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Old 20th January 2023, 03:29 AM   #1
Jim McDougall
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Default LEATHER WORKING LUNETTE KNIFE

This item found in an antique shop was thought to be a 19th c. flensing knife, but there is little info on these. There seems to be a number of variations, but this lunette shape is seen on a couple of examples I found.

The first pics are of the example, which has an unusual makers mark.

The other is with a longer handle and of mid 19th c Maine.

Another example with handle like mine and similar blade is from NE England, Whitby, and used in 19th c.

Any chance anyone out there has ever seen anything like this, or the makers mark ?
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Old 20th January 2023, 07:00 AM   #2
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James Dixon Victorian Flensing Knife or Ulu c1850-60. Whaling Industry History. Antique Sheffield Knives.

similar and the history on the listing is fun

https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/7701...isting_details

sorry I haven't found one with the mark, but a lot of Ulu's have similar shape
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Old 20th January 2023, 07:02 AM   #3
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https://www.thepaintboxgarden.com/ul...uaq-greenland/

more info
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Old 20th January 2023, 04:43 PM   #4
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I regret to say I think it is rather more mundane. A leatherworker's or saddler's round knife.

https://hwebber.co.uk/shop/c-s-osbor...IaAgn_EALw_wcB

Best wishes
Richard
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Old 20th January 2023, 06:17 PM   #5
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Thank you so much guys!
Naturally my hopes were for the whaling use, but I had seen the more mundane description as a leather working knife. It seems those in listing mentioned the alternative leather work use prudently, while the heading was for the whalers use.

Is it possible these might have became a 'crossover' or duplicate items?
In images of flensing tools, many seem to have longer handles, in fact notably so, but with same lunette style handle.

It would seem that the longer handle would be needed considering the size of the whale, but the smaller version in different stage where a long handle was inconvenient?

I hope the topic of 'whaling' is not disturbing to many readers, but my intent is toward historic aspects as always. There is very little in resources on these kinds of antiques, unless in specialized maritime antiquities firms or sellers.

Even if a more 'mundane' object, this example still has interest as an antique item, and hopefully the marking might be found. I have checked Levine's "Guide to Knives"(4th Ed.) but no luck.
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Old 20th January 2023, 07:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
I hope the topic of 'whaling' is not disturbing to many readers ...
You bet it is , Jim ... historic or not !
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Old 20th January 2023, 11:22 PM   #7
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Cool All About

Fascinating reading almost encyclopedic in scope whalesite.org
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Old 21st January 2023, 03:55 AM   #8
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Thank you so much Rick, very much appreciated.
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Old 21st January 2023, 02:16 PM   #9
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Sorry Jim,
Mundanity even extends to the longer handled variant.

https://www.pitchcare.com/shop/bulld...MaAnyCEALw_wcB

Best wishes
Richard
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Old 21st January 2023, 07:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
Sorry Jim,
Mundanity even extends to the longer handled variant.

https://www.pitchcare.com/shop/bulld...MaAnyCEALw_wcB

Best wishes
Richard

No problem Richard, perhaps accepting this identification will render this item less offensive and removed from the squeamishness brought in cases by the other possibility.
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Old 22nd January 2023, 11:37 PM   #11
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Unhappy

While whaling today is frowned upon, surely discussion of the topic is still acceptable. Don't forget that this Forum discusses items which are designed to kill people which surely is less acceptable!
Stu
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Old 23rd January 2023, 09:47 PM   #12
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Options Stu, options. Evidently all our forum members find it acceptable to talk about guns and swords; but perhaps some of them would find it dispensable to develop discussions over whale flensing.
... Just saying .
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Old 24th January 2023, 01:44 AM   #13
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Genesis 1:26-28; 9:1-5
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Old 26th January 2023, 02:54 PM   #14
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Alan
I dont think there is any chance that this diktat has been missed by humanity in general. We have and are continuing to put our best efforts forward in plundering and commodifying this planet to the point of no return.
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Old 26th January 2023, 10:58 PM   #15
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Yes Sid, you're right.

The knife cuts both ways, we were given choice:- we can read these quotes in at least two ways.

Thus endeth the lesson for today, when references to biblical quotes & political quotes get into discussion, its time to go home.
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Old 30th January 2023, 05:33 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1 View Post
While whaling today is frowned upon, surely discussion of the topic is still acceptable. Don't forget that this Forum discusses items which are designed to kill people which surely is less acceptable!
Stu
Bingo!
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Old 30th January 2023, 11:22 AM   #17
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Not intending to switch the topic but, which tool would a whale need to 'flay' a man .
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Old 30th January 2023, 05:28 PM   #18
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My regrets for ever posting this item. I had hoped it would be discussed objectively without 'sensitivities' and editorial.
I think at this point I would gladly accept the 'option' suggested in that this item MUST be a LEATHER WORKING TOOL.

Certainly leather is a much more humanely obtained material, as used rather commonly as we know in the production of many products. It seems this has been the case for a number of years. Apart from the tools to work the leather from hides, there are many tools used in butchering meat, even beyond knives used in hunting, another topic which has remarkable similarity to this.

As agreed, the sensitivities toward discussion of weapons used in warfare seem to be quite acceptable in spite of obvious dynamics.
Only ignorance would support the notion that there is fairness or humanity in war, there is only survival. We study the arms historically and objectively, ASIDE from the reality of purpose.
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Old 30th January 2023, 10:44 PM   #19
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Wink Tit For Tat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
Not intending to switch the topic but, which tool would a whale need to 'flay' a man .
Well, lately Killer Whales have been attacking sailboats in the Bay of Biscay and offshore of your home buddy.

https://www.sciencetimes.com/article...y-portugal.htm
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Old 31st January 2023, 02:49 AM   #20
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I have held back as long as I can, there WAS this huge white whale........Melville (1851).

Based on the sinking of the ship Essex in 1820 by a rogue sperm whale.
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Last edited by Jim McDougall; 31st January 2023 at 03:04 AM.
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Old 31st January 2023, 11:32 AM   #21
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Well guys, sometimes the whale wins. You know the joke .
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Old 31st January 2023, 04:30 PM   #22
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Well noted, sometimes the hunters become the hunted, case in point, the 'lions of Tsavo'.
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Old 21st November 2023, 02:30 AM   #23
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Confirmation from the New Bedford Whaling Museum,
this is NOT a whaling knife, but a 'round knife' for working leather, just as Richard noted.

-finis-
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Old 21st November 2023, 04:44 PM   #24
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I am also offended by the continued murder of whales, "ABOLISH THE WINDMILLS!"
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Old 21st November 2023, 04:54 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drac2k View Post
... "ABOLISH THE WINDMILLS!"
.
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Old 21st November 2023, 05:18 PM   #26
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The noise generated by wind turbines has been attributed by some as the cause for whales beaching themselves. On a more serious note these "wind mills," produce infrasonic sound waves that have been proven to be detrimental to humans and weaponized by various countries.
One step forward, two steps back.
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Old 21st November 2023, 06:35 PM   #27
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Duly noted ... and applauded .
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Old 12th January 2024, 04:20 AM   #28
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Default leather knife

Nice video of one of these knives in action for those who have never seen one.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/eBPVH...?feature=share
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Old 12th January 2024, 04:44 AM   #29
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Thanks very much I.P.
When I acquired this, I was thinking of Eskimo 'ulu', which are of course often in wide variation, but in a number of references showed examples which were virtually identical to this.
The deeply stamped makers mark suggested possibly a British or American item, and again several references showed similar crescent bladed knives as whalers flensing knives of 19th c.

All of these combined led me to believe this example (OP) might be one of these. However most flensing activity references showed larger bladed tools and often on poles.

Finally I contacted a Whalers Museum in Massachusetts which noted my example was not a flensing knife and likely indeed a leather working tool.
In degree disappointed, I still like the item as probably a late 19th to early 20th knife for leather work as shown, and interesting in that respect.
Thank you for sharing this on how it was used.

Both of these illustrations are shown as whalers knives online, both claimed 19th c.
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Old 12th January 2024, 01:41 PM   #30
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The top one looks like the handle is a socket.
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