Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Old cleaver - restoration?

Recommended Posts

I was going through my grandfathers ‘warehouse’ (read enormous bulk junk storage) and found this old feller burried in 1/2” of dust. 

I think I will restore it. I would like to get the pitting rust off and make it shine, but that would likely entail grinding through the maker’s mark. 

Speaking of the maker, anyone know much about the “Village blacksmith” company?

From what i could find on Google, it looks like it used to be “Washington Cutlery Co” that made knives, cleavers, and farm tools from 1900-1960’s. 







Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would not trade the maker's mark for shiny---unless you will be using it a lot and hygiene is an issue.

My first step would be to wirebrush it, then see what needs to be done.  Perhaps hand sanding with a hardblock would suffice.

If it will primarily be a display piece you can do a mustard patina on the blade after cleaning it up.  High Carbon knives were *not* shiny bright in use.

(I have my Mother's kabar butcher knife that's 61 years old---it was her second wedding anniversary present from my Father; well used---NOT SHINY!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first thing I did was take a wire brush to it. It had a 'finish' I will call it under the dirt and surface rust.  Its black, like flat black. I took a wire wheel on a 4" angle grinder and covered the whole surface with it. the handle came out a dull silver, but the cleaver stayed black... minus the cutting edge and parts of the spine where someone took a file or angle grinder to it. 

I like that black look, More pics when I get home. I think I will just clean up the bevels so they dont look like a teenager tried to sharpen it on a rock, and put a new handle on it. With the cleaver was a stack of floor boards from the Safford High School gym. To keep it o'ld' I will use that wood for the handle. It was built circa 1915, and I have an early memory of pulling nails out of the boards when I was 4, in 1988. My grandfather kept all the wood in this warehouse. I know it might have some gnarly kind of treatments in it, so as always, PPE while working THAT wood. Display piece, not for use I think. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would use it if I needed to cleave something.  The back has some rolled edge from beating it through whatever it was being used on.  I would smooth that out, dress the cutting edge, then do a quick patina on it. Anything acidic will get the action going. I have some carbon steel knives and cutting things like citrus, mango, tomatoes, etc will blacken it fairly fast it I don't wash and dry it immediately.  I would also use an epoxy when doing the handle to help fill the voids. 

The number 8  on the blade, is that the length, or the weight?

If you want it shiny, a good soak in vinegar, or tossing it in the oven with some tomatillos in a baking pan will get the rust off.  When I roast tomatillos for my salsas in a carbon pan the pan comes out super clean.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure the 8 is the length of the blade based on pictures of other products from this maker I have found, length  seems to correspond with the numbers but I could be wrong. For the cutting edge and the spine I have some brownells cold blueing liquid. I will try some on the tang where it will be hidden and see if it matches close enough to the blade's color. If so I will clean everything up, including the spine where it is rolled over, blue it and handle it.


I'm going to test some of the cutoffs of the wood by vacuum impregnating with boiled linseed oil, then lightly baking it to have it set/harden some. See if that works well for the wood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the bluing chemical wasn't cleaned off and neutralized, the residual chemical could be an issue. However, properly cleaned up after use the steel will have an oxide layer (Fe3O4) on it not very different from standard brown (Fe2O3) rust. Should be fine.  

-trust me , I'm a pharmacist-

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...