This tool started its life as a fairly typical blubber spade used in whaling. Without a discernible maker's mark it is typical in form, having a construction with a total length of 20 ¼ inches from edge to top of socket, with an edge length of about 4 ¾ inches. Both the main and side edges are thin, and were once sharp in the manner of “boat spades” (that were used to cut holes in whale flukes to attach towing lines), or as "head spades" (used to decapitate captured Sperm whales so the heads could be hoisted about to better allow the removal of the valuable spermaceti wax and oil therein). The heavy shaft on this spade favors the latter type of spade. The socket is open with a forge welded closure at the top, in the manner of older spades from the first half of the 19th century, and there is a large hole on each side for pinning it to a handle. At some early part of its history the spade was reworked on blacksmith's forge (probably on board ship) to bend the bottom of the shaft, above the top of the blade, about 20 degrees to one side, and an additional piece of iron was forge welded to the top of the blade as a step for the foot. The angle of the handle would then allow for the rocking back and forth of the cutting edge while pressure was applied to by the user's foot. The spade appears to have been better able to better cut through bone and gristle by this modification. It makes a quite interesting modification, made at sea for the tough work of whaling. It is a great piece for a whale craft collection. Unusual and Easily Good.
Price - $150.00