Friday, June 7, 2013

Antler Skinning Knife

Continuing my weapon building spree, I'm working towards a bit more craftsmanship than the quick and dirty long-handle machete.  In this case, I found the local pet store was selling deer antlers as dog chews.  Nice bits and pieces perfect for small knife handles.  Below, I have the steel blank I've been working on, a scrap brass pin and the antler.

The blank is from a 7.62 x 39 spam can opener.  Decent steel, hard enough to hold an edge.  Not the best stuff but for free, I can't complain.  I used a Sharpie to lay out the scrap to be removed and started doing that tonight on the grinding wheel and drill press.  The area that will be ground to an edge is marked with the vertical lines.

A little better look at the blank.  The tang is angled to provide the best fit into the handle.  1/8" holes will receive pins once I have the antler drilled to match. Precision will be pretty key here but I learned a lesson from the machete project.  Firmly affixing the blank to the side of the handle stock to mark the center points for drilling makes for very accurate placement of the holes.  

The shape of the can opener handle was pretty choice for what I had in mind for a skinning knife.  One doesn't want a sharp point that might risk piercing  the intestines when field dressing a deer.  If I choose, I can also put a reverse hook on the top of the blade to make that first cut up the belly of the deer easier to make with a gentle pulling motion.  Lots of commercially available knives have begun including this option.

The piece of antler was about $5.  It fits nicely in the hand and provides a good texture for the thumb on what will be the back of the knife handle.  The pins will go in the side visible here and the whole thing will be anchored with some 5 minute epoxy.

I'm hoping to have this project done soon.  I'm also going to make a sheathe out of old boot leather that I've been saving from my dearly departed and much loved Survivor work boots.  I'm thinking a sheath with a belt clip will work out well.  I'll see how it works out with the materials I have available.