I've been trying to flesh with an english fleshing knife and can't get the hang of it.thinking about buying a dakota fleshing machine or a mini flesher. can anyone give me some input on what they use or prefer?
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the big green english knife is for raw hides. the dakota and mini flesher are for pickled hides. two entirely different steps to the processed tan.
you might cut the english knife down to lesser width. that will get you more power per stroke. it all takes practice/experience.
Both types of knives are useful, but as EJ has pointed out, for different jobs. The English knife is used primarily to take excess hide off the thick areas on large skins. The fleshing machines, be they hand held, table top, or floor models, are used for an even thinning of the entire hide.
I've been "getting by" using a mini flesher for a few years on a part-time basis. It's a good tool, but my 35-gallon compressor barely keeps up, and it takes around an hour to moderately shave a deer cape. I like this tool on the facial areas, though.
I shaved my first pickled cape on my new dakota V last night, which did a beautiful job and I was done in about 20 minutes. I feel like I should've bought it a long time ago.
I'm not using either on raw capes yet... just pickled ones. I'm still experimenting.