What tools have you used for scraping hides? (The more specific the better.) What don’t you recommend?
My favorite for thicker hides is my drawknife. I keep it a bit dull so it doesn’t cut, but it’s comfortable to hold on to and works really well in a wet scrape.
I made a bone flesher, but it doesn’t dig in as nicely for scraping.
(The link below isn’t exactly the one I have, but is similar, just in case you haven’t seen a drawknife… You don’t need a new fancy one, I’ve seen them at flea markets and such for just a couple bucks… http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID=3616&wcs=1340&pcs=fam)
derekja said it.
Drawknives are kind of the universal hide scraping tool. New they might be a bit pricey, $40, but they are commonly found at flea markets, yard sales, etc. for just a few $.
Don’t use it sharp though for hides. Sharp drawknives are for working with wood. If you can cut yourself with it then it’s too sharp for hides.
I don’t recommend trying to scrape with improvised things like kitchen knives when you are first starting to work with skins. You will have a frustrating experience and unless you just really have a passion for it (like I do) you’ll probably say f’'k this shit and give it up.
Ha ha ha. If it weren’t for the great time I had helping tan a deer hide in February, I would have said exactly that about my recent experience trying to scrape a rabbit with a kitchen knife.
But instead of giving up, I have this wonderful web forum for advice.
If you feel like going primitive you could always split the femur and use that.
My buddy and kick ass tanner posted this tutorial where he uses a bone scraper.
When they are prepared well they work as good as a metal one. I usually have one available when I teach classes so the students can try it out. Sometimes somebody will use it for their whole hide.
I used a couple of paint scrapers with the corners rounded off once. First time I fleshed a hide. It had sat for a while before this step, as I got it from a hunter. It turned out pretty ugly, with gouges and marks all over. It took forever, and was really difficult. Ended up being a “F**k this sh*t!” moment.
I totally feel for you. When Fen and I tried to flesh that raccoon recently I tried the paint scraper and had the same frustration. I kept telling him that we should find some “special” tools, but he insisted that his dull and rather worn out pocket knives would be best. I was doubtful, but when I talked to my friend that does taxidermy and skinning as a daily pastime, she told me that she used regular scissors to do it. So yeah…I guess there really isn’t any “special tools” for scraping. I heard something about a “crescent knife” but I don’t know what difference that would make.