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Thread: Old Hickory Knives?

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Leatherstockiings's Avatar
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    Question Old Hickory Knives?

    I'm looking at a couple of Old Hickory knives made by Ontario Knife Co. Specifically, I'm looking at the 7 inch butcher knife and the 6 inch boning knife. Both are carbon steel with hardwood handles. These two would be used for breaking down large cuts of meat and poultry in the kitchen and possibly game processing. Has anyone used the current make Old Hickorys? I'm curious what people I trust (I'm skeptical of Amazon reviews), who really understand sharp things have to say about them. I know the vintage Old Hickory's are classics but it seems like the new ones are priced really low. What gives?

    On a similar note, has anyone ever bought and used the old carving sets that the big hardware chains put out in the early 1900s? I have seen Keen Kutter carving knife and fork at antique stores and thought they look neat. Do they actually cut well?
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    Senior Member blabbermouth Geezer's Avatar
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    I was worked in a butcher shop as a kid and used good carbon steel knives. The Old Hickory Blades came later as the first of the cheaper knife set blades 1960's or so with rather fake forging marks. Some fair to good...for kitchen usage. Buy old used Dexter or Bőker if you need a knife to depend upon. Buy a good used old fashioned steel to reset the edge every few cuts...and remember to hold it with your thumb against your index finger, not around the grip!! Like crank starting a Model T !Don't ask!!!
    here is easy UTube of it.
    :


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    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geezer View Post
    I was worked in a butcher shop as a kid and used good carbon steel knives. The Old Hickory Blades came later as the first of the cheaper knife set blades 1960's or so with rather fake forging marks. Some fair to good...for kitchen usage. Buy old used Dexter or Bőker if you need a knife to depend upon. Buy a good used old fashioned steel to reset the edge every few cuts...and remember to hold it with your thumb against your index finger, not around the grip!! Like crank starting a Model T !Don't ask!!!
    here is easy UTube of it.
    :
    ~Richard
    Thanks for that vid Richard. I have a set of Chicago Cutlery with a steel and the knife I've used most out of the set the past 30 years is the French Chef's. I've only used the steel on it, and quit because I got some chipping. I was using too much pressure. I know that now from the video.
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    Senior Member JSmith1983's Avatar
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    I have an older chefs knife and a newer boning and carving knife. I replaced the handles with walnut since I didn't like the look of the hickory. The chefs knife gets the most use, but it has worked like it is supposed to. They aren't considered to be tempered to the hardest, but haven't let me down yet. Using a steel can keep them going for awhile and they are easy to resharpen if need be. The fact they are carbon steel is a plus for me since I like the patina they acquire after awhile is nice. You can usually find good vintage kitchen knives relatively cheap if you look around. I try to stay away from sets since I usually only use a few knives and no sense wasting abunch of other knives. Better off making your own block to hold the knives you will actually use. If you get a knife steel get a good one since the cheaper ones are garbage. I had a few that had lumps that would ding the edge of be extremely soft that my knives would actually shave of metal. I'm not a big fan of eating metal shavings. Old and new dexter knives are pretty decent and cheap. Older bokers are nice and can be found cheap most times. Not sure of their newer ones though. I haven't used those.
    Last edited by JSmith1983; 11-07-2016 at 07:15 PM.

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    'with that said' cudarunner's Avatar
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    As a former meat cutter I will agree with 99% of his advice on using a steel. However the man that taught me said to Always 'steel' at the same angle you sharpened on. He would lay a knife down until the oil squeezed out then slightly raise the knife and then sharpen. So he wasn't anywhere near a 20 deg angle. With that said, I sharpen and steel at about a 20 deg angle.

    I also don't believe in a Diamond Coated Steel as it removes metal every time it's used. That's best left to the hone. I also prefer a steel that's close to smooth.

    Also, I'd bet a dollar to a dog turd that the first steel he picked up is a vintage F Dick. My cutting mentor told me that F Dick made the best steels in the world. He'd started as an apprentice meat cutter when he was 15 years old and that was in 1934.

    I've rejuvenated several vintage F Dick steel and presented one to each of my children. I also showed each of them how to Properly use them.

    My 36+year employer demanded that the technique of using the steel with the point down on a table which I can't do so I steeled like I had for 40+ years. One day the Manager Wannabe/Assistant Manager told me to stop and do it the way Corporate wanted. So I stopped and asked 'Why' she said because the way I was doing it was dangerous. So I stopped, then closed my eyes and continued to steel my knife.

    She just walked away.

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    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudarunner View Post
    Also, I'd bet a dollar to a dog turd that the first steel he picked up is a vintage F Dick. My cutting mentor told me that F Dick made the best steels in the world. He'd started as an apprentice meat cutter when he was 15 years old and that was in 1934.

    I've rejuvenated several vintage F Dick steel and presented one to each of my children. I also showed each of them how to Properly use them.
    I just took a look for one of those. Do you have a preference for round or oval ? Never knew there was an oval steel.
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    'with that said' cudarunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyHAD View Post
    I just took a look for one of those. Do you have a preference for round or oval ? Never knew there was an oval steel.
    ROUND!!!!!!!!! Like GOD intended! An oval limits the area that you can use. PLUS the round has a smaller contact area which in my humble opinion is best.

    With that said, just like straight razors there are different Personal Preferences such as my 'Preference' for a smoother contact area. In fact I smoothed up the surface on all of the F.D steels I gave my kids. I also gave one to a very good friend and it was perfectly smooth.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth Leatherstockiings's Avatar
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    There are some really nice looking, vintage Dexter and F Dick knives and sharpening steels on the bay. Thanks for the heads up, guys.
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    I use an Old Hickory 10 inch knife and also a cleaver. They are easily sharpened, which means they are also easily dulled. Since I do all my knife sharpening on a buffing machine, frequent sharpening is not an issue. They do the job and are cheap.

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    I carry a Ontario rat 1 everyday and would recommend anything they have made. I have never used these particular knives but the rat 1 and several others I own by Ontario are always ready to handle anything I throw at em.

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