My new working-man in-the-trenches carbon steel blade
My grandfather owned a grocery store back in the 40s, 50s, and early 60s, he was the butcher at the store and I have two of his knives that look exactly like the one you found. Same ground shape and carbon steel with a woden handle. I remember one has a name on it, can't recall at the moment, but it's a brand that gets mentioned here often. I figured they were the shape they were because he sharpened them for so many years.
The old guys that lived through the depression, didn't go out and buy new stuff all the time, they used it till it was totally gone. A few hundred more sharpenings and this will be a trim knife. Makes me want to pull one out and sharpen it. I've also got his F. Dick steel with a stag horne handle, what a piece of workmanship.
Actually, it has the exact same shape of a "tomato knife" that I once purchased in a supermarket gadget aisle. Strange, because it was packaged in such a way that I did not realize that I was getting a curved blade with a curved spine. I was in a hurry, about twenty-five years ago, and I think I paid less than $10. It was just needed for that one day. I still keep it in my knife block and use it as a utility knife when I wouldn't dare use one of my good knives. Mine is stainless steel.
I can't really imagine that a tomato knife would be carbon steel, but I think with a good patina and careful drying, it is fine to use on tomatoes.
I don't think it is a boning knife because my boning knife, which is a Henkels Twin Pro, has a straight spine. It is not a curved blade. It is flexible, but has a different shape.
Nice score. How come I never find anything good like this when I am shopping?
Nice find, BB.
I'll second Kaleo - the sweep of the spine and stiffness makes me think this was a breaking knife. For a breaking knife to have been sharpened down that much, it almost certainly belonged to a butcher or a meat packer.
Are you planning on using it much?
Good buy. From the sweep of the present edge, it looks to me like it started life as a breaking knife and hundreds--or thousands--of sharpenings later, it's looking more like a fillet. I can almost hear it rattling around in a meat man's belt scabbard.
Old carbon steel knives can be great--we moderns tend to overthink and overvalue the esoteric alloys, hardness ratings and grinds. For example, I have two really old stamped Euro-profile chefs in a mystery high-carbon steel that I wouldn't part with. They're very thin for Euros, maybe 3/32, and have no primary bevel or distal taper at all. They're my in-the-trenches veggie knives, and just sail through squash and root vegetables.
Some of these venerable old blades clean up real nice, too. Many (non-celebrity) bladesmiths will adjust, re-scale and polish these up to look brand new for not a lot of money. I just had a Kramer touched up for $20.
Have fun with your new blade.