Sharpening Van Dykes Detail Flesher blades

Submitted by Terry Wiesel on 4/10/02. ( wiesel@echoes.net ) 65.206.46.223

The blade that came with the machine worked well and I was able to keep an edge with the steels that came with it but it eventually went dull and I wasn't able to restore the edge.I put on a new blade and after one raw cape and part of a sheep it went dull and I couldn't restore the edge no matter how hard I tried.Now I've bought a new blade and have had the same results with it and I purchased a Sheffield steel to go with it and still now results.Has anyone else had this problem I'm desperate!Yes I've read the archives.

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It's your technique.

This response submitted by John C on 4/10/02. ( ) 64.216.172.81

Roll the lip out from underneath, be sure to keep it oiled! then jut touch it from the top side rolling and going toward the cutting edge.

It could also be that the leading gaurd ir to tall.

If all else fails, use a small piece of 60 grit sand paper from back to front of the blade, very lightly.


bad blade also

This response submitted by toyracerman on 4/10/02. ( alienvisitor@worldnet.att.net ) 32.100.198.108

Hey Terry,Not sure when you purchased you new blade, but last fall I had the same problem. I bought two blades, even the heavy duty one, from Van Dykes and both of them would dull after one or two hides, and I couldn't get the thing sharp again, even though the lip seem sharp. I always use motor oil on it so oil was not a problem. I'm not sure about 1 thing, Maybe the hide is to dry, cause I'm slow when it comes to shaving, does anyone know how dry the hide should be and would this cause the blade to dull quick? But back to the question. I've tried other more $$$ blades from other mfg. and they seem to last alot longer.


Depends on how far the edge was rolled

This response submitted by Evan Tosh on 4/12/02. ( ) 210.86.75.94

Sharpening and setting up a flesher is not a precise art, and depends on the fleshing style of the individual. The set up involves the placement of the guards, the blade grinding technique and how far the edge is rolled over. You might need to adjust the guards quite a bit if the edge has been rolled too far, or conversely not far enough. You cannot correct this problem with the steels. In my dressing plant we grind our own blades and roll the edge. I think we use a much finer edge than taxidermists since we have no problem getting the blades grinded. Sometimes you get it right other times you do not. Two of us can flesh, but I am unable to even get a cut on the persons machine, because he sets it up completely differently than my one. Similarly he cannot use my machine. With practice sharpening becomes easier. But if you kink the blade by cutting into a dry spot or a piece of bullet no amount of steeling will fix the problem - the kink needs to be ground out. Personally I would hate to use a fleshing machine without access to a blade grinder.


Agree with John C.

This response submitted by John W. on 4/13/02. ( ) 216.166.197.240

I would bet you guys are pushing down too hard on the top of the blade first and thats probably where youre having youre problem.Ive done about 60 capes with my first blade before it got too dull to use and am not having any problems with my second blade, it just takes a little pressure under the lip to keep it cutting sharp.


Dont damage the temper!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 4/16/02. ( rittel@mindspring.com ) 165.247.4.60

Shaving blades are tempered. If you get a spark as you try to sharpen it you have probably created too much heat and the blade will lose its temper (or hardening). A non-tempered will blade will not hold an edge well!

A few responded about using WD-40 or an oil on the blade before you sharpen it - but even using oil - keep the sharpening short - only 4-5 seconds! Oiling first is what I recommend - and never use sandpaper or emery cloth to sharpen a blade! Always use your tuning steels!


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