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Feb 22, 2012 10:09 AM

Help identifying Sabatier?

I've got a friend's old Sabatier 12" chef's knife to fix. I'd like to give him an idea of its worth, but I know so little about these old knives that I'm not sure I'm getting the correct info from Da Googles. Unfortunately, I can make out no markings on the blade, so the only clues are the handle & bolster styling.

Questions from my research:
Is this considered a "Nogent" knife?
Is "Nogent" a style or a manufacturer?
The full bolster appears to be cast aluminum, wrapping the tang & encasing the back edge of the blade; is this indicative of a particular manufacturer?
Is the "Sabatier" logo stamped on the handle indicative of a particular manufacturer?
Is the triple-riveted handle indicative of a particular manufacturer?


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  1. Here are photos of my 70s stainless steel Sabatier - it may help answer some of your questions.
    Notice that the last 2 photos - first top view - second bottom view - that the wood is shaped differently on the two sides of the handle.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rosetown

      Thanks for the pics! I don't have the knife in front of me right now, but I think the handle is symmetrical.

      1. re: Eiron

        Yes, the handle on my friend's knife is definitely symmetrical.

    2. I believe "Nogent" is just a style, meaning that the entire knife other than the handle is made from one piece of forged steel, no aluminium.

      I'm wary of any Sabatier with cast aluminium in the bolst. Here's a Lions-Sabatier one that snapped right off at the handle where the metal didn't actually go all the way in. What a piece of crap.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pedr0

        Thanks Pedr0. It's a little hard for me to tell exactly what's going on with your knife, but it LOOKS like the "full tang" handle is actually a "false tang"? That is, the blade & bolster appear to be forged from a single piece, but the handle has a length-wise wrap of square wire (mimicking a full tang) that's welded to the bolster. Then the plastic handle appears to be molded onto the end of the bolster, filling in the empty space inside the wrap of square wire. Odd...

        On my friend's knife, the steel of the blade runs continuously thru the handle, then the bolster is cast onto the outside, at the junction of the handle & the blade. In my 3rd pic you can see the heel of the steel blade captured inside the aluminum bolster.

      2. Afaik there are a lot of different Sabatier knives out there; the real ones were made by one of several Sabatier companies…while others (post 70’s) were made by anyone. I’m pretty sure the “Nogent” was the only series of knives that had solid wood handle (no rivets). The others had a riveted slab handle, but I’m not familiar enough with them to tell them apart. Can you see any logos on the blade?

        6 Replies
        1. re: JavaBean

          No, the blade's surface is very mottled, & there are no marks or logos visible in the least.

          The discoloration has an odd appearance, almost like the blade was wrapped in plastic for several years & the pattern of captured air was left on the surface.

            1. re: JavaBean

              Thanks JavaBean! This knife certainly has the same cast-on aluminum bolster as the 2 Lions models. It sharpened up very well.

              1. re: Eiron

                Glad to help. Do you know how vintage carbon Sabs compare to Japanese carbons?

                1. re: JavaBean

                  This is my first experience with a Sabatier, so I couldn't say. And my only experience with Japanese carbon is with Chem's CarboNext santoku.

                  In an earlier thread (from 2010) CBAD made this comment:
                  "Carbon sabatiers will take a very nice sharp edge, but they don't hold it as well as a carbon steel Japanese knife. Sabs don't really hold their edge for all that long - they use a fairly soft carbon steel. Some of the clad carbon Japanese knives are easier to maintain because they form a protective patina on the edge while the sides of the knife are stainless. Sabs are slightly quicker to sharpen though."

        2. Eiron, the knife in your photos doesn't look like a Nogent-style knife to me. In Nogent knives, the bolster is integral to the blade, and a separate cylindrical collar covers the connection between the blade and the handle. Nogent knives don't have a full tang. The blade ends in a thin rod that runs invisibly into the one-piece handle. See the photo on this website:

          Whatever the history of the name, I believe Nogent (which is a town in France) now denotes the style but not the manufacturer. As for the name "Sabatier," several different manufacturers were (and still are) authorized to use it. Each one had its own way of displaying the name on the handle and/or blade, but I don't know how to further identify them.

          Triple-riveted blades are very common in traditionally-styled knives and don't indicate a particular manufacturer. It seems to me that copper rivets are usually seen with carbon steel blades while stainless steel rivets are usually seen with stainless steel blades, but I don't know if that's always the case.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Miss Priss

            good info there...but copper? A little too soft, no? I'm pretty sure the rivets on mine are brass

            1. re: BiscuitBoy

              BiscuitBoy, you're correct about the brass! I don't know what I was thinking (or typing). Thanks for catching that.

            2. re: Miss Priss

              Thanks Miss Priss! I think you're right about the Nogent style cues: integral bolster, cylindrical collar & hidden "rat tail" tang.

              This knife appears to be a "manufacturing-friendly" version of the Nogent style. The cast-on bolster is definitely "one with the blade," as the aluminum casting isn't going anywhere. They also went to the trouble of making the cast collar section cylindrical, just like the separate steel collars you linked to.

              This version is fab-friendly because you can make the blade & tang simultaneously, rivet on the handle & shape it, snap a mold around the front end of the handle & pour in the alu, then finish the bolster & edge.

              Voilà! :-)