Vintage Foster Bros - NOS - Cleaver Group Buy

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sudsy9977

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Dave should know I don’t check the forums everyday. I’m gonna kill him if he didn’t save me one
 

Dave Martell

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Hey Ryan, I did in fact think of you, and counted you in BUT I figured you'd say no since you have even more cleavers than I do! :D
 

Dave Martell

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I'm supposed to be paying for the cleavers today. I'm waiting to hear back with shipping info.
 

Dave Martell

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I think that these cleavers would have been made pre-1956 (maybe 1953-1956) and yes they should be carbon.

Foster Bros sold their name in 1957 to Columbia Cutlery who used different packaging and made stainless knives altogether different. I found no record of them making cleavers at all.

Of course all that might not be true but I'm pretty certain it's a fact. ;)
 
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Dave Martell

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Oh, and if they are carbon then they're either made from 1055 (the most likely candidate) or 1095, the two carbon steels used by Foster Bros.
 

Dave Martell

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The cleavers will be packed up for shipment to me on Monday. I should have them mid-late next week.

Most everyone who requested a cleaver has paid - thank you!

If you still need to pay please do as I have a list of people wanting to get one and hear back from me if there's any available.
 
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Dave Martell

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The cleavers have been purchased. I'll let you all know when I have them in hand.

Thanks again folks! :)
 

Dave Martell

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Look at what the brown truck just dropped off.....

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These are the real deal folks! :cool::cool::cool::cool::cool:

These cleavers are so NOS that the notches on the handles are rough...I've never seen this before!

I haven't taken them out of the box yet, too excited, had to post a picture. :D
 

Dave Martell

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As you can now likely see these are labeled as #118. What you can't likely see is that the labels are marked with Chatillon Company which dates these pre-1953.

Chatillon purchased interest in Foster Bros in 1904. The trademark "Foster Bros., John Chatillon & Sons" was used up until 1953. These cleavers were made somewhere in that time range.
 

Xenif

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These look AWESOME !!! I can't wait till I get it in my hands on it, thanks again for organizing this amazing group buy, we all struck gold!
 

Dave Martell

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I should have known, things were going too nicely for me, and that my luck (my bad luck) would come around. :(

The problem - sharpening these things.

I've sharpened more than my fair share of vintage cleavers over the years, lots of them being Foster Bros. so I wasn't concerned. Yes I noticed that these cleavers had wide bevels at the heal but knowing how they're thicker in this section I know that's normal. I generally even the bevel out though as it looks more appealing to the eye. This is where things go awry.

These particular cleavers appear to be very uneven in the forging/grinding of the faces plus the right side is flatter than the left. This means that no matter what I do I'm left with uneven bevels along the length and not matching from side to side. And to make matters worse the heal section of the bevels are ground super high making me have to match that along the length.

I've worked on two of the cleavers so far and can state that these are the worst two cleaver sharpening jobs I've ever done. I chased my tail on both to the extent that I don't want to send them to their owners.

Yeah, this is a BIG problem because if I continue I'm likely to hose them all, or at least make them into something unsightly. This is a very tough thing for me to admit here, something that only 2 hours ago I wouldn't believe I'd be typing,

I'm going to give this some more thought before making a decision. I'm pretty sure however this goes I lose...but what's new? Ugh
doube banghead.gif


Dave
 

Dave Martell

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I think what would help here is some sort of jig to use to help hog off steel precisely. I don't have anything like this, or even a grinder that's adaptable to this type of thing.
 

jaybett

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If it helps feel free to experiment on mine. If your having issues sharpening it, where does that leave me?

Jay
 

Dave Martell

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This is turning into regrinding the blade more than it is sharpening, but I haven't given up, I just need to figure it out is all.
 

Dave Martell

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I just tried another one. I tried all my tricks and then some and still I've got nothing but a mess. This particular one was ground flat on the left side and wavy on both.

That's 3 cleavers screwed up, 3 hrs of labor lost, and $45 in belts down the shitter.

Friggin disaster this is!
 

pvlmal

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?
when they were produced- did the new owners have to sharpen before putting into service?
just wondering what the factory edge is useful for-without regrinding etc?
I cant tell from the pictures- I' m sure you know what is best
 

Dave Martell

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They can certainly be used as they are for cleaving, I was hoping to make them sharp too.
 

daveb

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Hey Dave, I've had one of those days as well.

No hurry here, and knife will be mostly be a novelty/ornamental. If it will cut that's a bonus but not a requirement.
 

pvlmal

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They can certainly be used as they are for cleaving, I was hoping to make them sharp too.
hate to see you spend time and money and not be satisfied with altering the cleavers. any update today?
looking forward to (hopefully) getting cleavers for Christmas gifts..
please let me know
thanks
 

Dave Martell

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hate to see you spend time and money and not be satisfied with altering the cleavers. any update today?
looking forward to (hopefully) getting cleavers for Christmas gifts..
please let me know
thanks
I've been thinking about this all day today and still have nothing to show for it. I'll get back you guys tomorrow with some answers.
 

Dave Martell

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Ok everyone, let's talk....

After much anguish I'm left with little to offer for a solution to this problem I'm having.

These cleavers are truly a great vintage NOS find yet they're in a poor state with regards to how they were forged and ground when they were made. This isn't something that could have been predicted. In fact all of my prior experience with similar aged cleavers gave me the confidence to offer sharpening included with the offer of purchase, I had no hesitation in doing so.

Now what's needed is to not just sharpen but to correct the poor grind condition. It means to have to re-grind the edge bevels as they won't come up sharp with just a simple pass of a belt or two, plus some of the cleavers also require profile correction as well. This amount of work would be a decent task on a thin chef's knife but being that it's a super thick (hardened) cleaver it's quite the task, something equal to rough grinding several gyutos. The cost in lost labor and belts is more than significant, it's a major problem. For me to do this work is going to require weeks (!) of labor and a great expense in belts which neither I can afford to provide.




What's the solution then?

Here's the best I can come up with....


1. I can honor my sharpening offer....but....

I'll have to do this over time, a little here and a little there, as I can afford to do the work. I can not say how long it will take to get you your cleaver. This is going to be a long process.

*Please understand that regardless these cleavers will never have a perfect looking bevel.


2. You can accept the cleaver "as is".

I will ship your cleaver to you as it came to me, untouched, unsharpened, etc.
Because you aren't receiving part of the offer I listed I will pay the shipping costs.



I'm already losing money big time on this group buy (currently around a $300 loss) and it will grow as I go. I'm not asking for you to share in this loss. I'm just trying to do the best I can with a ****** situation.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Dave
 

Bill13

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Dave, what would the additional cost be to get the cleaver in good shape where you would not be losing money? What would that cost be if you were to make a little money? I know the feeling of underbidding a job, it's no fun working for nothing, especially when you really need the money.

Bill
 
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