Old butcher knife restored, strange tempering?

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woodworkcan

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Hey KKF,

I wanted to share this "one-of-a-kind" butcher knife I found at a flea market.

I restored it a bit, in trying to keep the original patina and old looks.

The handle was in rough shape, so I had to sand it.
But in doing that, I discovered it was made of birds-eye maple.

Can someone explain what is going on with the blade splotches?
Is it the uneven tempering process that was responsible for that look?
What do you think is the age?

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Noodle Soup

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Can you tell if it has been rehandled? Looks like an Asian handle on a Western lamb splitter. Round handles are fairly uncommon on Western knives but normal on many Asian.
 

HRC_64

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Can you tell if it has been rehandled? Looks like an Asian handle on a Western lamb splitter. Round handles are fairly uncommon on Western knives but normal on many Asian.
The choil looks like it was cut (sectioned) and wrapped around the handle.
 

woodworkcan

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I have no idea if it was re-handled. But the maple handle would be typical for North America, and less for Asia, even if maples grow in Japan for example.

The hidden tang has the same height as the handle. Covering the ferrule front, there was some kind of wax material. I am disappointed that I did not take a picture of that before...

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Dendrobatez

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Round handles with metal bolsters werent uncommon in butcher knives in 1850s and early 1900s, alot of those would have a full tang that was peened at the end of the handle which would make them very secure
 

Benuser

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The uneven patina will have been caused by longer contact with a liquid, think vinegar, blood, dirty water, whatever. A humid towel perhaps. Fresh meat. No differential tempering or hamon line here!
 

Dendrobatez

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I'm sorry I didn't try to answer the original question in my reply - it looks like corrosion and surface rust that's been removed at some point to me. Very cool knife, I love these old butcher knives - reminds me of a time where people were tradesmen and did the work not machinery
 

DevinT

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It might be made from shear steel.

Hoss
 

DevinT

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Shear steel was made by rolling plate down then shearing it into multiple pieces and rewelding the pieces and then rolling to final thickness. It looks like there may be layers to the steel.

Hoss
 

DevinT

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They made wrought iron until the 1960’s, not sure when they stopped making shear steel. Probably late 1800’s to early 1900’s.

Hoss
 

McMan

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They made wrought iron until the 1960’s, not sure when they stopped making shear steel. Probably late 1800’s to early 1900’s.

Hoss
Thanks.
I've got a couple Sheffield knives--one's marked "Shear Steel" and the other "Double Shear Steel"--and was wondering how old they might be.
 

woodworkcan

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Interesting contributions, especially on the shear steel. It's appreciated!

Two points I wanted to add related to the blade surface.
I did a hardness test using files are the more shiny areas are harder than the duller areas - which is consistent with my tempering hypothesis, don't remember the numbers though.

The other thing is that the two surfaces have a minor thickness difference. This may be explained by the shear steel process creating layers.

Anyway, we may never know what happened to the blade!

I have since sold this knife. So I will never see it again :-(
 
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