Whilst staying with family in Victoria recently, we got to discussing the many ‘thingamies’ my bother-in-law was prone to collect. Amongst those was a huge bagful of bone handled knives.
I grabbed a selection to bring home as mementos. Knowing next to nothing about them, I did a bit of research. I wanted to clean the ageing handles. The one thing I did know was that bone handled knives had to be gently hand washed so as not to damage the bone.
But how does one go about cleaning dirty, old handles without ruining them?
The first thing I discovered is that identifying the handles themselves is a very complicated business, requiring years of experience and practice. And, it seems, even then it is guesswork at best. Ooohkay…I wasn’t that fussed about an accurate identification. More sentimental in value than anything, I just wanted to clean them up a bit. TRH (The Retired Husband) was adamant that the handles were man made.
So I investigated some more. The engraving on most of them was at least partially legible. Stainless steel, made in Sheffield. Good start. I came to the conclusion we had vintage faux handled knives. Cleaning them was not that hard. I sort of followed instructions I had found. First, I soaked them in a 50:50 solution of Peroxide and water. It did remove quite a bit of dirt. But there was still a lot of inground dirt and the handles felt rough to touch. So, at TRH’s suggestion I took to them with wet and dry sandpaper. The purists, I am sure would cringe at that. However, it worked beautifully.
Once I had finished, TRH sharpened them. Although that removed most of the engraving on the blade, we have serviceable knives. Both of the boys have a couple and I have kept the rest.
The other thing I discovered is this –
© Raili Tanska