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I have to make a gut hook and have no idea how


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The very nice gentleman who made me my power hammer asked for a skinning knife with a gut hook. I was profiling it tonight and realized I truly had no idea how I should go about making a gut hook on the spine, or even if my design was going to work. Therefore, here I am, and here is my design.

20210921_174905.jpg

Thank you for any advice.

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You can start the cut with thin cutting wheel such as for right angle grinder! Move slow and take a thin bite!  6" x .045 x 7/8" Cut Off wheel Then slowly define cut with a dremmel cutting wheel! Such as this one in this link! https://www.amazon.com/Dremel-932-Aluminium-Oxide-Grinding/dp/B00004UDIT

Be aware there is a learning curve to using a right angle grinder or a Dremel stone. Don't fight the tool and don't try to cut to much or too fast. You will loose control and that usually results in a busted cutting wheel or Dremel stone! 

 

Or you can use a chain saw file. To sharpen the gut hook you work from the point of the knife back towards the spine of the knife!

 

Here is a link to info on a gut hook! https://knifepulse.com/how-to-sharpen-a-gut-hook/

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I have done a few of these. Do you know who Tom and Ray Magliozzi aka The Tappet Brothers, are/were? Anyway, they had a saying that every project is an opportunity to buy a new tool. So if you don't already have some, go get an assortment of chainsaw files. If you already have the chainsaw files, consider buying a Dremel tool and some chainsaw grinding bits.......and other cool burrs. That's a rabbit hole.

 

It's a fairly simple procedure to file that groove in with a round file. Just remember to keep the angle fairly shallow so you can create a sharp edge through the inside curve. Sharpening it is the real problem, because you have to file it pretty well done before HT, and after HT, your files are next to useless, unles you carefully break the temper in a local area around the gut hook. The gut hook can be significatly lower hardness than the edge. As long as it is still around 50-55 HRC, it will cut like it should and still retain an edge. When the edge dulls, it will be soft enough that someone can easily resarpen it with a round rod wrapped in sandpaper.

 

First question is the typical size of game this buyer hunts. Big game like Elk require a larger diameter groove than smaller game. 

Next thing is that point you have on top of the gut hook. That's got to be larger and rounder, or shorter and rounder. The whole point of a gut hook is to cut the skin without cutting the entrails. So no sharp protuding bit along the top of the hook. That will grab the guts and spill unpleasantness all over the place. Let me see If I have a photo around somewhere.

Edited by Joshua States
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If it were me I would tell my friend that I don't do gut hooks.  There are people who feel differently but I know there are those out there who hold t hat they are not very functional as the hook is not large enough to go through the skin and the underlying muscle.  I probably opened a can of worms here but I'm just saying what I would do.

 

Doug

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I think that this part of her post makes not having a go at it, not possible.

"The very nice gentleman who made me my power hammer asked for a skinning knife with a gut hook."

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I would rather have a skinning knife with a separate gut blade. Outdoor Edge makes the swingblade that has both in one blade. That is the best combination I have ever used. Would be simple to make a set and a double sheath to hold both blades.

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23 hours ago, Joshua States said:

First question is the typical size of game this buyer hunts.

Large game. 

So if I make the point shorter and rounder like the chalk marks, is that better?

20210922_183409.jpg

 

And for large game it probably needs to be a bit wider right?

5 hours ago, Doug Lester said:

If it were me I would tell my friend that I don't do gut hooks

I would truly love to, because I hate gut hooks too. However, Gerald hit the nail on the head as to why I feel inclined to make one anyway.

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You don't have to take a lot off of that point, just a little to blunt the tip so it cannot snag the entrails. A 1/4" (or larger) round file should do the trick to cut the slot  and the bevel. Is that pattern welded steel?

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1 hour ago, Joshua States said:

Is that pattern welded steel?

It's a san mai with damascus outer layers and a 1080 core.

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10 hours ago, Faye said:

It's a san mai with damascus outer layers and a 1080 core.

That should be a sweet looking blade. 

Waiting patiently....(kind of)

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20 hours ago, Faye said:

It's a san mai with damascus outer layers and a 1080 core.

You sneaky smith you!

I cannot remember if I ground the bevels before or after the gut hook, but you have to think about where that gut hook ends up. You have no bevel in it right now. the bevel in the hook is what forms the cutting edge. (These are actually quite tricky to do right). Here is a rough drawing of what I mean.

Gut hook.jpeg

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I went ahead and ground the primary bevels and cleaned things up. I marked out where I think the gut hook bevels should go. I'm starting to think that I cut the hook a little deep, but I guess I'll have to make due.

20210924_175945_HDR.jpg

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Do you have a piece of scrap 8/9 oz. leather? See if it will cut. If it has already been through HT, it should. If not, it should just grab and barely cut.

Edited by Joshua States
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I refuse to put a gutthook on a knife, but I recently made one separate as an accessory  to a knife......and lived to regret it.

Couldn't get it as sharp as I wanted it, but I did have an idea after it was delivered......

When I get it back from sharpening I plan on cutting down a 1x30" belt to the width of the gutthook and try not to hurt myself in the process

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I’ve used a cylindrical deemed bit after cutting a channel to preset the location and lateral angle of the gut hook, also I hate them, so I don’t do them anymore, good luck

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On 9/21/2021 at 9:17 PM, Joshua States said:

Sharpening it is the real problem, because you have to file it pretty well done before HT, and after HT, your files are next to useless, unles you carefully break the temper in a local area around the gut hook. The gut hook can be significatly lower hardness than the edge. As long as it is still around 50-55 HRC, it will cut like it should and still retain an edge. When the edge dulls, it will be soft enough that someone can easily resarpen it with a round rod wrapped in sandpaper.

 

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Chainsaw files are typically harder that the usual file(they're designed to "sharpen" hardened steel after all). I remember reading as high as 70 HRC. Let's say your blade is 59hrc, the file should be able to cut enough material before it's dull. Then you finish with a rod of slightly smaller diameter with wet dry sandpaper around. Or simply grind your dull file down.  

 

So, you file your hook down to around 0.05" at an angle of around 30° before HT. Do the remaining 5 mils with the same file post HT. Then clean the hook/sharpen with sandpaper. 

 

Just my 5 cents(no one cent in Canada)

 

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Are chainsaw teeth hardened and tempered? Yes, but to what hardness? How does that compare to the hardness of your knife blade?

I think most wood cutting saws are in the 55HRC area or slightly less, and I don't expect chainsaws to be much harder. If you have tempered your knife blade out to 58 or 59 HRC, you will probably be right at the same level as the chainsaw file. That's why I suggest a localized temper reduction of the gut hook.

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This is just something I noticed while fixing tang shoulders after HT. The chainsaw file would bite where my other files wouldn't. That's why I did some research to find out it was harder.

 

Edit: I did some more research to find out there can be a huge difference in chainsaw file hardness. I just happened to get lucky when I bought a bulk of old files with those included. They're swiss pattern XLIW(super hard)and I could cut 60hrc steel with it. But like I said, it will dull out quickly. 

Edited by Joël Mercier
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Just for posterity, there are files that will file hardened and tempered steel, I have Vallorbe Valtitan files that I use to cut my tang shoulders and choils after heat treat. They claim to be 70HRC and are developed for modern titanium alloys.

However these are maybe the most expensive files you can buy:rolleyes: 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 9/24/2021 at 8:34 PM, Joshua States said:

Do you have a piece of scrap 8/9 oz. leather? See if it will cut. If it has already been through HT, it should. If not, it should just grab and barely cut.

Just an update, I didn't ditch this project yet, I just had to be a maid of honor for a couple weeks.

It is now heat treated, but it doesn't cut the leather. I didn't get to terribly serious about getting it cutting sharp until after I etched it. Not sure that was smart.

It grabs the edge of my finger nail well, and grabs paper but just rips it. I did pick up a tapered sharpening steel, and that has helped a little bit. I cut a flex belt down to an 1/8" and tried that, but without much success. 

I have never used a gut hook before and have no idea how sharp they have to be. Also, I have been trying to make the edge geometry the same as any other long cutting edge, but someone mentioned that they have only seen chisel ground gut hooks. Is there a benefit to just doing a chisel ground? Is it easier?

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