Tag Archives: hog splitter

How to find interesting big cleavers on eBay

[This is a New Haven Edge and Tool Co Cleaver]

I sometimes get emails from guys who want to find a large antique/vintage cleaver to restore.  The best deal you’ll get is at garage, barn and estate sales – no two ways about that.  My challenge is that I don’t have time to go hunting for stuff so I do a lot of automated searches on eBay.   What I am going to do in this post is try and give you some tips plus also live searches of eBay using key words that frequently turn up cleavers to keep an eye on.

That leads us to tip #1 on eBay – set up searches that email you when they find stuff.  What you do is enter your search term on eBay and then click “follow this search”.  EBay will then give you options for alerts and so forth.

 [This is a 16.5″ Foster Bros #8]

Learn some of the phrases folks use to describe / market these big cleavers.  No doubt, I like big cleavers so I use search phrases like “giant antique cleaver”, “giant hog splitter” and what not.  In general, the hog and cow splitters are big.  These huge cleavers were used in the days before extensive automation to chop up big farm animals such as cows, hogs, lambs and so forth giving them their name.

 [This is a 16.5″ Lamson]

There are also certain brands that I really like such as Fosters, WM Beatty, Lamson and New Haven Edge Tool Co.  There were a lot of makers including folks on farms and village blacksmiths forging their own cleavers so it really takes some digging.  I found searches on Google to turn up interesting information about the history of the makers and so forth when I could find some kind of logo or marking.

 [This is a 20″ WM Beatty and Sons]

Another tip I would give you is to look out for old cleavers that are shiny.  Somebody probably sanded or ground the rust off.  I have bought a couple that were utter train wrecks from guys trying to make something look good for sale.  Just be careful.  Nothing that was used is going to be bright silver steel any longer.

Do not worry about rust, dirt and dings – you are going to be working on it anyways.  How far you want to go with the wood is up to you.  The most fascinating cleaver I ever worked on had a trashed handled that I built up with epoxy.  It was stunning wood under decades of grime.

Be careful on the measurements – look for the blade size and overall lengths plus the weight.  I like to look for cleavers that are at least 18″ overall.  Call be weird but the smaller ones are okay but just not as interesting to me.  I do have an exception though – some of the small Fosters are just wicked.  They were forged, have a thick blade and quite a heft.

Watch out for photos.  Sellers try all kinds of stuff to make them look big, in great shape, etc.  You are especially focused on whether the blade is intact, meaning no big nicks or any cracks, and the dimensions.  The photos are nice eye candy but don’t base your whole purchase on them.  I certainly use them to try and judge the condition of the blade.  If a seller doesn’t have an angle you want to see, ask them to send you what you need.  Many sellers will oblige these requests.

 [Giant 24.5″ cleaver with a 1/2″ thick blade from an unknown maker – my all time favorite]

Now be patient and don’t rush.  Watch the prices these things are selling at and don’t start bidding until the last minute.  Also keep an eye on the seller’s ratings.  New ones with fewer than 20 sales make me nervous.  Read what folks have to say about the seller.

Keep an eye on shipping charges.  Some guys will do stuff like list something dirt cheap and then charge a fortune for shipping.  Don’t just assume shipping & handling charges will be reasonable if it isn’t listed.

Be patient!  You can get some very decent cleavers for under $100 but what you consider a fair price is entirely up to you.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements.  EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.  Doing so will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Here are some eBay Searches to help you get started using keywords I use in my own searches:

Giant Antique Cleaver

Giant Antique 32" Hogsplitter Meat Cleaver Butcher's Knife - Enormous Blade

$528.99
End Date: Wednesday Jan-9-2019 14:55:46 PST
Buy It Now for only: $528.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Giant Hog Splitter

Giant Foster Bros cleaver cow hog splitter #119 Length 17"

$149.99
End Date: Wednesday Dec-26-2018 20:38:16 PST
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Giant Cow Splitter

Giant Foster Bros cleaver cow hog splitter #119 Length 17"

$149.99
End Date: Wednesday Dec-26-2018 20:38:16 PST
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Huge Antique Cleaver

HUGE ANTIQUE NICHOLS BROS CHEF/BUTCHER'S #9 CARBON STEEL MEAT CLEAVER SHARP

$149.95
End Date: Tuesday Dec-25-2018 6:20:59 PST
Buy It Now for only: $149.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Huge blacksmith made cleaver 30" long collectible antique butcher tool display

$179.99
End Date: Wednesday Dec-19-2018 15:55:29 PST
Buy It Now for only: $179.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Rare huge antique D R Barton butcher meat carcass cleaver collectible 1832 logo

$299.99
End Date: Saturday Dec-29-2018 5:36:20 PST
Buy It Now for only: $299.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Huge Vintage Hog Splitter Meat Cleaver Butcher Knife antique tool old

$210.00
End Date: Saturday Dec-22-2018 7:27:05 PST
Buy It Now for only: $210.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Huge Vintage Splitter Meat Cleaver Butcher Knife Blacksmith antique tool old

$230.00
End Date: Saturday Dec-22-2018 7:27:04 PST
Buy It Now for only: $230.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

HUGE Antique US Civil War Period Hooked Cleaver Bill Hook Hatchet Butchers Knife

$299.00
End Date: Friday Jan-4-2019 8:15:30 PST
Buy It Now for only: $299.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

BEAUTIFUL Antique Foster Bros. HEAVY-DUTY Chef's XXL Meat Cleaver -- RAZOR SHARP

$198.05
End Date: Saturday Dec-29-2018 12:09:39 PST
Buy It Now for only: $198.05
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique L&IJ White Buffalo, NY Chef's #8 Butcher Meat Cleaver Knife RAZOR SHARP

$188.05
End Date: Wednesday Jan-2-2019 20:09:12 PST
Buy It Now for only: $188.05
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique Primitive 17-18th Century Huge Hand Forged Hog Beef Splitter Cleaver Axe

$1,500.00
End Date: Friday Dec-21-2018 15:58:35 PST
Buy It Now for only: $1,500.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

6 Meat Cleaver Connector Charms Antique Silver Tone 2 Sided - SC2605

$3.49
End Date: Wednesday Dec-19-2018 10:07:17 PST
Buy It Now for only: $3.49
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Beatty Cleaver

Vintage W.M. Beatty & Son 15 1/4" meat cleaver

$16.00 (11 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Dec-13-2018 16:30:13 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

ANTIQUE BUTCHER CLEAVER BY WM BEATTY & SON CHESTER PA NBR 6 or 9 ~ 15" LONG

$59.99
End Date: Tuesday Jan-8-2019 13:11:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $59.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Wm Beatty & Son Cast Large Steel Meat Cleaver Antique Butcher Primitive Handle

$68.00
End Date: Saturday Jan-5-2019 18:08:19 PST
Buy It Now for only: $68.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique W.M. Beatty & Sons Meat Cleaver Chester Pa 7in Blade

$49.99
End Date: Friday Dec-28-2018 17:56:38 PST
Buy It Now for only: $49.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

VINTAGE WM BEATTY & SON CHESTER, PA. MEAT CLEAVER 7" BLADE COW LOGO 2/0

$60.00
End Date: Monday Jan-7-2019 7:50:41 PST
Buy It Now for only: $60.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Vintage W M Beatty & Son Meat Cleaver Chester Pa

$50.69
End Date: Saturday Jan-5-2019 2:14:35 PST
Buy It Now for only: $50.69
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique WM Beatty & Son Chester PA Cast Steel Cleaver 7 inch Blade 7 inch Handle

$46.47
End Date: Friday Dec-28-2018 10:17:35 PST
Buy It Now for only: $46.47
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

W M Beatty & Son Meat Cleaver Chester Pa

$69.95
End Date: Thursday Jan-3-2019 3:24:59 PST
Buy It Now for only: $69.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique MEAT CLEAVER, by Beatty? Full Tang Cast Steel wood handle 17.5" Long #1

$129.99
End Date: Wednesday Jan-2-2019 17:04:12 PST
Buy It Now for only: $129.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Foster Cleaver

Vintage Foster Bros. Cleaver Solid Steel Hickory Handle

$21.99
End Date: Monday Dec-31-2018 4:19:59 PST
Buy It Now for only: $21.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Vintage Foster Bros. Meat Cleaver Solid Steel 6" Blade-Arrow Logo

$9.50 (5 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Dec-16-2018 18:50:06 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

Foster Bros Meat Cleaver #9

$49.99
End Date: Friday Dec-14-2018 10:43:24 PST
Buy It Now for only: $49.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Giant Foster Bros cleaver cow hog splitter #119 Length 17"

$149.99
End Date: Wednesday Dec-26-2018 20:38:16 PST
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

VINTAGE FOSTER BROS 6" MEAT CLEAVER TRADE MARK ARROW

$36.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday Dec-14-2018 17:23:32 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

vintage full tang Foster Bros Faraco Service Solid Steel Meat Cleaver

$40.00
End Date: Tuesday Jan-8-2019 8:41:05 PST
Buy It Now for only: $40.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Vintage Primitive FOSTER BROTHERS All Steel 8" MEAT CLEAVER (16" Long)

$60.00
End Date: Wednesday Dec-26-2018 13:14:23 PST
Buy It Now for only: $60.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Foster Bros Knife Carbon Steel Cleaver Butcher Knife 11" blade

$44.95
End Date: Tuesday Jan-8-2019 3:46:29 PST
Buy It Now for only: $44.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique Cleaver

Antique European Butchers Meat Cleaver

$0.99 (1 Bid)
End Date: Sunday Dec-16-2018 13:15:26 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

Antique Meat Cleaver UNBRANDED HOG SPLITTER - 17"

$35.00
End Date: Wednesday Jan-2-2019 11:52:46 PST
Buy It Now for only: $35.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

ANTIQUE BUTCHER CLEAVER BY WM BEATTY & SON CHESTER PA NBR 6 or 9 ~ 15" LONG

$59.99
End Date: Tuesday Jan-8-2019 13:11:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $59.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique Signed Nichols Bros. Heavy Shear Steel Cleaver Greenfield, MASS

$34.95
End Date: Thursday Jan-3-2019 2:10:15 PST
Buy It Now for only: $34.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

antique meat cleaver * for repair+ ornate figural high heel boot shoe handle

$79.80
End Date: Friday Jan-11-2019 4:06:04 PST
Buy It Now for only: $79.80
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

ANTIQUE LARGE BUTCHER'S MEAT CLEAVER HOG SPLITTER 18 1/2"

$50.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Dec-15-2018 9:54:34 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

Samuel Lee Knives & Steels Antique Butcher Cleaver #8 Nice Condition 1886 Patent

$19.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Dec-16-2018 19:00:44 PST
Buy It Now for only: $49.00
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list

Vintage Cleaver

Vintage Birkenwald 16" meat cleaver

$35.76 (10 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Dec-12-2018 17:58:49 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

Vintage Meat Cleaver 12” Long. UNIVERSAL L.F. & C.

$15.50 (2 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Dec-13-2018 19:24:34 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

Vintage Foster Bros. Cleaver Solid Steel Hickory Handle

$21.99
End Date: Monday Dec-31-2018 4:19:59 PST
Buy It Now for only: $21.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Large Vintage Cleaver

LARGE HEAVY DUTY VINTAGE BRIDDELL MEAT CLEAVER

$32.00 (16 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Dec-12-2018 22:08:14 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

VINTAGE EXTRA LARGE MEAT CLEAVER

$150.00
End Date: Saturday Dec-15-2018 18:13:56 PST
Buy It Now for only: $150.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Vintage Large Meat Cleaver Knife – Never Edged/Sharpened Used Steakhouse Menu

$41.99
End Date: Thursday Dec-27-2018 11:46:52 PST
Buy It Now for only: $41.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

 

I hope these tips and sample search terms help.  Happy hunting!!


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements.  EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.  Doing so will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

Restoring a Giant 24″ Hog Splitter

Everyone needs a hobby.  I guess mine is creating or fixing things in my own way.  Back in 2014, I bought an absolutely massive beat to hell 24-1/2″ hog splitter off eBay.  This thing was absolutely a diamond in the rough.  Clearly it had been used very heavily – probably for decades – yet there was an amazing design in that beat up cleaver as well.  First off, the blade was almost a half inch thick and it weighed about five pounds.  Back in the days before machinery, you need mass to butcher big animals and this was (and still is) the most massive cleaver I have personally worked with – imagine a baseball bat with one hell of a heavy end is what it boils down to.

In the eBay listing, the seller was up front – this thing was on its last leg.  The wood was all busted up, dirty as heck and the blade was loose.  Of course, I had to buy it!  Here’s what it looked like when it arrived.  Why I did not get an overall photo at the start, I do not know.

There were no maker’s marks anywhere but it was too professionally done to have been a village blacksmith.  I still wonder who made this as I would love to track down more of them.  If you have one, or find one, and are interested in potentially parting with it, let me know.  I’d even be happy with just the giant blade.

Getting back to the story, I had to look it over and take stock.  This thing was stunningly heavy and the wood was busted up because it was thing and hollow.  There had to be more than what I was seeing so I broke the frozen on nut and pulled the handle off.  Wow.  There was the largest rat tail tang I had ever seen – and still haven’t seen one bigger!!  That’s how they spread the load.  What a great design.

Now, the wood totally intrigued me.  There was something about the color that caught my eye so I decided to fill it with glass reinforced epoxy.  Now not all epoxies are equal.  When you do structural work like this, you need an excellent shock resistant epoxy.  My go to epoxy for stuff like this is Acraglas liquid epoxy from Brownells.  I but it in quart bulk containers and meter it out using syringes or a digital scale.  I use 5/32nds milled glass fibers and black dye to color it.  Fortunately, it’s the same dye I use for my plastics but you can either buy from Brownells or elsewhere.  So over the course of several days, I mixed, poured and let it sit overnight as it takes Acraglas 24 hours to cure so this work is done in steps.  By the way, I used wood stripper to try and get all the grease and oils out of the handle plus I drilled open the end to fill it easier.  By the way, if you heat epoxy with a heat gun, it will get thinner and flow more readily until it cools.  Gentle warmth also accelerates curing of the epoxy but remember that just because epoxy feels dry to the touch does not mean it has fully cured – read the instructions for whatever brand you go with.

Next, I sanded, sanded and sanded.  The wood was very interesting – maybe a cherry or mahogany.  I’m not really sure.

The rat tang was HUGE.  I carefully marked where it was at and drilled holes for two brass pins just to play it safe.  I’ve never had Acraglas let go from a clean prepped surface but never say never.  The pins are a cheap insurance for a giant blade like this.  I inserted the 3/16″ pins with epoxy and then added epoxy to all the imperfections followed by more sanding.  Notice how I blasted the pins before gluing?  Epoxy always, always, always does better on a rough surface.  Do not epoxy two shiny metal surfaces together and expect them to last – they probably will not.

Now this took my breath away.  I used a 50/50 combination of turpentine and boiled linseed oil (BLO), put it in a tank I have just for these big cleavers and let it sit for a few hours before I pulled it out.  The color blew me away.  Wow!!  I wiped it down and then applied additional coats of BLO to seal it.

My last steps were to acid etch the blade (click here for our guide to acid etching), seal everything with BLO and then make a blade guard.  Mission accomplished.

To protect the blade edge, not to mention protect other things from the edge, I made a protective cover out of 0.093 Kydex and 3/8″ shock (bungee) cord.

That bad boy weighed 5-1/4 pounds and was solid as a rock.  I keep looking for another one like it.  I never did find out where it was made but it sure was a stunner.  This is another project that part of me wishes I had kept it but it went to a very happy new owner shortly after I finished it.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements. EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.   With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 


The following is a real-time search of eBay using keywords that have worked for me in the past and I hope they help you find something (note a few odd items might show up just like any other search does):

Giant Foster Bros cleaver cow hog splitter #119 Length 17"

$149.99
End Date: Wednesday Dec-26-2018 20:38:16 PST
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique Meat Cleaver UNBRANDED HOG SPLITTER - 17"

$35.00
End Date: Wednesday Jan-2-2019 11:52:46 PST
Buy It Now for only: $35.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

ANTIQUE LARGE BUTCHER'S MEAT CLEAVER HOG SPLITTER 18 1/2"

$50.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Dec-15-2018 9:54:34 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

Large vintage Foster Bros #16 meat cleaver hog splitter cut down ww1 ww2

$640.00
End Date: Saturday Jan-5-2019 20:48:24 PST
Buy It Now for only: $640.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique 16” Hog Splitter Cleaver H5

$84.50
End Date: Thursday Jan-10-2019 12:55:42 PST
Buy It Now for only: $84.50
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Vintage 16" Village Blacksmith Meat Cleaver Hog Splitter Watertown Wisconsin WI

$85.00
End Date: Sunday Dec-30-2018 4:38:40 PST
Buy It Now for only: $85.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

ANTIQUE/VINTAGE BUTCHERS MEAT CLEAVER HOG SPLITTER - 15"

$39.00
End Date: Thursday Dec-20-2018 10:40:31 PST
Buy It Now for only: $39.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique Foster Bros 13 Hog Splitter Meat Cleaver 31.25" Long Butcher Solid Steel

$318.78
End Date: Thursday Dec-20-2018 6:39:47 PST
Buy It Now for only: $318.78
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique 1837 L & I J White butcher hog splitter 18" cleaver collectible tool

$499.99
End Date: Friday Dec-21-2018 14:46:25 PST
Buy It Now for only: $499.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

RARE ANTIQUE PITTSBURGH ERIE SAW CO. BUTCHERS MEAT CLEAVER HOG SPLITTER - 17"

$119.00
End Date: Wednesday Dec-19-2018 15:38:41 PST
Buy It Now for only: $119.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Vintage 7" Meat Cleaver hog splitter kitchen knife - unusual handle

$24.99
End Date: Tuesday Jan-1-2019 17:00:42 PST
Buy It Now for only: $24.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

RARE Antique LAMSON & GOODNOW Butcher's Slaughterhouse Cleaver/Hog Splitter A+++

$324.05
End Date: Friday Dec-14-2018 20:57:12 PST
Buy It Now for only: $324.05
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

RARE Antique 174 Allen St NY Meat Cleaver Hog Splitter Old pre NYKC Walden Knife

$79.99
End Date: Thursday Dec-20-2018 5:26:28 PST
Buy It Now for only: $79.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique P.S.& W No. 2 Hog Splitter Meat Cleaver Peck, Stow, & Wilcox

$150.00
End Date: Thursday Jan-3-2019 13:23:38 PST
Buy It Now for only: $150.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique WM Beatty & Son Chester PA 10" Cleaver Chef Butcher Steel HOG Splitter

$129.99
End Date: Wednesday Dec-26-2018 21:44:42 PST
Buy It Now for only: $129.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Huge Vintage Hog Splitter Meat Cleaver Butcher Knife antique tool old

$210.00
End Date: Saturday Dec-22-2018 7:27:05 PST
Buy It Now for only: $210.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique P.S.& W Hog Splitter Meat Cleaver butcher knife Peck, Stow, & Wilcox

$98.95
End Date: Wednesday Dec-19-2018 17:20:54 PST
Buy It Now for only: $98.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Vintage VILLAGE BLACKSMITH WATERTOWN, WIS. 17" HOG SPLITTER CLEAVER 4 COPPER PIN

$149.95
End Date: Wednesday Dec-19-2018 9:41:53 PST
Buy It Now for only: $149.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list