Can a big blade replace a hatchet/axe?

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Dec 7, 2019
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I haven’t tried batoning or any kind of wood processing with a knife yet, so I’m curious to know your opinions. What do you folks think? Can a kukri/Junglas/BK9/Busse and other big blades stand in for axes? Or would you prefer an axe paired with a 4-5” blade?

The context I have in mind is wilderness survival, but feel free to discuss other situations as well.
 
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Jan 3, 2007
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In my use, yes. I have a collection of axes and hatchets, but ever since I bought a Kershaw Camp 10, I don't use them to split my firewood into smaller pieces. I also use the Camp 10 for more besides splitting firewood than I ever used my axes and hatchets for other things (except hammering). Granted, I'm not aiming for wilderness survival, and I'm sure everyone else's experiences will differ, but for my purposes (mostly fun and convenience), yes, the biggish chopper has replaced the other tools.
 

Velitrius

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If I thought I might need a hatchet or axe, I would carry a hatchet or axe instead of looking for a knife that can function like one.

There are some really badass fixed blades out there, I'll agree. But I still don't feel that they are ample substitutes for the proper choppers.
 
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Jan 26, 2012
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I haven’t tried batoning or any kind of wood processing with a knife yet, so I’m curious to know your opinions. What do you folks think? Can a kukri/Junglas/BK9/Busse and other big blades stand in for axes? Or would you prefer an axe paired with a 4-5” blade?

The context I have in mind is wilderness survival, but feel free to discuss other situations as well.
Depends on what you're doing. Processing wood for a fire or other bushcrafty type tasks and a knife will do fine. Even chopping, a big enough knife will do okay. That said, an axe will do most serious big wood work better.
 

Lee D

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May 27, 2013
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Of course an axe is the better tool, but I’ve skipped an axe off of my shin before, and it made me rethink this topic. If there’s an abundance of accessible firewood, I’m fine just bringing a Junglas... I trust myself with it. If I’m forced to bring an axe on a camping trip, I’m much more cautious, I wouldn’t want to have to cover a bunch of ground after winging myself to get back to my jeep.
 
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Nov 12, 2012
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I'd say no. A big knife transfers too much force and vibration to the hands and the weight is distributed too far along the axis of the blade. A hatchet or axe head attached to a wooden or similarly lightweight handle will give you better results because it concentrates your energy where it's needed - directly behind the part you're chopping.

That said, I love big knives and I love chopping stuff. So if you're not worried about efficiency, have some fun using whatever the hell you want ;)
 
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May 3, 2020
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If you went knife and saw you would do ok. And if it was for your basic get yourself by bushcraft. So building a stretcher a lean to or a tripod. Batoning up kindling which don't have to be big bits of wood.

It really is a case of playing around with what you are going to use it for.

I have made a stretcher with the pocket saw from my Swiss Army knife. And I almost don't need a structure that is any stronger than that.

So say you went big knife and an opinel saw. That would work and you would save a bit of weight.
 
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Jul 19, 2019
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I would say it is like asking if a marker can replace a pen. sure it can bit try and write someone a letter and you will use up a lot more paper. try and use a pen for a a sign and you will use up a lot of it's ink and take more time.

both have their place and both excel in different places. and axe will chop a tree down or split logs better but a large knife / chopper may do light delimbing, process small pieces or kindling better. one can also argue that to an inexperienced user a chopper is safer then an axe.

a large knife or chopper may be more universal and an axe is more task specific. use what you want for what you want and be happy you had fun doing it
 
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I agree with a lot above....what I find, I believe battoning small pieces and kindling is Safer than swinging around an axe around people or in shelters.....especially if it's dark, tired, cold
The time to learn is not under survival conditions .

I never hurt myself with an axe , over a long lifetime of use ...but had some close calls that scared me when first learning how .

:eek::poop: Yeah , you really don't wanna chop your leg / foot , with no medical help close by .

But the same factors that make an axe more dangerous also make it more energy efficient .

Survival is often determined by conserving energy . Should mention saws in that regard . :rolleyes:
 
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Jan 30, 2021
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All depends on purpose. My advice is that if you're cutting wood under 3in thick, there's probably a decent knife out there that'll do the job, though it might wear you out along the way. More than that, you're not going to get much done unless you're chopping balsa.
 
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