27.12.09

The Bushcraft 101 of top tips

Cutting tool tips ..........

1. Three most common tools - knife, saw and axe. Knife is a useful tool for all applications. Saw, even a blind man can use a saw - its a safe tool and coupled with a knife can produce most of your needs. Axes are the most dangerious tools, buy a good quality one and if used with care it'll last a life time.
2. Knives, nothing is more likely to part a "shrafter" from his hard earned cash than a knife! The market is huge yet 2/3 of all tool sold arent worth a cent. Things to consider - cost to usage! As quoted before the man who uses a knife the most is usually the one who can least afford one - ergo the "factory" makers of cutting tools (frosts for example) generally make a excellent knife aimed at workman like users while the custom knife makers aim for those who use their knifes less .........which can often mean a budget knife like a clipper is technically superior to a expensive custom knife.
3. No one knife is good for everything and you cant re-nvent the wheel. Thus avoid gimmicky new tools made/designed by makers who either never really use them or just sell fearsome tools which have a celebraty name stuck on them. A traditional designed "hunting" style knife will general serve you better - a saami knife, a leuku and Puuko combo evolved over thousands of years, used and trusted by people who live or lived in the wilderness is a far better option.
4. Avoid knives with thick spined blades (unless you want a pry bar) - and a remember a blunt knife is a screw driver.
5. Saws and axes - while a small folding (pruning saw) is a handy tool it isnt a wilderness living tool - equally a hatchet is a good travellers tool but a felling axe is better if you plan to live in the woods on a longer term! Dont beleive me?? Look at any set of indiginious peoples and tell me how many you see using "compromise tools"! Or even go to your local garage and ask the mechanic there to repair your car using only a multi-tool!
6. Axe handles should ideally be the length of your arm from arm pit to finger tip as this gives you maximum machanical advantage and eye hand co-ordination. Like was a knife blade should be the width of your palm, for a leuku double the width of your palm is good as eye hand co-ordination is still there.
7. Other bushy hand tools include the crook knife or spoon knife, a hand craft tool for making bowls and spoons but not one you'll die without. Adzes and augers - again additions but not life dependant tools.
8. Avoid the classic trap of buying for buying sake - remember you have to carry these tools - a well used workman like tool speaks volumes of the owner while a man with shiney knives and more tools hanging off his belt than the average viking raider just looks stupid!
9. With the better designed knives cost doesnt alway equate to quality. A £10 frosts knife may well be better than a £200 custom tool.
10. Know how to sharpen your tool and well as basic first aid for cuts.
11. NEVER carry a cutting tool without carrying a first aid kit. NEVER use a cutting tool when tired, drunk or in poorly lit conditions (night time) Never throw your knife or stick it in the ground.
12. ALWAYS carry a small first aid kit - ALWAYS clean your knife after use - ALWAYS resheath your knife after use (a knife should never be left ont he ground or even a tree stump or log ect) unless you've been butchering game then clean the knife before returning to sheath.
13. Carbon steel can be given a patina by leaving it over night covered in Balsamic vinegar - this will blacken the blade (wide of the excess blackening in the morning ect and oil) Avoid knives with leather handles. Plastic, zytel or kydex sheaths can be cleaned with boiling water.
14. Experience speaks volumes - Learn to use your cutting tool throughly.
15. A pocket knife with a utility blade, a smaller "surgical" blade, can opener, bottle opener and awl is a useful tool and can in experienced hands (married with a axe) be the only cutting tool you need.

1 comment:

Perkunas said...

This is very useful part man,and most likely will lead to never ending speeches for everyones favourite cutting tools :).Yup,an axe paired with in example,swiss made "officer" folding knife will easily be all you usually need in the trails if youre already used to do all your task with those only.I do support the idea of "only one knife",although i myself usually carry two,liek fixed blade & multitool,or other combos,but it aint "have to" to me still,as usually man can do most of the REALLY important jobs with just one knife,thats for sure.I too recommend saw,before axe,for beginner,due to its accurate cuts and because its safer.And in most cases the saw aint hard to carry either,no matter is is folding type or just a blade,of which you can make a buck-saw pretty easily.Here the "jacks" used to carry bucsaw blade in belt that was made from two belts stitched together like sandwich,and the blade would be slipped between belt layers.its used there in uk im sure.To me its more important to use the knife,no matter the brand or type of it.What ever suits your needs and hand is ok by me.Knives like to be used i think :),not just to gather dust in shelf.

-M-