I bought the dakota IV about 3 months ago. I only have four or five hides fleshed on it and blade is starting to skip. I've tried putting the tunning steels together in a V pattern and then rolling the edge back and forth between the steels trying to get rid of the bump or nic in the blade. That didn't seem to work. Is there anything else I can do or is this the norm to replace blades that often?
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I'm not sure what you can do to get rid of the problem, but I bought my Dakota IV at the last World show (that was nearly two years ago) and I am STILL using the same blade. Now, I don't do hundreds of deer every season, but over the course of two years I have fleshed many hides on it. Whenever the blade starts to get dull, all I have to do is touch it with the tuning steels and it's razor sharp again. Maybe you had a bad blade to begin with?
Is there anyway to tell if it's a bad blade? When I first got the machine I don't remember any skips, but my memory fails me quite often so I may be wrong.
I bought my flesher at the show and the people from the Van Dykes booth were able to show me how to use it and sharpen it correctly. I remember the president of Van Dykes telling me that, if not sharpened just right, the blade could be ruined. He said you need to have a light touch with the steels, and if held on the blade too long or at the wrong angle, it could put a nick in the blade. Not sure if this could be the problem or not.
Every so often I have the trouble you speak of with the skipping. I have found that if you take some 220 grit sandpaper, and lightly touch it to the top of the blade for a couple of seconds, it stops the skipping. Hope this helps!