There are many ways to go depending on what your willing to do with
a skinning knife.
Factory knifes are just that ''factory knifes'' (Just like factory guns).
shaped for all around use and not very good at anything one thing.
I loved my old schrade skinner but in the coarse of dressing an elk it normaly
required at least 3 sharpenings before finishing.
Custom knifes just like custom guns are the best for specialized use ( Like
skinning and dressing).But they don't have to cost an arm and a leg.
Here is what I would look for in a custom knife:
A skinner should have a short ( 2" to 4" )blade with an up sweeping tip no
lower than the back side (TOP) of the handle to prevent the blade from
wanting to turn over when pressure/downforce is applied.
Next a good grade of stainless like 440 C with a rockwell hardness of between
56-c and 58-c with a 18 to 20 o edge.( Softer than this and it will be hard to
sharpen with out rolling the edge over ) A common occurrence with factory
Stainless dosent have to be washed off as quick as carbon steel to prevent the
blood from corroding the edge and dulling it.
A good stag or antler(Not Smooth) handle/grip for control when your hands are
bloody or slick.
I had a friend that carried 4 knifes and a steel with him on elk hunts
he only had to sharpen them 2 or 3 times (All 4 ) on one elk. After I let him
use one of my custom knifes he found one that he liked and was amazed at
how many times he could use it with out sharpening.
I am not trying to sell you a custom knife but if you can find one that meets all
of these requirements it is not uncommon for for them to skin and dress 4 or 5
deer and one or more elk with out resharpening.
Also If you pay more than $300.oo or $400.oo your just paying for the name.
the best knife makers in the world use the same materals and designs as
the less known knife makers.
Remember!! a good shape,good steel,rough grips,proper hardness and proper
edge angle are needed to have a knife with the highest performance possible.
Just my 2 cents
J E CUSTOM