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Beaming Knives? Are they worth it?

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by Skin Deep, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. Skin Deep

    Skin Deep Member

    Hey there,
    When i tan my hides i use a pressure tanner, which requires to take off all the heavy meat. Take out the skins shave down and tan again. When i take the heavy meat off i use a rounded fleshing table top thing (dont know what to call it) and a hand held fleshing knife, nothing to crazy. I am never happy with how it comes out quality/time, not to mention i am always good about putting a hole in it somewhere, so something needs to change. If i use this process and send it to the tannery they say it was poorly scrapped which i become upset about because i spend countless hours at it. I been looking into getting a beaming knife and a beam to go with it. I just want to make sure it is worth the money before i do it.

    I been looking into HQ supply and they have 3 different options and the sheffield knife looks the best. It says it can be used on boar shoulder, layers of bear fat and even elephants. would this be too much for a deer cape? I dont mind buying one but i want to get the best and i dont know what that is.
    Then there is the Minnesota knife which is just a lower gadge and 60 dollars cheaper. I really dont know which one to get or even if i should get one. I would love some input on this, i am getting tired of wasting money just to try different things.

    I also own a dakota 4 and a hand held mini flesher which i am not sure if i should use them on a green hides. should i try out the flesher that i already own, or is it beneficial to buy a beaming knife? keep in mind i do send some thing to the tannery.

    Thanks you for ready, i hope someone has some useful input!
  2. sab1

    sab1 New Member

    I have a cheap beaming knife and a beam that I've used to flesh whitetail and coon hides. It is a lot of work, and I usually do cut a few holes in the hide during fleshing. I'd like a better beaming knife, or better yet, a fleshing machine, but I'm just a hunter who dabbles in tanning hides for my own use, so it doesn't make sense to spend the money. I would think your fleshing machine would be the way to go. If you're using that and think it's a lot of work, using a beam and knife will not seem any easier...

  3. Duckslayr

    Duckslayr Active Member

    Couple thoughts...
    I would never be without a fleshing beam. This is your biggest problem. Pick up a dexter skinner, and watch some YouTube vids of fleshing on a beam with a knife.

    2. You only need to remove the red meat and fat, and salt throughly to send to a reputable tannery. If they are asking you to "scrape" your hides, you may need to find a different tannery.

    3. If a beaming knife is the same as a draw knife (strait blade with wood handle on each end) it's a tool you will rarely need, but worth it's weight in gold when you do. They are fairly useless to me on fresh hides, but the bomb for fleshing salted/dry hides.
  4. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Conversely, I'd rather baptize a cat than screw around with a fleshing beam. As far as I'm concerned, they left with the slide rule and the manual typewriter. Never going back to that way of life for any reason. Give me a good round knife that does 100 times better job with 500% less effort.
  5. davehyer

    davehyer Active Member

    I do all of my rough fleshing from the ears down on a fleshing beam using a sharp necker fleshing knife. I can do a deer cape in about 5 min.

    I have used my Dakota pro, but I prefer to use that for shaving pickled/ tanned hides.
  6. capnmike

    capnmike New Member

    I have been using the same Sheffield draw knife since I started in high school 19 years ago. With a beam I can shuck the meat and fat off a whitetail faster than with anything else including a fleshing machine. I have found nothing that works better for me for hogs with thick shields either. I very rarely cut holes but of course I am very familiar with my knife.
  7. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Beam and sharp draw knife for me. I recently started salting over night and then beaming it. About 15 min at the most on capes cut long for peds.
  8. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Look, say what you might, but it all comes down to "resistance to change". Much like me refusing to try the newer airbrushes, they didn't (and don't) fit into my comfort zone. I hear this "I can flesh a deer in 5 minutes" and for me, that's crap. Not in MY SHOP because anything that only takes 5 minutes still has another 20 minutes work that should be done to it. If you like the beams and the knives, they came from a time when there was no alternative. If you can do it to your satisfaction, you owe no one any apologies, but FOR ME, there's much better and far more efficient equipment out there that I've forced myself to learn and become competent in using. When I'm through "fleshing" a deer hide, there's not going to be a whole lot to shave off after I've tanned it. A beam and a knife is not going to do that, PERIOD!
  9. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    George, are you removing the chunks of meat with the round knife or cutting them off with a knife before you take it to the round knife? I ask because I am intimidated by the Dakota pro on a raw cape with all the chunks and stuff on it. Also, do you have one for shaving and one for fleshing or do you do it all on one?
  10. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I remove the large chunks with a scalpel.
  11. James Marsico

    James Marsico Well-Known Member

    Knife and beam for me. That works well for me and has for over 40 years. I am getting pretty good at it finally.
  12. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Like George said and it goes for me. I have issues and pushing down on a knife and beam all day like that would cause havoc for me plus I couldn't get it as clean. Look if your comfortable with a beaming knife good for you. With my Eager Beaver I can flesh and shave it with no problems. The secret is having a very sharp round blade to do the work. If you blade is sharp you don't have to work hard to take the junk off. If your struggling then you need to hone that blade or get it re-sharpened and then learn how to keep it that way. My blade get reground when there is probably no lip at all. Yes it took me a while to learn how to keep one sharp but practice practice and more practice and you will also get there.

    Before I tanned my hides for myself and others I would send them out and get hell from the tannery cause my capes were to thin for their shavers and they cut a lot of holes in them. so from there I do been doing my own tanning for over 14 years.

    ps one machine does it all, fleshing and shaving
  13. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    Flesh on a beam, salt, send to tannery.
    If we tan in-house an item, we flesh on a beam, salt, go through the tanning baths and shave on the shaving machine during the tanning process.
  14. James Marsico

    James Marsico Well-Known Member

    I try really hard to hire someone to do my fleshing these days but that gets more difficult every year. All tanning is sent to a tannery.
  15. Skin Deep

    Skin Deep Member

    All great replays thanks so much everyone. It made me decide to try buy a beam and draw knife. George i do take off all the heavy pieces of fat and meat off with a scalpel and that is another thing i am trying to get away from. It takes so long for me problem my fault but don't seem to be my cup of tea. With all the research i been putting in seems like to me i am to novice to be using a sheffield blade, all reviews say there awesome i couldn't not find one bad review. Seems to me the necker 600 is very user friendly until i learn the proper technicians to fleshing.
    hopfully one day i will be worthy of using the sheffield.

    Now i am making a fleashing beam out of pvc. I am looking for a 10 inch pipe because my understanding it has the best bevel. Crappy part is i think i need to special order a 10 foot section.
  16. whitetails and fish only

    whitetails and fish only Well-Known Member

    Cape out, turn ears ( much easier when fresh ) throw on beam and flesh from ears to brisket. Takes off all meat and fat very easily. Use a two handled draw knife that is not to sharp, can actually push a lot of meat and fat off without cutting holes in skin. Eyes, nose, and lips are a different story.
  17. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    SkinDeep, in the time it will take you to be "worthy of using a Sheffield knife", you could be qualified on a machine that both fleshes and shaves and getting much better results all around.
  18. RTF

    RTF Active Member

    Fleshing beam and draw knife
  19. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Let's make this interesting. Tonight I did a bison (Don't ask me why I did a friggin buffalo. One would think you'd get smarter as you got older.) I started work on the hide at 6:30 (The CBS Evening news just came on here) and after having to cut about 25 pounds of excess meat and hard tallow off, I had the hide salted and on the drain table at 9:20 using the round knife. That's all the meat, tissue and slimy membrane removed and salted. The flat hide measures 11 feet by 8 feet. My feet ache and my back feels as if it's broken but it's now draining. You guys with the beam and knife any faster than that?
  20. RTF

    RTF Active Member

    George what do you mean by "round knife" ? Is that another name for the fleshing machine?