Skinning knives, gift

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ZMW
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Skinning knives, gift

Postby ZMW » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:36 pm

With the Phil Wilson knives gone, what is the best skinning knife I can get for a friends 50th Birthday? He is a big hunter. Fixed preferred, but a great folding options works too. Looking for a great steel, not necessarily maxamet but something that will process some serious deer. Budget $150-$300

Southfork would have been perfect, but its long gone. Anything else?

Doeswhateveraspidercan
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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby Doeswhateveraspidercan » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:43 pm

Spyderco Parata, and the Spyderco Stretch as folders go should work great.

I own the Benchmade Nestucca Steel is S30V it is a fixed blade and works well if he is hunting larger game like deer, loaned it to a buddy of mine and he said it worked great for skinning a hog.
:)

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Cambertree
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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby Cambertree » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:37 pm

I would think any serious hunter would appreciate the Stretch, even if they usually prefer fixed blades. It's a great all round hunting knife, works well as a skinner. I used to carry the HAP-40 version as a backup to my custom 4" bladed Loveless style drop point, until I realised I used the Stretch most of the time in preference to the fixed blade anyway. Now I often use it on hunts just by itself.

The Gayle Bradley is also an excellent hunting folder, albeit a bit heavier and bulkier than the Stretch. I use the GB1, but I'm sure the 2 would also be great as a hunting skinner.

As far as fixed blades go, the Bradley Junction is a nice lightweight knife that works well for skinning. The handle is a little thin, as it optimises lightness of carry and a slim profile, but I can vouch for it being a good hunting knife.

The Bradley Bowie, which is a production version of Gayle Bradley's Elk Skinner model, is also a decent larger hunting knife, although I guess we're heading into more generalist, camp knife territory with that blade too. Mine needed to be thinned out behind the edge to work at its best as a meat processing knife. Excellent handle on that model too.

I've also just acquired a Waterway fixed blade, and although its shape is not optimised for skinning deer and larger game, I intend to use mine for field dressing and processing Sambar deer meat, and it looks very well equipped for that purpose.

I missed out on the Phil Wilson Southfork and Sprig knives too, which is why I got the Junction and Bradley Bowie instead.

Those are the knives I actually use and can recommend for hunting. Given that I also test other knives while hunting, I'd say the above models are used to field dress between 5 and 10 Sambar deer a year - a deer which is a bit smaller than an Elk, but similarly heavy bodied.
Last edited by Cambertree on Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

ZMW
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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby ZMW » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:18 pm

Is the proficient blade shape great, good, or bad for processing game?

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Cambertree
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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby Cambertree » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:11 pm

I’m sure it can be used for that purpose just fine, but if we’re talking optimum blade shapes think about it this way.

The time tested professional pair of knives for the purpose are a skinner with upswept point, and a thin bladed boning knife for the meat processing.

So you’re looking for a combination of those qualities - the shape of the Stretch blade is a great example.

While you can adapt to using any knife to a specific task I suppose, in this case I’d favour some negative blade angle and a good amount of belly sweep in thin bladestock, over a thicker, pointy leaf shaped blade.

I do know that anyone would be stoked with the Proficient though! A hunter can always do with a more bushcrafty knife too.

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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby mb1 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:22 pm

The Bradley Junction is on closeout for a good deal now btw. Solid knife.

That Stretch Hap40 remains one of my favorite knives. It is really, really good. And well suited for this application.
- Mark

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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby Bloke » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:29 pm

I think Camber has covered all the bases so nothing to really add.

As mb1 said the Junction is selling for a song and is a great lightweight knife that would certainly fit the bill. :)
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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby ZMW » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:21 pm

I know steels pretty well, but for processing would you prefer zdp for edge retention of the toku for ease of sharpening? I assume zdp as chipping is over rated and edge retention is king in the field

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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby Bloke » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:41 pm

ZMW wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:21 pm
I know steels pretty well, but for processing would you prefer zdp for edge retention of the toku for ease of sharpening? I assume zdp as chipping is over rated and edge retention is king in the field
I don’t have any V-Toku2 but I’ve played with ZDP-189 for a while now and I’d have no hesitation in using it to dress game.

If you’re thinking a ZDP-189 Stretch as a dedicated skinner that won’t be swimming in blood I don’t think you could go wrong. :)
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Skywalker
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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby Skywalker » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:45 pm

The Sprig is still available from some dealers. National Knives still shows it in stock, for example. As long as they're comfortable sharpening S90V I would certainly recommend it.

For steels I like stainless in the field, because while I'm generally careful with my stuff sometimes **** happens and it's one less thing to worry about.

For chipping it kinda depends on how you do it... If you're not hitting a bunch of bones or prying joints apart with the knife to cut ligaments and you're good about cutting hide from the inside so you're not slicing a bunch of dirty hair there's nothing to worry about with chipping. If some of that might apply to you, yeah, maybe put down the ZDP and start looking for something a little more balanced (though I'd still want more wear resistance than v-toku for sure).

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Cambertree
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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby Cambertree » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:49 pm

I'd choose the ZDP189 every time, although I'm well familiar with sharpening it. Depending on what your buddy is used to sharpening, and the gear he has, it could be a learning curve.

I love the steel. After all this time it's still one of the best high carbide stainlesses Spyderco offer IMO.

The V-Toku 2 would probably amaze with its ability to take screaming sharp edges with minimal effort, but I tend to favour stainlesses, or tool steels for field dressing game and meat processing.

John Juranitch's book The Razor Edge Book of Sharpening details fairly extensive tests performed in in abattoirs and industrial meat packing plants, comparing identically ground knives in simple carbon steel to stainless. (I can't remember if the grades were specified, but if so I don't recall them.)

The stainless steel blades consistently kept a better edge in that setting, probably due to the corrosion resistance to blood and other fluids, and better abrasion resistance.

Sometimes pausing while field dressing, to take stock for a moment and hone your knife isn't as much of a problem as people might think. I know plenty of experienced hunters who just use skinning and boning knives in 420HC, 1.4116, 12C27 and the like, along with a worn diamond honing rod, to periodically refresh a toothy edge while they work.

Although I don't have a V-Toku 2 knife, it sounds like a steel which I'd be glad to try out field dressing one fine morning or afternoon, with ample time and the Doublestuff 2 at hand to do quick edge touchups. It would likely be no problem or inconvenience.

At other times, darkness might be coming on, and you might be facing a long carry out, and in those cases I want a steel with a long lasting edge, like ZDP189, HAP40 or PSF27 to get the job done quick without any pauses for touch up sharpening - so those are often my default choices.
Last edited by Cambertree on Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:15 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Bloke
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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby Bloke » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:55 pm

Cambertree wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:49 pm
I love the steel. After all this time it's still one of the best high carbide stainlesses Spyderco offer IMO.
:)
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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby Doc Dan » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:41 pm

As a hunter, I’d say fir fixed a Bill Moran or a Phil Wilson Spyderco. For a folder a Stretch.
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Wartstein
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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby Wartstein » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:52 pm

Not a hunter at all, but a big Stretch 1 fan.

So just a suggestion: I you decide for a Stretch (and it has been recommended by actual hunters here), you could "upgrade" it with some pretty, but also practical Micarta scales. Would be a better anniversary gift then.

Cambertree, who posted above, once sent me a pic of his Stretch with Suingab Micarta scales - looks great, and obviously still is a real user.

The Stretch one (even better than the Stretch two imho, unless your friend has really huge hands) in HAP 40 (!) is still to be found for 120 USD.
So if you added custom scales, you'd be still within your budget limits.

Maybe your friend even has a favorite color, and you could order scales in that.
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

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Cambertree
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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby Cambertree » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:18 am

Thanks Wartstein, that’s a great idea. Here’s an older pic of that HAP40 Stretch in a watercress filled mountain stream:

Image

I also second the suggestion of the Moran as a fixed blade. I’ve gifted one to a mate who processes a lot of deer, so I’ll be interested to hear back on how it goes.

It felt like a superbly balanced design when I handled it, a real example of everything you need and nothing you don’t.

I should mention that the G10 Stretch 2 in ZDP-189 is still available at some places, and would be a very nice knife for any hunter to receive. Even if they prefer fixed blades, a folder is useful as a back up, or loaner to other hunters who might be helping, whose knives are dull or not up to doing proper processing when they are called upon - surprisingly common, in my experience.

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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby silvrjeepr » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:14 pm

For deer sized game, I prefer the mule team shape above just about every other knife out there. My go to is the 20cv only because my lc200n is now at the bottom of a river in Missouri (loaned it to my boy for a canoe trip) l. I’ve ordered the last three in stock models just to give them a go also.

Hey Sal, if you have an extra mule team in lc200n lying around, i’d Love to buy it from ya!

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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby ZMW » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:26 pm

Went with a stretch in ZDP. Thank you for all the input and real life experience! Much appreciated

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Cambertree
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Re: Skinning knives, gift

Postby Cambertree » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:56 am

ZMW wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:26 pm
Went with a stretch in ZDP. Thank you for all the input and real life experience! Much appreciated
Nice choice. British Racing Green FRN or the brown G10 version?


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