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Fellas, for the last six months, I have taken my addictive personality down the rabbit hole of custom knives. One of the things I am having a hard time grasping is the superiority of a given blade shape as a hunting knife for big game.

Some time ago, I started a thread on my home forum, Alberta Outdoorsmen, asking what the best skinning knife for $200 or under was. On that thread, it is pretty darn clear that two guys in particular, Coiloil37 and Pathfinder76, both of whom are also members here, have a strong preference for the semi-skinner shape that Crotts and Dozier offer in a number of their models. Their posts on this thread have been great, tremendously informative, and many of us really look forward to hearing their thoughts, as they are born out of extensive real life experiences, not internet conjecture. That’s worth something. This is the one they sing the praises of.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

My quandary is that big-game hunters in North America, have had access to that pattern for eons, as it is essentially a re-jigged sheep skinning knife, yet they opt overwhelmingly for more traditional drop point, clip point and/or trailing edge designs. Just look at any production or custom maker’s website.

Why is that?

I totally get how a masterful heat treat, coupled with modern steels, and a great grind can result in a knife that can skin 6 animals and still be sharp enough to give your buddy a vasectomy.

So, my question is, is there anything about that semi-skinner style blade shape that is measurably better than any of the other blade styles below for looking after a downed animal from start to finish?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Finally, Happy Independence Day from a Canadian neighbor! Without your fine country being next door, we are speaking either German, Russian or Chinese!


[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Last edited by sns2; 07/04/22.
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PS: If you want to take a read of a very informative thread, here is a link…

http://www.outdoorsmenforum.ca/showthread.php?t=406955

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There is a difference between field dressing, skinning or boning a big game animal. Different blade shapes are better adapted to particular jobs.


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sns2 Offline OP
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What would make any of the above knives any better or worse for looking after a downed elk, and you ain’t carrying multiple knives. Be specific:)

Last edited by sns2; 07/04/22.
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That Dozier in the classic Bob Loveless pattern is hard to be for multi purpose knife.
A drop point that makes slitting the hide easy, some belly that makes skinning go well, an
applied guard to keep your finger on the handle, a shape that works well inside a chest
cavity and certainly able to separate body parts, a very comfortable handle, etc.

If you go to the site mentioned above you see there are about as many opinions as there
are people giving them. "Best" is really a personal decision.

Just my 2 cents

Last edited by michiganroadkill; 07/04/22.

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Every ones idea of what is good varies. I like to pout an additional set of jimping forward to let the forefinger set on to guide the blade when you cannot see where it is cutting.

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It don't make much difference to me. I own and have used knives with drop point, clip point, spear point, flat ground, hollow ground and sabre ground blades. They all get the job done. Last season I forgot to take a hunting knife on one trip and used my EDC, an Ontario Rat-1 D2, to gut skin and quarter a whitetail. It did the job no problem.

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I have used average stuff all my life too. Truth told, most o m knives have been [bleep] knives. I’m well aware a box cutter works great in a pinch too. What I am looking for is someone who can point out something specific with the blade shape/geometry with this particular semi-skinner that would have very knowledgeable and experienced guys singing its praises over other high quality knives from the same maker. This is not a gotcha thread. Or mine is better than yours, which is in part why I showed other knives from the same maker. I am simply looking for any insights that people much more experienced than I can offer. I have ordered one of the knives in my original post, and have every intent of ordering one from Mr. Olt soon also. I just want to do what I can to ensure I am making the right choice. A real smart guy once said, “Wisdom is found in the counsel of may.”

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"So, my question is, is there anything about that semi-skinner style blade shape that is measurably better than any of the other blade styles below for looking after a downed animal from start to finish?"

"Measurably better." The answer is NO. "From start to finish." The little Semi Skinner would not be my first choice for a start to finish Dozier design. And I have owned the following Dozier customs, a K2, K4, K6, K7, K8, K9, K11, K20, K28, K29, K31. A K2, K4, or K7 would get my buck dressed, skinned, quartered and deboned more efficiently in my experience and with my personal preferences.


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Evnin, tuff call really. I've trapped most of my life, have made some knives (not a knife maker) looking for a shape that would be PRETTY good for everything. I'm 71 & still haven't found it!!! Some come close like the drop point style or the semi skinner. There's a reason for drop points, skinners, filet, pelters, two bladed trappers etc. I'm sure you know the reasons for most. Dad trapped longer than I & preferred a very gradual curve for skinning, I liked a more pronounced curve near the tip. We both clean skinned our beaver, meaning we didn't have much scraping to do when done. Some skin rough & fast & then scrape a lot. Every one is different!!! That's why I have quite a few cheap knives laying around, just wanted to try a different shaped blade. The ones I hated got given to some kid or someone that had an even cheaper knife than I. That's why I made a few knives for myself, different shape. I guess you can see we're this is going, there is no do it all knife. I think but only me maybe, the semi skinner comes the closest. I have such a blade on me all the time but only found it recently, it's a kubey ??? Never heard of them either till about 10 months ago. It has that rising drop point semi skinner blade 3-1/2 in D2 steel. I've only used it on one deer from last season, chores, slivers, rope, fixed an extension cord oh & helped a buddy clean some fish. Oh right $58.00 So far so good!!! Lots of good knives for good prices out there now, SHOP. GWP 👣🐾👣🐾🇨🇦

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Thanks kindly. That’s exactly the kind of answer I was hoping for. Context makes a world of difference:)

Keep ‘em coming.

Last edited by sns2; 07/04/22.
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I've tried a number of different blade shapes and have settled on the semi-skinner as my preferred all-purpose game skinner/gutter.

What works for me may not work for you. I have very large hands and a three inch to three and a half inch semi skinner is perfect for me.

This set has worked very well for me
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Edited to add: Tim makes a Loveless DP clone that is damn fine. I have two. Also, the blade shape in your original post is offered by quite a number of makers other that Crotts and Dozier

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What wood is that, longarm? Damn nice looking.

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Spalted maple. Same set, different view:
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

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Originally Posted by longarm
Spalted maple. Same set, different view:
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Dauummm fine set of Ingram's!


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I like Semi Skinner designs with the blade/handle angle a bit straighter than the Dozier. Here's a Menefee...
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Charles May...
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Gene Ingram...
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


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I’ve been eyeing that top knife. I don’t know if Rick or Rocky made it but I’ve been looking at a similar one Rocky makes. After the two folders come in I think I’ll get in line for that fixed blade.



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MOGC,
Thanks. He makes a hell of a knife, for sure. Is that coffee burlap on your semi-skinner? Great looking knife.

The more I look at the OP Crotts semi, the more I like it. Is that a hollow grind?

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Originally Posted by longarm
MOGC,
Thanks. He makes a hell of a knife, for sure. Is that coffee burlap on your semi-skinner? Great looking knife.

The more I look at the OP Crotts semi, the more I like it. Is that a hollow grind?

Yes sir, coffee bag burlap. This Slim Hunter may be my favorite from Gene, and to the topic, may be my favorite game knife.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


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MOGC,
Just about a perfect knife right there.
I just checked my records and my set above is a Lite Skinner and a Trim Hunter, both somewhat altered.

Do you recall if the Trim hunter is the same as your Slim Hunter above?

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