Watch this incredible restoration of an extremely rusty butcher's knife

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Gah! He just ruined the collector’s value destroying the patina!


That’s not a butcher’s knife - it’s a heavy cleaver. grinding away that much material made it significantly lighter, which takes away functionality. furthermore, sharpening it to paper cutting sharpness is ridiculous, because it’s used to smash through bone. it needs an deep, convex axe-like edge, not a thin knife edge.

Weird that someone with the right tools to make knives would have gone through that much effort to make the tool less functional. He should have just hit it with naval jelly, and then spent 20 minutes with a file and stone to get the edge right.


It’s positively useless as a sharp edged blade, Being able to drill through so easily means that it’s soft junk steel anyway. This guy wasted his time.


I also wondered how sharp butcher knives are, seems like a razor edge is going to dull after just a couple of bites into butcher block.

Says the guy remarking on the internet about wasting time. :smiling_face:
I don’t know, there is a lot to be said for just trying. He found it, he has the tools, the craftsmanship, perhaps he even learned more about steel… he is living man!


…porn for shop kids…

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Given it’s horrifying initial appearance and the apparent softness, I wonder if this knife was in a fire. It could have lost it’s temper, which, if that’s all, he could re-temper it back to a decent hardness.


Not so much that kind/size of cleaver. They can hack through smaller bones. But they’re more used to blow through joints, cartilage and the thinnest bones. Proper use is more to press or slice them through things, as the goal is to cut the bone not smash it. And it involves as much slicing through meat as it does breaking up bones. Anything much thicker than a chicken leg, or chine bone on a beef rib is gonna give you issues.

Bigger bones are handled with saws or much bigger cleavers.

It doesn’t look like enough weight was removed to have an effect. And naval jelly wasn’t gonna deal with that level of pitting.

But otherwise yeah:

Butcher knife:

Which is for slicing large chunks of meat, and dis articulating major joints. Rather than cutting thinner bones, breaking up joints in general. And making poultry wish it had never met you.

Professionally? Razor sharp. Part of the reason professional butchers and meat packers almost always use cheap bulk knives. They often sharpen them after just a few strokes using a pull sharpener, fish cutters sometimes do the same. You need a fairly sharp knife to cleanly cut very cold or partially frozen meat in a single clean stroke. And a lot of butchering is about getting that knife to separate muscle groups without cutting any meat. Pealing off silver skin. Without losing any meat. Takes a sharp knife.

The durability of the edge isn’t down to how sharp it is. Its about the steel. And the angle its sharpened at. The broader angle used on something like a cleaver can still get hair shavingly sharp. And I keep my other knives for butcher work sharpened essentially the same as my other kitchen knives. Softer steal helps, so your not chipping anything. And they don’t lose their edge particularly quickly. But they could very much stand to be a hell of a lot sharper. I’ve started using a Japanese petty for boning, poultry and the lighter end of butchery.

Cleavers are often quite a bit softer than other knives. Because they will have frequent contact with bone. And are used for striking, even if that’s not their main thing at this size. And carbon steel is much easier to drill than stainless to start with.


Huh…I have a stainless steel cleaver, and I never liked the ‘feel’ of it when I used it on turkeys. I wind up using my boning knives, instead. That settles it - I feel empowered to turn it into a garden implement! I’ll use it to hack through tubers and what-not.


They’re awesome for splitting up kindling. Like a very sharp, very controllable hatchet.

And hatchets make very good substitutes for heavier cleavers.

Either way I never much “got” the use of a clever until I started breaking down primals and small pigs (mostly for roasts), and once a deer. They make getting through a thick joint or seperating the ribs from the spine much easier. For poultry sheers and a big chefs knife will get you there fine. Though the clever can make it easier if your doing a lot of them. Or you need to get through legs and thigh bones. Any hack saw can be used as a bone saw, and they’re usually more robust than actual bone saws you just want a blade with the most teeth per inch you can find.


He does not actually drill through it. The hole is already there as you can see in the initial frame. He is using the drill to clean the rust from the inside edges of the existing hole, like he cleaned the rust from the outside.


Hah! You flatter me! I just keep the peripheral vision sharp for frozen turkeys on clearance. In fact, I just turned down my boss’s offer of feral pig (her husband got a new rifle he just HAD to try out), because I just didn’t want to deal - making room in the freezer, looking up pork in the cookbooks, trying to make a decision…I’m also pretty clumsy at cooking meat. Ooops…

Let me know if you ever want me to ship you some squirrels. If you get them at the end of summer, they must be extraordinary, because they eat all the pears on my tree before they’re quite ripe. I’ll freeze them and rush ship them. With all the weed getting mailed out of Denver, no one will even give a FedEx full of dead squirrels a second glance.

…but I like the idea of using a cleaver on kindling. I’m waiting for the overnight temperatures to get above freezing so I can finish building my humongous, three-chamber outdoor wood-burning oven.

Now, you know what the under-employed of America are doing with their idle hands…


The term for that is…ummmm…‘reaming’. Ewwwww.

Squirrel season runs from late summer/early fall through winter. I’ve always been told that small critters like that. Rabbits too. You want to wait till after the first frost to avoid parasites, though I’ve never had issues with the rabbits.

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I’ll give you all the squirrels you want, any time you want. First frost is usually around Halloween, here.

Yeah, when something is this far gone, you either leave as is, or pop it back in the forge and thin then re-ht so that it’s harder (assuming a normal carbon steel), then make a chinese style cleaver or something thinner out of it.

I kind of like the super pitted look though, and would have probably left it as a wall ornament.


Won’t need this on Mars anyway.

I have a carbon steel knife like that I got from my parents, didn’t know it was a butcher’s knife. What’s the best way to care for it and keep it rust-free?

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Yup. Bone saws are ridiculously expensive, A visit to the hardware store and a quick trip through the dishwasher/sink with it, and a cheap saw does the job.


Sharpen when needed, by hand is better you remove less metal than machines. You use a steel to keep it sharp between sharpening.

Oil it with mineral oil occasionally. You can get a bottle for cheap at the drug store its in the laxative section. You want to oil both the blade, and if its a wooden handle the handle. Don’t put it in the dishwasher.

If there’s any superficial rust knock it back with steel wool then oil it. Fairly simple really. Carbon steel darkens over time, the patina helps reduce rust so you don’t want to sand it or polish it unless its to remove spots of rust. Keep it away from strong acids.