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One of the Oldest Sabatiers in the world

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sachem allison

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Okay This is possibly on of the Oldest Sabatiers anywhere( who knows, probably not, but pretty damn old), Easily over 125 years old. it just says France. This is not a pretty knife, it has never been taken care of in it's lifetime, but whoever had him loved him anyway, this is evident in the wear and abuse this knife has taken. The blade has been sharpened so many time it is worthless, The handle is so twisted you wouldn't believe it would be possible to use it, yet it fits into your hand like a glove. The chef who had it loved it once and carved his initial into the handle and then wore it smooth over the years. The handle is oversized made for someone with bear pawed hands. It is made of old growth ebony. It is in the earliest nogent style.
The blade is a total rust bucket and ten inches long now, but I suspect it was 11 or 12 inches originally. It is 2 inches wide at the heel and I suspect that too is because of age and poor sharpening. I truly believe that this knife was sharpened on an old fashioned pedal knife sharpener. The blade starts out at about a 1/4 in on the spine at the heel , 3 in further down the spine it is 1/8 in and at the tip it is 1/32 in. I have never seen a taper like this on a knife. It is pretty thick behind the edge now and would need thinning to be useful. This is because the original edge and a large portion behind it are just gone from years of grinding. For those of you who want to know how to deal with the extended choil heel thingy take a look at the original way you were supposed to deal with it. remember in the old days you didn't sharpen your knives, a knife peddler would come buy and everyone would bring out their knives and he would grind away and give them back to you. Even chefs really didn't sharpen knives they just steeled them after the weekly grinding.
Anyway the reason I am posting this thread is I have a proposition to make. I am not presently in a position to refurb this knife and return it to some semblance of a useful life. I , however feel that this poor fellow deserves a new chance at life, like myself. I would like to challenge all the makers and hobbyists here to remake this knife into something that we can all be proud to own. Whether you choose to bring it back to as close to original as possible or whether you would like to modify it with a Wa handle , which would be cool by the way. I really don't care. It is a piece of history that has been forgotten and frankly, without it's influence none of you would have Gyutos to play with. This is the great granddaddy that started it all.
For doing this, I will give you the knife. I want nothing, other than to see this poor guy live again. Who is up to the challenge?

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Johnny.B.Good

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Cool idea Son.

How did you come to possess this one?

I demand WIP photos from whoever takes this on. ;)
 

sachem allison

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I have friends of mine who travel every where. My friend Sophie, not the elephant, was in Lyon, France on her honeymoon picked it up along with a few other ones. She ships them out when she has time and here you go. This one was found at and old farm house owned by a man who was a chef before WW1 after he died it went to his son and he died in WW2 and so on and so forth until it ended up in the barn probably in the early seventies, she also sent me an extraordinarily rare full set of melon ballers and carving stuff from the same period and they are really in need of love. They are beautiful. I'll post picks in a few days and may make the same proposal, they need to be used again and loved.
 

sachem allison

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I have friends of mine who travel every where. My friend Sophie, not the elephant, was in Lyon, France on her honeymoon picked it up along with a few other ones. She ships them out when she has time and here you go. This one was found at and old farm house owned by a man who was a chef before WW1 after he died it went to his son and he died in WW2 and so on and so forth until it ended up in the barn probably in the early seventies, she also sent me an extraordinarily rare full set of melon ballers and carving stuff from the same period and they are really in need of love. They are beautiful. I'll post picks in a few days and may make the same proposal, they need to be used again and loved.
maybe not a full set, but twelve made by various sabatier families all from the turn of the century, ebony handles. they are rusty and some need to be re-rounded and others need to have some metal added and then reground before they are new again. I offer the same proposition on this set. they need to come alive again. I think I have 4 or 5 more of these somewhere. If I find them I will add them to the set. please, someone take me up on this challenge.

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The Edge

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That is an AWESOME knife!! Love the character it shows from its use over the years. I would almost say just put it in a display case and be done with it. Though, that may be partly due to my inability to fathom how to restore it. In any case, whoever takes this on, please find a way to save that handle, that initial should be saved. I have nothing left to say, other than thank you Son!
 

Deckhand

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Wow I would love those carvers and would restore them. I have been interested in mukimono. Seriously love them. Don't want to confuse people looking I am talking about the carvers/melon ballers, not the knives.
 

Schtoo

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I'm not a big fan on 'patina' and all that rot, if it gets in the way of something being used again.

But in the case of that knife, it's worked a full life and I don't think I'd fool with it. Simply put it somewhere safe, dry and warm and show it to anyone who has an interest. The more the better.

Granted, the steel might be wonderful and it can be restored into some kind of wonder-knife, but really? There's probably another one somewhere that's not got the battle scars (and stories to tell) that's more worthy of fixing up and putting back into service.

Just my opinion. I prefer to fix things that seem to have never earned a living and leave those that have worked a full life enjoy their retirement in the lime light.

Stu.
 

ecchef

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I gotta agree with the other guys. Keep them intact and original. The scoops would make a great display if framed nicely.
 

Eamon Burke

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I'd do it, but it sounds like nobody wants me to!

Admittedly, it'd be a bit smaller knife afterward.
 

Twistington

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Maybe you should make/buy/steal a frame and arrange the pieces in that? They have some history and just to grind it away is a little bit sad(for me atleast).
 
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Deckhand

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I knew how to fully restore those, but sounds like it would be unpopular. Sounds like you should put it in a shadow box. Maybe for a wall decoration in a restaurant for their retirement.
 

Benuser

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A beautiful knife, but certainly not unique - in France. As far as I can see it has been treated quite well. The twisted handle is common with this tang construction and is easily corrected. The bolster has been reduced properly. I would restore the original geometry by lowering the tip a little, and perform a serious thinning. It's a knife, a great knife, and should be used as such. Regards. Bernard
 

K-Fed

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I love love love old sabs. I just sent one off to Dave for a refurb rehandle job. So very excited.
 

SpikeC

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I love to bring old tools back to life, and I don'y over restore, butt make them work right and still honor their history.
 

sachem allison

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the knife or the scoops? I might have someone for the knife, but I need to have a convo first, judging by everyone's reactions. I understand where everyone is coming from, but I have always been of the belief that a well crafted tool can be used for lifetimes. a tool is like a person, they aren't living up to their worth if they don't do anything, sitting around. I have used stone tools that were thousands of years old and I feel like they missed being useful. i know that sound weird, but it's true. My father is retired and I know he feels a little useless when he isn't working or doing something productive. I just want to give people a chance to feel and see what the craftsman who made these a hundred or more years ago felt. Like Colin's leather splitter. Everyone thought he was crazy, but he got different people together to work on a product that gave everyone a sense of accomplishment. and he got a great piece of old world craftsmanship to boot. like I have said before, they don't make them like this anymore.
 

Darkhoek

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That is a marvellous blade. I'd like to have a go at it, but I would do a full refurb including a new handle. That would make it useful again but would take away a lot of its history and patina. I agree with the majority here. Leave it be and let it rest in its retirement. If you are still decided to have it refurbished, put me on your already substantial list of interested blade restoration guys.

DarKHOeK
 

Deckhand

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Well if you are still interested in restorations. I would restore the scoops. Gladly.
 

Johnny.B.Good

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I don't see any real reason to leave the knife in its present condition. If the previous owner were a member of your family, maybe. You might mount these items as some have suggested and display them on the wall of a kitchen or in a restaurant (the scoops would look particularly good all lined up), but leaving them in a drawer makes little sense to me. If it isn't restored and used again, it's dead. I would give it a new lease on life with a proper restoration (well, not me, but someone with the skill to do so), including a new handle that matches the original (shape and materials) if possible. There is no reason this knife can't go back to work for many years. I'm sure the original owner ("W") would like this.
 

steeley

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[/IMG]
[/IMG]I did one a while ago it was fun a HENCKEL over a 100 years old.
[/IMG]
the handle was a mix and match of horn amber and redwood.
 

tk59

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That's something, Steeley. Where'd you get those little scissors and what do you use them for?
 

steeley

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All that was in the same lot, the little scissors you can get looking around. i give mine to Lee for some rouge compound.
 

Eamon Burke

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I too love the scissors, and want to know an excuse for me to buy some.
 

tk59

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JKI has some nice ones, too (AS steel?). I just wanted to know what you'd use them for. :)
 
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