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Handsaw Sharpening & Traditional Tools with Mike Hagemyer

  New Life for an Old Knife and More by Mike Hagemyer 1 of 3  


Here is a recent junk store find that I hope will restore to a usable tool.




It is for sure a bit rusty right now but it has a nice shape with plenty of blade left. In this state it looks unmarked and old. It is obviously hand forged with no frills.

The handle tangs are squared and tapered. They extend through the handle caps and are peened neatly over the thin metal caps. The handles are a little loose but still in fairly good shape.

I wire brushed some of the rust off and this logo showed up. I needed only go to and click on edge tools to quickly find a company reference to this stamp, L. & I. J. White of Buffalo New York. Evidently the company was established in 1837.

It is also stamped with a crude but rather large 10 which is the blade length, 10 inches. This is a nice big knife and I am hoping to use it for cleaning up hand split stock for tool handles and other projects.

I am not sure exactly what all I will do to revive this thing but I am thinking as little as possible for now; at least until I can confirm it will be a good user tool. First I took a file and carefully smoothed down the hammer marks on the spine.

I am not sure why you would ever need to use a hammer on a draw knife but someone obviously did. Next I used 220 grade wet / dry sand paper and mineral spirits and went over it lightly, just enough to get most of the loose rust off. The surface still looks wrinkly and a bit rough but I think I will leave it for now.

I will next try to sharpen it. If I can get it to a usable condition then I will deal further with cosmetics. Using a 600 grit diamond stone I started working the back side. It actually cleaned up quite quickly all the way across the cutting edge.

It appears to have a slightly hollow ground back surface. I did a little work on the bevel and found it also in fairly good shape. I couldn’t resist giving it a quick test run. Surprisingly it functions very well for a tool that has been neglected for so long. I especially like the way it feels in my hands.

The handles are well shaped and sized to my liking. The angle of the handles to the knife puts my hands in a comfortable position for good control. I have several other draw knifes but this one may well become my favorite.

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