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Deba from Flea Market: restoration guidance solicited!


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Found this at a Flea Market for cheap and had to do something to rectify the abuse this beauty has been through. Judging from the damage, this knife has suffered from a lack of care for quite some time... First of all, it was used as a cleaver, going off the way the handle is cracked - Deba knives, incidentally, should NEVER be used in this fashion! Secondly, used to cut stuff it was not intended to cut, going off of the numerous chips in the edge, none of which are too large thank goodness. Deba knives are much harder than western cutlery, and therefore can chip out if used for anything except the intended purpose, in this case cutting up fish. Lastly, attacked with a motorized grinding stone in a misguided attempt to "clean" it up. This last one damaged the tip especially.

 

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Sending this out for professional repair would likely cost somewhere between $100-$200 and that is just not in the budget. Therefore, I will be doing the work myself. My plan is to re-shape the tip profile, as indicated by the black sharpie. Clean up the concave surfaces on the back and above the bevel with some high grit EDM stones. Re-establish the bevel to follow the new shape of the edge and attempt to crisp up the line where the bevel meets the upper surface of the blade. Remove the handle and fabricate a replacement. One wood used in Japan for handles (aside from Ho) is Ichii, or Japanese Yew, Taxus cuspidata. My thoughts are leaning towards finding some dwarf ornamental yew (many houses in the area have them and it should be possible to get some) and a horn bolster. I will have to find a horn for cheap somewhere that I can cut up to get the right piece from near the tip.

 

My research indicates that this knife was from the 1950's time frame. Sold through a company in Japan called Masano or Masado (I saw the name but, forget the spelling now) but, made by individual smiths. All seem to have the flimsy brass ferrule instead of the traditional horn, most likely to reduce cost. A review, by some fellow in Sweden, on YouTube, indicates he is very enthusiastic about the one he got.

 

A translation of the Japanese text, by those who can, would be most appreciated. I suspect what it says already (an indication of the type of steel used and construction) but, might be surprised. Advice, from those who know, would be appreciated as well. Thanks!

 

~Bruce~

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Bruce,

 

I have a tiny knife made the same way ( that is the ferrule ) , my blade has lost some of its hardness, probably due to improper sharpening methods. I will look to see if the stamp matches ( it is somewhere in my shop, so it may be a while).

 

Jan

Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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That's a cool knife. Those EDM stones are the bee's knees! It's so thick on the spine.

Edited by Carl Brill
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Bruce ,

 

The Deba Knife you have "IS/ Should Have" a single Bevel on the blade. The one side with the Japanese text, should be "Absolutely Flat ! " the other side Should have the Bevel ! this is known as a "Single Bevel Knife". there are many types of Handles you can put back on the knife Just remember the handles on these knives are up to the user.

 

I have quite a few Handle designs (100's) that are common for this type of knife if you are interested in them let me know I either post them or send you an E Mail with some of them.

 

I look forward to seeing what you do with it .

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The handle came off without a hitch. Yes! Started working on the non-beveled side of the blade with the stones last night and ended up resorting to 120 grit. The pitting from rust did not seem too bad until I attempted to remove it! There are still a few little spots, here and there. I will go to 240 grit next and evaluate any remaining pitting, especially in areas near the edge. Here is what it looks like now, I tried to avoid erasing the stamp and will just get that area as best I can at the higher grits.

 

Flea_Market_Deba_10_Small_Image.jpg

 

~Bruce~

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Wow Brother Bruce ,

 

the Deba blade is looking quite nice & on its way to being a show stopper .

 

I would clean the Handel area as well when doing the blade area to avoid a step up / off set so when you put the handle back on it is a nice smooth transition .

Edited by R. Yates
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Some pictures of the weekends progress. Right now it is sitting at 1200 grit, I have sandpaper in 1500 and 2000 grits plus polishing compound in 3000, 5000, and 10000 grit. I am contemplating etching the blade at some point as well because, I am curious about the steel this thing is made from. I took out, relatively, large chip at the heel of the blade by changing the angle of the drop, so the line is slightly straighter than the original. After working the concavity on the "flat" side, with each grit, I then laid it flat on the stone and worked at flattening the edges, eventually I switched to my medium grit, ceramic, stone from Spyderco because, it is larger and easier to get things really flat on. The area near the tip is not quite right but, the tip profile is going to change and I am waiting until afterwards to clean it up.

 

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Still lots of work to do. The spine is still untouched and needs to be done. The tip profile needs to be adjusted to get rid of the grinder damage. I wonder if the tip was broken and this was an attempt to put a new tip on and make it sell-able? Then the bevel needs to be re-done. I will do the profiling, carefully, on the KMG but, I am wondering about the bevel. My inclination is towards using a rougher grit Blaze belt to do the grunt work and then switching to finishing by hand to avoid issues with overheating. I do not want to mess it up but, that is a lot of metal to take off by hand! The Blaze belts run really cool and at a slow enough speed on the KMG it should be controllable. The tang is not shaped properly and I will have to thin it out a bit as well. Here is a picture of where it is at now.

 

Flea_Market_Deba_09_Small_Image.jpg

 

~Bruce~

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Here is where it is at now. Still need to sand the spine, clean up the tang, and make the handle. This thing is seriously hard, I keep having problems with the edge chipping out, just trying to sharpen it, and am wondering if waterstones would be softer and present fewer problems.

 

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~Bruce~

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What type of Stones are you using now Bruce ?

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A set of these cheap ones from Harbor Freight. A solid (no holes, just flat surface) double sided, 600/1200 grit, diamond plate, that is 1/4" thick and about the size of a credit card. I bought it at Cabela's years ago but, they no longer carry it. Too bad. Last of all a medium grit, ceramic, stone from Spyderco. Far right, in dark blue case, in the picture.

 

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~Bruce~

Edited by B. Norris
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Here is Dave Martell's Site for some Very Good Quality Japanese Water Stones. and is where I get most all of mine with out busting the bank either.

 

http://www.japaneseknifesharpeningstore.com/Sharpening-Stones-s/22.htm

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Thanks for the link. I used to have a set of King waterstones but, they vanished with my first wife. Below is a picture of another Japanese knife showing the direction I want to take with the handle. Thinking about a wood sheath too but, in Yew also.

 

Flea_Market_Deba_21.jpg

 

~Bruce~

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