Off Topic - French Knives
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Author:  TGIF [ August 25th, 2017, 4:01 am ]
Post subject:  Off Topic - French Knives

Hi All,

Sorry for the OT thread, but I know this is of interest to some, and the Swedish knife got some interest....

I've come across 3 antique Laguoile pocket knives in my travels through an antique market. Laguoile is the town in France (middle of no where) that made the knives with the bee on the shank famous. They've since become highly imitated, but the ones still made in that town are the ones sought after.

Anyway, they are all in different states of repair...

The oldest, made by G David (one of the older makers in the town) has the biggest issues... with the blade folded out there is some play in the blade from years of use... anything that can be done? This is a single blade folding knife. ALso, the black handle has pulled away from the metal guts a bit, and creates a visible gap... maybe just some epoxy in it and some sanding? Could it be soaked and clamped maybe?



The next, made by Rossignol (not made in the town) but one of the earliest to expand out of Laguoile had a chip in the blade near the point, so needs some work, but is otherwise solid. This is a single blade and a corkscrew (French :)). The handle is made of bovine horn.




Finally, is the youngest of the lot... which is just pretty... wood handle, inlaid brass design, not much to be done here... maybe just clean out some grime.



So, for the questions...

1. On the first, anything that can be done to prevent the play in in the blade?
2. Any experience with closing the gap on between the horn handle and the metal guts?
3. Any advice in general on cleaning the blades and the workings of the knives? They have some nice metal work on them, but are LOADED with years of grime... any good cleaners you can think of?
4. With the chip in the blade, which is about 1mm deep, is it worth trying to rebuild the edge, or just leave it?
5. Any home grown methods for shining the brash parts?

They all need a good sharpening, i have a wet stone, but these will take some work.


Author:  Ken B [ August 25th, 2017, 11:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Off Topic - French Knives

Very COOL!!!

Author:  dryflie [ August 26th, 2017, 6:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Off Topic - French Knives

I have several Laguoile pocket knives and also a set of steak knives in the style. I applaud your find and hope you will be able to get one or more back into shape. All of the issues with gaps and the loose blade can be solved by disassembly. Everything is pinned together and removing the pins will allow you to make repairs. Making or getting replacement pins will be a challenge if the pins aren't a standard size but you could get brass or SS in something close and sand them to fit. The nick in the blade could easily be sanded out. If you can't do it yourself find a guy who sharpens knives and let him do it. The brass is easily polished but I wouldn't attempt to sand or polish the blades, that would impact the markings on the blades. The blades can be sharpened of course.

BTW The Bee on all Laguoile knives is the Napoleon Bee, a symbol indicating Napoleon's approval.

Author:  TGIF [ August 27th, 2017, 5:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Off Topic - French Knives

Thanks For the tips 1weight, I thought these may be of interest. Do you know what makers produced ur pocket knives? Doing some research, it seems that the Calmels are the holy grail. Unfortunately Laguiole is in the middle of no where and I don't expect to be happening through the area.

If I were to pull the pins, would I be drilling out the originals?

To clean them up a bit, any advice beyond soap, water and a tooth brush?

Author:  dryflie [ August 27th, 2017, 7:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Off Topic - French Knives

I went looking for mine but for the moment have no idea where they are. I don't carry them any longer as they really aren't the kind of tools needed for tough duty. Great for opening a wine bottle however. As for the pins, you can either bang them out or drill them. Once apart clean and sand everything, mix epoxy for the handles and then pin everything back together.

Despite the fact that I make lots of fixed blade knives i don't carry them around except at camp. Every other day I carry a knife made by an Oregon company called Benchmade.

Stryker.jpg [ 87.17 KiB | Viewed 1302 times ]

Author:  1weight [ August 27th, 2017, 7:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Off Topic - French Knives

Thanks, but Dryfly gave the tips. Removing the pins I'd use a pin punch just slightly smaller than the pin your removing or a nail set. Nail sets come in varying sizes, used to countersink finish nails. A prick punch is tapered and may actually swell the pin as you drive it. Also a pin punch and nail set have a square surface. The pin punch though is cylindrical most of the way. A nail set only about 1/4 the shaft length. The other thing is to have the bolster on a hard surface, like a piece of hardwood with the pin over a hole that is a bit larger than the pin. This will concentrate the force where it is needed and keep from bringing the hinge/bolster out of shape.
A toothbrush and some comet or baking soda would work well for cleaning.


Author:  TGIF [ August 28th, 2017, 1:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Off Topic - French Knives

Hi both, thank you again... I am sorry for confusing your names. For some reason I have always had a bit of a stumbling block around keeping your two handles seperate in my mind... don't know why. Either way, I definatley appreciate the help from both of you. Sounds like a project... will see where it falls on the priority list.

And yes 1weight, I would agree... they are a little dainty, particularly the first one.

Author:  TGIF [ August 28th, 2017, 2:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Off Topic - French Knives

Update... nothing to write home about.... but cleaned them up with a brass brush, got the grime out of the grooves, and got the ornamental strips to shine. , buffed the blades and set out to sharpen them up. The first two were DULL, and took a lot of time on the stone. They all took an edge well, and pass the paper test. I didn't go as far as to get the chip out, but close. So, I am going to use them and see how they keep an edge.

The task of finding brass pins in a France is daunting, I will put that on the "when I get home" list.

Author:  FleshFly [ August 30th, 2017, 11:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Off Topic - French Knives

TIMMY!!! Sweet Knives! Hey just saw you PM. Hope all is well

Author:  PFFlyer [ August 31st, 2017, 7:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Off Topic - French Knives

Now that they are cleaned, you may be able to re set the original pins, 600 will clean the blades very well, wrap paper around a wood, thin stick. Just punching the pins out could break the sides out.

Author:  roelton [ September 22nd, 2017, 2:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Off Topic - French Knives

Nice find. Try talkblade.info. They seem to have good info about blades.

Author:  CarlDrummond [ October 20th, 2017, 4:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Off Topic - French Knives

Such amazing blades! Great find, man!

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