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

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Kyle

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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.





 
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monty

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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.
 

Kyle

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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.
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.
 

monty

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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.
 

bikehunter

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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. ;-)
 

sudsy9977

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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
 

Cadillac J

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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??
 

Eamon Burke

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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.
 

SpikeC

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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!
 

WildBoar

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It would look pretty sweet wrapped in a damascus cladding from Devin or Del... Just sayin'... :devilburn:
 

Kyle

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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.
I'm not doing anything weird or exotic, just a simple wood handle. It is a teeny bit wobbly which kinda worries me when swinging a cleaver, otherwise I'd just epoxy the crack.

What method do I use to make sure its safe for food use? Just soap and water or do I need to get a bit more aggressive? I'm totally over destroying it's patina. I pretty much knew I shouldn't have even asked, but part of me really wanted to put my own patina on it. I just want to make sure that this thing is OK to use.
 

monty

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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??
I live in the country and I'm a competition BBQ cook. Where I come from several chest freezers per household is the norm. I always have at least one hog and half a side of beef in my freezers downstairs.
 

Jameson

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I live in the country and I'm a competition BBQ cook. Where I come from several chest freezers per household is the norm. I always have at least one hog and half a side of beef in my freezers downstairs.

You dont know how much I wished I had that in my fridge/freezer downstairs....

Your lucky to live that way!

As for the cleaver, rehandle if your going to use it, and for the patina, maybe scrub it real hard with some steel wool but I wouldnt strip it unless it is caked on rust.... And then, I wouldnt do it with a belt sander........ We want to preserve that logo stamping. Most certainly at first, just put a real keen edge on it (prob gonna need to remove a good deal of metal).

I think you'll have a hard time finding lots to use it on (unless your in monty's situation) but that is half the fun I guess. Maybe cook ribs more often?

Good luck with it, nice piece.

JC
 

EdipisReks

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i wouldn't do too much to it. i regret that i polished the brass on my dad's Randalls when they came to me 5 years ago. considering that he bought them directly from Bo Randall in the 60s (he lived in Orlando at the time, so he just swung by whenever he needed knives) and hadn't polished the brass during that entire time, it'll take a long while before they look as great as they did. don't make my mistake!
 

Dave Martell

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I'd go with Flitz on the steel parts and I'd soak the handle in mineral oil. You might find that the handle will tighten up and that you can have a clean rust free yet patina'd blade.

DO NOT remove the spine nicks!

DO NOT grind on the cleaver to make it pretty.

Sharpen convex.
 

Chef Niloc

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Just clean any rust off (I use bar keepers frend), and sharpen it. The handle looks tight? If it is leave it be. if it's a little wiggly you can soake it in mineral oil over night that some times swells it tight.
Here's what a nice sharp beatty can do.


Welcome to the Beatty club
 

Dave Martell

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Colin, that picture is one of the most awesome cutting pictures I've ever seen!
 

monty

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Colin - awesome!

It never would have occured to me to soak a loose handle in mineral oil and let it swell (that's what she said). Great bit of info, guys! Really helpful thread. Now I need one of these. Anyone got one for sale? :)
 

Kyle

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I'd go with Flitz on the steel parts and I'd soak the handle in mineral oil. You might find that the handle will tighten up and that you can have a clean rust free yet patina'd blade.

DO NOT remove the spine nicks!

DO NOT grind on the cleaver to make it pretty.

Sharpen convex.
OK, got it. I'll try Barkeeper's Friend or Flitz for the rust, leave the knicks and try the mineral oil technique. It didn't occur to me to even try that.
 

Kyle

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I think you'll have a hard time finding lots to use it on (unless your in monty's situation) but that is half the fun I guess. Maybe cook ribs more often?
I'm not competing, but I do a LOT of BBQ. I have a dedicated meat freezer and have the pit fired up nearly every weekend year round. Also, a good part of my weeknight cooking is done on my kamado grill. This weekend I'll be doing 65 lbs of pulled pork, brisket and ribs for a party. I'll put it to use. :biggrin2:
 

sudsy9977

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colin....i wanna challenge you to a beatty cutting competiton!.....ryan
 

SpikeC

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Over on the woodworking list the recommendation is to soak in raw linseed oil. It will restore the natural form of the wood cell structure and dries slowly enough to allow it to penetrate deeply, and it does dry over time, unlike mineral oil. That is what the old time wood guys do!
 

l r harner

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i was going to ask what cleaver ryan was planning to use after all not only does he have lots of them he has suckered dave and i both to clean up and hone a few
 

Chef Niloc

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Butch I'm using this one for my fight with Ryan. This one cuts bone like butter. I cut threw the "A" pillar on a old truck one day just for fun. Keep it in my back seat of the car just incase I need the jaws of life in a pinch

 

Chef Niloc

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O Butch Daves on my team Ryans got Ken and Mark so I need a 3rd I'd you want in I'd love to have you on my team.
 

sudsy9977

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that ain'tnothin....wait till u see what i keep in my backseat.....ryan
 

Andrew H

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Butch I'm using this one for my fight with Ryan. This one cuts bone like butter. I cut threw the "A" pillar on a old truck one day just for fun. Keep it in my back seat of the car just incase I need the jaws of life in a pinch

That has to be on the top 5 list of what to NOT have in your car.
 

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