Lifetime Cutlery is a Japanese-made, American-based cutlery brand that specializes in making Old Homestead cutlery. Years ago, Old Homestead knives were in my great-grandmother’s house. These knives were the reliable go-to knives of their time.

Now they are like a family heirloom, passed down for generations. Years ago, these knives were just another necessity to have a fully-functioning kitchen. At one point in time, these knives were the talk of the town. Now they’re antiques.

These knives are rarely used anymore, but not because they can’t stand up and compete with the knives of today. Rather, it’s because they aren’t so widely sold anymore, and it’s a diamond in the rough when it comes to antique cutlery.

Old Homestead Knife- What You Need to Know About These Knives

As I stated before, you can’t pick up these gems at your local supermarket anymore. In fact, it’s pretty hard to find them brand new these days.

You are going to find them either online (used), when you are out looking at antiques, at pawn shops, or your neighborhood garage sale.

These are fantastic knives, as long as they’re well-maintained. Any knife will become dull and even dangerous to use after years of slicing.

The Old Homestead Knife Set has years under its belt. Old doesn’t mean anything when it comes to a product that was manufactured with love and passion. Today our products are often from China and built in a factory running hundreds of products down the line in just minutes.

These products are often produced with the cheapest, flimsiest material they could find to flip it quickly and bring in more profit. Talk about a product that has had no passion or love put into their making.

The problem with that is that you are paying for a brand name on a product not even worth an eighth of the pretty penny you spent on it.

When love is put into an item, on the other hand, it will have the highest quality possible, and you will feel that quality. It will be something that you can use every day, something its creators can really be proud of.

People used to care more about their creations and about sharing something of real value. Now, more and more people are instead trying to turn a profit fast, no matter how many corners they cut or how unsustainable their practices are.

Let’s Talk About the Quality

I always have to remind myself that I need to have realistic expectations when it comes to my household items. I get frustrated when something loses its power over time. Let’s be real, though — this is always going to happen.

Now I’m not saying we always have to throw that item away just because it’s losing its momentum. Sometimes we have to refurbish it or put a little bit of an effort into making it shine and live up to its full potential once more.

Old Homestead Stainless Steel knives can definitely be revitalized in this way. Eventually, they will become dull. I mean, it’s a knife, and knives that are used will lose their edge. But all they need is a little TLC to bring it back to life.

There is a polarizing argument regarding how to best go about this, though. Many opinions differ when it comes to the best way to maintain the edge of this particular brand of knives.

Grinding Vs. Whetstone to Sharpen the Edge of Knives?

Ah yes, the controversy over the best way to sharpen a blade. Although there are many ways to sharpen a blade, the two most common and most profitable are grinding the blade or using a whetstone.

Grinding a blade is often looked at the easiest way to receive the goal you are going for. Using a grinder is easy because the machine will give you the same result every time. The grinders are set at the right angle for the blade.

It will grind the blade quickly and efficiently as long as you purchase a girder for the particular knife you are using. Keep in mind it’s not the brand you have to fully worry about. It’s the type of metal that the knife was made with.

Using a whetstone, on the other hand, does require some expertise and experience with knives and the ultimate goal in mind. No, I do not mean just knowing you want it sharp. There is more of a science to it.

You have to understand the angle that is needed for that particular steel to fulfill its full potential. Some only use a whetstone to sharpen their knives, and they are usually very experienced with the process.

Mainly, when holding a knife that was sharpened with a grinder, you can see where the grinder has manipulated that blade, whereas a whetstone will leave a smooth finish.

Nine times out of ten, you will not be able to see the grinder marks unless examining through a magnifying glass. For many that are passionate about their knives, though, the devil is in the details.

Do Your Research; Don’t Risk Ruining Your Precious Knives!

The biggest mistake I come across when people are trying to sharpen these knives is not a mistake on the instrument of their choosing. It’s their knowledge of the brand of knife.

A Japanese-made knife is not like an American-made knife. Even if they used the same type of steel, the Japanese create their knives without the traditional “v” shape blade. They tend to use another variation.

People will often mistake their knowledge of American knives and completely ruin a Japanese knife to the point of no return, turning one of the best knives they can possibly own into a useless object.

When these knives first came out, each product was sent out with a lifetime old homestead knives warranty to ensure customer appreciation and love for the product until the end of the product’s lifetime.

Little did they know that they would stay a prized jewel in so many people’s kitchens up until this very day. And to their credit, they are sticking to their promise.

Whenever I buy an item with a lifetime warranty, I laugh to myself, knowing it’s a scam. They find so many ways around replacing or fixing the product.

They just want you to spend that extra five dollars to give yourself a comfort blanket and think you’re getting a good deal until the time comes for them to stick to their word and replace the item.

Years ago, the statement “lifetime warranty” had love behind it, like your mother telling you she will always be there to protect you. It was more of a warm hug rather than the scam companies now are playing on us.

Always Offers High Quality Knives

Old Homestead Cutlery put all their pride into their brand and products. They have put everything into ensuring that their product is always the best of quality and will happily fix any mistake they’ve made. They’re a company that cares deeply about each of their customers as though every single one of them was family.

As I said before, we have a set that’s been passed down for generations. This particular set is only used on special occasions such as holidays and family get-togethers. We are a big antiques family, so most of us have our own sets or single knives already being used daily.

These knives have always been our go-to. When we have friends and neighbors over, we still get the question on where we bought our knives.

When I was younger, it was a lot harder to get a full set into our kitchen drawer. Thankfully, the internet has made it a lot easier to get our hands on these rarities.

Conclusion

If you come across either a single knife or a whole set, spend the money. It’s more than worth it. These knives are of excellent quality even to this day.

They will most likely need a little TLC to bring them back to life. But they will more than exceed your expectations once you give them that little bit of time.

Before you begin sharpening the blades, do your research on grinders and whetstones.

Keep in mind: this isn’t your everyday American knife.

It will most likely need to be sharpened differently than the rest of your kitchen knives. In the end, though, Old Homestead knives have been around for many years, and they are almost certainly going to stick around for many more.

Author

Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

10 Comments

  1. I’ve had this knife set for 50 years, With the aid of the sharpening steel. They are in FANTASTIC condition…… Best purchase I’ve EVER MADE

  2. I was born with a knife in my hand. I make knives. This wood handle full shank (TANG) was my grandmothers favorite knife. She would make me go out and find a switch to spank me with; 1951! We had a few fruit trees. The “CHEF ‘OLD HOMESTEAD’ is burned into the wood handle. Full tang with brass fasten. This knife was lost for 45 years. My mom died a while ago, so I found this knife. It only took an hour to bring it back, I used a belt sander and whetstones to bring it back to life. I know the many steels, powder and chrome/carbon and so on. I am happier with the ergo balance and blade design ; memories , that are as good as the Komo blade at $650.00 same size. Thank you guys. Trust creates love.

  3. Beverly Matthews Reply

    I have a set of the Old Homestead Knives. They were given to me about 25 years ago as a gift. I love and use them all the time. My question is I have noticed some spots of rust On both sides of the blade. Not big just real small spots. what do you recommend I so to my knives with the rust?
    Thank you.

  4. My knife set is 40 years old but they definitely need some attention the handles are getting loose there anyone I could get a hold of to talk to them about this? A reply would be awesome

    • Its not rocket science to make your own handles, I have made handles out of short sections of dead oak or hickory branch, then sanded to shape and smoothness I wanted. Treat them with something nontoxic like Tung oil. But if you just have loose rivets, those can be replaced, though honestly on modern knives rivets are just for decoration, they are epoxied to the blade to keep out moisture. On old knive dependent on rivets, moisture get behind the wood or plastic scales and you have at minimum unsanitary conditions and at worst rust. To be clear good grade epoxy is plenty to hold handle/scales in place.

  5. To address rust, usually, a steal souring pad suffices, If not, treat the spot with a drop of vinegar…it will lift the rust.

    For the handles, they are made of wood, And that means they do need occasional oiling over the years to preserve the wood. If they’ve been abused or placed in a dishwasher, well, not much can be done to restore them. Never put quality cutlery into a dishwasher!

    If the wood isn’t splintered, you can try to flatten the brass pins with a hammer and punch. Otherwise I recommend replacing the handles. A handy workworker can make a replacement.

    • i suggest Bar Keepers Friend for rust spots. The Old Homestead stuff didnt have much rust problem, but the modern China stainless seems very rust prone. Honestly with the China stuff, I would buy mineral oil to rub on it after washing. Food grade, sold cheap in any store selling over the counter medicines next to the rubbing alcohol. Thats how you treated the old pure carbon steel knives, though even they would build up a grey to black patina over the years that offered some protection. You definitely wanted to oil them before any long term storage though. Pure non-perfumed vaseline also work. Vegetable oil tends to get rancid.

  6. There are people selling them as “vintage” but few discussions of people using them. Most assume they are the 60s and 70s equivalent of the low end China knives of today and just throw aways to be avoided. Few years back when i was teaching myself to sharpen knives, I was picking up any cheap thrift store knife I found. Got an Old Homestead long boning knife I guess for like 50cents. Too narrow for slicer and too heavy for a fillet knife. It took a nice edge I wasn’t expecting. Earned a place on knife rack just cause it was a long skinny very stiff knife and sometimes thats exactly what is needed.. Most knives other than chef knife or paring knife dont get used all that often, unless you are into butchering your own animals. A good chef knife can do just about any chore.

    Recently got a pristine 10in Old Homestead. Some people are scared of big knives. Honestly I find it more balanced than the shorter ones. So no problem using it to chop veggies on cutting board, and my cutting board isnt that big.

    Back to Japanese knives these along with Maxam style were designed for western market, they are western design knives for export to western countries, not Japanese style knives for Japan market. Dual bevel and all. In my opinion they were pretty well equivalent to middle of road American knives of that era, like the USA made Chicago Cutlery or the Ecko knives. Or Tramantina out of Brazil. As Japan became more affluent, cheap knife production moved first to Brazil and Taiwan, finally to China. Cheap light weight knives tend to dissapear over the years, the heavier ones linger. People are nuts right now on high end Japanese style knives, which are light weight, tend to be multi layered steel and harder steel. I am not sure what steel the Old Homestead are made of. Maxam used to brag about their 420 steel. I assume it ws 420HC. They did all they could with it but not a high end steel, though quite serviceable and no rust problems like Chinesium of today. Most kitchen knives you find will be 420HC or 440A. Or equivalent. Gerber when they were independent USA company made knives with 440C, a relative rarity. I would like to try an old Gerber someday but relatively rare and somewhat collectible. There are of course some junk steel knives made of mystery scrap and high dollar knives out of exotic powdered steels that are so hard they will hold edge for 5year, super hard, but super expensive too.

    I like the Maxam 9in chef knife I have. Nice heft and very well balanced knife. Cuts well. Oddly even though you will find lot of them on Ebay, I rarely see signs of anybody having tried to sharpen them once original factory edge dulled. Odd for a knife this old especially a heavy pleasant to use knife. They are hollow ground so pretty easy to sharpen, so??? Both my Old Homestead and Maxam knives can easily cut paper. Dice or mince an onion very easily. They will take and keep an edge pretty well. Treat them nice and sure edge can last 6mo to year depending how much you use them. I have had several daily driver kind of kitchen knives of various brands, be plenty sharp enough to use upto a year. Though noticable dulling by end of year. No dishwasher, magnetic rack storage, the edges only touch food and maple cutting board.

    Brings me to last point, few people know how to actually sharpen a knife. Hint, its not one of the pull through gadgets. At best that will give temporary illusion of sharpness. Only serious hobbyists seem interested in sharpening knife if it cant brainlessly be done with a gadget or $150 electric sharpener. (I still have nightmares of person I knew ruining good knives using knife sharpener on back side of electric can opener) Too bad, you can get a full set of the Old Homestead (sold under other brand names too) maybe $20 or less. Take care of them and last lifetime. Sharpened they are much better than new cheap colorful sets sold on Amazon and in dept stores.

  7. I have had so set Homew steead for knifes for50 years now not jole. Their as good if on getter to this day

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