Meat Cleaver Restoration

I’m a knife guy.  I enjoy using and collecting quality knives.  I don’t own many but really appreciate the ones I have.  It started when my wife bought me a Spyderco Paramilitary II for my 26th birthday.  I still carry that knife even though I broke the tip like an idiot using it as a prybar.  The number one sin for knife use.  

It’s hard to appreciate a good knife until you use one.  A few years ago I bought myself a Mac 10” chef knife along with a 6” petty.  They are good knives and I’ve found no major need for anything else in the kitchen.  Sure a paring knife would be nice from time to time. And I will get one eventually. Then one day a meat cleaver came into my life.

It came in a bucket of tools from a travel trailer my mother in law bought.  It migrated to my shed for a few months. One day I was looking through it and there it was.  From the look of it and the long handle, it seems to me that someone was using it for splitting hog carcasses.  The spine was hammered and the long handle point me in that direction. But then again it might have been used to cut tobacco.  In my part of the world any old sharp edged implement could have been used to cut tobacco during harvest season for some 300 years.

After some research I decided a cleaver was something I could use.  I have never cut much bone during the butchery process. I almost always quarter with a knife and debone.  I use a sawzall to cut leg bones. I split the pelvis with a hand saw during field dressing.

A cleaver is a convenient tool to split ribs in the kitchen.  It can also be used to mince pulled pork. Or those large thick skinned winter squashes.  Sometimes I might need to split a shoulder blade or save time jointing a leg with a knife.  And if a cleaver just shows up you always take in a stray cleaver.

Follow along my pictures as I press this old cleaver back into service.  In summary I etched with vinegar for 3 days. This old cleaver is heavily pitted and there is no way to take the pits out.  You could grind them out but there would be nothing left. The black line you see is the temper line. There is plenty of sharpening left.  I used a belt sander to polish it up and put the rough edge on.  Rough edge is 1000 grit.

I used ¼” stainless pins and Black Locust handle scales. Black Locust isn’t a commercial species.  But has a lot of positive attributes.  I think it has a beautiful grain.  It is also some of the most rot resistant wood anywhere.  A true 100 year old fence post is certainly Black Locust.

The final edge will be power stropped with buffing compound and a polishing wheel on my bench grinder.  It will shave your face. The handle will be hand rubbed oil



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