Turn A 2€ Rusty Knife Into High-End Japanese Chef's Knife

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Jun 21, 2019


Turn A 2€ Rusty Knife Into High-End Japanese Chef's Knife
Turn A 2€ Rusty Knife Into High-End Japanese Chef's Knife thumb Turn A 2€ Rusty Knife Into High-End Japanese Chef's Knife thumb Turn A 2€ Rusty Knife Into High-End Japanese Chef's Knife thumb


I found this big knife at a local flea market in a bucket of "everything 2€" miscellaneous items. I bought it with the intent of lightly restoring it but after a close inspection I thought I was better off doing something more interesting with it since the construction was pretty bad, with un-even grinds, terrible pins and poor materials. After removing the rust I could also tell it has pretty much no historical value since it has no marking at all.

So here we go! In this video I go through the entire process of turning it into a better looking (and better performing of course) chef's knife.
The design is pretty close to a kiritsuke, but it's much bigger than most measuring 43cm (17inch) overall with 30cm (12inch) blade 6.5cm (2.6inch) wide and 2.5mm (0.1inch) thick.

I tried to develop an hamon on the blade for aesthetic reason but without success, maybe the steel is not prone to show it since the harness is definitely different from spine to edge before and after tempering. Or maybe some other reason, I didn't wanted to spend the time to figure that out anyway. I had also another issue with the heat treatment where the refractory cement expanded and got stuck in the blade holder inside the oven, I had to quench everything... Yeah... That wasn't pretty at all!

The handle is made of iroko and ebony wood, with a mild stainless steel guard and some red felt and white paper liners, the process of making the spacers is better described in this video:

Index of operation and materials:
# Remove handle with metal cutting band saw
# Remove rust with angle grinder and steel wire wheel disk
# Clamp with copper under holes to stop welds
# Stick weld the old pin holes to close them
# Grind excess weld with angle grinder and grinding disk
# Straighten tang with heat and vise
# Annealing
# Wire wheeling scale off
# Trace new blade geometry
# Cut most material with metal cutting band saw (steel soft after annealing)
# Refining shape and grinding new bevels on 2x72 belt grinder
# Wrapping with steel wire to help refractory cement sticking
# Refractory cement used to develop hamon (fail)
# Hardening
# Quench in warm vegetable oil
# Removing wire and cleaning blade
# Bad tempering. My oven is too small for this blade and home oven out of reach
# Final bevel grind
# Hand sanding to 400grit sandpaper
# Etching in ferric chloride for a dark matt finish (no hamon unfortunately)
# Making liners with red felt white paper and resin
# Iroko wood
# Glueing the handle stack with 5 min epoxy resin
# Grind square
# Drill tang hole, 10mm in diameter
# Mark and center puch guard holes
# Drilling with 2.5mm bit
# Grinding back side with dremel and thick cut off disk to save some file work
# Filing to size
# Tang dowel, cut to lenght on band saw
# Took to the exact diameter by spinning on a plate with hole drilled with same bit as the tang hole
# Splitting the dowel
# Enlarge the slot to match the tang thickness on slack of 2x72 belt grinder
# Final glue up with epoxy resin
# Grinding handle to shape on 2x72 belt grinder
# Hand sanding up to 600 grit
# Boiled linseed oil as finish
# Sharpening on the slack of the 2x72 with very high grit belt

Thanks a lot for watching, I hope you liked the video!
Suggestions and comments are welcome.
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