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Here lately I find myself being drawn to what I call working knives. Things like skinners, hunters, bushcraft and edc knives. Right now I'm gluing up scales on my latest and decided to start working on a new design. I call it the Fatback, a short - bladed skinning knife. But now that I have a drawing in front of me I'm not sure anymore of the blade design, at least where the back of the blade is concerned. So I thought to put it here. Tear this thing apart, any hunters we have here, give your honest opinion. 

IMG_20170215_112505461.jpg

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Take the drawing and lay it on the floor. Walk around it and look at it from the perspective of distance. 

Personally, when it comes to skinners and other working knives, I do not trust any knife that doesn't have a guard (or other feature) to keep my hand from sliding up the handle to the blade. I also do not like the "short grind" design. I know that a lot of people do, it's not my preference though. Is this a hollow grind or a flat grind? The handle in the drawing does not seem to have any definite shape. It seems like your focus in design was on the blade and the handle is sort of an after-thought. I also do not see any dimensions to give me a size perspective. I might also assume that this is a full-tang knife from the three dots on the handle, but that is an assumption. 

When making design drawings, do them to scale and provide as much information as possible. Include steel and handle materials, fitting and fastening materials, dimensions, features, etc. This not only makes it easier for someone else to provide a meaningful critique, it forces you to plan and visualize the entire piece. Chances are good that when you fill in the missing information, the design will change as you go along. Right now you have an idea, not a design.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

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I totally feel you on being drawn to knives that serve a specific purpose, they are some of my favorite to make.

Ask 10 hunters and you'll likely get 10 different answers as to what should and shouldn't be on a skinning knife. None of them are right or wrong.

For me personally I don't like any of my cleaning or skinning knives to have guards. I feel they get in the way, and when I'm working with an animal I make sure to make clean precise cuts, if your knife is sharp it shouldn't take much pressure at all do beak down any part of the animal (except the sternum). I'm also not a fan of gut hooks at all, and when you are skinning you most likely have gotten all of the guts out already. These are just my opinions though, like I said to each his own.

The only thing I see that I would say should be remedied is the line from the spine of the knife to the handle. The way the spine end of the handle kicks up would get in the way for skinning for me. I at times like to pinch the blade between thumb and forefinger and let the handle rest in the palm of my hand. Hope that makes sense, and again those are my personal preferences.

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Aesthetically, I think you could pull off either that swell in the spine or the gut hook, but I don't think the two play nicely together. If the back had that one uninterrupted curve to the point, you'd have sort of a mini-bolo look going on, which could be cool. I'll also echo Mr. Runals in saying that nobody I know uses a gut hook when dressing game. 

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I'll throw a fly in the ointment.  I know nothing about sinners, or skinning game, but have 3 friends that feed their family every winter with deer meat.  I plan to make skinning knives for them as gifts so I have had conversations with each of them about what makes a good knife.  Two of the three were emphatic that it had to have a gut hook.  I was shocked by this as the internet lore had led me to believe they were useless.  Different strokes for different folks I guess...

-Brian

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Yeah, I'm beginning to think that gut hooks are a commission item. Something that is requested by the buyer, not just thrown in. 

 

Quote

 If the back had that one uninterrupted curve to the point, you'd have sort of a mini-bolo look going on, which could be cool.

 

And that is where I think I'm having problems. You hit it on the head, the gut hook AND the rounded shape of the back is what is giving me fits lol.

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Actually, that swale back with the gut hook might just work well. The idea behind a gut hook is to keep from cutting the innards when opening the belly. Too often the hook is either used or designed improperly and the point hits the guts anyway. The curve of the spine might help keep the point elevated and out of the body cavity.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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18 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Actually, that swale back with the gut hook might just work well. The idea behind a gut hook is to keep from cutting the innards when opening the belly. Too often the hook is either used or designed improperly and the point hits the guts anyway. The curve of the spine might help keep the point elevated and out of the body cavity.

Excellent point, Mr. States. Form follows function. 

Brian, you might try to changing the profile where the blade meets the handle to make the gut hook/fat back thing flow better. Alternatively, run with it and have somebody field-test it. If it works well enough, its looks become "unique" instead of "kinda weird." 

23 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

I'll throw a fly in the ointment.  I know nothing about sinners, or skinning game, but have 3 friends that feed their family every winter with deer meat.  I plan to make skinning knives for them as gifts so I have had conversations with each of them about what makes a good knife.  Two of the three were emphatic that it had to have a gut hook.  I was shocked by this as the internet lore had led me to believe they were useless.  Different strokes for different folks I guess...

It seems like experienced hunters, like craftsman and artists, get rather idiosyncratic about their tools. Kind of like smiths do with hammers. :lol:

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