Request: Worn knife photo

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AddictforLife

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I am kinda curious on how knife look like after years of use and sharpening. I don't think there is any photo on the web that shows a knife that has been use for ages and worn to the point where it almost at it's last breath.

i.e.
 

JBroida

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These are well over 60 years old


this was one about 10 years old and i restored it for someone
 

knyfeknerd

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Jon, what can you tell us about those 60 year old blades? Very Very Very cool!
 

Cutty Sharp

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I saw some similar ones in Japan recently. I visited Tadatsuna, for example, and noticed a few old ones in the display room. I had a look at one, a yanagiba whose blade was sharpened down to about 1/2 of the original size (similar to the '15 year' photo above); wooden handle also had a dulled look. Mr Nagata said it was 20 years old and belonged to a chef, and so it had presumably been used on a daily basis for all that time, in which case you'd have to say it'd stood up well. Maybe there's a little tradition where chefs like this, when their prized knife has seen its day, return it to its maker when buying their new blade. I didn't ask if it was for sale, but guess it was kept there as a curio or to show how their knives would handle heavy use over time.

In other places I also saw lots of old blades being fixed up and/or rehandled. Some very rusted and neglected blades - home use, I would guess, and lots of santokus. With those in better condition, the kind whose owners maybe cared about them more and used them more frequently, the tangs would seem quite rusted out, in some cases to the extent that I'd wonder how strong they might be when re-handled. (Made me think about the advantages of welded-on stainless steel tangs, for sure.)
 

Seth

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Morimoto's book has a picture of his yanigiba hanging on by a thread.
 

JBroida

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Jon, what can you tell us about those 60 year old blades? Very Very Very cool!
i had a customer come in for a sharpening class a while back and these were his fathers blades... he's japanese american and they had been passed down to him. Actually, it was a really cool/sad story. He told me his family cooked for people at manzanar ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manzanar )... so there's a good chance these knives were used there. Right now, one of the craftsmen we work with is refurbing them for him... he saw them while he was out here visiting and decided he waned to help out by restoring them. Cant wait to see how they turn out.
 

la2tokyo

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300mm Yanagi. The two on the right are mine. The one in the middle I used a lot for about eight years.
 

la2tokyo

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Moribashi. Not mine. I don't know how long it takes to wear down an ebony handle by 40%, but I suspect it's a long time.
 

la2tokyo

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Deba, not mine. I think it's been through about ten years of hard work.
 

la2tokyo

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This one is riduculous. I think these are the same size, 330mm? The owner still uses this every day. He is the cheapest bastard I have ever met.

BTW, Dave, I could use a sharpening tip! How would you shape the tip of this gyuto? It's giving us a little bit of a problem.
 

knyfeknerd

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This is a very cool thread. Thanks everyone for contributing. I'll take some pics of my boss's $h1tball germans when I get back from vacation.
 

AddictforLife

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These picture are so very cool. I love how cool old used knives are. You have.to be kidding that he still uses that tiny knife. I though I was cheap for thinking wear down a gyuto to a Sujihiki, never thought people does do it. I have hope to wear down my Sujihiki to a petty now.
 

Seth

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Jon - I really do think that you, with connections with Japan, could do a great book on history, construction, use, of j- knives. I'll edit; I write good.
 

Chifunda

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"This badly worn knife was returned to Loveless by a professional hunter with the request for another just like it. He enumerated the many kills the knife had skinned and Loveless, who likes to see his knives used, was so impressed he sent the replacement gratis."

Photo and quote from Living on the Edge by Al Williams.
 

sachem allison

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I am kinda curious on how knife look like after years of use and sharpening. I don't think there is any photo on the web that shows a knife that has been use for ages and worn to the point where it almost at it's last breath.

i.e.
you should check out pretty much most of my knife posts and you will see what happens to aged knives.lol
 

cookinstuff

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Hey Son, you break them down and build them back up to their former beauty though! I enjoy seeing used old knives, and I really enjoy seeing those knives you have refurbished and what was once a worker in the kitchen returns to it's glory. Obviously these knives aren't getting refurbished though..... great post.
 

DwarvenChef

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Love seeing vintage knives. But I run into a kind of "At Odds" feeling when I see them worn down do much. Being a minimalist sharpener I only remove enough material to get the job done and most of my knives show little to no wear, short of my Hiromoto HC gyuto on which I learned how to use a Japanese knife and, lol, how to repair my boo-boo's :p . A few knives I have had almost 8 years (or has it been longer..) and have used almost daily with next to to wear.

One thing I do when looking at older blades is to wonder how they where used and how they may have been sharpened. I picked this up from my work with vintage straight razors. It really is facinating to look at the blade marks and wear patterns and reconstruct how it was used and abused :p
 

DwarvenChef

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Will have to add that site to my list of Bike Tours I need to do before leaving CA.
 

knyfeknerd

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Right now, one of the craftsmen we work with is refurbing them for him... he saw them while he was out here visiting and decided he waned to help out by restoring them. Cant wait to see how they turn out.
Can't wait to see as well. That's some serious history there.
 

Seth

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There seems to be a fair number of Masamotos in these pictures. I wonder if it is or was the most popular working chef's knife brand?
 

JBroida

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for many years it has been the standard go to (due to accessibility among other things)
 

Eamon Burke

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This thread rules. It's so nice to see these things being used and used. I sharpened a guy's swiss army knife at the market a few weeks back that was WAY thinner than it used to be. I love to see a knife getting used up.

Most of the time, knives get retired early due to ignorance, lack of interest, damage(dropped the Honyaki on the tile floor), or neglect rusts them out, and in the bin they go. Also, sometimes there are knives that are just not worth the effort to repair. Case in point:


You can ask Heath Besch how jacked up that knife is. I was asked to fix it, but the backside hollow is only about 1/3 of the way to the tip now, what little is left of the shinogi is totally doing it's own thing, the handle is warped, cracked, split and separated with old fish and finger crud in every crevice, the heel is underground by like 1cm, and, of course the tip looks like ^that^. I was like "Uh...this can maybe go to an actual Japanese Bladesmith, but it might just be more practical to melt it down and start over.
 

eshua

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Most of the guys at work have knives pretty well worn. I might not keep them the shiniest, but I can say is that mine don't birds beak like some of the others. Here's a few pics of my single bevel ones. Note the original 270 saya next to them as comparison.





And another to show the handle on the ajikiri...sorry for quality just got my first smart phone and wanted to try out the camera.
 

Crothcipt

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well good quality, and nothing out of focus. I don't think you have to be sorry for anything. In fact great pics. for a cell phone.
 
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