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Looking for a decent skinning knife

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Hornet190, Apr 23, 2012.

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  1. Hornet190

    Hornet190 Member

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    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!
     
  2. tdstout

    tdstout Member

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    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.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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/browsepro...g-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
     
  4. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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  5. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    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
    [​IMG]

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

    Slamfire Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  7. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    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!
     
  8. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    Options

    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"), and is available in several modern renditions. The one pictured here, by Condor, is $30 (currently out of stock).
    [​IMG]


    Also found over there in the Finnish (Ahti) catalog is this skinning knife (for $69), the Kaira:
    [​IMG]


    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:
    [​IMG]
    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:
    [​IMG]
    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)
    [​IMG]


    The Buck Vanguard is another very serviceable hunter/skinner:
    [​IMG]


    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)
    [​IMG]



    One last look to Scandinavia. This Mora Game Knife 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.
    FS3255.jpg


    Hope this is of some use.

     
  9. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    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/Hunt..._l=SBC;cat104791680;cat104740380;cat104330880 )

    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.
     
  10. Hornet190

    Hornet190 Member

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    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!
     
  11. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    I'm thinking I may have to stop by the local Cabelas. That's looking pretty good for the $60 range.
     
  12. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    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.
     
  13. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    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
     
  14. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    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?
     
  15. Hornet190

    Hornet190 Member

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    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) ;)
     
  16. Hornet190

    Hornet190 Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  17. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    Case XX Steel

    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.

     
  19. gixxergreg

    gixxergreg Member

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    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
     
  20. alaskanativeson

    alaskanativeson Member

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    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 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 does come in stag with a leather sheath, and it can be had HERE 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 or the RC-3. 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.
     
  21. Skyshot

    Skyshot Member

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  22. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Member

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  23. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    Arno Bernard

    A number of his pieces are running on eBay even now. Here is one of them.

    Looks like this:
    [​IMG]


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

     

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  24. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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  25. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Member

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    Fred ... that Randall Model 25 is s-s-s-seven hundred twenty five dollars! :eek:
     
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