Tom reviews the Forschner 6-Inch Boning Knife.
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Right after college I went to work in the Beef Packing business. I took what I learned there and applied it in my Outdoor World. As a kid, down on the deer lease outside of Sonora we used Old Henry’s and whatever else we had to bone out our deer (Boning is removing the meat from the bone).
I suppose that you could theoretically bone out a deer with any kind of a knife but if you use a good boning knife you’ll end up with a lot more meat.
This may not sound like a big deal to you when you’re boning out your deer but in the big beef plants, we live and die by our yields.
When I worked for Con Agra we had five Beef Plants, four Pork and three Lamb Plants. In the Greeley Beef Plant alone we once killed 6,006 head in one day. If a Ribeye is worth $10.00/lb. and you increase your yields from 3.4% to 3.45% that’s 1/2 lbs./hd. more on a 1,000-lb. carcass or $5.00/hd. Do the math on five plants and you can see how crucial it is to get clean bones. And that’s only on one cut. What about the strip, top butt, tenderloin, Chuck etc. etc.? You get my drift. So why would you waste any wild game meat due to using the wrong knife? Don’t do it.
Ok, hopefully you’re convinced of the importance of using a good boning knife. There are maybe three good manufacturers on the market but Forschner is the leader of the pack. Good boners prefer Forschner’s. Pay a couple of extra bucks and buy the best-Forschner.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel on designs. One thing is constant in what the big boys use. Even when they try to cut corners and buy a cheap knife, they use the exact same design of boning knife as Forschner.
Can you bone your game with a different design? Yes. But, you won’t do as good of a job or be as fast. We used to race and time ourselves to be the fastest boners. Trust me on this one. A word of caution. Don’t be deceived by cheap imitations. They may even mimic this design but if they’re made out of cheap metal, you can’t sharpen them.
I’m not a metallurgist. I just know boning and how to steel a knife to keep it sharp. Let me give you a quick overview. Your knife will come razor sharp from the factory. After that, while boning you’ll want to steel it on a smooth steel to keep it razor sharp. In time, when it becomes dull you’ll have to touch it up on a fine Arkansas stone. But if you learn how to properly steel your knife and don’t wait too long between cutting and steeling then theoretically you can bone for 8-hours straight and only use your smooth steel.
I can’t remember when, probably about 3-decades ago to be complaint with the EEC (European Economic Community) requirements the industry switched from wood handles to plastic. The EEC said that wood was pervious and harbored bacteria so it couldn’t be properly cleaned.
There have since been studies that say the resin in wood is not a safe haven for bacteria so it’s according to who you want to believe but regardless, due to this edit a huge majority of knives now have plastic handles. They also have ergonomically designed handles but they are not conducive to fast boning and smooth handling. Sure, if you hold the knife in one position all day I’m sure the ergo designed handles are great but a boner is constantly twirling and spinning his knife into different positions. So, I’m tickled that Forschner still makes a wood handled boning knife. I love cutting with them.
Even though you can’t tell it by looking at the picture, there are different blade stiffnesses. Some people prefer a stiff, some a semi-flex and some a super flex. To do the best job I recommend the Semi-flex. The two models that I am writing about in this article are the:
I’d recommend the Flexible version. But, even among experts the argument continues as to which is best, stiff, semi-flex or a super flex. That argument won’t be resolved in this article nor even in my lifetime!
So as we close, my top choice of boning knives is the Forschner Flexible 6-inch knife. I bone everything from antelope to moose with it and fillet everything from an 8-inch trout to a 4-foot salmon with one. The Forschner 6-Inch Boning Knife is my go-to knife for processing my game.
About Tom Claycomb
Tom Claycomb has been an avid hunter/fisherman throughout his life as well as an outdoors writer with outdoor columns in the magazine Hunt Alaska, Bass Pro Shops, Bowhunter.net and freelances for numerous magazines and newspapers. “To properly skin your animal you will need a sharp knife. I have an e-article on Amazon Kindle titled Knife Sharpening for $.99 if you’re having trouble”