Restore cleaver.

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Project by LittleBlackDuck posted 06-01-2016 11:04 AM 1497 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Immediately following is an abridged version of my cleaver story for those that find their time precious. Following that is the unabridged version for an audience that have time to kill and are still struggling to determine the fine line separating sanity from a basket cases.


When I moved into my current house, there was this rusty old cleaver lying on the ground in my back yard. Every time I went past it and it was on the ground, I picked it up and imbedded it into a treated pine log at the end of a wooden pot-plant bench. After repeating this for about 4 years, I considered throwing it out, but before doing that I thought I would try to see if it could somehow be restored/cleaned-up. I gave the head a thorough sanding and polishing, sharpened the edge, turned a new handle for it and used piece of polished copper pipe as a ferule.

I made a presentation case for it and mounted it the wall. It turned out to be quite a reasonable restoration and has since been a good conversation piece whenever visitors notice it.
The gallery pictures are designed to show both the before and after conditions.

Thanks for reading.


Hello Boys and Girls,
This is the unabridged version for those unfortunates that cannot heed sensible advice and please don’t blame the author for your shortcomings and depriving you of that precious part of your life that you squandered by reading it.

In this version, the heading would be replaced by,

“Griever” the Cleaver, the birth of an antique heirloom.

In flashing neon lights.

Most of my prior epics have been about T&J models which somehow seems to have a limited audience of people that have a T&J model fetish.
For a change of pace, this blog is geared towards that reputable pastime of antique dealing.
Actually the subject item may not be an antique… well, not just yet, but it is practically, almost exactly 100% guaranteed to be…, in about 100+ years… so watch this space and set reminders.

When I moved into my current residence, every time I went walkabouts

(which translated by Wiki: “Walkabout historically refers to a rite of passage during which ’Indigenous male Australians’ would undergo a journey during adolescence, typically ages 10 to 16, (and us oldies) and live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months to make the spiritual and traditional transition into manhood.”)

into the wilderness of my back yard I saw this rusty old cleaver lying on the ground. I envisage it being left behind by the previous owners or maybe even Jack the Ripper, during his last Australia visit while taking a sabbatical from his normal daily exploits, or even better still, left by those ’Ingenious male Australian’ many centuries ago when they might have gone kangaroo hunting, jumped my fence and quickly realised it was not a boomerang when it was thrown and it wouldn’t return (being typical adolescents, did not give a rats about littering). The cleaver had some illegible writing on it which I am guessing could be some sort of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, hence my allusion to antiquity (hey, it certainly DID NOT have a “Made in China” sticker on its plastic parts). Dutifully I performed that rare activity called exercise, bent over and picked it up. Now that my drinking hand was full and not being ambidextrous (I like all animals), I disposed of the cleaver by deftly implanting it into the top of a good-for-nothing- treated-pine-log lazing around in a corner of my jungle. This scenario was repeated several times a year as well as all those times I managed to pick up the cleaver.

Four years had passed and the cleaver was growing a better beard than I, so I eventually thought that with all this extreme exercise my right bicep might nurture some unsightly muscle and after all, who wants a six pack on their shoulder, I decided to lay that there cleaver to rest…, at the bottom of a half a ton of garbage (anyone remember Alice’s Restaurant?… and if you do, you are an old bugger like me). As I went exploring for that elusive trash can, I happened to pass my workshop and had a thought… unfortunately I can’t remember that thought… it could have been the making of another great story.

Anyway, for some reason I decided to visit the hallowed grounds of my sanctuary and entered the portals of my workshop.

I suddenly noticed this prohibited, prohibition weapon dangling from my hand and not having a good-for-nothing- treated-pine-log lazing around in the corner of my workshop to vent my fury on by deftly implanting it, I decided to polish it up to a mirror finish so I could check the status of my lipstick and makeup. Lifting the cleaver resulted in a large hunk of the handle imbedding itself into one of my fingers and seeing as how the handle was so deteriorated that there was not enough of it to distribute splinters to my other 9 fingers (OK, 7 fingers and 2 thumbs if your keeping score), I decided to turn it a new handle on the lathe. Having the face-lift and a new handle, I fell in love and put a copper ring on it as a sign of my everlasting commitment.

After the transformation and not having to sign a prenuptial, I didn’t have the heart to release it to the work force, so in an attempt to impress (no idea who), I decided to fabricate it a home of its own by the construction of a presentation box. While making the box, I got the front caught under the drum sander and took a great divot out of it. As any good golfer does, I tried to replace the divot but failed as it had been miraculously transformed into shop-vac refuse. Undeterred (no I didn’t fall into the loo), I soldiered on and managed to perform a skin graft by the clever use of a half-moon shaped laminated inset

(why half-moon… matched the shape of the divot, why laminated… je ne sais pas).

After flocking (no not a typo or a cuss word, the bottom of the box) the back board, it got mounted (the box, not the bottom) on the wall awaiting the ides of time to metamorphosize into the aforementioned antique heirloom.

It is now about 2 years old and looking quite old (greatly assisted by a 2 year deposit of dust…) and one doesn’t need a crystal ball to foretell it future in 100 years.
All deposits for its purchase would, correction, will be greatly appreciated and even more greatly accepted. Anticipated delivery 1st. June 2116.

Thanks for sharing my insanity.

a PS for Dutchy,
If you happen to have had the misfortune to blunder across this post, the next transcript of this will be published in four (count it 1 to 4)… (correction 1 to three 4) languages, including pigeon-Netherlandisch (though that may be futile if you got this far).

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

5 comments so far

View crowie's profile


2888 posts in 2246 days

#1 posted 06-01-2016 11:30 AM

Nice restoration Ducky…

Question please….Have you researched the name etched on the blade sir???

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


2249 posts in 1116 days

#2 posted 06-01-2016 12:04 PM

... name etched on the blade…

- crowie

Sort of, we as in me and the missus tried and we couldn’t read it (and she has better eyes than me cause if I had better eyes I’d still be single… just gagging).
When I started the restoration, I wasn’t thinking ahead and got carried away removing the rust and pits so by the time the blade looked presentable I had done irreversible damage on the etching and it was practically illegible. Also I didn’t go too far in research as I didn’t think the blade was that old but more so just weather beaten. We (SWMBO and I) like good sharp knives in the kitchen and my initial intention was to put it to work in the kitchen but after the clean up and it’s weight I decided just to “box” it.

While formulating this reply and motivated by your question, we had another closer look at the cleaver and SWMBO did a random search and discovered that it is an Elwell cleaver,

Look just like mine but the etching on mine is practically sanded off.

Still not enthused, I just did a little “look see” myself and Googled this,
Edward Elwell started at Wednesbury Forge in Staffordshire in 1817, and stopped around 1930 I think, when it merged with Chillington Tool company. Eventually taken over by Spear and Jackson They don’t make them as good as they used to.
So getting on to be atleast 80 years old I reckon.

Thanks for the kick up the rrrs, now I am enthused. I may not have to wait 100 years.

If I knew this I would have titled the project ”Evil Elwell Cleaver the Forger from Chillington”.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View ralbuck's profile


5767 posts in 2561 days

#3 posted 06-01-2016 04:35 PM

Still neat old piece; even re-vitalized!

Nice work and (displacement)!—(DISPLAY—) could be embedded in a piece of PINE )

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3880 days

#4 posted 06-01-2016 06:53 PM

she has better eyes than me cause if I had better eyes I’d still be single… just gagging).

HE HE very good one.

I have an old one of these given to me many years ago by our local butcher farmer Superb dog trainer in sheepherding .His was a very dear friend of mine and many’s a time I would spend their going straight into the back shop and making us both a cup of tea then we would spend an hour and I would entertain him with all the dirty jokes I could remember and there were quite a few. Sadly the last time he spoke to Bronwen my wife he just kept repeating himself and has since been put into a home(if he is still alive) I don’t know. Anyway the one I have is a large heavy one and I sharpened it with my hands on the grinder. I realize mow to make a really good job you must have a jig does anyone have one I would like to copy it NOT BUY IT as I am Scottish LOL

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


2249 posts in 1116 days

#5 posted 06-02-2016 12:20 AM

Hey Scottie Man, I have and old one too, I have and old one too, I have and old one too, I have and old one too, right between my two big toes. The missus would also have put me in a home if it wasn’t for the fact that I know the way back (my phone has a built in GPS)...

... must have a jig does anyone have one I would like to copy it NOT BUY IT as I am Scottish LOL


Unlike you, I changed my nationality from Scottish to Australian because I WANTED TO BUY a jig to sharpen the cleaver. I bought a Tormek (pronounced Tormek in Scottish) and the El, well it finished up soooo sharp that I had to lock it up before I tried to convince the missus to let me give her a shave with it.

Anyway to get a good jig wouldn’t you need to turn into an Irishman? If you did that your wife would not recognise you! Would that be good or bad?

My email is “[email protected]” in case you remember any of those dirty jokes… the “G” rating of LJ would otherwise veto them. “TEA”??? I thought only Poms drank tea and Scotsmen drank OUZO with a worm in it!!
(The missus is saying “that home” is getting closer than the neighbours.)

Finally, if you want a copy of my jig (quick lesson in jig copying), download this picture,

go into “My computer”... no “My computer” on your computer, right click on the downloaded file, click on “Copy” and voila the cheapest copy of a jig, befitting the best Scotsman in the world.

PS. I did design and build a fantastic sharpening jig but when I went to find it a permanent place in my workshop I found this bloody Tormek in its way so I threw it out (the new jig not the Tormek) and unfortunately the plans for it as well. So if the above mentioned copy does not work, you might have to Google one, sorry.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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