the Sabatier appreciation thread

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Benuser

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AFAIK ebony. There was also a slightly lighter brown wood that was used (~1960s), which I'm not sure of and would like to learn what it was.
Does this look familiar?
IMG_20210915_125218.jpg
 
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I am jumping on the Sabatier train. In fact... I was a bit hasty and didn't pack a parachute.

I purchased a Sabatier off ebay and won another at auction. Both varying degrees of 'vintage' (aka hand forged). No doubt I paid what a collector would consider an unnecessary premium. I think this is part due to market inflation; although the auction price did not seem too off previous sales. And part due to seller gauging; the usual suspects on Ebay are pitching sales higher than auction prices (I dont really have a philosophical problem with this).

My purchases have all been Japanese since I became interested in cutlery. And I haven't made a knife purchase in a while so why not!? I am hoping this experience will be newer and more fun than yet another variation on a 60+HRC gyuto/santoku. I haven't tried real french classics, only the modern, sad kind. I am looking forward to the aggressive distal taper which was the main requirement in my purchases. I am also curious about sharpening softer steel.

One is a 14" rat tail with a small amount of pitting. The handle is a dark looking wood. It is loose and cracked. I will likely treat this as a project knife. I purchased it for its height. It looks like it might have a very, very slight frown (0.2mm?) or changed of curvature in the middle. I might cut the length down and change the geometry of the tip. It has a small type bolster that I may get rid of. Sorry purists (on all accounts)!

The other is a 12" full tang (TI, **** elephant). Looks like it is in great condition. Lots of dirty patina and possibly a minor amount of pitting. There is a clean looking secondary bevel - hopefully that means the previous owner(s) knew how to maintain it. I can't tell if it is a POM handle or died wood. The images are too low resolution. Some pixelated detail looks like grain... but it could just be rough sanding marks... or dust... or pixel noise... or something else! This might just be a restoration project. Maybe I'll just clean it up and put nicer scales on it? Dunno yet.

I was looking for 12" models both for fun... and for insurance. I figure if there is anything wonky in the grind, the extra size in length, width and height will give me some latitude to correct the problems.

I went into this with my eyes open. I think I hedged my bets by being critical of the images and descriptions. Thanks to KKF for threads like this! There is enough archival information to help limit your risk! Neither look super warped. So long as the heat treatments arent stuffed or the edges arent burnt... I think I can live with whatever arrives (whenever they arrive... given current supply chains!).


[Edit: post note.... my impression is that the old style Sabatiers do not come up often in 'Straya (particularly in these sizes). We have a relatively small population. I factored this into my decision a bit. I didn't really want to spend months hunting for a local bargain... but my god!!... the shipping!!!]
 
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😭

Just got a message from the 14" seller. Apparently USPS has cancelled most of its services to Australia. They cancelled the transaction. Clearly I am a rookie at online shopping... even though I explicitly checked that Australia was in the "posting to" list... damned you Ebay 😡

I was looking forward to modding that one! Well... here's to hoping the other one makes it (through the Global Shipping Program).... 😟
 
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talcum

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A four star parer. Can someone tell me what the silver colored band on the handle is? I had thought silver or aluminum but they would have turned black by now. And this too was my entry point to knifeforums. It looked so innocuous at the time.
IMG_20220124_080705393~2.png
 

Benuser

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A four star parer. Can someone tell me what the silver colored band on the handle is? I had thought silver or aluminum but they would have turned black by now. And this too was my entry point to knifeforums. It looked so innocuous at the time.
View attachment 162251
A virole, common with this type of handle, a Nogent. Rat-tail.
Traditional handle before the full-tang become popular.
Used to be nickel-silver with original ones, and aluminium with NOS.
 

talcum

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A virole, common with this type of handle, a Nogent. Rat-tail.
Traditional handle before the full-tang become popular.
Used to be nickel-silver with original ones, and aluminium with NOS.
How old is NOS? This doesn't have the pink in it I'm used to on german silver, so aluminum? I've had it about 15 years and I got it second hand, given how corroded the blade is why hasn't the band turned to oxide?
 

Benuser

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Can't tell you when they have started with NOS knives. Anyway, it doesn't look like a vintage Nogent who are generally in ebony and have a bullet at the end of the handle.
If it did not corrode it's indeed likely to be aluminium.
 
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Are these really worth spending 200$ or more on?

Reading through old posts and looking at the prices on Ebay, it is clear there has been price inflation. An individual buyer can't really change the seller side of the market. So the prices are what the prices are. Are the current prices 'worth' it? That wholly depends on what value (not price) you place on getting one. Not other people. If you are apathetic about getting one... then probably not.

Although I begrudge the prices asked by the obvious sellers on Ebay, they are providing a service. You can spend your time trawling through garage sales and vintage stores.... or... you can be glued to ebay, trying to find a hidden bargain and hope that nobody outbids your perceived 'fair' price. Or.... you can cost your time and effort and see if the premiums Ebay sellers are charging, are subjectively worth your time.

And none of this is without risk. Without handling a knife, you can't tell how warped it is or how well the steel has been treated. Are you willing to fix moderate damage? How do you feel about pitting and rust?

If you are only after performance. Then no, it probably isn't worth it. You can find many lower risk and better (subjective) performing options. If you are curious whether the experience matches the romance of the history... then you know the cost of entry... time and effort... or money.


Or how do i find a good one for a decent price?

😂

If you find out... let the rest of us know! Again... 'decent' is a subjective judgement based on your values!
 
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i see some sabatiers on ebay but they have seemingly high prices for what they are. Are these really worth spending 200$ or more on? Or how do i find a good one for a decent price?
I became a vintage Carbon steel addict about 6 months ago. In that time I have checked eBay just about every day for all sorts of knives. I now have 17 of them, mainly Sabatier, Henckels, Forgecraft, and a few other American ones. The average cost has been about $40, with some as little as $10 and the most I’ve spent is $70.

The prices that many of the “buy it now” vendors charge can get pretty ridiculous. You can look through sold items and see that some people pay these prices (for some reason). A lot of them also get bid up very high. I’ve lost out on many more than I’ve actually bought because Im strict with how much im willing to pay.

That said, if I’m going to spend over $150, it’s going to be a Japanese knife. But for under $100, a nice vintage Sabatier 4* or K that hasn’t been sharpened much, especially with a wood handle, is probably better than most modern knives of the same price (especially western knives). I use all of my vintage carbons, but mostly just for fun. They are also a good excuse to spend time with stones. If I’m doing serious prep, the Japanese knives come out.
 

cotedupy

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my impression is that the old style Sabatiers do not come up often in 'Straya (particularly in these sizes).

Yes, to say the least! Of my three; two belonged to my wife's grandmother who brought back from France in the '50s, and the NOS K Sab was bought online.

I always look out for them, but have found a grand total of one very bad condition knife in two years. As you noted on the Washita thread - all of the lovely old European stones there are here were for tools and shears.

There will be some old Sabs though, I know a few people who have La Trompette 'Trumpet' knives from the 50s/60s/70s, so they clearly had some distribution. But you might be better off trying to find nice old Sheffields. Here's a old 100+ year old butcher's knife I found from quite a good cutler - I. Wilson - stamped on the reverse for the Melbourne distributor:

1F0E8B80-1EB1-45E1-91CA-82CEEDAB604B.jpeg


BAA76A22-88DF-4FC8-99A7-AE4135AF4A1B.jpeg


BABAACD0-E4E0-48E7-81CA-1E280A9A9E4D.jpeg
 

Legion74

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I am jumping on the Sabatier train. In fact... I was a bit hasty and didn't pack a parachute.

I purchased a Sabatier off ebay and won another at auction. Both varying degrees of 'vintage' (aka hand forged). No doubt I paid what a collector would consider an unnecessary premium. I think this is part due to market inflation; although the auction price did not seem too off previous sales. And part due to seller gauging; the usual suspects on Ebay are pitching sales higher than auction prices (I dont really have a philosophical problem with this).

My purchases have all been Japanese since I became interested in cutlery. And I haven't made a knife purchase in a while so why not!? I am hoping this experience will be newer and more fun than yet another variation on a 60+HRC gyuto/santoku. I haven't tried real french classics, only the modern, sad kind. I am looking forward to the aggressive distal taper which was the main requirement in my purchases. I am also curious about sharpening softer steel.

One is a 14" rat tail with a small amount of pitting. The handle is a dark looking wood. It is loose and cracked. I will likely treat this as a project knife. I purchased it for its height. It looks like it might have a very, very slight frown (0.2mm?) or changed of curvature in the middle. I might cut the length down and change the geometry of the tip. It has a small type bolster that I may get rid of. Sorry purists (on all accounts)!

The other is a 12" full tang (TI, **** elephant). Looks like it is in great condition. Lots of dirty patina and possibly a minor amount of pitting. There is a clean looking secondary bevel - hopefully that means the previous owner(s) knew how to maintain it. I can't tell if it is a POM handle or died wood. The images are too low resolution. Some pixelated detail looks like grain... but it could just be rough sanding marks... or dust... or pixel noise... or something else! This might just be a restoration project. Maybe I'll just clean it up and put nicer scales on it? Dunno yet.

I was looking for 12" models both for fun... and for insurance. I figure if there is anything wonky in the grind, the extra size in length, width and height will give me some latitude to correct the problems.

I went into this with my eyes open. I think I hedged my bets by being critical of the images and descriptions. Thanks to KKF for threads like this! There is enough archival information to help limit your risk! Neither look super warped. So long as the heat treatments arent stuffed or the edges arent burnt... I think I can live with whatever arrives (whenever they arrive... given current supply chains!).


[Edit: post note.... my impression is that the old style Sabatiers do not come up often in 'Straya (particularly in these sizes). We have a relatively small population. I factored this into my decision a bit. I didn't really want to spend months hunting for a local bargain... but my god!!... the shipping!!!]
They do turn up occasionally. This is my 10” that I found in a second hand store in country Victoria.

E6403E50-1F53-4EF2-BD49-3F1C857F7DEE.jpeg
 

Benuser

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i see some sabatiers on ebay but they have seemingly high prices for what they are. Are these really worth spending 200$ or more on? Or how do i find a good one for a decent price?
No one is without risks, as @Luftmensch rightly notes. Warps, oversteeling, the very common overheating by sharpening on grinding wheels, all issues you don't see but may make a blade totally unusable. Specific to Sabs: unpredictable in the steel that has been used. With Solingen or Sheffield makers you're quite sure about the provenance. But the best one, German or Sheffield steel from Swedish ore, wasn't always available to French makers, and the same maker may had six months later to go back to unpredictable local steel, depending on the vagaries of war and peace. The period in history we're interested in for vintage Sabs — between the end 19th century and halfway the 20th — wasn't exactly quite on the European stage.
Another specificity for Thiers: don't rely on brands. Until the depression of 1929, there were plenty of small maker who went into bankruptcy, and their stocks ended with the few survivors. Two blades from the thirties or later, sold under the same name, can have been heat treated by their original makers, and have very different properties. It's only when sharpening you will find out.
Finally, with all vintages, from Sheffield, Solingen or Thiers, there's the risk of what someone who knew his stuff called migrant carbides: a cluster around an impurity. It happens with one blade out of ten or so. If it appears at the edge, no drama, you will have to remove 1 or 2mm of steel. If it's just a bit deeper, a hairline breakage will occur, and the knife is lost.
All reasons to limit your stake at this gamble.
 
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