Bushcraft Knife Test Tasks?

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by Feldgrun, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. Feldgrun

    Feldgrun Tracker

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    I've been purchasing a number of knives over the years, from higher priced custom knives (Fiddleback) to common inexpensive knives (Mora). I'd like to test these knives using a range of bushcraft tasks, and so far I can think of making fuzz sticks, carving and notching - I tend to think of batoning as more of a last-ditch survival task, something better suited for a hatchet/axe. I'd appreciate your advice on what tasks to use in my bushcraft knife test, and please state whether these tasks should be performed on dry or green wood, etc.

    I plan to post the results of my test here, realizing that much of it will be subjective.
     
  2. KajunKat

    KajunKat Guide

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    All you said plus other things I do when I am in the woods. Slicing for food prep, cross batoning for notches and such, game prep (clean fish, small game etc), whittling/carving (spoons and such) umm......
     
  3. NJWHN95

    NJWHN95 Scout

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    Everything that has been said. I personally think batonning is a very important test though. I do it even if I have a ax/hatchet just because when my kindling gets real small it's easier to baton. On top of that it is a good test for strength.

    Another thing to consider is what maintenance it requires. Is the edge easily sharpened with just some simple tools? How is it's edge retention? How susceptible to rusting is it?
     
  4. Panzer

    Panzer Prepared Wanderer Supporter Bushclass I

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    If you can't do a one stick fire with just your knife and a firesteel then it doesn't work for bushcraft. IMHO
     
  5. Hiwa

    Hiwa Guide

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    I think if a knife performs pretty good on hardwood , greenwood generally isn't a problem. For me , a bush knife should be able to baton wrist-size thickness relatively easily , peel bark off , knock smaller twigs of branches , have a point for piercing , be able to clean game , and do food prep. Good to be able to use it as a weapon if the need arises. Almost any sharp knife can do smaller tasks like notching and feather sticks.

    With those criteria in mind , I like no smaller than a 4" blade , spear ,clip ,or drop point , full tang , and comfortable grip.

    If you have only one knife in the bush it should be able to perform those tasks all reasonably well and be able to be maintained on a regular basis.
     
  6. Lamewolf

    Lamewolf Guide

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    Don't take me wrong here, but I'm wondering why batoning is so important. In the area I live in will all its thick forests, I can always find all sorts of sizes of useable wood just lying about the forest floor for use in building a fire without ever even needing to pull the knife from its sheath except to scrape the fire steel for sparks. So my question is, "is the reason you all have to baton due to not finding any small wood in your area" ? I carry a hatchet for cutting fire wood to shorter lengths, but I can always find enough of the small stuff to get a fire going without the need to split anything.
     
  7. Machine27

    Machine27 Ridicuously Good Looking Supporter Bushclass I

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    Just do the standard tasks youd do while camping or out doing bushcrafty things. Green or dry wood kinda depends on the task dont'cha reckon. Would be pointless to make feathersticks from green wood and you don't wanna use dry wood if you're making a fishing spear. I've done a few knife tests, check them out, maybe you'll get some ideas.
     
  8. Panzer

    Panzer Prepared Wanderer Supporter Bushclass I

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    It's a woodsman's skill. There may be a time and place when making a fire in wet conditions will warrant getting to the dry heart wood. You may not have your hatchet. The knife is the only tool. You should to check out bushclass and hardwoodsman challenges, also IAwoodsman's video series for a better explanation. Twig fires don't always work.
     
  9. dRobinson

    dRobinson Supporter Supporter

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    ^ Agreed. I'm also fond of Mors' criteria - sharpened pry bar with the ability to carve a netting needle in a few minutes, or something to that effect. IMO the pry bar bit is meant to emphasize toughness (full tang, no worries with batoning, beating the snot out of it, etc).
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  10. Machine27

    Machine27 Ridicuously Good Looking Supporter Bushclass I

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  11. dRobinson

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    Plus they are boring IMHO. I just like using my tools when I'm out, and making a one stick fire even if it isn't necessary.
     
  12. zpstl321

    zpstl321 Scout

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    If you remove batoning they would be no need for any knives other than Mora. :)

    I too believe it is important your knife be able to perform this task.

    Any knife will process game, it isn't a very demanging task.

    Carving would be the next biggest test because you need to be able to make spoons, chairs, or drying racks, or other items that make life great i the woods.
     
  13. Longbeard

    Longbeard on the PCT Bushclass III

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    That Bindlestitch guy knows a few things about knife testing. heh heh
     
  14. Wood PF

    Wood PF Scout

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    One stick fire and carve a bowdrill set including the bow.
     
  15. Wood PF

    Wood PF Scout

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    I also like to make four or five working primitive traps to put a knife to test
     
  16. rainforest

    rainforest Guide

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    carve a "try stick". There is info here but I'm having a hard time finding it. Google it
     
  17. crookedknife

    crookedknife Guide

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    I've spent quite a lot of time on beaches next to large expanses of tundra. The only wood is driftwood, and the twig-size wood is rare and what there is of it is always wet. All driftwood is wet in the outside, but most has dry centers. Since I might not always have an axe, batoning is a good skill to have even if I might not use it very often. Conditions vary.
     
  18. Sefton

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  19. WoodsJack

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    For that matter, a lot of wood can be simply just broken off to shorter lengths, too, with no real need for an axe/hatchet, either. Even often able to split quite a bit of wood, using no blade. I did quite a bit of camping for many years, with no axe/hatchet and never batoning. No problem.

    But I do *enjoy* using the tools. And it's good to know how well enough. A lot of bushcraft isn't "necessary" but chosen and enjoyed/appreciated.
     
  20. Itegorm

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    For me tests would include...
    Sharpenablity.
    Edge holding ability.
    Ability to make feather sticks.
    Use as a planner/scraper.
    Abillity to drill a hole in a bit of wood (for prepping a hearth board for a fricton fire set)
    Food prep, I have no use for a knife that I can't slice veggies with.
    Game processing, skinning and jointing.
    Light batoning, to finish notches such, not spliting logs. I carry a tomahawk/hatchet/axe anyttime I am out.
    For what its worth, my prefered knife is usually something along the lines of a butcher type knife with 5 to 6 inch blade that has had its tip width narrowed down to a bit sharper point or a typical style pukko. Never stainless steel and usually a plain jane wooden handle.
     

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