hunting knife of my dad's and I am removing the rust and cleaning the blade by hand. Takes forever, but I'd hate to go too far with a belt sander. Plus, doing by hand is a lot of fun. I'm sure others will have better opinions, but I'd start by hand and see how far you get. Just my $0.02.
    That's pretty much what I was thinking about the spine, I'll leave them alone.

    When I asked about the belt sander, that work would be done by John, the knifemaker I mentioned in my original post, not by me. I would be too worried about going too far with it. I'll probably end up doing it by hand, I was mainly just concerned about whether or not any sort of sanding or abrasive work is OK.

    I don't really use a cleaver too much for BBQ, but I think this would be really cool for doing chopped pork shoulder as opposed to pulled. Some of the Beatty cleavers are far too large and heavy, but this one is smaller and I don't think it would be overkill.

  5. #5
    Senior Member monty's Avatar
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    I have a Chinese cleaver on order right now and I am planning the same thing for it. However, A guy who works for the USDA (his area of work concerns proper marketing of various cuts and grades of meat) just bought a farm close to me and we are already making plans for him to show me how to break down meat starting with primals. I am buying one of his cows and we'll slaughter and butcher the thing. It would be fun to use some vintage tools in the process!

    Cool find. I hope you show pics of the progress.

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    What's wrong with it the way it is? Works fine, right? Clean it a little, yeah, but Why take away it's well earned history, character and history? MHO. ;-)

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    DO NOT SAND THE FACE OF THE BLADE....yes it is sacriligous......put a big honkin convex bevel on it and start using it....as for the handle....if it is really tight i might just seal the crack....otherwise a replacement handle that looks original would be ok with me.....great cleaver boss....ryan

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    Senior Member Cadillac J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monty View Post
    I am buying one of his cows and we'll slaughter and butcher the thing
    That sounds very cool monty....just one question--what kind of freezer do you have that will be able to store an entire cow's worth of meat??

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    I love the beat up spine! Makes you wonder what put those chips there...maybe a rough storage, but maybe they are from years at work in Chicago, butchering beef. You couldn't fake "dented up with age" that well!

    Clean it to make sure it's safe for food, slap a ripping edge on it, and go to town! That John Harris guy looks like an accomplished artist--I'm sure he could do a fine handle for you. Just don't let him fancy it up, it'll look like a prostitute.

  10. #10
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    The handle looks like it just needs a little epoxy to keep goop out of the cracks. It has a nice patina. I would use some fine steel wool on the ferrule, but not much more than that.
    However, it is YOUR tool, and what makes you happy is all that really matters. It isn't the Mona Lisa, after all!
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

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