Help with 2 Sabatier knives from Great Grandmother's kitchen

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Charlie3

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I've had these knives for decades, rarely used them. My best guess is they were bought for a new house around 1910. My Great Grandmother could afford a live in cook so she could afford anything else she wanted. May be these are fancy. I'd like to know more about them to enjoy them more.

My diet has changed, I spend hours a week cutting vegetables. May be I'll put these knives back in service. The edges need restoration. Is it prudent to take them to a cutlery business for sharpening? Thanks for any assistance.


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McMan

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A little scotchbrite and you should be good to go (or you could go with a progression of sand paper if you wanted a nicer finish).
These are nice Sabatiers--you're fortunate to have ones with nice profiles, often improper honing can make the edge look like a frown (this is starting in the bottom knife, but not too bad).
These are likely from after WWII; earlier would have different handles (wood) as well as stamped hallmarks on the blade). These appear to be from the "Sabatier Professional" line (~1960s-1980s). If the top handle is hard rubber (check be rubbing against your palm fast, if it smells burnt it's hard rubber, if not it's resin and somewhat newer). The bottom slicer is a style popular for export to Canada.
I'd definitely put these to use if I were you--the top Chef's knife looks like it was hardly used at all.
 

Charlie3

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A little scotchbrite and you should be good to go (or you could go with a progression of sand paper if you wanted a nicer finish).
These are nice Sabatiers--you're fortunate to have ones with nice profiles, often improper honing can make the edge look like a frown (this is starting in the bottom knife, but not too bad).
These are likely from after WWII; earlier would have different handles (wood) as well as stamped hallmarks on the blade). These appear to be from the "Sabatier Professional" line (~1960s-1980s). If the top handle is hard rubber (check be rubbing against your palm fast, if it smells burnt it's hard rubber, if not it's resin and somewhat newer). The bottom slicer is a style popular for export to Canada.
I'd definitely put these to use if I were you--the top Chef's knife looks like it was hardly used at all.
I'll try scotch bright or how about some high grit emory paper?

I believe the handles are not rubber, something harder. That means they were bought by my grandmother after she moved into the house some time in the 1950's after her mother died.

Should I trust these knives to a professional sharpening service? Or perhaps they need special instructions?

I just noticed the steel through the handle is tapered. Would that be done to save weight?

Thanks again

handle top view of Sabatier knife.jpg
 

McMan

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I'll try scotch bright or how about some high grit emory paper?
Try a progression 600-800-1000-1500-2000. Or close to that. Usually autoparts stores sell 3M progression packs of sandpaper that'll have grit-ranges close to that. Make sure to use a backer (like a champagne cork).
Another option would be to try BarKeeper's friend (or baking soda) and a cork or potato. Give this a try first. You might not even need the sandpaper for the Chef's knife.

I believe the handles are not rubber, something harder. That means they were bought by my grandmother after she moved into the house some time in the 1950's after her mother died.
Hard rubber--not regular rubber. Like they used to make old pocket combs out of. Rub the handle against your hand till it gets hot or rub a brown bag on it for a while. If it stinks it's hard rubber and closer to the 50s. If it doesn't stink, then it's resin, so 60s'+.

Should I trust these knives to a professional sharpening service? Or perhaps they need special instructions?
They're easy to sharpen yourself. Otherwise @Dave Martell can work wonders on old sabatiers.

I just noticed the steel through the handle is tapered. Would that be done to save weight?
Yup, a tapered tang is a standard of Sabatier knives. It helps put the balance up by the bolster.

Enjoy! That's a nice Chef knife!
 

GoodMagic

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Second the advice to send to Dave. Please don’t let someone local sharpen them with a grinder, they will mess up the blade.
 

daveb

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I'll second Dave as well for your knives. Third? You may want to let him get them back to sharpened and pristine then consider future maintenance yourself.
 

KingShapton

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Oh man, these are great knives. I think the old Sabatians are stunning! The slicer is especially great!

I don't think you have to take them to a professional sharpening service. Sharpen them yourself, finish between 2000 and 4000, which works best and keep them sharp with a good honing steel, something like a F.Dick Micro. That should be enough to keep the knives sharp for a long time.
 

Benuser

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Very nice indeed! The slicer is a so-called Canadian, meant for the North-American market. The French market requires a full bolster as with the chef's.
The French were very late with introducing full bolsters for their home market, where the Nogent was the standard form until the loss of the colonies in the fifties — original Nogents have ebony handles.
It is very well possible though that for export full tang ones were made long before they were common in France. Have seen the same with stainless Sabs being made for the American market when they were unknown in Europe.
In Europe I would guess these are from the sixties.
I strongly support the idea of sending them to Mr Martell. Not only for cleaning up, thinning and sharpening, but also for reducing the fingerguard so that it won't bother you for years, without disfigurating the design.
 

Honerabi

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I bought my first kitchen knife, an 8" Sab, in 1969. Loved the shape, not as hefty as the German style. The problem is that the steel is brittle. The knife broke several times. Can't decide if I need a 4" brittle Sab prep knife.
 

Benuser

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I bought my first kitchen knife, an 8" Sab, in 1969. Loved the shape, not as hefty as the German style. The problem is that the steel is brittle. The knife broke several times. Can't decide if I need a 4" brittle Sab prep knife.
Stainless or carbon steel?
Something must have gone very wrong with Heat Treatment to have a Sab being brittle. Tempering been skipped, perhaps? Anyway, normally stainless ones as they are just as soft as the carbons. With the carbons the softness is hardly a problem — the edge will require more maintenance, that's all. With the stainless though, the chromium carbides tend to break out of the soft matrix. They don't take or hold a fine edge. To be avoided.
 

paranoia_bro

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Stainless or carbon steel?
Something must have gone very wrong with Heat Treatment to have a Sab being brittle. Tempering been skipped, perhaps? Anyway, normally stainless ones as they are just as soft as the carbons. With the carbons the softness is hardly a problem — the edge will require more maintenance, that's all. With the stainless though, the chromium carbides tend to break out of the soft matrix. They don't take or hold a fine edge. To be avoided.
Agree on the brittleness issue. HRC is usually around 54 for the carbons, and only the more modern stainless ones have the higher 55-57 HRC
 

Elliot

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My two cents.

1) Sell the chef to me.
2) Definitely send it out. These things can be made to sing. I would highly reco @Forty Ounce. Knows a lot more about knives than some of the people mentioned, not to mention, ya know, has ethics.
 
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