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

21 Jun 2019 | about 5 months ago

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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:

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Index of operation and materials:
0:27 Remove handle with metal cutting band saw
0:52 Remove rust with angle grinder and steel wire wheel disk
1:25 Clamp with copper under holes to stop welds
1:40 Stick weld the old pin holes to close them
2:20 Grind excess weld with angle grinder and grinding disk
3:00 Straighten tang with heat and vise
3:26 Annealing
3:38 Wire wheeling scale off
3:48 Trace new blade geometry
3:58 Cut most material with metal cutting band saw (steel soft after annealing)
4:25 Refining shape and grinding new bevels on 2x72 belt grinder
5:25 Wrapping with steel wire to help refractory cement sticking
6:00 Refractory cement used to develop hamon (fail)
6:20 Hardening
6:30 Quench in warm vegetable oil
7:00 Removing wire and cleaning blade
7:29 Bad tempering. My oven is too small for this blade and home oven out of reach
8:00 Final bevel grind
8:15 Hand sanding to 400grit sandpaper
8:37 Etching in ferric chloride for a dark matt finish (no hamon unfortunately)
8:50 Making liners with red felt white paper and resin
10:05 Iroko wood
10:37 Glueing the handle stack with 5 min epoxy resin
11:10 Grind square
11:30 Drill tang hole, 10mm in diameter
11:50 Mark and center puch guard holes
12:00 Drilling with 2.5mm bit
12:17 Grinding back side with dremel and thick cut off disk to save some file work
12:36 Filing to size
13:20 Tang dowel, cut to lenght on band saw
13:30 Took to the exact diameter by spinning on a plate with hole drilled with same bit as the tang hole
13:54 Splitting the dowel
14:02 Enlarge the slot to match the tang thickness on slack of 2x72 belt grinder
14:30 Final glue up with epoxy resin
14:53 Grinding handle to shape on 2x72 belt grinder
15:20 Hand sanding up to 600 grit
15:48 Boiled linseed oil as finish
16:08 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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