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Fleshing, been using knife is it worth getting a fleshing machine

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by jbtaxidermy, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. jbtaxidermy

    jbtaxidermy New Member

    I have been fleshing hides with a knife and fleshing beam, but looking at getting a fleshing machine. I send my salted hides to the tannery so I wont be using a fleshing machine for thinning hides, just fleshing to prep for salting.

    Just looking for some input as to if its worth the $$ to use for fleshing and then also what machine you guys would recommend?

    Also can you flesh the face with a machine or is it to risky?

    thank you so much for your time, there is so much knowledge on this website I appreciate so much
  2. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I have always used a beam and razor sharp draw knife. It is fast and efficient. Recently, George Roof suggested using the round knife to flesh. I tried it and now it's all I use. You still have to remove the big chunks by hand. I now use a rub on preservative "tan" no pickle required, so I flesh and thin to "the blue", then apply the tan.

    If I were to send them to a tannery, I would probably just use the beam.

  3. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Back when I used to do game heads (I specialize in fish now) once I got a fleshing machine I would never go back. It was so much easier and faster.

    As far as fleshing the face no problem as long as you don't get too close to the eyes. That said you will need to practice a little before going at a customer cape. And learn the skill of sharpening the blade for various tasks. You can cut the hell out of a cape if you don't do it right.

    I also used a auto tanner which doubled as a tumbler for me.
  4. jigginjim

    jigginjim Active Member

    I was thinking of using a mini flesher? any try one for raw/ green hides?
  5. https://fleshingmachines.com/the-flesh-all-mini-flesher/

  6. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    There are 3 letters that I use to describe that Mini-Flesher. They're POS. Eons ago when WASCO was a pup and I was poor, I bought one. Then I had to buy a bigger compressor. Then I had to buy a bigger compressor with a bigger tank. Then I was constantly picking bits of sinew and fat off my glasses, out of my teeth, off the wall. When that wasn't happening, strings of sinew were winding up under the shield and around the spindle. Then I was taking it apart and trying to readjust that blade and guards. I actually put that POS on this website and GAVE IT TO SOMEONE WHO PAID POSTAGE. Unless you have a 5 HP compressor with a 50 gallon tank, just buy a round knife. It will be one helluva lot cheaper in the long run and you can depend on professional results from it.

    Ask D.Price how many of those his shavers have on hand.
  7. 5hp and 50 gallon tank and it will still runt he air comp a hell of a lot.
  8. jbtaxidermy

    jbtaxidermy New Member

    Thanks for the replies!
    Okay I’ll stick with fleshing, just wanted to make sure I was being as proficient as possibly

    My other question then would be how do you guys keep your knives sharp?
    I had a local guy professionally sharpen my knives, but after one bear they were dull again
  9. Dave Byrd

    Dave Byrd Active Member

    I stop and sharpen my knife regularly throughout the fleshing process. Don't let it get dull. I have two Spyderco sharpeners mounted side by side on a piece of wood. I give my knife about 10 swipes each down the two sets of stones every 5 minutes or so. I use the fine and ultra fine stones. Keeps it very nice and sharp. My knife is a victorinox 5" beef skinner. Works fast and easy for me.
  10. msestak

    msestak Well-Known Member

    the mini flesher works great when attached to a foredom. however, like George said, pieces go EVERYWHERE.
  11. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    LOL...I bought one and found it to be worthless right away.
  12. not knowing how to use a tool is just plain ignorance
  13. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Excuse me??? Trying to justify using one of those POS is just ignorance. There is no GOOD WAY to use one. This ain't exactly my first rodeo and when I look back, only ONE PERSON ever tried to claim this thing was anything but a POS. Wanna guess who that ONE person was???
  14. woakley144

    woakley144 Active Member

    I bought a mini-flesher and use it every once in a while, I agree with all the comments about them.... I have a 5hp compressor and a 75 gallon tank and it runs all the time when I try to use the mini. I can use my Dakota V and get the job done in about 1/2 the time and not have to clean up the mess that the mini makes...... throws crap everywhere!!!!!

    The one thing that I have found it is good for is on the ear cartilage... about the only thing I use it on any more.
  15. boogger47

    boogger47 Member

    I bought one 25 years ago, calling it a POS is a real complement . A flint chip is more useful.
  16. Jasboj

    Jasboj New Member

    I'm going to chime in. This is my first post (only lurking before now). I am a beginner so this is coming from someone just starting to someone just starting. Until you decide if you like taxidermy well enough to spend the $1000+ on a fleshing machine the mini flesher is an option. I use mine with little frustration. Yes it makes a mess, yes my compressor runs alot but with proper set up and a learning curve you can get good results from it. Yes you will get the occasional tear in the cape but they will sew and the mini flesher will get the job done. I know not everyone can run out and buy a round knife right away so for me it is a great tool. I do plan on upgrading to a fleshing machine eventually. Like I said I'm a newbie so take my opinion for what it's worth.
  17. woakley144

    woakley144 Active Member


    Well spoken words..... I did the same when I started and have slowly upgraded to EVERYTHING I have purchased for my work.

    @jbtaxidermy & every other newbie out there that is reading this..... look in the tutorial section of the site and see what type of tools you can make or find locally. I have found that there are a few tools that are indispensable that the industry does not manufacture..... i.e. the "one man deer head stand" that George Roof has posted.... and Brian Hendrix has some tools that can bu used on bobcats, deer and other animals when turning ears, lips and nose....

    In short.... if you can't find one make it yourself!!!!
  18. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    I bought my first fleshing machine with a bonus I got for joining the air national guard. The stinkers didn't tell me it would be in broken up in installments though!
  19. jigginjim

    jigginjim Active Member

    Welcome to the military. I done 28 yrs. Thanks for the great info. looks like I keep the big skinning knife going until I can buy the good fleshing machine. As for now I have a guy that does the turning, fleshing, tanning and shaving. I am still looking to learn all that, or at the least get the turning and fleshing perfected.
    I have the A - Z dvd and others and books. but still not what the tannery wants.
  20. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    In case you are referring to me I was there from 86-92. So it's been a while. ;D

    Wow 28 years! Thank you for your service.