Bushcraft Blades: Do they really matter?

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by jimh0220, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. ROCK6


    Feb 8, 2004
    Bushcraft has turned from a focus of skills to a marketing scheme. There are some traditionalists that list features of a "bushcraft" knife...the only merit is some of the handling methods for carving. That makes some sense, but skill will overcome design and any sharp object can be used for "bushcraft"...maybe not as efficient, but practiced skill should be the primary focus.

    I do find it kind of funny that there are some "established" traits of a Bushcraft blade that Mick has so eloquently mocked, but the Scandinavian blades have been used much longer in traditional form for not only "bushcraft", but hunting and as a general utility blade (ala Mora!).

    I remember a guy posting about using his Cold Steel Recon Tanto, a blade marketed for the tactical circles, for "bushcraft" tasks and it actually performed quite well. I personally like the modern bushcraft designs and there are some very functional knives that meet those "criteria". However, if you can't do bushcraft skills with a $10 Mora, than you might as well call Kevin and humor him with your piss-poor skills using a $200 bushcraft blade.

    I must admit, it's addictive trying to find the perfect "bushcraft" knife, however the real search should be in the skills not the tool.

  2. Birdkiller


    Feb 5, 2010
    I think the whole bushcraft thing is stupid. Just like tactical knives
  3. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    OK, I was wondering where the "wood handles" came from in your post, since I didn't specify any real traits other than it can do woods work. Mebbe I just missed it. That happens sometimes, otherwise I'd be Major Punishnment, or even General Punishment by now. ;)

    You can thank Pitdog for me coming to that conclusion. He started posting iup pics of using knives that only a few years ago I'd have said were useless in the woods and burn anyone that preached such heresy at the stake.

    After trying my knives that weren't marketed as bushcraft knives, I've come to the conclusion that pretty much any sharp piece of metal will do -- not that I don't have preferences, mind you. Like Moras, they're just evil. :D
  4. fmajor007


    Apr 1, 2010

    Hey Rock, i don't want to quote you out of context, but i think you've hit the nail on the head.

    From my experience, i see many people for whom it's easier to spend money to buy that "perfect" knife (or hypothesize about the perfect knife) than to spend the time learning how to use it. This happens with many things (aka hobby's) - cameras/lenses, long-distance rifles, ice-climbing tools and the list goes on and on. It's more 'enjoyable' to acquire new things than to suffer the 'learning curve' required by the journey of skill acquisition. Thats the New American Way - we are the worlds greatest consumers of goods and services.

    From there, all sorts of "expert" speculation occurs by folks who are learned masters of design and all the minutia about knives (cameras, lenses, etc), but never spend the time using their knives or 'hands on' testing their passionately-held ideas.

    To me, bushcraft (and TBH, 'survival' in general) is so much more about skills and NOT gear - more with less. However, this is a "blade" forum after all and comprised of folks who really enjoy knives of all expressions which is pretty cool any way you slice it.
  5. ROCK6


    Feb 8, 2004
    That context is probably more fitting and you're right, it goes beyond just the knives in the knife forum when you talk about other hobbies...it could be that tactical gear set up, the cool rifle, hunting set up, truck modifications, fishing setup...etc. You're spot on; t's easy to get caught up into the material side of the hobby as it's sometimes easier to spend the money than dedicate the time...well said:thumbup:

    I don't get my panties in wad about guys showing off their new shiney toys as those toys which attact people can lead to the real thrill of getting outdoors, to the range or what have you, and practice those skills (which is what we all should all be encouraging them to do). All the shiney, cool toys and gear are just like fishing lures...they have that initial attraction, but will do nothing unless you put them in the water and learn how to use them:thumbup: I love the "survival" threads and discussions of Bug-Out-Bags. There are lot of "prepared", but unskilled people out there. I would never recommend somebody get their Concealed Carry License, purchase a cool, expensive pistol and holster, buy the most "effective" ammo, yet never get out to practice shooting, presentation or timed drills...the bushcaft application is bigger than the knife-world!

  6. fmajor007


    Apr 1, 2010
    Careful Rock - you're bordering in dispensing wisdom here - that'll get you in trouble!!!
  7. Mannlicher


    Nov 19, 2008
    And on the other hand, if this stuff, messing with knives, bumming around in the woods, playing with gear, and learning new skill sets........ if it were not fun, then virtually NO ONE would be doing it.

    Simple as that. Yeah, some hard core, dedicated prep freaks would, but that would narrow the field down to about 46 folks, nation wide. :rolleyes:
  8. JelicoCat


    May 27, 2010
    Bushcraft is definitely about skill. I good general purpose blade will get the job, but certain characteristics of a blade lend itself to the tasks and activities involved bushcraft.


    An Esee-5 (an excellent knife) is a poor choice for a bushcraft knife. A mora clipper is a good choice for a starter bushcraft knife, but is not ideal because of it's thickness, tang, etc. A knife such as the bushlore or BCNW-O1 has design, quality materials, and fit and finish that make it an ideal bushcrafters knife.
  9. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    I agree, but the Scotsman in me wants to argue some more, so here's a counterpoint:

    While many people are just fine with "good enough", I'm not one of those guys. IMO living my life by pure practicality is boring.

    So I think a lot of people start out and learn their skills with whatever they have at the time. As they learn the skill, they start thinking about their equipment "Yeah, this works, but if the handle was a little longer, it had this other geometry, etc" and then start refining the tools to be what they'd consider the optimum for them, not just good enough.

    The more you have in time invested in something, the more you are willing to perfect the associated gear.

    Take the photography example. For most people a simple point and shoot -- beit the old 110 film cameras or a digital -- camera is just fine and more than they need their whole life. But how long does the true hobbyist stick with a point and shoot?

    We've got a guy at work that's a real media geek. You go over his apartment, and he sleeps on the couch, eats off paper plates, has clothes strewn opn the floor, he drives a scooter. Then you walk into hiks living room and it's set up like NORAD. He's got computers hooked top his plasma screen. Giant flat-screen monitors all over the place. Digital sound equipment (he DJs on the weekends).

    Or the guys that obsessively ride bicycles and have $6000 bikes.

    So it makes sense that people into outdoor sports will eventually migrate away from Moras, and Wal*Mart packs and start obsessing over their gear, because it's what they do for fun, it becomes a major part of their lives.

    Look at what a person spends their money on and you see where their heart is.
  10. fmajor007


    Apr 1, 2010
    The Scotsman in me (Paisley) wars against non-sensicalness.

    Why then, am in posting? :rolleyes:

    As i said, it's the American Way.
  11. BaldingEagle


    Feb 16, 2010
    The only thing that an expensive knife will do is attract a better looking bush.
    bemymonkey likes this.
  12. Rprecision


    Aug 17, 2008
    I see where you a coming from with regards to cost, alot of blades to be had for less then $30.00

    As to the cost of higher end Bush blades I think the point has been missed. If your going to compare a Mora to a Bark River, Woodlore clone, koster, Etc you must look at more then do they each cut wood!

    You are buying a knife made of more expensive materials often tool steel +. Handle materials add to the cost. Factor in more expensive heat treat, hand finishing and costs soar.

    But at the end of the day you end up with a knife of a higher quaility. This can be measured in many ways, edge retention, general strength, asthetics, longevity, Etc.

    Sure you can head off to the woods with both and they both will work, and while one may not be building shopping malls over the other, it doesent mean there isnt a difference !
  13. JelicoCat


    May 27, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  14. JelicoCat


    May 27, 2010
  15. fixer

    fixer Banned BANNED

    Mar 9, 2000
    while almost any blade can be used for "bushcraft", the features that i'm typically seeing on knives intended for "bushcraft use" seem to commonly have a few features-

    the blades tend to have blunter spear points, and fairly straight profiles. not many recurves, never seen any serrated blades. a Spyderco Harpy wouldn't make a good bushcraftter.

    handles seem to be smooth and simple with minimal guards or finger grooves, no subhilt fighters. there's usually a hole for a lanyard.

    sheaths frequently have a loop for a firesteel and are often a deep "pocket" type design with no straps to secure the blade.

    none of these features are required, it's just a tool and it's what you can do with it that's important. however choosing the right tool for the job usually makes things easier.
  16. Marcelo Cantu

    Marcelo Cantu

    Jan 18, 2003
    A lot of time being spent on semantics here :rolleyes:.

    for me it is a term that saves time in describing a certain skillset and hobby. It is a term that describes a certain kind of knife.

    A knifemaker or knife company that wants to make and sell a certain model that fits certain critertia that have been established by consensus, will use it.

    If I want to buy or sell a certain kind of knife on the forums, I'll use it.

    My Swamp Rat HRLM will do a killer job at gross survival tasks; cutting poles, making notches, skinning shit, etc. but I don't want to sit there with it for over a half hour making a bowl or a spoon, the shape ot the blade won't work for me, the grind will make me work harder and have less control, and the handle may develop hot spots. It's a kick ass knife bt it is not a bushcraft knife.

    Use a knife for about an hour and you will know what isn't a bushcraft knife.
  17. Toucan Oasis

    Toucan Oasis Banned BANNED

    Aug 17, 2009
    I love the "look" of "bushcraft" knives.
    I also understand certain Keywords in the outdoor world actually mean BEND OVER.
    Space Age

    That's 4. Care to add some ?
  18. baldtaco-II


    Feb 28, 2006
    I figure these might give a bit less discomfort with a dollop of KY on. ;-)
  19. tomsuper


    Dec 31, 2006
    awesome, great post, thanks to all for your insight and i love this knife never seen that one before and i can probably afford it.
  20. Guyon

    Guyon Biscuit Whisperer Staff Member Super Mod

    Mar 15, 2000
    You come into a bushcraft forum and, right away, phrase the title of your post in an inflammatory manner. And then you fish for an answer until you get the one you wanted in the first place, slighting those posts that don't fit your preconceived notions.

    This thread kind of reminds me of your W&C post where you try to ridicule large segments of the BFC population and then wonder why folks might take issue with some of your "observations."

    A look in the mirror might be in order...

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