Sabatier Bolster/Guard History

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Dan P.

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Reading the link on this thread;

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/26010-Carbon-sabatier?p=396816#post396816

with its references to "hand forged" integral "quillon" knives as early as the C. 17th made me very interested in the history of the Sabatier bolster/guard configuration. I suspect it's a load of bunk, myself, but am happy to be proven wrong.

I always figured that the "quillon" was a necessity of the drop-forging process that some clever soul found could be marketed as a feature, but perhaps I'm completely mistaken.

Does anyone know of any really old bolster/quillon knives of the Sabatier type? Or whether any Sabatiers of that type were ever really "hand forged"?
 

Dave Martell

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These knives are only "hand forged" in that an operator holds the hot blank in place (in a die) as the hammer drop forges the blade to form.

My opinion of the full bolster is that it adds comfort, nothing more. I say that because the choil of the blade provides a natural built in guard regardless of the presence of a full bolster.
 

Dan P.

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These knives are only "hand forged" in that an operator holds the hot blank in place (in a die) as the hammer drop forges the blade to form.
I expect you are right, though on early iterations I wouldn't be surprised if the tips had been hammered out under a spring hammer. They can be very thin indeed, as I'm sure you know.
But what I'm really getting at is whether there were ever entirely non-drop forged knives of this type. I'm guessing not, and guessing that the blurb in the link is marketing nonsense. I'm also guessing that the without the "quillon" the change of section and direction would be too great to be successfully made in a drop forging.
 

Bill13

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Dave,

The long rounded tip slicer I brought to your place showed definite marks for being hammered into shape. I will try to take a picture showing this, but my picture taking skills are poor.
 

Dan P.

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I'd be interested to see that, Bill!
 

Bill13

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WP_20160208_09_23_21_Pro_LI.jpg

Dan,

I'm not great at picture taking but when you sight down the blade you can see the very slight wavering which I think were caused by hammer blows, and I remember Lee Valley claiming as much. I did get a good picture of the devil running with the pitchfork:D
 

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Dan P.

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Sorry Bill13, don't know how I missed this-
The wavewring you see is almost certainly from the grinding and polishing process, rather than forging.

Regards
 

blorp

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Reading the link on this thread;

Carbon sabatier

with its references to "hand forged" integral "quillon" knives as early as the C. 17th made me very interested in the history of the Sabatier bolster/guard configuration. I suspect it's a load of bunk, myself, but am happy to be proven wrong.

I always figured that the "quillon" was a necessity of the drop-forging process that some clever soul found could be marketed as a feature, but perhaps I'm completely mistaken.

Does anyone know of any really old bolster/quillon knives of the Sabatier type? Or whether any Sabatiers of that type were ever really "hand forged"?
Maybe if you find of the few that are still floating around from the 20's and 30's? iirc their production changed a bit in the 70s and 80s, but a lot of rumors about sabatiers are untrue or misleading
 
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