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Vespa Bob
08-14-2016, 02:46 PM
This knife was kept in my father's drawer in our house since my earliest memories and after my father passed on, I ended up having it. It lay for many years in my drawer and occasionally I would pick it up and wonder what purpose it served. It's far too sturdy for an envelope opener, but not extremely sharp for much else. I've had a go at sharpening it, thinking it might work for neck carving, but my sharpening skills don't seem to be up to the task. The length of the instrument is 8" with a 3 5/8" blade. It's pretty solid and hefty and well made with what looks like an ebony handle, but no name or mark as to it's origin. For what it's worth, my father was a sign painter, but I don't see how the knife connects to his work. Anyway, I thought I'd share it with you knowledgeable folk on the off chance that you may shed some light on my mystery knife. It's probably 80 or 90 years old.

Bob

saltytri
08-14-2016, 02:56 PM
I googled "old scalpel" and brought up some images. There were a few that are pretty close to a dead ringer for your knife. Any docs in your family tree?

johnson430
08-14-2016, 03:47 PM
This knife was kept in my father's drawer in our house since my earliest memories and after my father passed on, I ended up having it. It lay for many years in my drawer and occasionally I would pick it up and wonder what purpose it served. It's far too sturdy for an envelope opener, but not extremely sharp for much else. I've had a go at sharpening it, thinking it might work for neck carving, but my sharpening skills don't seem to be up to the task. The length of the instrument is 8" with a 3 5/8" blade. It's pretty solid and hefty and well made with what looks like an ebony handle, but no name or mark as to it's origin. For what it's worth, my father was a sign painter, but I don't see how the knife connects to his work. Anyway, I thought I'd share it with you knowledgeable folk on the off chance that you may shed some light on my mystery knife. It's probably 80 or 90 years old.

Bob

Do you have any family members from Whitechapel, London?

saltytri
08-14-2016, 05:07 PM
Do you have any family members from Whitechapel, London?

I've heard that you can really rip through a song on the uke but, in this instance, you don't know jack. ;)

AndieZ
08-14-2016, 05:37 PM
letter opener

or some sort of paint scraper

johnson430
08-14-2016, 05:52 PM
I've heard that you can really rip through a song on the uke but, in this instance, you don't know jack.


LMAO
Saltytri, as an English teacher and enormous fan of the pun master himself, O"Henry, I applaud your puns.:cool:

saltytri
08-14-2016, 06:00 PM
As I applaud your mastery of obscure urban geography!

ksiegel
08-14-2016, 06:06 PM
Before I looked at the other responses, I took one look at the 2nd photograph, put my hand out to the side, and said "Scalpel."

That is a very distinctive blade shape, MacHeath.



-Kurt

kohanmike
08-14-2016, 06:49 PM
My first reaction was also scalpel.

Timbuck
08-14-2016, 08:41 PM
Yep! antique scalple could have been made in Sheffield UK like this one.
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/scalple_zps0w0r753z.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/scalple_zps0w0r753z.jpg.html)

pointpergame
08-15-2016, 02:47 AM
It looks exactly like a scalpel. The ones I've come across have far shorter blades but certainly there are some non-surface flesh cutting tasks that need a longer blade.
The one similar knife in my collection never seems to oxidize, so I've always assumed that it is a stainless-like alloy.

Seeing that you live 10 - 20 miles from me, I can offer to sharpen it for you. Drop me a PM.
Cheers,
Russ

Rllink
08-15-2016, 04:25 AM
Interesting thread, because I almost said trout knife when I first saw it, but everyone else was saying scalpel and I didn't want to be the one who said it was a trout knife. I was going to say that because my dad also had a knife very similar to it and he used it to clean trout. I have it now too. But he always called it his trout knife so of course I thought that it was a trout knife. But now I'm wondering if it too is a scalpel and he was just using it to clean trout. So I'm going to have to check it out and see.

Vespa Bob
08-15-2016, 05:36 AM
Man, are you guys sharp! And, no, I don't have relatives from Whitechapel, named Deering or otherwise! Seriously, though, I don't know why I didn't recognize the knife as being a scalpel, other than it seemed too large and not particularly sharp. Now I really wonder how my father came by it.:confused: Thanks for the clarification, I knew I could count on you all. Thanks also to you, pointpergame for your kind offer, a pm is on it's way!

Bob

ksquine
08-15-2016, 07:14 AM
Man, are you guys sharp!

Now that's a bad pun

Vespa Bob
08-15-2016, 08:49 AM
Yes, I know, it's the best I could come up with at 8.30 AM!

Bob

cml
08-15-2016, 09:37 AM
Now that's a bad pun
Wait what? I thought it was quite edgy ;)!

saltytri
08-15-2016, 10:11 AM
Wait what? I thought it was quite edgy ;)!

You're making me sorry that I started this. Cut it out!

PhilUSAFRet
08-15-2016, 11:46 AM
Sure looks thicker than the antique scalpel on the previous page that it closely resembles. Certainly wouldn't serve as a scalpel now. Wonder if it was a letter opener used as a gift from a scalpel manufacturer. For a long time, Sheffield Steel was in it's own class and was the fashizzle for many, many years.

anthonyg
08-15-2016, 09:31 PM
Well I'd hate to add anything practical to this thread, yet a sign painter would most definitely use a knife to cut masking films all the time. Now whether this is a specialist "art" knife or just a knife that was repurposed is beyond my knowledge. I certainly used scalpel type knifes all the time for art work.

Anthony

cml
08-15-2016, 11:25 PM
You're making me sorry that I started this. Cut it out!
:D
(random characters)

bariukish
08-16-2016, 04:25 AM
It would sure make a fine marking knife for the wood shop.

Vespa Bob
08-16-2016, 11:11 AM
Phil, your idea has merit since the blade seems unusually thick and is not very sharp, however, the scalpel has no manufacturer's mark, or any sort of identification, which I don't think would be the case if it was for promotional purposes.
Anthony, I too have cut many a frisket using a scalpel with a #11 blade. This scalpel is large, nowhere near sharp enough and has the wrong shape for making fine cuts. Also, during the period when my dad did sign painting, they did it all by hand using good old fashioned paint brushes, no airbrushes or masking out! I used to be in awe watching him work, painting perfect lettering, freehand. Little did I know then that I would one day be doing something similar, only I would be freehand engraving lettering in steel and copper! Ah, the good old days.

Bob

Steveperrywriter
08-16-2016, 09:16 PM
93465

Does look like an autopsy knife.

PhilUSAFRet
08-16-2016, 09:26 PM
Was looking at antique surgical instruments on Google images. Quite a few with blades that thick, especially some gruesome looking civil war ones.

Vespa Bob
08-17-2016, 04:54 AM
Yes, I came across those too, there was even a website which described how amputations were done during the civil war! It never fails to amaze me what a search on Google will bring up.

Bob

sequoia
08-17-2016, 06:05 PM
My opinion: Nothing as grisly as an amputation knife. Too thick and not long enough. I think this is just an old butchers skinning knife. Note the rounded profile.