Thank you Garry, this is about the same set up I will be using , although I use only one vacuum pump..at this stage I do not have the need to stabilise the wood I am using currently is very old and hard close grain wood that do not need stabilizing...basically all the wood I am using is solid, hardwood with close grain that does not change at all after fitment on the knife blade...Chris I stabilise many of my woods and it is simply a manner of making sure the wood is dry first so I have a small oven that I can run at 50*c for about 4 day continuous and then the blocks go into my 3 gallon ss pot with weight over them to stop any floating and the stabilising resin (cactus juice) is poured in so that it covers the top of the wood by at least an inch. The top of the pot has an flexible silicon edge seal so the lid and in my case it is 3/8 alloy with a 6 inch windew cut into it and 1/2 inch armour glass silicon sealed to the allow. There is a vacuum guage threaded through the lid and connected to a vacuum pump. The vacuum pump lowers the pressure in the pot so that the air in the wood is sucked out and evacuated through the pump. I have two pumps and run them alternately for 12 hrs each as it can 4 days or more to get all the air from some woods. My pot is 8 iches in dia so I can stack quite a few blocks in there. When there are no bubbles coming from the wood it means there is no more air in them the vacuum pump is turned off and the standard air pressure forces the cactus juice into the wood. taken from the resin the blocks are wrapped in aluminium foil and baked in the oven at 95*c for 2 hours to cure. As the air space is what allows for moisture takeup and with the resin being in there and baked hard there is now a stable product that retains the beauty of the wood but is not effected by atmospheric changes and I can feel confident that there will be almost zero dimensional changes whether the knife is going to Florida, Alaska Africa, England or any of the other countries and regions my knives have ended up either as their home or by hunters visiting. I have been stabilising where needed for about a year so my early knives were not done. Just another one of the things we learn and have been able to add to my standards to make sure I offer the best product I can.
c b h,
I would have said the same but for 2 things.
I have found the length of puma coyote to be very user friendly.
and garry chooses to use his light hunter on the hill.
I do not even skin on the hill, preferring to do it later, even though a warm animal seems easier to skin.
the sized game I am skinning I mostly use hand, just starting it with a knife.
where I seem to blunten a knife the most is when cutting the lower joints to remove them.
sometimes I misjudge where the joint is and drag the edge over the bone.
a bit of straight edge toward the hilt is good to have for this.
if I want to take a fore quarter off a camel for meat, I need a sharp knife that will hold its edge more than a big one that won't.
in that situation there will likely be a vehicle close by giving more options.
in which case I would take backstraps as well or even in preference.
for an in the field knife, I am wondering if a sheath containing a small steel as well as the knife might be worthwhile.
whatever happens, I always carry a small pocket knife everywhere.
you might notice I still have the 4" hunter skinner on my shortlist as well, at 4".
I think we have been educated by Hollywood to think big knives are better, but I am starting to believe a good knife is better.
I note that many of garry's knives are not big, and believe that is based on his experience with meat and hide, often in the field.
(but you make me question myself!)
sooner or later you have to pay your money, take your pick, and learn something as a consequence.
Bruce you are quite correct, it is not about the size of the knife that makes it functional and useful..if you take Harry Woluther`s knife he used to kill the lion with, it was just a normal kitchen/meat processing knife of medium size Keep in mind when you are making a large ECD knife you have to carry it all day long with you ...it can get cumbersome...medium to small sharp edge knife is the way to go..look at Garry`s designs, yo need not look further for a perfect knife design...
Have sent a pm with a link GertGarry, I am trying to get a stabilising medium/product here in South Africa that will work as good as the Cactus juice is not available in SA..I send the owner of the product an email and want to order Cactus juice..unfortunately he said he does not do international orders, only local /USA..