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Best Knife Configuration for Batoning

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Confederate, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. Confederate


    Sep 5, 2005
    I don't know why people try batoning folding knives, but Nutnfancy not too long ago decided to test a CRKT M21-04 by batoning wood with it. It all had to do with the Lake and Walker Knife Safety (LAWKS). Somewhere along the line the LAWKS failed, probably because the screw had not been secured with Loc-Tite. Now that Cold Steel has its new (2011) line of Voyagers, I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before someone decides to split wood with it.

    For some reason the Bowie type blade has always been favored for this task, most likely because it's what most people carry into the woods. But on viewing my new Voyagers -- all plain edges -- I decided if someone is going to try to split wood with a folding knife, the clip point and Vaquero wouldn't be the best choices. In my view, the only logical choice would be the tanto. The grind of the clip point and Vaquero are okay, but the tanto version of the 2011 Voyager at first was a complete turn-off to me because of the massive spine on the knife! Not only is it thick, it comes straight off the frame and reaches its tip 5.5 inches later. But while inspecting it, I saw that the knife not only would be outstanding doing what tantos are good at (penetration), it also would be the ideal batoning configuration.

    It made me wonder why more outdoor knives aren't made in that configuration. The spine is straight, thick and steady, and the grind is such that it would be ideal for splitting wood. After all, in virtually all the breakages I've seen on fixed blade knives, it's at the front, or tip, of the blade. That wouldn't be an issue with a tanto configuration as striking it at the front of the blade is like striking it in the rear part of the blade -- it's all the same thickness.

    So why aren't more outdoor knives tantos? And should they be? Or is this a completely unnecessary solution to a largely non-existent problem?

  2. gomipile


    Apr 17, 2010
    The best configuration for batoning is a froe. :D
  3. brets-ftw


    Sep 11, 2010
    best batoning config. I've seen is a splitting wedge and maul combo. As to the OP's question I see more drop points then "bowie" or clip points for the favored stronger tip and versatility of the belly during bushcraft tasks, IDK how the Tanto would handle those tasks, obviously as a knife it'll cut but skinning would become increasingly difficult and draw cuts with the second tip dont really shine in a "survival/camping" environment
  4. Poez


    Jul 5, 2010
    Best batoning knife configuration is a hatchet.
    I think you have summed it up very well in your last sentence.
  5. Alann45


    Jul 4, 2009
    Yep. If you're going into the field and know that you will probably need to break up some wood, a small axe or hawk would seem like something you would want to take along.

    I guess its nice to know the knife you are carrying can be used to baton in an emergency, but even though a Tanto might work better, its not likely to be the one you will have. As brets-ftw pointed out, its not a blade design very suitable for most bushcraft uses.
  6. gomipile


    Apr 17, 2010
    I was serious when I mentioned froes. To my mind, a purpose-built batoning blade would be a stout FFG or saber ground sheepsfoot with no distal taper.
  7. arty


    Oct 18, 2003
    Lee Valley sells a batoning chisel. It has a chisel grind on the side and the end. They have separate ones for left and right hand use.
    If I didn't want to carry an ax or Kukri, I'd think of one of these, or a froe.
  8. 22-rimfire


    Nov 20, 2005
    Tanto blades are made for stabbing. I see a tanto blade as only used if that is all you have for woods craft or batoning.
  9. Piper Maru

    Piper Maru Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2012
    Dont worry people I have been batoning with a case backpocket for years, lolololololo. Yea certain knives just should not be put through that type of thing, just use a axe, or a reinforced voy.


    Mar 31, 2006
    The American type Tanto's as manufactured by Cold Steel and others has a very strong tip but they totaly suck at stabbing. as far as bush craft they dont do any better or worse than other saber ground blades as long as they are sharp.
    I've used a Tanto on game, on the trail, and as a camp knife they work just fine. Bayonets are designed for stabbing i've yet to see one with a tanto point.IMHO
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
  11. res1cue


    Feb 2, 2010
    Most axes tend to be convex for strength, i would imagine hollow ground blades wouldnt perdorm well for wood processing not only bc of the strength issue but also because shouldering iasues would make it inefficient
  12. TwinStick


    Jan 21, 2011
    Haters are gonna hate. I think batoning is NOT abusing a knife. Many do. I think batoning with a knife is safer than swinging an axe/hachet (unless you do it all the time & can shave the hair off a knats ass with it). Many do not. Just make sure you bring enough knife for the task at hand. Knives are tools & any tool can break if you try hard enough. Common sense prevails in the preservation of your knives.
  13. AussieKnifeNut


    Jun 7, 2012
    Hawks are terrible for splitting due to the lack of a wide wedge, however it is much better than a knife usually.
  14. AfghanWarrior


    Feb 3, 2012
    Neat idea and thanks for sharing. I just checked the website. It looks a tad too small and China made so I will pass. I will keep an eye in the future for a like item.
  15. CWL


    Sep 15, 2002
    I think batoning is an unnecessary solution to a largely non-existent problem.

    It is a seldom needed "skill" that people nowadays place far too much emphasis and dependence on. As one small part of a total outdoors living & survival skillset, perhaps, -however the people I see extolling the virtues of "batoning" seem to start and stop with this one technique and never move beyond merely beating on their knives.

    If this is all you know, it aint enough.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
  16. marcinek


    Jan 9, 2007
    Tips don't break during batonning. Tips break during twisting the tip. That is not what kind of stress that occurs in batonning. So a tanto's tip strength is really irrelevant in this case.

    Batonning stresses the pivot on a folder or the join between the blade and handle on a fixed blade. That's where knives break during batonning.

    And that stress can be avoided by using proper technique.
  17. Confederate


    Sep 5, 2005
    I can see batoning being necessary in situations where axes and hatchets might not be available, but when I see "failures" on YouTube where people are batoning knives like apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey, it makes me just turn it off. Another thing that gets me is when some clown takes an insanely expensive knife out and batons it as if it were a twenty-five dollar wedge! I mean, they can do what they want with their money, but it just doesn't make any sense.

    As Marcinek said, proper technique is everything. Oh, and it also riles me when people say that steel is stronger than wood and therefore shouldn't break when slammed into hard knots or used to pry a cold, hard log into two pieces by sheer force. It make me wonder if they know anything about simple physics. I think you can break any knife if you set out with reckless abandon...well, except the Ontario Marine Raider. I don't know that anything can destroy that knife.

    I wouldn't baton any folding knife with a flat grind, but as I said earlier, the 2011 Voyager Tanto probably can be so employed. True, tips can come off if twisted in the wood splitting process; however, I've seen some knocked off when protruding from the wood and relentlessly whacked with steel. And many purposely destroy knives and then return them to the manufacturer for replacement!

    Again, if someone wants to baton, the tanto configuration seems to me to be the best. It has a strong spine and tip and a hollow grind below the spine. It's the strong spine on the Marine Raider that makes it such a good whacker.

  18. Magnaminous_G


    Jul 13, 2011
    To the OP, I disagree with your conclusions. The Bowie and Tanto points are not ideal for batonning, at all, and they aren't really woodcraft knives by design. They excel at penetration, for which there is no stronger tip design than the tanto. That makes sense since both are designed for fighting. Tanto points were designed for penetrating light lacquer armor, and the Bowie knife was designed as a stabbing knife for dueling and fighting. In fact, in their treatises on woodcraft, Nessmuk and Kephart criticised the Bowie knife as a woods knife for this reason and for the pointy tip. Many a Ka Bar fighter has been misinterpreted as a woods/survival knife and had the tip broken off.

    For batonning--and general wooodcraft--a wider, stronger tip like the drop point or spear point will hold up to batonning much better.

    But beyond batonning, the tanto blade's geometry isn't very conducive to good bushcraft use. The sharp angle between tip and main blade, complete lack of belly for slicing tasks, and extreme blade thickness are why. You don't see more tanto blade bushcraft and survival knives (outside of flea markets and mall-ninja type shops) for a very good reason.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012

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