Knife Restoration- Is it an acceptable practice for old knives?

Bringing an old knife back to life

Folks have different opinions on Knife Reconditioning, which is why it is the most widely debated topic today.

This discussion leads us head-on into seeking answers to questions like- What obligations do the sellers of repaired knives have, if any? What about the guys doing the reconditioning- are they free to do whatever their customers want or are they obligated to police customers’ requests?

Check most any knife forum and you’ll find Knife Squads critiquing old knives. And when they think a seller is trying to slip one by- Katie bar the door.

CNJ is wading knee-deep into this controversial topic through a series of articles exploring the ethics of working on and selling repaired old knives.

To launch this series, let me pose this situation to get you thinking.


You’re at an estate sale digging through a box of old knives when one catches your eye. It seems all the knives in the box have one problem or another, but you give the guy $2.00 and off you go.

Later that night you empty your pockets on your dresser and there that knife is. You decide to set aside time tomorrow, if you have it, to clean the knife up a bit, cause it really needs some attention.

Tomorrow comes and goes, as does the next day and the next. Actually it is several weeks before you find the time and the interest to hit at that knife. But when you do, its character begins to shine through. And while you like the knife, it isn’t an EDC, so you put in back in the drawer with your other knives.

Then one day while you are looking for something in that drawer- there that knife is again. You’d forgotten all about it. You decide to take it to a guy who is a master craftsman to work his magic on it.

You drop it off the next week with the guy hoping he can bring it back to life.

A couple weeks later he calls- your knife is alive and doing well, and ready to be picked up.

_ _ _

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention- the master craftsman had to put another old blade on it, cause as you know when you bought it, that blade was broken off.

Stay tuned and get ready- the Knife Restoration Series should be real interesting.

Published in: on December 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I guess you save old auction pictures.I bought the knife you have shown here,and yes it has been in a drawer since I bought it a couple years ago.If I did come across a junk Case Brothers with good blades I would consider replacing the master blade.I don`t know if I would but I would think about it.It has nice stag and could be a high dollar knife.

  2. Let’s see, we restore old cars, replace missing parts of old toys, touch up damaged paintings, etc. Do any of you watch “Antiques Road Show”? What’s different about old knives? If we replace that broken blade with another blade that is correct for the knife we’ve improved the condition & value of that knife. Suppose the original owner had sent the knife back to Case and they happened to have the correct replacement blade — the next guy to own it wouldn’t know nor would he care.

    Restoring an old knife to, as close as possible, original condition is to be encouraged. Now buffing that master blade to a high gloss and calling it mint — that makes my blood boil. It’s not mint and never will be, but honest restoration is fine with me. I’d rather see that pictured knife with a better blade than to let it languish as a parts knife.

  3. I must say that I agree with Mr. Johnson’s assesssment of the knife repair issue. I would rather see a piece restored to usuable condition, than sit around as parts. But, I feel the whole issue hinges on honesty. If a knife has been repaired – say so – and sell it for what it is! Let the buyer decide if that is what he wants. Honesty is the best policy. What do you think? “Lonewolf”

    • Lonewolf-
      I think your and Mr. Johnson’s comments a seeds for a future blog post. While I agree with the premise there are inherent problems even then. Stay tuned and I’ll dive deeper into this soon.

  4. I’m faced with this dilema myself,quite by accident as well. I got on E-bay for the first time and with my 8-week old labtop was off and running. I had just won my first auction and up popped this window saying the second’s are ticking away. So I without much thought see WW2 Mark1 and will you know it I own a broken down stacked leather fixed blade,with no sheeth. The seller has stated that he has not cleaned the knife, and I’ve watched the debate on this subject. I don’t want this old knife really but my word was given so I’m stuck with it ,well I’m going to wipe it with oil you’ve got to stop that rust right. Well then there’s the bent gaurd I can fix that,the handle is ready to crumble to peices,the gaurd breaks as I’m fixing that. This is turning into a job but I see this knife as being useable presentable. The rag and oil didn’t do it so out comes the scotch brite,I’m shopping for sheeths or maybe a custom made one. The stacked leather handle I’m thinking and thinking hey those hammers with leather handles maybe that will do it. The bottom line is for me, I want to give life to a rusting,rotting peice of trash to some people and do it cheaply as I can and in keeping the integrity of the original makers work in making what was a fine knife one day. It shall be again and I can take the pride felt in who knows a knife that may hold a great story.

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