Sunday, December 30, 2012

Three Finger Skinner

When I first moved to Alaska at the turn of the century I thought that bigger knives were better. I mean just look at the size of a moose, you must need a machete. Wrong, I find large knives to be cumbersome, heavy, and mostly unnecessary. Especially when it comes to skinning out game. Really for moose I prefer two knives and a saw. I carry a shorter knife for gutting/skinning (like the one below) and then a large butcher knife around 9" with some flex to the blade.

I have personally dispatched four moose and butchered nine including a 62" and 54" Yukon monster. So this isn't advice from an armchair cowboy. I've also have a room full of rugs that attest to my skinning of big game. Now, if you have a different method than mine, great, this is my opinion and nothing more.

Three finger skinner, sole authorship from Knives of Malta

I prefer short blade skinning knives with a really deep belly. I've used Outdoor Edge T-handle skinners for years with great success. But, like any hunter I always need a new knife or try a new idea. This is my first attempt at what I think is an ideal skinning knife. The handle is based on a three finger grip with the index finger resting on the top of the blade. I find this works well as it adds control and if you are going to cut accurately, just point your finger and the blade follows. I prefer the deep belly of this blade because that is were I do 90% of my skinning, with the straight section for general cutting/butchery.

Knife Specifications
Blade Length       3.5"
Overall Length    7.5"
Steel           1095  5/32" thick
Hardness            HRC 59-61
Handle               Wenge
Pins                    Nickel

I made a little kydex sheath with a standard MOLLE lock that will fit over belts or packs, etc. The blade grind is a sabre grind with a secondary bevel and it'll shave. I haven't used Wenge before so I'm interested to see how well it does in Alaska's saturated hunting grounds. This one isn't in my possession so I can't give a final report and am awaiting the owner to get it messy.

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