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Thread: Difference Between Bushcraft Knife Skills and Whittling

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    Default Difference Between Bushcraft Knife Skills and Whittling

    There is a tradition of knife skills within bushcraft that differs in some ways from traditional whittling. I wonder what others opinions are about this. Also, does anyone know about the history and origins of bushcraft-style knife use?

    Thanks guys

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin McGee View Post
    There is a tradition of knife skills within bushcraft that differs in some ways from traditional whittling. I wonder what others opinions are about this. Also, does anyone know about the history and origins of bushcraft-style knife use?

    Thanks guys
    This is something I would also be interested in learning. Post now under observation....

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    Curmudgeon. B.O.F. Supporter 45jack's Avatar
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    What do you define as "bushcraft-style knife use"?
    ~ Jack

    "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
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    The style that is taught within the bushcraft culture. It is taught by the bushcraft schools, in the bushcraft YouTube channels, etc.

    One difference is that we focus more on safety because an injury in the wilderness is far more dangerous than one acquired on the front porch, so we are less likely to use the whittling cuts where the knife moves towards the thumb or finger, for example.

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    Things like locking the arm and moving the stick to make shavings for a fire.(?)
    ~ Jack

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    Dr. Fishguts Bush Class Basic Certified kgd's Avatar
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    I think carving styles are much more simplistic in bushcraft. As stated by the OP, great emphasis on safety. Whittling in bushcraft is more a utility-driven exercise than artistic and past time adventure. In the bushcraft that I practice, an ugly spoon and a pretty spoon are both just spoons as long as they can be used to shovel food into the talking oriface. The precision of notches are necessary for properly set traps but aside from that there is little aesthetic aspect to bushcraft whittling.

    Folks who fancy the artistic value of a carving project - like the pretty kuska's and so forth are more into carving and whittling for its aesthetic purpose. For all intensive purposes they aspire to higher skillsets and great artistic sensibilities. Spoons should look like spoons and kuska's should look like kuska's. The time put into an individual project likely far exceeds the utility gained by such an object. Created objects are also kept long term or given as gifts. I can say for a fact, that nobody in their right mind would ever want a KGD spoon. They would probably be happy with one made by Skog though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin McGee View Post
    There is a tradition of knife skills within bushcraft that differs in some ways from traditional whittling. I wonder what others opinions are about this. Also, does anyone know about the history and origins of bushcraft-style knife use?

    Thanks guys
    I think this forum's emphasis on mostly Scandinavian-style carving projects is based on a handful of incredibly skilled individuals that post here regularly that carve that kind of stuff. I wouldn't rule out any form of traditional whittling as 'not bushcraft'. Most of these projects seem to be about carving skill development so that when in the field and the need arises for complicated carving, they have the skill to do it confidently and expediently. Fundamental skills like trap and shelter construction are emphasized because of their practicality when in the woods. Trap lines have been run as a means to an end long before Europeans ever showed up in America, and shelter construction is necessary when on various outings, especially in unexpected weather. I think these are the reasons why you see emphasis on certain carving tasks, though the word 'bushcraft' would encompass carving and whittling in general an important element to an endless range of skillsets (hunting, fishing, skinning, cooking, navigation, herbology, etc) used while appreciating nature, and the stereotyped 'bushcraft knife' is designed as the ideal do-it-all companion for executing those skills. While a bushcraft knife should excel at carving and whittling, it should also excel at skinning and butchering game, harvesting plants, processing wood for firecraft, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgd View Post
    an ugly spoon and a pretty spoon are both just spoons as long as they can be used to shovel food into the talking oriface.
    Brilliant I say! Quite right

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin McGee View Post
    There is a tradition of knife skills within bushcraft that differs in some ways from traditional whittling. I wonder what others opinions are about this. Also, does anyone know about the history and origins of bushcraft-style knife use?

    Thanks guys
    a)history of using a knife in the woods---->stuff needed getting done--so it got done

    b)if things ever got to a point of having some free time --- then I imagine whittling and woodcarving began

    decorative vs absolutely necessary & immediately needed would be a fair line of demarcation.......blurred and bridged by crude personal touches on various everyday items

    https://whiteeaglestudios.wordpress....r-woodcarving/

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    There is a book called "The Book of Skloyd" (sp) that shows about caving etc. It was used by th Finns , I think, to teach wood carving andknife safety to children. I thnk it might be aailable as a down lad somewhere.

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