The new old way to do things??

I know its not the popular view, I know many will disagree with me, but I've tried it and tried it for over a year now without a problem ...................

What am I talking about?? Well its a rediscovery of what I believe to be a more common'o'garden tool range for bushcraft.

Pictured above are the two tools, and the only two tools I think a backwoodsman needs. The light tomahawk and a good pocket knife.

As I say over the last year or so I noticed myself using a sheath knife less and less and using the pocket knife more and more! Why I have no idea it just slowly became my norm. Likewise I confined the folding saw to the draw of history.

I'm not sure my choice would be for everybody as your skill and knowledge levels will dictate the tools you need and should carry but for me this combo just seem to work and the choice was confirmed during my recent solo trip in Sweden where I took my M95 Puukko as back up (just in case) and had to make a point of using the knife, just because I brought it!

Some will argue that a folder isnt as safe as a sheath knife, or is weaker and this is true but what I cant do with the pocket knife I can do with the hawk. Fire management isnt a problem and to be honest if it was I'd opt to carry a saw anyway rather than a sheath knife.

The only reason I can see a sheath knife being essential in the field is if its big enough to be a butcher knife if your a fisherman or hunter or if you plan to do a lot of carving of things such as spoons and the like which in reality your not, and if you think you are do remember to take your spoon knife too!

The Hawk is a good tool - in Sweden I brought down a standing dead birch of about 8" diameter with surprising ease and this convinced me of the tools perminent place in my kit while the opinel was up to every cutting task I put it to on the trail.

I will most likely still carry the puukko for a while to come - not out of need but out of habit. And if I where going to live "in the bush" where such a thing were a necessity and more practical I'd likely wear the puukko 24/7 as well as carry the pocket knife and hawk. But for weekends in Britains over managed woodlands and even week long hikes the knife spends more and more time living in the pack.and as such its dominance is usurped by the pocket knife which like a faithful dog is always with me, to hand!


Ross Gilmore said...

I think you are right about the folder, especially the Opinel you show in the picture. If it is used as a knife, it will do as well as a light fixed blade knife.

When one carries an axe, a big knife IMO becomes redundant.

I prefer a hatchet much more than a hawk. I find that for the weight it performs much better. With a bit of experience, maintenance in the woods is just as easy as for a hawk.

I do like a small folding saw because I find it much easier for cross cutting. Because of its low weight, I find it a better weight for performance tool than a larger axe.

Anonymous said...

Folding knives have been "enough knife" for centuries, going back to Roman times, at least. With care and proper use, they sure can do plenty of common small cutting tasks.

As for the tomahawk, you mentioned that you felled an 8"-diameter dead birch in Sweden. But the question is, did you split it as well? This is the main reason why I carry an axe in the 26" range. It has the weight and power for splitting, which I frequently have to do in the Finnish forest, especially in the winter. To be honest, I'd probably use a tomahawk if I didn't need to split lots of stubborn wood, because they seem light and handy.

As you mentioned, with proper skill and knowledge, the folder and hawk can be effectively used for just about everything in many environments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.