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Patina or Rust?

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    Patina or Rust?

    Is this a patina on these knives, or is it rust?

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    Here's the (long) story.

    Mother-in-law gifted me a Worksharp E5 for Christmas (Woo-Hoo!)

    Then she mentioned to a family member that I am enjoying tinkering around with sharpening/cleaning knives.

    Family member then sends me these two knives to sharpen and/or clean.

    These knives belonged to her grandparents (my Wife's great-grandparents). It's more of a make-them-useful-for-nostalgia thing than a wanting-to-use-them-daily thing.

    The knives I've played with so far have all been stainless steel.

    I don't know enough yet to know if these knives have a harmless, protective patina or a case of rust that needs cleaned off to make the knives safe to use again.

    So, what should I do with the blades? Only sharpen them and send them back? Clean them a little but leave the blades dark? Scrub them until they're shiny?

    I want them to be safe to use, with the least amount of change possible, so I don't take away the nostalgia...she doesn't want new knives, she wants old knives to be useful.

    I'm not getting into the handles much at all. Maybe a little bit of smoothing with some fine grit sandpaper...maybe just a coat or two of mineral oil.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    #2
    For some reason people think rust is innately unhealthy. It is oxidized iron.........absent any other contaminant (which is what people really should be concerned with). As oxidized iron, it could actually be beneficial for someone whose diet is iron deficient......yeah, a bit of a stretch, but the point is the rust that might come off a cooking tool, in moderation, isn't any more dangerous than the base metal itself. All that said, nice esthetics are pleasing to humans so some polishing would make folks feel better, even though not absolutely necessary.

    Comment


      #3
      It looks more like patina to me. I'd sharpen them and leave it at that. The large one really needs a new handle but that's a different thing. Soak them in a jar of mineral oil overnight once you've sanded.

      You might want to run this by the folks at https://www.kitchenknifeforums.com too.

      Comment


        #4
        Yes. Little on the rust side, a lot on the patina or old side. Would be an interesting clean up. I doubt the value is anything but the nostalgia as you mentioned. Clean em, it should be a little fun, oil em & send em back, they will be golden in more ways than one to her.

        Comment


        • bmurrah
          bmurrah commented
          Editing a comment
          You are exactly right on the value.

          Near to worthless except to the family. Nearly priceless to family.

        #5
        Also, you could probably get some wood glue and a smaller C clamp and glue then clamp the top and bottom of the larger knife's handle together.

        Comment


        • bmurrah
          bmurrah commented
          Editing a comment
          Someone with some skill could do that.

          I usually make a problem twice as bad when I try to fix it.

          A couple coats of mineral oil is probably the going to be my limit on this.

        • rickgregory
          rickgregory commented
          Editing a comment
          It's not hard. Go to a hardware store and find a small C-Clamp. You just need one that will let you compress the top and bottom of the handle so the crack is narrowed. Put in some wood glue (Elmer's is fine), compress the crack together then leave it overnight so the glue dries.

        #6
        According to Martha Stewart: "Rust is one form of patina. It is the result of corroding steel after the iron particles have been exposed to oxygen and moisture, like humidity, vapor, or immersion," explains Jane Henry of Jane Henry Studios, a full-service antique conservation and restoration shop based in New York City. "Tarnish is another form of corrosion that occurs in many metals other than steel, it typically causes a dull film on the metal."

        How can you determine whether or not a patina is rust, tarnish, or simply an age-induced finish? "Patina doesn't flake on metal and is mainly just a color change, such as bronze turning green," explains Eileen Fulton, a restorer for O'Sullivan Antiques in New York City. "Rust is an iron oxide usually red in color and usually on iron only, while tarnish is a thin layer and is often black or grey and it's on many different metals."

        If nothing flakes off when you are sharpening I say you are good.

        Comment


        • bmurrah
          bmurrah commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for these links. They turned into internet rabbit holes for me.

          Also, the phrase that if it doesn’t flake off it’s good is a good summary for someone like me.

        #7
        I'd recheck with the owner. Tell her you can make them bright and shiny, but you're not sure if she would prefer the current look.

        I have one of my Grandfathers knives. He made it from a broken handsaw blade and used a piece of brass tubing for the handle. He just hammered the brass almost flat and fit it over the knife's tang. I sharpened it and now wish I hadn't. Thebright steel edge is too bright to me.

        Comment


        • bmurrah
          bmurrah commented
          Editing a comment
          It wouldn’t surprise me if this one (the bigger one with the split on the handle) turned out to be made by her grandfather. I’m clearly no expert but it looks like it probably was homemade to me.

        #8
        Slightly off-topic: For restoration entertainment, check out Youtube. Lots of videos of people cleaning up horribly rusted things, bringing them back to 'Like New' condition.

        Comment


          #9
          That looks like patina. I use Old Hickory knives as my go too. You may have some rust in there but nothing that you cannot overcome. Clean them up, oil them and use them.

          Comment


          • Mosca
            Mosca commented
            Editing a comment
            The larger one looks like it might be an Old Hick. Those are nice knives.

          #10
          I have a plethora of Old knives, includin several my Gramma's but am, by no means, an Expert...

          That bein said, I have funked many things up, when younger, by tryin to 'Restore' it... It's bad enough, when it's a thrift shop, or even ePay find...

          When it comes to Family cutlery, th max I would do is give it a good sharpenin on yer E5, genereous application of suitable oil to th new edge, an let that patina shine on down fer Generations of yer family...

          Stuff's only "Original", once...
          Last edited by Mr. Bones; January 15, 2021, 09:18 PM.

          Comment


          • bmurrah
            bmurrah commented
            Editing a comment
            “Stuff’s only Original once” makes it easy to understand. Thanks

          • Mr. Bones
            Mr. Bones commented
            Editing a comment
            Always delighted to prevent folks from makin th same mistakes I done did, in my largely misspent youth lol (An Adulthood, btw)

            bmurrah

          #11
          We’ll just call that rustina, smoke on!

          Comment


            #12
            Thanks to each for all the suggestions and ideas.

            I have the first couple coats of mineral oil on. I’ll wipe them off in a while and put an edge...probably try to add a couple “after” pics when I’m done.

            Again, thanks.

            Comment


            • Mr. Bones
              Mr. Bones commented
              Editing a comment
              Mineral oil is def what I use on th old knives I have in my possession...cuttin boards, as well...
              Last edited by Mr. Bones; January 16, 2021, 11:49 AM. Reason: a

            #13
            Okay. They're as done as they're gonna get.

            It's hard to tell from the pictures, but they cleaned up fairly well.

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            A little bit of color came off the blades after the oiling, but not nearly as much as I expected. What is left behind looks pretty good (to me, anyway...).

            I didn't attempt any handle repair on the bigger one. The more I looked at it, the more I think it is home made. There's some irregularities in the handle, blade, and rivets that make me think it wasn't a professional job. I didn't want to do anything to risk making it worse in case it is home made. It took a very sharp edge.

            The smaller one looks a lot better now also. The mineral oil brought out a lot of color.

            Thanks again for all the advice. It went a lot easier than I expected, and having all the suggestions before starting was a big confidence boost.

            Comment


            • FireMan
              FireMan commented
              Editing a comment
              You really did a nice job on em! Look great. Like to see her look when you give em back.

            #14
            I think they look great! Good job!

            Comment


              #15
              I say you done well, lad!!

              Comment

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