“ A dull knife will hurt you more than it will help, a sharp knife will ensure quick clean cuts and a sure stroke.”
Blades are somewhat of a specialty, I own several hundred, from low-end mass produced through high-end customs. Some of my favorite blades are Morakniv Companions which run between $12 and $30 depending on type and steel they are made from. Personally, for general bush crafting, I prefer a mixture of blades, Morakniv Companion, Ex Gurkha House Khukri 13” sirupate and a decent folding blade.
When it comes to dressing game, I have a few even more specific blades purpose-built to fulfill this task. Among my favorites are the CRKT Kommer Free Range hunting combination of two folders, one with a medium skinned gut-hook and both with very solid steel blades and extremely good grips. They work amazingly!
Recently I came across yet another skinning blade, the Wiebe Folding and Hunting knife which utilizes replaceable surgical steel blades. Each knife comes with 24 blade replacements. You can get them on Amazon for $26 apiece for the fixed handled version. I personally preferred the lock-back folding version found on www.wiebeknives.com the model I chose and have used several times for food prep and basic skinning of light game was the Wiebe Arctic Fox. The cost was $39.95 including shipping to my front door, shipping was very quick, within a couple of days.
One of the reasons I chose this particular knife was simple, I like having tools that can be utilized for a variety of purposes. Given that sterile blades and or clean blades may be difficult to come by, and that these are sealed into individual packages, it will save having to ruin a temper by heating a blade for minor surgical issues alone. Please understand, this is NOT something suggested by the company themselves, simply an observation I realized when testing it.
It is not a chopping or carving knife, it is specifically designed for skinning, caping and dressing game animals. In this task it excels, not only was I able to quickly dress a jackrabbit caught with a great snare (to be reviewed) it easily cut through the rather tough joints and cartilage separating legs from body and so on. Arizona jacks get to be around 25lbs the one I took using a snare was definitely within this size. Now, unfortunately, I have not had a chance to test the blades on larger game, however, because I do have several hides from various animals in storage for upcoming projects, I did try it on the various thicknesses.
Using short, steady strokes I was easily able to slice straight easily measured cuts where necessary. With on blade I dressed out the jack and trimmed several hides as well as using a few pieces of leather for some additional practice and to test longevity of the blade. With a quick strop (the blade is quite flexible so be gentle doing this) I was still able to shave afterword’s. There is no doubt it is a good steel and a solidly made blade setup.
Replacing the blades is also extremely easy, simply lift slightly on the back side of the blade closest to the handle and carefully grip (using pliers) or very carefully with fingers along the back of the blade and pull it straight away from the handle. Replace with a fresh blade by reversing this approach
Pro’s of the Wiebe Knives,
Lightweight and compact package, a little over 4 inches in length, and just a couple ounces even with the 24 extra blades that accompany it.
When extended it is a little over 7 inches total with a very solid grip stiff rubber handle.
It’s made of solid materials, while the blades themselves flex and can break, the chassis itself was quite sturdy and I was unable to force any issues.
Con’s of the Wiebe Knives,
Blade is very flexible, thin, good for skinning, but not much else.
While a blade will work for multiple small animals, one medium sized animal, you may have to use two for something larger like Elk or full grown Cattle etc.,
This is not a blade to be used for cutting through bones, or anything hard. It is for all intents a surgical instrument for processing game. And to this end it works extremely well. I would recommend this for your BOL’s and hunting packs. Spare blades are easily purchased for at this link for $37 for 100. The base knife itself comes in a great case with 24 spare blades, it can be purchased via Amazon or from the company themselves. Replacing a blade is best done with a pair of pliers however, it can be done using your fingers just go slowly and carefully.
I highly recommend this knife setup for those of us who run trap lines during the winter, as well as those who farm and or prep our own food from what we grow on the farm. While it won’t necessarily work for vegetable prepping, it will most definitely work to fillet fish, skin animals and prep your meat within reason. You will still want a chopper and or a flesher for larger projects of course.
If you have any questions or anything to add, let me know. Thanks as always, remember prepping is a state of mind more than anything else.
Free the mind and the body will follow