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Thread: Best Skinning Knives & In the Field Sharpeners

  1. #1

    Default Best Skinning Knives & In the Field Sharpeners

    What is the best skinning knife you've used in the field?

    What is the best in the field knife sharpener you've used?


    I am looking for opinions from guys out there that do at least a couple to several animals a year in the backcountry. I am also looking for opinions on the best cutlery to turn lips, eyes, nose and such.
    Marc Theiler

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    havalon interchangeable scalpel...DANG is all i can say.(big blades for skinning, little blades for flesh work and big blades for wicked easy boning....)
    kershaw ECHO is an awesome knife once you get your own bevel on it, holds and edge like nothing! love mine.
    DMT little folder dimaond sharpeners have been the best sharpener i've carried, super light, cheap, fold up and last forever.
    But i use a straight up blade scalpel for all my lip eyes and little work.
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  3. #3

    Default Havalon

    I think I am going to go with Havalon. Their setup looks to be perfect for guiding and skinning a lot of animals in the field. 100 blades for $28.0. Great idea.

    Now, just need to figure out the perfect field sharpener. I've used my fair share, some alright, some sucked. I need a good reliable sharpener to withstand 100 days in the field.
    Marc Theiler

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    don't need a sharpener with the extra blades, i'll go thru a couple on each animal...why try to sharpen that stuff, you just disapoint yourself, cheaper to just buy more blades...and way more fun on the skinning end of things. i've used my havalon for everything from start to finish on deer/sheep and brown bears..works fine....
    100 days in the field equates to using a sharpener like a half dozen times...lol i've got the DMT folders and love them...but at home i use the gatco sharpening system and you'll be hard pressed to need to resharpen..i think i can do about 4-5 big game animals with my kershaw echo before i have to touch it up...
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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    When I dressed out and quartered my moose this year I used a 3 inch bladed Boker. The blade material is ATS-34 and I only had to resharpen about 3 or 4 times. I have two diamond sticks that set up at the angle that I choose. Whether I'm sharpening a fillet knife or a regular knife I choose the angle. The ATS-34 will "glaze over" the ceramic sticks, so that is why i had to use diamond sticks. Keep in mind.......it took about 10 seconds or less to turn the blade from sharp......to razor sharp. Every man should know how to sharpen his tools. I really don't see the need for a bunch of replacement blades? I just don't understand. And for the big bowie knives and gaudy gut hooks......I don't understand either. A 2.5-3.5 inch knife blade feels like an extension of your pointer finger......where you point it is where it should glide through meat and hide with minimal effort.

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    Member TWB's Avatar
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    FYI Barneys carries the Havalon knives.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I carry a havalon knife and a cutco w/ the double D blade. I don'g sharpen knives any more. The DD goes back to the factory every year depending on number of animals since it was last sharpened. The havel knife gets a blade change and it is good to go. The havalon knives are hard to beat for the weight consious. I do carry a small locking kershaw ken onion assisted opening knife as well in the mountains for a utility use though. The combined weight is still much less than a single funting knife and sheath.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    if you have to reshapren 3-4 times per moose, you need to either changes steel or change the bevel on your knife, i don't think i've resharpened a knife on an animal in the last 10 years, since i got my gatco sharpening system, same bevel, every every every time, edge last so much longer and i use hard steel on my knives so they'll stay sharp.
    the little havalon are sooooo light and nice, lujon has the set up figured out.
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    Member Alasken's Avatar
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    Default Havalon fan

    I tried the Havalon set up a couple years ago after looking at them for a long time. I'm old school, so if I have something that has worked for me for several years I stick with it. I have a custom made small skinner that I can do a whole moose with. I mean skinning, cutting meat up, and including skinning the head without sharpening. Great knife.

    After using the Havalon on a couple bears and deer I'm sold. Friggin' great invention. I also have the Gatco sharpener. It's idiot proof, right Jake?
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  10. #10

    Default Havalon

    Yeah, I am heading to Anchorage tomorrow and will stop by Barney's and check them out.
    Marc Theiler

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    if you have to reshapren 3-4 times per moose, you need to either changes steel or change the bevel on your knife, i don't think i've resharpened a knife on an animal in the last 10 years, since i got my gatco sharpening system, same bevel, every every every time, edge last so much longer and i use hard steel on my knives so they'll stay sharp.
    the little havalon are sooooo light and nice, lujon has the set up figured out.
    BRWNBR,
    Let me reword my last post a little bit........I "touch up" my blade a few times, much like you "touching up" your cutlery with a steel. I too have the gatco set up but don't care for it. I don't need the guide to keep the angle right. I did have a remington knife that was made of 440C, I'm not too enthused with the steel on that knife....it just wont hold an edge against a moose without constant resharpening. But....the ATS-34 steel is much more brittle than the 440C and AUS 8 steels out there. I guess that is the tradeoff for better edge retention.

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    havalon interchangeable scalpel...DANG is all i can say.(big blades for skinning, little blades for flesh work and big blades for wicked easy boning....)

    I need to check those out. Sounds like a great product. I have been using the victorinox knives for many years in both the standard blade as well as the serrated blade. The serrated blade will shake the bones out of two bears without an issue. They are cheap and very effective.


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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    ya i used to use the victornox ones as well, but the havalon blows them away, still have a couple sitting around camp for cooking chores and whatever you need a paring knife for...

    Ken ya its idiot proof all right! i got a new knife once that was sharpened by a proffesional, hold it up and one bevel was way longer than the other...knives like that dull fast, hit the gatco got the edge where i wanted it and i've never had to touch up a knife in the field since, sometimes i'll go several animals before i sharpen up my skinner now.
    but the havalon is super super nice to have, so light and sooo scary sharp...wounds take a while to heal from that knife!!
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  14. #14

    Default

    I agree with brwnbear, the Havalon Pirannah is a wonderfully useful knife to use for skinning and cleaning. There's one always in my pack.

    For those that are looking for a more traditional knife you might want to check out the Diamond Blade knives by Alaska's own Charles Allan. This knife uses a new manufacturing technique called Friction Forging that hardens and heat tempers the blade during the factory sharpening process. But it only makes the edge of the knife a high Rockwell figure, the Knife spine remains at a low Rockwell rating. End result is you end up with the best of both worlds: Very hard 1/4 near the cutting edge of the knife to hold the sharpening and a spine realtively soft to prevent the blade from breaking. I have the small Pinnacle 2 detail knife and really like it. Some day I may buy the matching skinner

    http://www.diamondbladeknives.com/
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    Member dwhunter's Avatar
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    Default Knife

    Here is my favorite, it is the Kershaw Echo designed by Ken Onion. This particular model I had Kershaw make special for me meaning the orange handle and the state flag engraving, I had 20 of them made. I have used this model knife for many years and basic touch ups are all I have ever had to do.

    Steel: AUS8A stainless-steel with full tang
    Handle: Polyimide
    Blade Length: 4 in. (10.2 cm)
    Overall Length: 8 5/8 in. (22 cm)
    Weight: 4.8 oz.



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    i too love the kershaw echo....did five deer in a row with mine once without any "touch ups"
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    Say Jake, have you figured a good way to carry unused scapel blades and especially how to carry out the old ones?

    Dave

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    lol nope, i usually will roll them back up in the foil they come it and drop them back in the bag with the other ones, other wise i'll bury the blade somewhere and let the rust work its magic. i stepped on a blade down in PWS here last year, looked down just as my foot hit it, it was flat so it didn't hurt but i thought..what are the odds....

    oopps the unused ones i wrap with electrical tape in a bundle and pull them out like a stick of gum, all my knife stuff i keep in a ziploc so its all together.
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    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Question Which one to get????

    Quote Originally Posted by theilercabin View Post
    I think I am going to go with Havalon. Their setup looks to be perfect for guiding and skinning a lot of animals in the field. 100 blades for $28.0. Great idea.

    Now, just need to figure out the perfect field sharpener. I've used my fair share, some alright, some sucked. I need a good reliable sharpener to withstand 100 days in the field.
    There are bunch of different knives available according to the few sites I looked at; which one should I look at? Do they all weigh the same? I really like the orange handled one. What does Barney's sell?

    Best deal I could find on the web was mid $30s for the knife and same for 100 blades. Where are you finding them for $28?

    Thanks!

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    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default dwhunter...

    what does that knife sell for?

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