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Old Rose Knife Edge View Sharpening Failure

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I just received and began working on another set of three Rose knives from W. Philadelphia. I thought I would do some informational posts as I rework them.

The pictures show close ups of the edge and part of the face where the knife is etched Rose.

This edge shot is a good reason why rust pits do not allow for sharpening to the level you want in a knife for cutting leather. The edges must come together to form the sharp edge we all need and as you can see a pit will prohibit that. All of that has to be ground out in order to obtain any sort of cutting edge. It takes a lot of time and patience to remove all of that even on a small knife like this one. The Rose knives are very hard tempered and that adds more to the work required to bring one back to life. They hold an edge really well but they are a bear to sharpen because of the temper and that makes getting pits out especially difficult.

Some of the knives by other brands I've worked on are easy to clean up and that comes as a trade off because then you have to strop it of sharpen it all the time. I thought perhaps the first one of the Rose knives I bought was an anomaly and was unusually hard. This one is my seventh and they have all been hard tempered and challenging to bring back to user level when pits are present.

I really like fixing these old tools up and using them. I'm not much on the Patina (rust) adding value to tool. I really doubt many of the craftsman who bought these tools a hundred years ago considerd rust an added value. I'm betting they took pride in keeping them in working order. Clearly you can see from the pit on the edge of this knife caused by patina that's just not going to happen until the patina is removed.

The close up on RO part of Rose is interesting, looks like it may have been etched not stamped. It makes sense to me since the blades are so hard. I imagine pounding a steel stamp into a blade that hard might be a bad thing.



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I think old leather tools is in a special position to the "patina or not" question, since they still are so useful to many. They are in high demand because of their craftsmanship and quality, they will beat all the new stuff with high margin. For most of the people who looks for them, patina is unwanted. And if they have patina it must be other than rust (if possible). Most of my user stuff are good old stock, a hundred years old and more. I too have a one of these nice Rose knifes laying around, the blade are good but it needs a new handle. I have not found the time to start on it yet, and perhaps because it's have such hard blade the refurbishing has delayed. The blade has an edge and no rust, but it still need to be polished to a high shine and that will take time.

I looked at my blade and the stamp is clear and deep, the etched look is because of the rust prosess in the bottom of the stamp. Etching will not be as deep as a stamp. It's an proper stamp like they used before, not some crappy Etching they use now a days. I have a couple of new knifes with Etched stamps and they comes of very easy with some polishing.

To all you tool markers of today, learn from the masters. Good old polished carbon steel and proper stamps, forget about these new "Super hard steels". We are going to cut leather with these knifes, not shop hard-wood. The Rose knife is a beautiful knife, I will have to make copy of the original handle. Mine has a non original handle on it now. It's on my non ending list of stuff to do, but I have to move it further up.

Good luck with the refurbishing, do not forget to post pictures.


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