Looking for a decent skinning knife


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Hornet190
April 23, 2012, 02:42 PM
Hi all, not to sure if this the correct place to post this, if not my apologies! I my name is Deon, and I live in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was referred to your forum, by a good mate of mine, who hinted that I might get the answers I am looking for from the boff's out there.

I am currently in the market for a decent skinning knife. Now I know, all I have to do is type the words "skinning knive" under Google and 1000's of potential candidates will pop up in a flash, but here is the problem. My knowledge about knives are slim to just about non existent, and I am afraid that I might end up purchasing something that is not quite what I am looking for, or a load of crap, thus my plea for help!

What I am looking for is a skinning knife, with the following features:
- It will predominately be used for skinning, not general run of the mill camp use.
- Preferably fixed blade (I am not to fond of the pocket knife/switchblade setup)
- I am more of traditional type of guy, thus would also prefer the knife to have a wooded, horn, tusk tipe handel, as apposed to the "artificial/synthetic composite" handles available out there.
- I want something with a decent blade, made fron decent steel, something that could hold an edge (non of that Chineese crap on the market these days).
- A gut hook will be great, but not essential.
- I don't mind paying a bit extra for the knife, as long as it is decent. How much is "a bit extra", I suppose the expression "how long is a piece of string" jumps to mind, but in short $100-$200? As long as I get value for money (if at all that makes any sence?), I suppose anything is negotiable.

I currently own a skinning knife, but is definitely not the way forward, it is anything but a pleasure to skin with. It is for this reason, I want to invest in a decent knife, which with a little bit of luck perhaps one day could be passed down the line!

Hope you can help!

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tdstout
April 23, 2012, 02:56 PM
Old Timer Sharpfinger. Get an older one, before they were made in China.

The only drawback there for your requirements is the handle is plastic, if I remember correctly.

rcmodel
April 23, 2012, 03:27 PM
My old Marbles Woodcraft is one of the best & most useful skinning knife designs I have in my collection.

Whether the new ones are as good as those made in 1930 something I can't say.


http://www.knifeworks.com/browseproducts/Marble's-Woodcraft-Hunting-Knife---Stacked-Leather-w--Stag-Pommel.HTML

I have also been very favorably impressed by the Knives of Alaska line.
Especially the Bear Cub caper.
http://www.knivesofalaska.com/store.asp?c=15

This could be a very useful set too.
http://www.knivesofalaska.com/store.asp?c=42

I also can't say if knives can be shipped to South Africa from the USA.

rc

hso
April 23, 2012, 03:52 PM
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=655306

Contact Mr. Wheeler and see if the two of you can come to an agreement on exactly what you'd like him to make for you.

MutinousDoug
April 23, 2012, 04:51 PM
These are the knives I take elk hunting.
The short machete stays in camp and I only take the modified Old Hickory Skinner and the pocket knife (with that gut ripper blade) with me until I get something down, then I go back to camp
with the 1st load and bring one or two others up as I think I'll need them.
The Old Hickory (model 615) used to have a 6" blade, but I find the 4.25" on it
now is more useful
http://i40.tinypic.com/fawzgn.jpg

(Sorry. I could have sized the pic a little smaller)

SlamFire1
April 23, 2012, 05:06 PM
If you want pure skinners, these two patterns will meet your needs.

This knife is an extremely old pattern, used it myself, and it is an excellent skinning knife. This is a Russell “Green River” Buffalo skinner. The pattern may date back to the 1830’s and was used in the American West. Prices are very reasonable; you can find examples for sale on Ebay. There are both high carbon and stainless versions.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/knives/russellskinningknife.jpg

This Grohmann skinner is smaller but is an excellent skinning knife. I have the stainless verision.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/knives/IMG_0677101Standardskinner.jpg

http://www.grohmannknives.com/index2.html

Both of these knives are made from good steels and will take an edge. I think the Russell high carbon is 1095 and the stainless is 420. Grohmann makes 1095 and Krupp 4116 stainless. These are steels you can sharpen with a stone. There are advanced steels that require diamond hones or belt grinders, I consider these impractical for field use.

Fred Fuller
April 23, 2012, 07:52 PM
Knives used for processing game are going to be pretty personal, and therefore likely to have pretty different requirements for different people. I've never had to process game bigger than a whitetail deer (200 pounds or less, live weight) and that of course skews my perception of what works for me.

I have a couple of favorites, and I'm not suggesting they would be ideal for what you need. I don't care for gut hooks, for one thing. I don't know how important having one is for you, if it's essential then the blade shapes I like probably won't interest you.

One of my favorites is a Randall Model 25 (http://www.agrussell.com/randall-model-25-trapper/p/RA-M25/). At this point they're likely outside your price range - now that I'm retired, I have to admit another one would be outside my price range as well. But that blade and handle sure work well for me. It's easy to choke up on the blade when necessary. It's in a Randall leather pouch type sheath.

Another is an older skinner by Bob Dozier. You can see a list of his hunting knives at http://www.dozierknives.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85&Itemid=54 . I don't see the exact pattern I have on the list any more, it has more of an upswept point and more 'belly' to the blade than current skinners. Bob's blades tend to be relatively short, yet are very functional for working inside close confines. But they are handmade by a well known maker and are an awful lot of knife for the money - and they are in your price range. I doubt you'll get anything but micarta for handles at that price though, but I have no problem with it, and Dozier's handles are well designed and comfortable to use without turning up 'hot spots' (blisters) on your hands. Dozier uses Kydex for his sheaths.

Hope you find something you like!

ArfinGreebly
April 24, 2012, 01:29 AM
There is certainly a lot of material out there from which to choose.

I will cite some examples here from different manufacturers whose quality I have come to trust. This is not an exhaustive treatment, and there are several other options available.

Over at Ragnar's Forge (www.ragweedforge.com) there are several good candidates. I will mention a couple here. By all means take a moment to browse his selections.

This old fashioned design was carried by G.W. Sears ("Nessmuk (http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search.html/?default_prefix=author_id&sort_order=downloads&query=26594)"), and is available in several modern renditions. The one pictured here, by Condor, is $30 (currently out of stock).
http://www.ragweedforge.com/condor-nessmuk.jpg


Also found over there in the Finnish (Ahti) catalog is this skinning knife (for $69), the Kaira:
http://www.ragweedforge.com/9612.jpg


And then there's Buck Knives. Buck knives are iconic in the hunting world. Here are a few of their designs.

This one is new, and it's on my to-buy list -- the 113 Ranger Skinner:
http://images.knifecenter.com/knifecenter/buck/images/BU0113BRSa.jpg
I recently got a chance to handle one, and the balance is very nice indeed. In addition to being a pretty knife, it's quite well made. At $80-$90 it's an excellent value.

Another truly fine Buck design is the Gen5 Skinner:
http://images.nitrosell.com/product_images/7/1748/large-bu5rws.jpg
Not currently in production, you would have to find someone who has one still in stock. It's an outstanding pattern and shares some of the design traits of the 113 Ranger above.


The Buck 103 Skinner is a solid classic. It is more often found with the original phenolic handle, but I've also seen them with wood handles:
(Seen here, the Boone and Crockett 103 Skinner (http://www.knifeworks.com/buckbooneandcrockettskinnerwwoodendisplaybox.aspx))
http://outdoorgearessentials.com/images/isimages/JB103RWSBCLEB.jpg


The Buck Vanguard is another very serviceable hunter/skinner:
http://www.top-gear.co.nz/site/topgear/images/large/600x400/Buck%20Vanguard%20-%20Woodgrain%20Handle%20Model%20192BRS-B.JPG


And, finally, there's the Buck Ergohunter. Most of the ones I have seen have a composite handle with wood inlay. There are, however, models with rosewood handles: (This one is at LLBean.com)
http://cdni.llbean.com/is/image/wim/260415_0_41?wid=428&hei=494



One last look to Scandinavia. This Mora Game Knife (http://www.smkw.com/webapp/eCommerce/products/mora/FrostŪ+Mora+Game+Knife/FS3255.html) is done in laminated Sandvik stainless, and it's an excellent skinner design. The one I have is older and has a skinnier blade -- a hunter/skinner pattern -- but this one is a fine example of the type.
163324


Hope this is of some use.

Bobson
April 24, 2012, 02:15 AM
Another truly fine Buck design is the Gen5 Skinner:
http://images.nitrosell.com/product_images/7/1748/large-bu5rws.jpg
Not currently in production, you would have to find someone who has one still in stock. It's an outstanding pattern and shares some of the design traits of the 113 Ranger.
I knew that looked familiar. I saw one in Cabela's about a week ago. Theyre still available at Cabela's website too, on sale for $65, from $110. ( http://www.cabelas.com/product/Hunting/Knives-Tools/Fixed-Blade-Knives|/pc/104791680/c/104740380/sc/104330880/Buck-Knives-Gen-5-Skinner-Knives/1262213.uts?destination=%2Fcatalog%2Fbrowse%2Fhunting-knives-tools-fixed-blade-knives%2Fbuck%2F_%2FN-1100158%2B1000002909%2FNe-1000002909%2FNs-CATEGORY_SEQ_104330880%3FWTz_l%3DSBC%253Bcat104791680%253Bcat104740380%26WTz_st%3DGuidedNav%26WTz_stype%3DGNU&WTz_l=SBC%3Bcat104791680%3Bcat104740380%3Bcat104330880 )

Heck of a deal if they're as good as you say. The one I handled sure felt great. I almost bought one myself, but now I'm thinking I ought to.

Hornet190
April 24, 2012, 03:03 AM
Thank you for the great response, and the even greater pics!!! It seems as if I'm FINALLY getting somewhere, BIG sigh of relief :)!!! Ok, let's try narrow it down a little bit more. I've done some reading on various knives and its producers but noticed that there is a host of steel types available out there. Sure, if i am to assume correctly, each steel has its pro's and cons, some are good, some are less impressive, but the application for which I intend using my knife, with which grade/type steel would you guys suggest I go with?

Once again thank you for all your help!

redneck2
April 24, 2012, 07:18 AM
I'm thinking I may have to stop by the local Cabelas. That's looking pretty good for the $60 range.

Kingcreek
April 24, 2012, 10:38 AM
You might want to connect with Tinus Beukus there in South Africa. He makes an amazing variety and quantity of handmade knives at very reasonable prices.
Plenty of options out there from the production market also but as stated, folks have very different and personel preferences in working knives. My favorite skinner is a Mad Poet custom skinner by the late Mel Sorg and a Bob Dozier custom folding hunting knife.
Welcome to the forum.

MutinousDoug
April 24, 2012, 01:14 PM
The following is a link to a short primer on knife steels:

http://sharpeningmadeeasy.com/steels.htm

I think this is a hot link but if not, you'll have to copy and paste into your address line.

HTH,

Doug

hso
April 24, 2012, 02:44 PM
Hornet190,

You're going to have to tell us what you're going to be skinning.

North American rabbit is different from antelope is different from boar or bear in what is needed. How big is the game you'll skin? How thick the skin? How coarse the hair? Muddy or not?

Hornet190
April 24, 2012, 03:13 PM
I am very fortunate in that I hunt fairly regularly, especially now that I converted to a bow. I will hunt pretty much whatever presents itself at the time, starting from let's say from the common Duiker 35"/175 pounds to Eland which comes in at 8'/1500 pounds, but predominately we will hunt animals the same sort of size as your whitetail buck you have over there.
I know there is probably no "all rounder" out there, but if I could find something that will cover most of the basics, that will do me just fine! (obtaining a second knife, for the smaller game is not a problem, that will just give me a good excuse to start my very own great knife collection) ;)

Hornet190
April 24, 2012, 03:15 PM
Hornet190,

You're going to have to tell us what you're going to be skinning.

North American rabbit is different from antelope is different from boar or bear in what is needed. How big is the game you'll skin? How thick the skin? How coarse the hair? Muddy or not?

Sorry skin thickness my vary fron 1/4" to 1" On a giraffe (not that I'll be hunting one of those every day. Avarage skin thickness will probably be around 1/4" sort of size. No real mud on any of the animals, so that should not really play a part.

SlamFire1
April 24, 2012, 03:26 PM
Thank you for the great response, and the even greater pics!!! It seems as if I'm FINALLY getting somewhere, BIG sigh of relief !!! Ok, let's try narrow it down a little bit more. I've done some reading on various knives and its producers but noticed that there is a host of steel types available out there. Sure, if i am to assume correctly, each steel has its pro's and cons, some are good, some are less impressive, but the application for which I intend using my knife, with which grade/type steel would you guys suggest I go with?

I have many knives, some with steels so hard that I can only sharpen them on a diamond hone.

I think overly hard steels are a poor choice for a field knife. If all you have with you are three inch stones, or files, getting a decent edge on some of these advanced steels is just about impossible.

I am a fan of 1095, but you have to accept the fact that high carbon steel is going to tarnish. And if you don't keep it clean and dry, it will rust pit. But 1095 is easy to sharpen, takes a fantastic edge, and holds it.

After a rifle match, several buds and myself retired to a local Diner for lunch and passed around our pocket knives.

One bud, he has carried this knife since the 60's, it is a Case Canoe pattern. He said he had just field dressed a deer with it, later, when I finally got the picture, he had cleaned something else with it, but had not cleaned the knife!

I am certain it is 1095 steel, maybe not pretty, but still usable after thirty years.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/knives/DSCF3412Mikes60scaseknife.jpg

ArfinGreebly
April 24, 2012, 03:59 PM
I have many knives, some with steels so hard that I can only sharpen them on a diamond hone.

I think overly hard steels are a poor choice for a field knife. If all you have with you are three inch stones, or files, getting a decent edge on some of these advanced steels is just about impossible.

I am a fan of 1095, but you have to accept the fact that high carbon steel is going to tarnish. And if you don't keep it clean and dry, it will rust pit. But 1095 is easy to sharpen, takes a fantastic edge, and holds it.

After a rifle match, several buds and myself retired to a local Diner for lunch and passed around our pocket knives.

One bud, he has carried this knife since the 60's, it is a Case Canoe pattern. He said he had just field dressed a deer with it, later, when I finally got the picture, he had cleaned something else with it, but had not cleaned the knife!

I am certain it is 1095 steel, maybe not pretty, but still usable after thirty years.

163338

Case was famous for using CV (Chrome-Vanadium) steel in everything they did for years. They still use it in several patterns, but they've more modernly favored their "Tru-Sharp" stainless, the composition of which I don't know.

Their CV steel is an excellent steel for a working knife and, in my own experience, so is their Tru-Sharp stainless. The CV gets sharper and holds an edge better, but they're both easy to field sharpen.

gixxergreg
April 24, 2012, 04:56 PM
Arno Bernard is in Bethlehem South Africa.... Not sure how prices are there, but pretty expensive here. Very nice knifes. I would be interested to know price differences if you do check them out.

http://www.arnobernard.com/servlet/StoreFront

Oh yeah, check out the grazers on their page for skinning

alaskanativeson
April 24, 2012, 08:52 PM
I'll second what rcmodel said about Knives of Alaska. Having lived there for 11 years of my life, I can say I found their knives to be well made and capable of filling every role I needed them to.

The Magnum Alaskan Guthoook (http://www.knivesofalaska.com/item.asp?id=58&r=store%2Easp%3Fc%3D16) fills all your roles except for a natural handle. The rubber grip is really quite useful, and the D2 blades I've used from them all held a fantastic edge and were still relatively easy to sharpen. (Be sure to scroll down past the Blaze Racer Green ad to see the knife.)

The Light Hunter (http://www.knivesofalaska.com/item.asp?id=51&r=store%2Easp%3Fc%3D23) does come in stag with a leather sheath, and it can be had HERE (http://www.ebay.com/itm/KNIVES-ALASKA-00011FG-LIGHT-HUNTER-STAG-LEATHER-SHEATH-USA-NIB-/220907940218?pt=Collectible_Knives&hash=item336f23a97a) for a little over $150. Look around the Knives of Alaska site, there are a lot of really good things there.

I'd also agre with the Old Timer Sharp Finger as a great knife, but there's no way I'd buy one new. Check eBay and you can find the old ones which were made with good carbon steel.

Another choice I'd heartily recommend is one of the smaller knives from Esee Knives such as their RC-4 (http://www.eseeknives.com/rc-4.htm) or the RC-3 (http://www.eseeknives.com/rc-3.htm). Good, solid, simple knives from plain old 1095 which has been expertly heat treated to do what knives should: Cut, cut more, be easy to sharpen, and be tough as hell.

Skyshot
April 24, 2012, 09:34 PM
check this link out http://www.smkw.com/webapp/eCommerce/brands/Smoky+Mountain+Knife+Works%26reg%3B/101.html

SleazyRider
April 24, 2012, 09:50 PM
I'm pretty sure this is the same 113 Buck Ranger Skinner that Arfin mentioned, but offered at 54 bucks shipped:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004NJ2ETY/ref=ox_sc_act_title_7?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

That Amazon 1-click shopping will be my ruination, I tell you. Who could resist?

ArfinGreebly
April 25, 2012, 01:24 AM
Arno Bernard is in Bethlehem South Africa.... Not sure how prices are there, but pretty expensive here. Very nice knifes. I would be interested to know price differences if you do check them out.

http://www.arnobernard.com/servlet/StoreFront

Oh yeah, check out the grazers on their page for skinning

A number of his pieces are running on eBay even now. Here is one of them (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Arno-Bernard-Jr-Ebony-Skinner-Fanastic-Custom-from-South-Africa-/221005916286?pt=Collectible_Knives&hash=item3374faa87e).

Looks like this:
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=163383&d=1335331491


Interestingly, it shares a certain stylistic similarity with the Buck 113 Ranger and the Buck Gen5 above.

Fred Fuller
April 25, 2012, 09:03 AM
And with the Randall Model 25...

http://www.agrussell.com/images/Biggest/RA-M25.jpg

Image from http://www.agrussell.com/randall-model-25-trapper/p/RA-M25/

SleazyRider
April 25, 2012, 09:14 AM
Fred ... that Randall Model 25 is s-s-s-seven hundred twenty five dollars! :eek:

SlamFire1
April 25, 2012, 09:27 AM
Randall Model 25 is s-s-s-seven hundred twenty five dollars

It takes years to get a knife out of Randall, you pay more to get one now.

Kingcreek
April 25, 2012, 10:23 AM
yikes. after recommending Tinus Beukus I looked up some of his current pricing and was surprised. I bought 2 from him several years ago. One for $55 and one for $85 and now they are all over $200. (still nice knives though)
Many good quality knives available in the OP's range of $100-200.
Check out Bark River knives.

Hornet190
April 25, 2012, 01:53 PM
A number of his pieces are running on eBay even now. Here is one of them (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Arno-Bernard-Jr-Ebony-Skinner-Fanastic-Custom-from-South-Africa-/221005916286?pt=Collectible_Knives&hash=item3374faa87e).

Looks like this:
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=163383&d=1335331491


Interestingly, it shares a certain stylistic similarity with the Buck 113 Ranger and the Buck Gen5 above.




Not to sure what happened to my previous post, but the113 is a very nice knife!!!!! I had a look at various knives and this styl of blade I really fancy. I like the slightly broader blade as apossed to the "skinny" blades. Sorry about the pic size. This is a Arno Bernard Raven blade

http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww39/hornet190/photo3.jpg

Hornet190
April 25, 2012, 01:55 PM
Lol, yeah, they are a bit pricy, but as you said, he delivers very nice knives though. Quick question though, someone made mention that a mate of his makes knives as well, but out of either 12c27 or N690 s/steel. Would these steels be any good for my application?

Hornet190
April 25, 2012, 02:24 PM
http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww39/hornet190/6b2e0200.jpg Found a better pic!

Fred Fuller
April 25, 2012, 02:45 PM
Fred ... that Randall Model 25 is s-s-s-seven hundred twenty five dollars!
__

Unfortunately, yes. I said when I first mentioned it earlier in the thread that it was probably outside his stated price range. Back when I got the one I have, it was $235 IIRC, across the counter at a local stocking Randall dealer (Cumberland Knife and Gun, for anyone else who ever haunted Bragg Boulevard in Fayetteville, NC). But that was several years ago, and Cumberland Cut and Shoot (as it used to be known) closed its doors some time ago.

Sure does its job well, though... But any good blade with the same basic size/shape and angle to the handle would perform pretty much the same, I'd say. The reason I posted it was to show the blade shape/size/style.

Probably should move the 25 into the gun safe, though...

R H Clark
April 25, 2012, 02:48 PM
Bob Dozier!! You can get one from AG Russel but I would order a Yukon Pro Skinner with jiged bone handles.The handle upgrade looks very traditional at a low cost.I would also recommend the Wilderness sheath upgrade.

hso
April 25, 2012, 03:05 PM
Folks,

No fair suggesting knives above his $200 upper bound. Let's try to help him out instead of making him drown in drool for what he can't afford.

Hornet190
April 26, 2012, 02:21 AM
instead of making him drown in drool for what he can't afford.

Lol, not to worry hso, I appreciate all the input, all though some suggestions might be filed under the "love to have" category :)

The issue is not as much the price tag, on some of these absolutely fantastic creations, but more the practicality side of things. You see, I need a working tool, which I can USE whenever I am in the bush. Something I can use without feeling to "sorry" every time it gets a nick or scratch on it. To drag a blade of let's say $750, regular basis through the African bush, would do a knife of such caliber a total injustice, well in my newb opinion that is.

A practical full tang knife, with a good quality edge holding steel blade, with a blade which is not to bad in design as well as on the eye and finally, at a price which is relative to the knife I am getting, is what I am after. So I suppose what I am attempting to achieve with this exercise, is to strike a balance between practicality, quality, design and finally a relative price. I just hope such a balance indeed does excist :confused:

hso
April 26, 2012, 07:07 AM
Hornet,

Part of the problem is finding horn/antler materials in standard production knives while staying in your price range and giving you the performance I'd expect you to need. There are a lot of custom makers out there that can do this, but their prices tend to start above $200 (see the Group Buy for Gary Wheeler's knives). In the $400-$500 range on production knives you'll find the Diamond Blade (http://www.diamondbladeknives.com/) knives from the owners of Knives of Alaska. A relatively new technology is used to "forge" the edges that results in remarkable toughness and durability in the edge.

We have a few knife makers as members here who can make a blade to your specifications and produce an elegant knife that will be unique for you. Heck, we even have a SA member who started out with no experience and through passion and persistence was hammering out pretty nice looking pieces in short order. You may want to have one of your mates here make one for you. :cool: See Wheeler, Breed, Acawi, Fowler, and Sam's work and develop a relationship with them to see if they have something you like.

ApacheCoTodd
April 26, 2012, 03:26 PM
My outfit... The old Old Timer Schrade Little Finger #152 (on top) may be replaced by the guthook #158OT model but I'm not sure yet as I really like the swing up tip of the LF. Though they don't show in my photo - the Schrades have very pretty bone handles and the Gutmann is a fine walnut.

The Guttman "Canadian Tapper" has worked well by itself but having the Schrade along is no more than carrying a pocket knife.

The Schrade Honesteel has been priceless and I buy them whenever I can find them un-abused and reasonably priced.

The Canadian Trappers can still be bought new and of high quality from Grohmann in Canada. These things have very stout blades with a great heavy spines should you need to get to hacking. be sure to look through the whole site for options and close-out specials. I will be getting their military sheath on the next one I buy.

wleggart
April 26, 2012, 03:37 PM
go to: www.agrussell.com and search for: DK-YSBRH or DK-YSBRL That is all the knife you will ever need for the rest of your skinning duties. I like butchers steel to keep it razor sharp. Should not need to see any kind of stone for a LONG time.

R H Clark
April 26, 2012, 06:30 PM
Seriously,get a Dozier.The K16 Yukon Pro Skinner in D2 is $215 and an upgrade to Orange Brown Jigged Bone is $30 more.That is close to your budget.You will not find a better knife at a cheaper price.Dozier is famous for his D2.You can skin and quarter 4 deer before needing to sharpen,and then just a couple strokes on a DMT fine and it will pop hair.At least do some research on the Dozier.Buy one and you can thank me later.

Hornet190
April 27, 2012, 01:40 AM
My outfit... The old Old Timer Schrade Little Finger #152 (on top) may be replaced by the guthook #158OT model but I'm not sure yet as I really like the swing up tip of the LF. Though they don't show in my photo - the Schrades have very pretty bone handles and the Gutmann is a fine walnut.

The Guttman "Canadian Tapper" has worked well by itself but having the Schrade along is no more than carrying a pocket knife.

The Schrade Honesteel has been priceless and I buy them whenever I can find them un-abused and reasonably priced.

The Canadian Trappers can still be bought new and of high quality from Grohmann in Canada. These things have very stout blades with a great heavy spines should you need to get to hacking. be sure to look through the whole site for options and close-out specials. I will be getting their military sheath on the next one I buy.

DAMN, some of you guys have some nice toys!!!!!!:D:D

Here is a question: the are a whole host of steel tipes out there. I've been doing some reading about it, and it seems that the following types keep on popping up.
154CM
ATS 34
D2
440C
Then someone also made mention of
12C27
N690
Which one of these would be the best for a skinner, or does it not matter?

alaskanativeson
April 27, 2012, 03:10 AM
Oh, it matters, but to what degree differs with each person telling the story. They all have some appeal. Here's a nickel's worth from an admitted amateur.

Several of them belong in the newer "super" stainless steels designed and marketed to compete with plain carbon steel for edge holding and ease of sharpening. 154CM, ATS34, N690 are some of the popular ones. Another you may run into is VG-10. All are very good steels for knives under the right conditions (see below.)

12C27 is a Sandvik Swedish steel that is used in Mora knives as well as many others. It is a very good all around steel.

440C started really gaining mass popularity in the 1970's as a stainless steel for knives that didn't stain like older knives made from carbon steel yet still held a good edge. Its popularity was its downfall. While it can be a good knife steel, it can also suck cow pies through a straw if not heat treated properly. Many companies found that if they marketed their knives as having 440C that they'd sell like crazy, so they started getting 440C from people who couldn't make it as a fry cook, let alone a metal worker. As a result, 440C lost much of its successful start. Still, it can be good if done right.

D2 is a tool steel that is considered semi-stainless because it has just under the amount of chromium needed to be considered stainless. While it CAN rust, it won't rust as fast as something like 1095. It is a very tough steel that holds an edge well but doesn't take an act of congress to get sharpened. D2 is a favorite of many higher-end manufacturers and custom makers. Like the super stainlesses listed above, it can be excellent.

Why the waffling? Because they type of steel in only one part of it. Proper heat treatment can turn a plain piece of 1095 into something just short of a light saber, while improper treatment can take a wonderful piece of CPM-S30V and make it as useless as a rock for a blade. Some custom makers do their own heat treating, some use a specialist like Paul Bos. If you're not going with a custom, it's important that you choose a maker who has a good reputation for making quality knives with quality materials.

Of the types of steels, you'll run into stainless, semi-stainless, and carbon. The last is kind of a misnomer, because most all knife steels have carbon in them, but stainless has a higher amount of chromium to make them resist rust, although this also detracts from its other properties as a knife steel. Carbon steels may have little to no chromium which makes them tougher, but makes them more susceptible to rust. Semi-stainless is in between. For a better lesson, I'd highly recommend you read THIS ARTICLE (http://www.knifeart.com/steelfaqbyjo.html) by Joe Talmage about knife steels. If you have further questions about the content of materials used in steels, A.G. Russell has THIS GUIDE (http://www.agrussell.com/Steel_Guide/a/73/) to show you what steels have in them.

After growing out of my "must have stainless" phase, I learned that a good carbon steel blade will generally hold up better, be easier to resharpen, and it takes little work to keep them in good condition. Most of the knives I carry these days have carbon blades, or something like D2 or INFI. It's worth it to me to oil my knife edge occasionally to have a better knife. To each their own.

Like I said above, choose a company with a good reputation. The one I recommended earlier, Knives of Alaska, is great. Several people have suggested Bob Dozier. I can say without hesitation I'd be perfectly happy to carry nothing but a Dozier and feel well supplied with it if my Busse supply ran out (you'll get my INFI when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.)

Hope this helps. If you think this response is too long, you should sit in on one of my classes when I get talking about the Revolutionary War, or worse, the Constitutional Convention. Yes, I'm a teacher. A passionate one.

The Highlander
April 27, 2012, 09:53 AM
Old Timer Sharpfinger. Get an older one, before they were made in China.

The only drawback there for your requirements is the handle is plastic, if I remember correctly.The delrin handles kinda look like horn, and the U.S. made ones are still pretty cheap on ebay. This is one of the best sub-$50 skinners I've handled. More recently I've picked up a chinese version and an old hickory skinner for $14 total. Both are great beaters, and the old hickory takes a ridiculous edge. (It looks really bootleg though)

hso
April 27, 2012, 10:17 AM
Steel isn't the only critical part of the equation. Heat treat on a given steel is the other critical factor. A 440C heat treated for your application will perform better than a 440C heat treated for a different application. Same for ATS34 or others. Too soft and it won't hold and edge, but be easy to sharpen.

Pick the most reputable company/maker possible that makes a knife for YOUR purpose and you'll be fine.

Hornet190
April 27, 2012, 03:08 PM
Hope this helps. If you think this response is too long, you should sit in on one of my classes when I get talking about the Revolutionary War, or worse, the Constitutional Convention. Yes, I'm a teacher. A passionate one.

Lol, had a good chuckle just now. No no thank you, if it is ok with you, I'll take a rain check on the Revolutionary War/CC experience, never been my forte. :D :D, but the info as mentioned, now THAT on the other hand, is very much appreciated!!! :p It took practically the entire day today (public holiday this side;)), but I think I have finally set up my "short list". And the candidates are:

Arno Bernad - Raven
http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww39/hornet190/c57f2b31.jpg

Grohmann Knives Micarta Short Blade Skinner Carbon Steel
http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww39/hornet190/d96ebb31.jpg

Arno Bernad - Wild Dog
http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww39/hornet190/4ebb4be6.jpg

Dan Crotts - Model 1 Hunter w/Black Micarta D2
http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww39/hornet190/4683b8bf.jpg

Bob Dozier - K-2 General Purpose Hunting Knife
http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww39/hornet190/8759f47b.jpg

Bob Dozier - K-11 Columbia River Skinner
http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww39/hornet190/a5ae7a00.jpg

Bob Dozier - K-19 Professional Skinner
http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww39/hornet190/2da4f4bb.jpg

Any final suggestions?

ApacheCoTodd
April 27, 2012, 07:52 PM
If you go with the Grohmann (which I like best out of the above options in your post #43) be sure to note that they show two slightly different grinds for the same knife as shown in the Rosewood photo and your Water Buffalo photo.

The features I like best in these knives rather than the others are the handle shape for one handed versatility and the edge shape allowing a longer rolling cut before arriving at the tip and reinitiating.

I'd also look hard at the "Army" sheath as the standard has a relatively narrow connection at the bottom of the belt loop and should be reinforced if you intend to carry it a lot.

Another feature I don't like doing without is a lanyard hole. I just knot one end of a length of parachute cord and slip it through to hold the other end in my teeth to not set the knife down when I need both hands.

R H Clark
April 27, 2012, 08:48 PM
I like a hunting knife narrow enough at the tip to cut all around the **** and the inside of the anal cavity,so that I can easily remove the **** with the intestine intact.That Grohmann looks a bit too wide at the tip for me.

The Krotts and Dozier K-11 and K-2 look good ,though the K-16 is my favorite.

whetrock
April 27, 2012, 09:07 PM
If your on a budget or want an entry level knife IMO it's hard to go wrong with the Buck 103 or 113 Ranger Skinner for a designated hunting knife while their 420hc doesn't hold a candle to more modern "super steels" in terms of edge retention it is however a very forgiving steel and can easily be sharpened in the field.

Chief RID
April 27, 2012, 09:40 PM
Buck Protege without the serrated section on the blade. I know you didn't want a folder or synthetic handle but price just about dictates it. if you want to go closer to the 200 bucks I would go with the Vanguard by Buck with the gut hook. they may offer it in stag or bone handle but it would be custom. Spend the 25 dollars American and get the Protege and don't look back. We have used them almost exclusively for the last 10 years without a hitch. That is probably close to 100 whitetail deer.

MutinousDoug
April 27, 2012, 10:32 PM
I'm sure any of the knives on your short list will serve you well. As you can see from my post above, I prefer a drop point with no guard so I am attracted to the Arno Bernard designs.

I don't care for a trailing point for a skinner as I tend to poke holes in the hide when using them for skinning. They are great for fine work like caping around the ears, nose and eyes with a narrow blade like the "Sharp finger". I would use my Gerber "Pixie" or the PAL 24 for those tasks but as you can see there are many opinions regarding a proper knife and I am strictly an amateur who slaughters and skins at most, 1-2 animals a year.

As far as clearing the ****, I cut around the opening with a relatively blunt blade (by blunt I mean sharp but not pointed), pull the colon out about 3-4 inches, tie it off with a piece of string and pull all the guts out through the body cut. I pretty much use my fingers to separate the colon from the pelvis and avoid poking a knife in there if possible.

Biggest problem I have is finding and separating the urethra from the carcass without spilling pee in the body cavity while keeping "evidence of sex" attached to the body as prescribed by local law.

riomedinamike
April 27, 2012, 11:42 PM
I am a big fan of a semi skinner design, and i had Corbert Sigman 20 + years ago make one for me with a five inch blade. I believe he has passed away, and no, my knife is not for sale and will pass to my son. A close example is a Cold Steel Pendleton hunter, which aren't very expensive. Having bought very expensive knives in the past from many custom makers, I now would rather have 10 cold steel knives rather than one expensive custom knife. I've lost a couple of Expensive knives while in the field, and i'd much rather displace a good but inexpensive knife than endure the agony of trying to find a high dollar knife in the brush. Just my opinion.

Barny
April 28, 2012, 12:34 AM
If you want to take time to learn how to sharpen convex knives, which isnt too difficult, I suggest something from Bark River. They offer the nice traditional lines you are interested in.

alaskanativeson
April 28, 2012, 09:41 AM
Looks like you've got some good choices. I don't know if this would be possible, but if you have any of the models available locally, it might be nice to actually handle them to see how they feel to you. Be sure to let us know what you decide.

sm
May 4, 2012, 11:46 PM
Granted I have not skinned anything in a bit, still I have and are proven:

-DL Knives Small Skinner
-Gary Wheeler "3 finger knife"
-Case Slimline Trapper (yellow handle, CV blade)
-Case Sodbuster Jr (yellow handle, CV blade)
-Case Peanut (yellow handle, CV blade)
-Case 32087 (yellow handle, CV blade)
-Mora Classic No. 1

T.R.
May 13, 2012, 09:26 AM
I've had good luck with this import by Frost Cutlery. Good steel and excellent grind! The sheath that came with it was very cheezy so I paid a local saddle shop to make me a nice sheath.

TR

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c146/rushmoreman/KNIFE1.jpg

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c146/rushmoreman/KNIFE2.jpg

gixxergreg
May 14, 2012, 12:56 AM
Have you bought a knife yet? I'm interested to know the prices for Arno Bernard knives if bought right there in South Africa.

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