Get a buck hoodlum that will generally perform better than an axe with much less weight
As mentioned last week, I went for a beautiful short camping trip to Banff National Park. Yes, it is cold at night now, about 3 degr. Celsius and yes, bears and wolfs are active eating, bears getting ready for the hybernation in a few weeks.*
But it was wonderful, perfect weather during the day. And of course, we had to do some camping chores. Mainly fire, water, food.*
I went ahead and used my SwampRat rodent 9 for wood processing. I had a folding saw to cut the logs to approx. 40 cm, then chopping/batoning etc.*
I must say, I was quite disappointed and although I have not much experience with other bigger knives made for batoning, this one sucks!!!
There was no way in a reasonable effort and time to baton the amount of wood needed. Bad, bad, bad.
On the other hand, my buddy Jim brought his small axe with about 20 cm handle only, light, beautiful tool from Graensfors & Bruks and the best, she outperformed my big camp knife big time.
So, my conclusion and final decision for next trip - batoning sucks, at least with this knife. Don't get me wrong, I do baton, carefully with my 4 inch bushcraft knife appropriate size of wood but for the big brothers an axe is a million time better, even a tiny little axe like this one.*
There is a place for a camp knife but now, after this WE, I will look for a camp knife-bowie mix, 7-9 inch blade, with !!!! a *nice clip since I don't baton anymore (maybe in emergencies but that is still possible). Then I can slice, stab and chop with it all day long. So my well used and convexed edge Rodent 9 will be for sale soon and I am going to look out for a camp-bowie.
I will post some pictures soon, of the axe, the wood and the beauty of western Canada!
Any comments and suggestions very welcome!
Get a buck hoodlum that will generally perform better than an axe with much less weight
You are using a very good axe for a comparison. Many knives will out chop the average hatchet available from hardware stores and such. That said, as the wood gets larger in diameter, the hatchet does better and better relative to a camp knife.
ryanv403, I have never used the hoodlum and don't know the exact specs, it is likely very similar to the Rodent 9 but I don't know about the grind which makes the day-and-night difference for batoning I believe. For the rodent 9, it does not work, chopping is o.k., not awesome though!! The problem with batoning a grown up log is that most of the blade surface is in contact with the wood and tries to go through, an axe works totally different, the axe spreads the wood apart and you can easily utilize the weight of the wood to get the job done. You can't do that while batoning, not easily anyway!
me2, yes, a good axe, but a small one, very light, easy to carry and outperformed the big knife without a sweat. I will check out Neeman axes next, I heard only good things (http://www.neemantools.com).
I find the same thing.
I have a cheap Fiskars 17 inch splitting axe I use to split the bigger wood up, but then I use my Fallkniven F1 to split up the smaller kindling and make the tinder. If I'm batoning wood, it's usually just the really small stuff that is awkward to do with an axe.
I got a Fiskars X7, cheap, and like a review on here, it makes chips fly like it was a wood-chipper!
Can't beat the right tool for the job.
So far in my (limited) experience, my BK9 outchopps my cheapo hardware store hatchet by a large margin. It is easily twice as good at chopping. However, splitting wood is a different thing entirely.
I feel that the BK9 can easily baton 4-6in thick pieces of wood with reasonable grain (aka, just choosing your pieces wisely), but if I was stocking a cabin with enough wood for the winter then there is no way I would ever choose to use just the BK9. Where I am though, we rarely have that size wood to worry about (usually in the 4-7in thick range), where the larger knives seem to do better. I personally feel like the primary benefit of using a large knife to baton, is that I have more control over my splitting, and that the knife is overall usable for more tasks. And for a small campfire, there really isn't all that much wood that needs splitting (if at all).
Part of me wonders if part of what was causing you problems was the thick coating on the knife (its very rough, and could be functioning like sandpaper). However, for the size of log that you're talking about, I would feel that a Small Forest Axe is more up your alley. Its the exact reason that axes were designed .
I use fiskars and leave knives for cutting. It is light and is designed to chop and split (less actually because I do not like splitting axes that much). I have got some machete and shopper knives but have never came around to trying one. I do not feel like there is any need.
How did you use the mini to split with ?
I would assume you would swing it like an axe / hatchet, But that can't really split anything thicker then your wrist ? as it only weighs 12 oz that's around 300 grams.
I have the mini and it a good tool, no doubt. But it not really good at splitting like a normal axe.
Or do you baton it, that's the only way I can imagine it being better the a big knife for splitting. and I'm an axe guy myself
If I remember correctly, the original concept of a camp knife was that it could be used for anything from cleaning fish to cutting fire wood. It wasn't necessarily proclaimed to be the best at any task, but like many other do-all things, it's a compromise. If you want to specifically chop wood, use a hatchet or an axe. If you want to fillet fish, bring a fillet knife.
I've got one of those big Gossman Tuskers, and it's a great knife. But it won't out chop my Estwing hatchet.
There are lots of large/monster 'chopper' knives out there, and some of them would appear to be very capable choppers for a knife...but when you get in situations where calories count, you're much better to use the most efficient tool for the job, unless you're just doing something out of preference or for fun. Watch pretty much any video of people chopping with a knife...chopping general uses a lot of energy...doing it with a knife certainly doesn't make it easier. Fitness of course does play a factor as well as the wood being chopped. So again, if you're doing it for fun, not a big deal...but if night's falling or your prepping camp and don't want to spend alot more time than necessary doing wood prep, and axe is the way to go. There's been a nice Estwing axe down at the local hardware store for like $50 that would be an excellent camp axe...will probably pick one up. I expect it will chop circles around any knife, even the multi-hundred dollar units.
That being said, the Estwing is fairly large/heavy, and I'd be hard pressed to take it on a pack outting, unless I knew, without a doubt, that taking it would be worth the effort...ie we'd be using LOTS of firewood. And I wouldn't want to try and clean a fish or other routine cutting chores with it. It's the portability issue...good to have, but probably something you're not going to carry on an extended outting. And is some places, even pointless, as camp fires may not be allowed (in my area, not allowed over 3,000 feet as well as other places).
Hence the larger/chopper knife popularity...not the best chopper, but easier and probably all around more versatile than an axe. Which is why I respond to the 'you could only take one knife' questions with it depends on what other cutting devices you're taking (axe, saw, etc)...
A good thread for the forums would probably to inquire about who's done the most chopping/firewould prep with a knife, how much, time involved, and why.
Funny, I asked a similar question the other day...smaller knife + compact hatchet vs. monster chopper...limited response, so perhaps its a relatively moot topic...perhaps other than a handful of diehards, most folks are just chopping with axes...I know I would if it were available
Last edited by BOSS1; 09-10-2012 at 07:38 AM.
Hawkings ~ I would swing that mini thing once into the log to bite in and "stay", then I would turn the axe with the log together around and let the weight of the wood "push"/hammer the axe into it and split it apart. You would do the same thing with a big axe if you can't chop through with the first swing. Hope that makes sense.
ocn-Logan ~ yes, I think you are right. The coating is "sticky" and thick and as soon as it comes off a bit, you can see "lines" on the entire blade going parallel to the edge - that doesn't help either !!
I have a GB SFA yet still find myself splitting with the BK9 when possible, aside from portability I find stability to be my biggest problem with axe splitting. As most of you have surely experienced, one thing very hard to come by in the backwoods is a chopping block. Unless someone has come by with a chain saw you're splitting on the ground, which I never do with my axe, or a turned over log or stack of logs you already cut. I never get a chance to wind up and slam down my axe well enough to split the hard woods out here, I usually chop with my axe and split with my knife. Anyone else have the same issue?
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