A side benefit of my regrinding and knife sharpening service is that I get to see some interesting antique knives. These August Eickhoff knives are beautifully made, have a wonderful balance, a lovely patina, and given the amount of distal taper (both on the blade and the tang) must have been forged. Eickhoff also made round knives (aka. head knives) for leatherworkers which occasionally show up for sale today. In the late 19th century, Eickhoff was located at 381 Broome St, NYC, making scissors, woodworking tools, and resharpening knives. He served on the NY Board of Education, and advertised his wares in a Teachers College Educational Monograph. It may be time to make a few reproduction Eickhoff knives.
Adam’s Practical Bookbinding has an intriguing passage regarding knives to cut binders board:
Instead of sharpening the knife, the tip is broken off, exactly the same as modern Olfa type snap-off blades, except that there were no score lines to make the snap. The description of the knife makes it sound similar to a mill knife. I’m not sure why a broken edge would be sharper or hold the edge better when cutting something as abrasive as boards. Recently on the Book Arts Listserv there was a discussion about resharpening Olfa knives to save a few pennies. Could the original broken edge be superior?
Adam, Paul. Practical Bookbinding. London and New York: Scott, Greenwood and Co. and D. Van Nostrand Co., 1903. (p. 86)