Rehandle a 150mm Petty

Rehandle a 150mm Petty

This is the Tojiro 150 mm petty that I purchased along with the 210 mm gyuto. I decided to go with a slightly different handle configuration using the same woods. The saya is constructed of Poplar and painted with black milk paint.

Milk paint is made using milk protein, lime and earth or mineral pigments. It is environmentally friendly and non-toxic. It has been used for hundreds of years on furniture and in the past families typically had their own recipe they would pass down through the generations. It is water based so it doesn’t just form a layer on top of the surface that can chip off. It gets into the pores of the wood more like a stain than modern paints.

Handle Dimensions:
Overall Length: 110 mm
Width: 15 mm
Height: 22 mm
Ferrule: 10 mm

Rehandle a Japanese Chef Knife

Rehandle a Japanese Chef Knife

Working in a kitchen, I get to play with knives quite often. I also tend to buy more knives than I will ever need… This Tojiro 21cm Gyuto (Japanese Chef Knife) and 15cm Petty were my latest purchase from the friendly bunch over at Bernal Cutlery down in San Francisco. Originally I planned to treat the blades, oil the handles and put them work. That was the case for a short time… until I was inspired to try making a Saya. Saya is wooden sheath with retaining pin.

In typical fashion for me I decided hey why not make a Saya and rehandle it! I have been wanting to try rehandling a Japanese knife for a while and decided to go for it. I use the 15cm Petty more often at work so I decided to start with the Gyuto. In the next week or two I will give the Petty knife the same treatment.

The woods used are White Oak and Ebony. The Ebony is the keys from a decommissioned piano so I’m not sure what species it is. Everything is finished with boiled linseed oil.

Handle Dimensions:
Length: 135 mm
Width: 18 mm
Height: 26 mm
Ferrule: 36 mm
Ebony: 4.5 mm


Refinishing an Antique Chef’s Knife

Refinishing an Antique Chef’s Knife

I’m pretty excited about this project since I use a chef’s knife every day for work. I’ve always heard the ones made back in the day are so much better. Much like woodworking tools, I imagine.

While visiting a friend, his mother had a couple chef knives in a drawer that she remembers her mother using in the kitchen when she was a child. I recognized the brand “F. Dick”, they sell them at culinary school. The knife was in pretty rough shape with rust and the handle scales had started to separate from the tang. She gave me the knife so that I could refinish it and bring it back to life.

Her father ran an import/export business back in the early 1900’s and she figures he would have imported the knife some time between 1915-1920. It is a carbon steel chef’s knife with the blade itself measuring 31.5cm. The manufacturer, Friedr. Dick, has been around since 1778. Their knives are very well known in Europe and even more so for their sharpening steels.

I started out by drilling the rivets and removing the knife scales. Moisture had gotten underneath them and started to rust the tang pretty bad. I did some research and discovered a method using food grade citric acid. Basically just submerge the knife in diluted citric acid and water., I used the sink. Then scrub with a scouring pad and repeat until all rust is gone.

On a hike in a wooded area near where we live I found a fallen branch from an indigenous tree called Arbutus. I sawed some planks from a section and hand planed them to thickness. I made a paper template from the knife tang and used that to rough cut out the knife scales. Epoxy and brass rivets were used to apply the knife scales. I am hoping this prevents moisture getting beneath them like it did originally.

I cut the handle following the contour of the tang using a coping saw then shaped the handle using a carving knife. After a final sanding to break any edges, I finished the handle using Boiled Linseed oil from a company called Tried and True. I gave the blade a quick hand sanding and filed back the finger guard because it had a hollow on the cutting edge like a lot of older knives. I then hand sharpened to 5000 grit on my Naniwa professional sharpening stones.

I am pleased with the result. The knife is now used daily to make quick work of prep tasks. A few quick licks with a knife steel and the edge comes back to life.