One of my favorite firearms is the old Ithaca side by side 20 gauge shotgun. The company, Ithaca, has a long history, as well as the shotgun that was handed down through the generations.
I was looking for a good skinning knife several months ago when I was contacted by Camillus knives. Like Ithaca, Camillus has been around for a while, with its origins dating back to 1876. By 1910, Camillus was producing over 1,000,000 knives per year. Camillus was influential with the military and Allied forces during the World War, providing over 13,000,000 to the troops during that time. In 2009, primarily due to the overseas manufacturing of knives and cutlery, Camillus filed bankruptcy. It was then purchased from bankruptcy by Acme United and slated to make a comeback.
I was offered a replaceable blade skinner, the Camillus 8" TigerSharp Fixed Skinning Knife, something I have never tried before. The skinner I was familiar with; the replaceable blade, not so much. The shipping was quick and I was excited to test out the skinner. First, I wanted to get an idea of how the replaceable blade was designed, and then I would see how efficient it was. What I thought was going to happen did not. The replaceable blade actually slides in between two steel surfaces that look like it is the blade. The actual blade is titanium steel and black. You can only see the sharpened edge of the blade when inserted. It is locked in by a hook on the blade that catches a pin between what I will call the false blade.
While this seemed like a neat idea, the next question that came to mind was about flesh and hair getting trapped between the false blade and the real blade. I would find the answer to this question a little later.
I tested the skinning knife on nutria. The blade worked fine in both cutting into the flesh and separating the hide from the meat and fat. After skinning the entire hide, I performed a quick paper test with the knife. A paper test is basically seeing if the blade cuts a piece of paper when slicing on the edge, or if it tears the paper. If it cuts, it has a clean sharp edge for the most part. The paper test performance was satisfactory as well. Later I magnified the edge to look for chips or burrs on the blade, in other words, damage to the blade caused by the skinning. Again, the blade showed good resilience through the skinning process.
Now to answer my question asked earlier. I removed the replaceable blade and while there was blood between the blade and false blade, only a couple of the finest hairs made it between and none of the flesh, meat or fat. I quick cleaning with water was sufficient and the blade was ready to go again.
Overall, I was pleased with the replaceable blade skinner. It comes with an extra blade and a sheath that holds the extra blade as well as the knife itself. The handle was plastic and seemed a little cheap, but did not hinder the ability of the knife for its purpose whatsoever. The extra blades can be bought separately, and are reasonably priced for the way the blade performed. I am interested to see how it handles tougher game such as beaver or bear, but have no doubts it can handle a deer with little to no problem. It is nice to see a company with a history like Camillus has, to come back and make a quality product.