Nogent style knives are characterized by their one piece wood handles, with a rat tail stick tang extending to the end of the handle and a round steel or aluminum ferrule. ‘Cuisine Massive’ was used to describe the style in Thiers, as Nogent was a rival knife making city.
These knives were made in Theirs, France in the 1950‘s. They are thin and light being hand forged on an old style 'Martinet' mechanical hammer and then ground by hand on stone wheels, very similaryly to how knives were made in the 19th and early 20th century, these techniques and equipment are now long gone.
They are lighter and springier than their modern contemporaries with great cutting feel and are super easy to sharpen, don't over-polish them with fine Japanese stones, these do better with a coarser edge (equivalent to 1000 Japanese grit stone) and kept up with a fine honing steel. The advice to use a steel before you use your knife is the result of these kind of knives in a busy professional kitchen; steel them once you feel the edge starting to lean to one side.
Being handmade there are slight differences between knives and they may have slight imperfections that would be consistent with handmade knives of their day such as a slight waviness in edge and small bends, there can also be imperfections in small gaps in handle etc. They are not 'perfect' by strict standards but are still great knives.
It should be noted as well that the wood is a bit dry from all the years in storage and the oak tannin based dye on the beech wood handles can come off on hands for the first several uses. If you can deal with these small issues you are rewarded with a knife that has a great cutting feel and is truly a piece of history!
Since 1834, K Sabatier has been the dedicated brand of Sabatier Aine & Perrier, a family cutlery business started by Philippe Sabatier in the early 1800’s. The business has been passed down 8 generations, and has remained located in the hills of Thiers, France in the village of Bellevue. They continue to run their company with pride and precision, keeping all aspects of the manufacturing process within the area of Thiers.