Proper Guard Setting

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Proper Guard Setting
Proper Guard Setting
D.Price

ON YOUR FLESHING MACHINE

By D. Price

Proper Guard Setting
Proper Guard Setting

The #1 question I get, time and time again on fleshing machines is how do you determine where to set the guards? I answer, there is no magic number, it is not necessarily 1/8” or ¼” it is a feel thing that is only learned with experience. That truly is the only way I can describe it. It is kind of like someone asking you how far do you press the gas pedal to go 60 MPH?

There are way too many variables to consider just like with the accelerator, such as are you going uphill or downhill, are you loaded with a heavy payload or driving a light weight compact car? With the fleshing machine, what size motor does it have as well as how thick of a skin are you working with? Is it a Whitetail cape or a Moose cape? How sharp is the blade, is it freshly ground or used and dull?

LET’S GET STARTED

Here are a few simple “Rules Of Thumb” I like to share with folks who ask me this question.

Proper Guard Setting
Proper Guard Setting

Very first thing, make sure both the right and left guards are installed on your machine. With the two guards in their proper location you can see that I have quite a bit of space between the blade and the guards. I have heard people say that they need to be as close as possible to the blade without touching it, this is “FALSE”. Without any clearance there is nowhere for the fleshings to fall and clear the work area.

Proper Guard Setting
Proper Guard Setting

One of two things will happen. Either the fleshings will pile up in front of the machine or they will bind up between the blade and guards and cause the blade to stop. Here is a close up of the same area.

Proper Guard Setting
Proper Guard Setting

 SETTING THE CUTTING SIDE GUARD

Ok, on the left side of the machine you want to set your guard so that you are working with the middle to lower half of the blade. This will be much more comfortable for you. Also, this will help to control the skin better. If you get to high up on the blade it will tend to grab or snatch the skin. This could cause damages in the skin itself.

Proper Guard Setting
Proper Guard Setting

Here you can see a close up of the same area. Notice how shiny and worn the guard is in the area where I do my work. You can also see how much of the blade is exposed when I shave Whitetails.

Proper Guard Setting
Proper Guard Setting

SETTING THE BACK GUARD

On the right side or back side of the blade, I see or hear of people removing this guard. This is not a good idea, it protects you if you over reach when shaving. Also, it helps to protect the skin from being damaged. Here I have the bottom of the blade closed off with the guard. This keeps the skin from folding up and cutting a line or hole in it.

Proper Guard Setting
Proper Guard Setting

You can see here, once again, I am working in the middle to lower half of the blade. Also, here is one more close up as to how much blade I have showing when working with Whitetails.

Proper Guard Setting
Proper Guard Setting
Proper Guard Setting
Proper Guard Setting

IN CLOSING

I hope this helps to give you some answers on this commonly asked question. Also this information is available in my new online HD video series “Mastering the Fleshing Machine A-Z PLUS”Over three hours of everything you need to know about fleshing as well as shaving skins on your machine. It can be accessed at www.fleshingmachines.com.

DP

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D.Price
D. Price is owner and operator of Outback Taxidermy since 1993, a full time taxidermy studio in Youngsville, North Carolina. Over his many years of experience, dating back to 1986 as an apprentice at Carolina Fur Dressing Co. in Raleigh, North Carolina, D. has developed unique skills as well as techniques that he uses in his every day taxidermy projects. He specializes in mammal taxidermy, and with his 18 years of experience in the fur dressing side of the industry, he is well versed in the field of hair on tanning as well as skin preparation.

6 COMMENTS

  1. It seems like I commented on this procedure you talked about here that I went and readjusted my guards on my Dakota IV. I have been looking for the post for awhile but unable to find it so I will comment here on how it went.

    Adjusting the guards with more space between the guard and blade did stop the clog up of matter in front of the blade so that worked good. (I have never had an issue of the blade stalling on me as mentioned in the article). But then, I ran into a whole other problem, and I accept full blame for this due to my lack of experience on the round knife. I cut a lot more holes in my skins with the readjusted blade.

    So I moved the guard back closer and it was back to shaving as usual. Today I decided to try it again with the guard repositioned and ran into the same problem. I wonder if your video can teach an old dog (and I mean OLD) new tricks! Or maybe there is some other adjustment I need to do? I don’t know. But, being only a hobbyist I don’t do much in the way of taxidermy so it isn’t like time is money in my case!

    Always enjoy reading your articles DP in Taxidermy Today.

    Vic

  2. Vic as you move the guard in or out from the blade it changes not only the gap between the blade and guard but also the angle at which the skin approaches the wire or cutting edge, This means you will have to move the guard back or forward as you make the other adjustment to keep from cutting to deep into the skin.

    As far as the video I guarantee you it will help you on the machine whether you are a hobbyist or professional.

    DP

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