Knife Recommendations for Processing Big Game?

Troutslayer2

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May 28, 2010
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I do all of my own meat cutting and this year I've been thinking I should step up my knife collection with a purpose specific knife. I have a good boning knife and I find myself using a really good fillet knife for a lot of work, but I'm looking for something a little stiffer. Cost really doesn't matter. I was looking at the Benchmade meatcrafter which looks to be about what I want and there are a ton of knives with similar blades that I don't know that much about… are there better brands out there that only butchers and people in the know would recommend?
 
In addition to being a full on knife nut, I really enjoy butchery. I generally cut and wrap several animals every year.

I went on a long (and expensive) quest for the 'best knife', and ended up where many professional butchers do.

Even though I have a comprehensive cutlery arsenal. Of all the custom and semi-custom blades, when it comes to processing, the Victorinox 5" semiflex curved boning knife see more use than any other. I used the 6" version for years, but for long cutting sessions the 5" version brings the work closer and induces less fatigue in my experience.

I have learned that geometry cuts. Geometry is the most important factor when it comes to a knife blade - shape, thickness and grind. The problem with a lot of production knives is thickness, or 'thickness behind the edge'. Victorinox pays very careful attention to their edge geometry, and rusn a lot thinner than most other production knives that I have measured.

Steel is just there to hold the geometry. Supersteels will hold a working edge for a long time, but are harder to sharpen, and more difficult to keep sharp.

Most professional meat cutters value sharpenability, and actually prefer knives that are run softer (57-58hrc) because they respond very well to 'steeling' and can be kept hairsplitting sharp very easily.

This model is the 'gold standard' for many professional meat cutters.


 
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You need three knives and a boning hook. A 5inch semi stiff curved boning, 8 inch boning and a 10 inch steak cutter. The Victorinox is a good knife for most people, I'd buy 50 a year cause of the learning curve new guys have in sharpening and knife maintenance through the shift. After three years usually I'd buy a guy a set of German knives that you can't find anymore, like what was mentioned they were softer and they took an edge like none other and with experience you could maintain it through 50-60 deer and a dozen elk without it seeing a stone.

The boning hook will change everything for you if you haven't used one!!
 
3???

Wow!!

I've had the Victorinox for 3 years, doing a combined 10 deer a year, and all i've done thus far is steel the Victorinox.

It also gets regular kitchen duty throughout the year.
 
I used to skin deer for a local meat processor doing about 100 deer a week during the hunting season. I've tried everything out there and as much as I love my gerber hunting knives, I'll never use anything other than a victorinox 5" for skinning, quartering, and boning. Pair that with a worksharp knife sharpener and you'll have a perfect system for quickly processing wild game.
 
I used to skin deer for a local meat processor doing about 100 deer a week during the hunting season. I've tried everything out there and as much as I love my gerber hunting knives, I'll never use anything other than a victorinox 5" for skinning, quartering, and boning. Pair that with a worksharp knife sharpener and you'll have a perfect system for quickly processing wild game.

What angle do you use on your worksharp for the Victorinox?
 
I use a second hook and small chain to hook the tendon at the lip of the leg, this anchors the shoulder so you can then pull with the hook, clip the tendons and pull. Hinds the same.
 
I do all of my own meat cutting and this year I've been thinking I should step up my knife collection with a purpose specific knife. I have a good boning knife and I find myself using a really good fillet knife for a lot of work, but I'm looking for something a little stiffer. Cost really doesn't matter. I was looking at the Benchmade meatcrafter which looks to be about what I want and there are a ton of knives with similar blades that I don't know that much about… are there better brands out there that only butchers and people in the know would recommend?
Talk to some custom knife makers about it and tell them exactly what you want. My shop is retired.

I made some job knives using Sterratt (sp?) power hacksaw blades. They were hard and tough, hitting bone meant nothing to the blades. The blades held a razor edge.
 
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