Sonya’s Fat Boy skinner knife

So it came to be that my daughter found out that cheap knifes aren’t worth much more than a dull rock. She went out hunting one week evening during rifle season and shot a doe just before dark. I drove over and found my buddy Kevin helping her with dragging it with the ATV. Then she needed to gut it and she pulled out her cheap knife. It was dull and hardly cut and ripped more than cut.

I was at this point I stated “Its a good thing you brought your hacksaw, but where’s your knife?” Right there, the next month of “Hacksaw” jokes started on her from myself and Kevin. Plus behind the scenes I was knife making.

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Then a day later we got the deer back into our garage and I had to work from home, as I normally do, and she started to butcher the deer. She watched a video I sent her and broke all the leg roasts out, freed the tenderloins and back straps and striped all the other meat and front legs for grinding. I couldn’t really help but advise here and there as I had work to do. She butchered it basically on her own.

She started all this and asked if she could use my small skinning knife, shown here, to do all the butchering. I said “Of course”. She cut all the meat off the bones with my knife and when finished she said “I want a knife like this or the G5 one like Grant Woods is using in the video.” Grant Woods does Growing deer on YouTube

I looked all over for that G5 knife and found they teamed with a knife company to make it to promote broad heads. I guess it didn’t sell real well and that partnership stopped. I couldn’t find it anywhere or knife on their knife store even similar to a skinning knife and about 3″ in blade. So I started blade shopping to make my own. I finally chose the Fat Boy skinning knife as the blank I would use.

So Christmas was coming quick and I needed supplies shipped in. I ordered some 3/16″ brass rod and a sheet of 7-8 oz. leather to make the sheath and got everything working. Shown below I picked out a nice piece of Cherry burl I had saved for knife scales and drew and cut out the scales larger than the handle.

Here one side is drilled and the pins set

The other side ready for the next scale.

Here both scales are clamped on and ready to be drilled. I would just pull one pin at a time and run the 3/16″ bit through on the drill press. I purposely wobbled the bit a little to loosen the holes. That 3/16″ rod is really tight in those holes and the epoxy will take up all the slack.

Now the scales are removed, pinned together and the front of the scales will be matched on the sander to be even. Then checked back on the knife until they look good. This front part of the scales is best shaped now as the belt sander shouldn’t be near this part or you’ll likely scuff up the fine looking blade finish.

Checking fit before epoxy.

Then epoxied and clamped for 24 hours.

The next morning ready to be sanded on the belt sander.

Taped up for safety. This thing is sharp to your door. It is hollow ground and sharp as they can get out of the package.

Ready for finishing with Tung Oil

First coat of tung oil really makes a difference and brings out the beauty of the burl. I used pipe cleaner to get in the strap hole.

The other side and liberally fill the burl holes (black spots)

Here is the leather sheet I bought and getting ready to make the sheath. This is 7-8oz and a bit thick. I like working with 5-6 oz, but this sharp knife really needs the thicker stuff.

Here I made the pattern for the sheath on paper. I traced the knife twice and left room for the welt around the blade and folding area between the blade areas. I shaped the curve to match the handle.

Traced out ready to cut with the same knife. I love the idea of using the knife to make its own sheath.

Test fit and it is good. Then wet the fold area and clamp it to the knife with a fair amount of pressure. It will dry to that shape.

Here cutting out the welt and the belt strap and retainer and notice I started making the first belt/retainer backwards and had to make a second. I’m still a rookie leather worker.

After cutting them out you meed to moisten the leather and dye it. This is the dye that I used in medium brown. Pick your own color and get some wool daubers. Wear latex gloves and work over wax paper and somewhere you don’t mind ruining things. This stuff gets all over everything. Lots of spare paper towels!!!

The belt loop and retainer are stitched on here.

The retainer pin is installed. Both of these need to be done before you do the welt or you cannot stitch through and work on the back end.

Now here is where I learned something. I have the Aiskaer leather stitching kit and used it last time on 5-6 oz leather and it was good. The 4 pin would go though and pull out. I quickly learned that 3 layers of 7-8 oz leather was thicker than the stitching kit pins and 4 pins drove deep in all that leather and it didn’t want to come back out.

My solution was to take the 4 pin and dent the surface as a guide and then use the single pin stitch to punch all the way through. It also too short, so I took it to the grinder stone and made it longer.

The finished knife and sheath from the front.

The back

Ready for Christmas. I used the knife to make my own box from 30 pack beer can dividers. The white sheet between the cans. Made a top and a bottom and wrapped it up.

Ready for Christmas

Here is the best part of the story.

All Sonya wanted for Christmas was a knife. Her Mom and myself played it off as we could not find what she wanted. We went out for lunch one day and she brought it up. Now for reference, I had all this on order and I think I might have had the blank already.

I said “I couldn’t find that G5 knife you wanted and the company that made it has nothing similar. I wasn’t going to buy you and $85 knife that I didn’t even know if you liked.”

She said “It’s the only thing I want.”

I said “Show me what you want, but I don’t have the time to order stuff in now and make a knife by Christmas” I conveniently left out I already ordered everything.

She told me last night how she was “highly” disappointed in me until she got that last present and how she was trying to hide it. She said I lied about getting here a knife. I said “No, I just told you I could find the one you liked and wasn’t spending $85 on a knife I didn’t know you liked. I failed to mention I was spending $40 on supplies and making you one.”

It was all worth it!! Enjoy


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