Sunday, November 14, 2010


While sorting through the heaps of old stuff in my grandfather's study Kristen found this folding knife.When it came out of the drawer it had probably been sitting in for decades, it looked a little the worse for wear—black with tarnish and encrusted with years of paint and handsweat.

I'm not really much of an outdoorsman (quite a laughably long way from it, in fact) but there's something pleasing about this thing. It's so old and sturdy. I cleaned the blade with liberal quantities of Brasso and treated the handle to a few much needed coatings of teak oil. I think it cleaned up pretty well. I expect if I kept at it for long enough I could get the blade back to its shiny original state, but I feel like that would be a disservice to something this old.
I'm not sure how old it is, exactly, but it has some markings at the base of the blade that give me some clues. The first is the maker's name: J Roger, Sons, & Co. Sheffield. The second is the little logo on the other side (pictured below), which shows a little union flag with a crown under it. 
It seems that the company existed from some time in the mid-19th century to the second half of the 20th century. I know they used this particular logo during the 1890s, and possibly earlier than that. It was probably my great-grandfather's, but it may have been in the family for a generation before that. My dad's family are not in habit of throwing away good tools. The scratches and paint smears on the wood suggest that it has been used a lot over the years.

Being a office-working urbanite, I've got no reason to carry this around—and doing so would probably get me arrested—but I feel I should find something to do with it. I put a good edge back on the blade with a whetstone, and oiled up the hinge.

Perhaps I'll take up whittling.