Bushcraft Blades: Do they really matter?

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

  1. HandofCod


    Feb 27, 2010
    I think many have overlooked the point here - of course the $10 knife is going to perform, afterall it's still made of metal and competently made. The real question is for how long? Edge retention and toughness are importent for knives used in the field because it could well be only tool you have until you get back to civilization.

    How long before the knife goes dull, will it snap, chip or bend? Will the handle crack or come loose? Can you hammer on the spine of the blade without the edge curling over? How resistent is the blade from getting little dinks or nicks in it? Most of these tasks any knife will be just fine but do it over a period of time with intense work and you'll separate the wheat from the chaff.
  2. PayetteRucker


    Aug 4, 2009
    I'd catagorize this as a 'survival' knife, durability and performance in a long term scenario. A Bushcrafter tends to have more finesse for detailed, extensive work.
    buckfynn likes this.
  3. HandofCod


    Feb 27, 2010
    I'd characterise my Aurora as a bushcraft knife and it will stand up to all of the above and more while still being designed specifically to do fine work.
    buckfynn likes this.
  4. coyotebc


    Jan 26, 2005
    Never really got into the "bushcraft knife" idea.
    When I was 14 I bought this knife at a swap meet.
    used it for hunting, camping and just plain playing in the bush.
    this is what it looked like before Mike Stewart cleaned it up.
    After more then 30 years it is still my favorite knife
    buckfynn likes this.
  5. PayetteRucker


    Aug 4, 2009
    CoyoteBC, I'd say that design definately fits the definition of "bushcrafter"
  6. tonym


    Mar 18, 2008
    You are all wrong, a "True Bushcraft Knife" must say so on the blade!


    high desert likes this.
  7. Gossman Knives

    Gossman Knives Edged Toolmaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 9, 2004
    Tony, does that hole serve a purpose?
  8. tonym


    Mar 18, 2008
    It helps me see what ever is on the otherside of the blade Scott.

    bemymonkey likes this.
  9. Gossman Knives

    Gossman Knives Edged Toolmaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 9, 2004
    :D :thumbup:

  10. erichsen


    Jun 12, 2009

    I would have to agree with what I detect is your hypothesis; that "bushcraft" is just another term for what knives have been used for before the human race had written language and probably not long after working out the details of controlling fire.

    As applied currently, it's a marketing blurb used to help sell more units with a certain sector of the knifebuying public during a period of global economic crisis and attendant slump in consumer purchasing habbits. Whatever sells product is ultimately what keeps the lights on and pays the bills at both custom and production shops, beyond that, it's largely rubbish.

    What has become "favored" among the bushcraft scene appears to be equal parts practical and traditional. Many of the knife designs I've seen that are said to be "bushcrafter" knives could easily have been in common use more than a hundred years ago.

    Whether your interest is in Far Eastern, Middle Eastern, African, North/Central/South American traditional knife forms, anything not explicitly designed to be weapon (daggers, etc) could be applied. Almost any relatively simple knife pattern; nothing too ornate or highly stylized, could be a very serviceable "bushcraft" knife. The "bushcraft knife" term does not directly correlate to any specific blade pattern or design.

    I'd prefer my Khukuri or a very large Leuku with no further information regarding terrain or vegetation, but I'd preserve the right to choose again provided a bit more information.

    What is the best "bushcraft knife"? Whatever works best for you and is comfortable enough to slog through the brush all day and use for practically everything. If you have access to a grinding wheel or know of someone who does, get some old files and try your hand at it. After a few tries, you could send off your "bushcraft knife" ideal to be heat treated for less than you might think. The W1 and W2 used in files makes a great knife and virtually all shops know how to work with it, just ask to have the blade a bit below HRC 60, less for longer blades, well tempered and all should be well. Wait a few weeks and when you get the naked blade back, obtain some handle scales in your chosen wood or synthetic material and shape that until it feels just right in your hands. All easily performed with rasps and sand paper. Apply some epoxy and/or rivets to hold it all together and give the haft a final rough texture (80 grit seems about right, your mileage may vary) for grip.

    If you live further out from the city, you might even have a nearby saddlery shops. All saddlery shops have the tools to do the job, if they have the time and inclination. Saddlers often advertise their holster and sheath products if they have diversified their business as most have. You can send your knife or make a pattern and have them make a sheath to suit. There are many sheath shops online, several with excellent reputations. You could have them stitch you up a traditional sheath to your liking. If you have the right tools, you can give it a go yourself.

    The knife and sheath you design for yourself (on the cheap, or relatively so) will probably cost you less than $100 and will probably be the best knife you've ever owned, whether your goal is "bushcrafting" or not. The simple forms favored by the "bushy" crowd are probably the best suited for a DIY effort.

    Good luck and Happy 4th!
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  11. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    Nice post :thumbup:
  12. Big Mike

    Big Mike

    Aug 30, 2006

    ++ Double ditto on that my friend. :thumbup: :cool: :thumbup:

    Big Mike
  13. woodsroamer


    Oct 8, 2009
    Bushcraft: Living for a spell in the woods without having to purchase most of what you have; not having to compete with anyone, not even yourself as to what you can do or how you do it; being left alone to just be. You'll need a knife to make your shelter, maybe make your own utensils, make a trap or two. So what kind of knife do you need? ANSWER: The one that works for you and allows you to live in the woods without having to work too hard at it. I've seen Indians in Latin America make everything from bows to huts with a machete. EVERYTHING! I've seen vaqueros in South Texas use a pocket knife to live on the range for a spell and they seem to do just fine. I've seen guys go out and spend two hundred dollars to buy super custom made knives with Scandi grinds and 4" blades and full tangs and they can't get past a day without being helped. But that's okay; they have spirit and desire (and the money to pay for expensive knives) and they want to learn. Mors, whatever his name is, has his ideas of what works and so do a lot of other people. The point is to enjoy yourself and be left the heck alone and not have to live up to anyone else's expectations. But you will need a knife.
  14. Dr Rez

    Dr Rez

    Jun 7, 2012
    To answer OPs question, yes a 10$ mora would handle 99% of tasks required of 99% of people. But what fun is that?
  15. Worldwatcher

    Worldwatcher Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 19, 2015
    I am sure the op has been waiting 9 years for your reply.
  16. bore


    May 20, 2015
    I think a blade is pretty personal. I have my favorite blades. Rat 1 D2 pocket knife and a lapin leuku about 5 inches blade. I've got a few other blades but those are my favorite ones. The rat lives in my pocket
    buckfynn likes this.
  17. not2sharp

    not2sharp Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 1999
    There was a story in a gun magazine from a few years back, about an elk hunter and his guide. IIRC they had hiked inland in pursuit of the elk and had been at it most of the day when the hunter down a prized trophy. It is late in the afternoon and when they go to clean the animal they realize that the hunter had left his knife back in his truck and with daylight fading, there was no time to retrieve it. The guide went through their packs and found a razor kit; removed a safety razor blade and used it to deafly process the elk. Within 30 minutes the job was done and they were on their way back. Skill can get you there even with an inferior knife.

    Bill Siegle likes this.
  18. Blue Sky

    Blue Sky Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 16, 2002
    Not that I disagree with the premise that skill trumps gear, but 30 minutes to process an entire elk with a safety razor blade? Gutted and quartered? With a razor that somehow made it into a hunting pack? Say what? Not buying the story, some or all of it was conjured IMO.
    Worldwatcher and bemymonkey like this.
  19. Arathol


    Jan 1, 2003
    bikerector and jmh33 like this.
  20. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I think 30 minutes is a bit optimistic. :D But I know everything could be accomplished with a razor blade if you had to. Certainly not as convenient as a regular knife. Even a so called "gas station" knife would be an improvement if it was sharp. Sharp... but for how long, right?

    I could see someone carrying a razor blade as part of a small survival kit (think Altoids can size). It might be very useful for medical issues where extreme sharpness is needed or I guess as a last resort cutting implement. I would choose a small knife such as my little SOG Access Card 2.0 or a peanut sized knife.
    Blue Sky likes this.

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