Oct 17, 1999
I gave my Ka-Bar USMC to my six year old son to play with. He chopped on brick, uncomfortable and sounds bad. He chopped geraniums, very satisfying, swish, chop, vegetation falls to the ground. He chopped on a pine 2X4 chop, chop, chop....and didn't make much headway. I decided to finish the job. Hey, did you know that if you stroke through (across) as you chop you get bigger chips to fall of? Anyways, I chopped through a 2X4 with my Ka-Bar and wow! The edge was chipped and rolled and deformed (more than when my son handed it back). It was fun though. My questions are, is it normal for pine to deform and chip an edge? Is my observation that stroking across the surface of the wood, as opposed to a direct ax-type strike, takes a bigger bite out of the wood correct? Is a Ka-bar differentially hardened (edge vs spine/center)?
Hmmm...Dad gives six year old son a Ka-Bar to play with. You're probably lucky no bystander called DHS on you!
This of course being the day and age when a pen knife gets a kid expelled for a year.

Did you examine the edge after the initial brick-cutting session? That may have chipped and rolled it. I don't think pine would have done that.
I think the brick got the edge started rolling and then the pine pushed it farther and that's why it got worse. Sharpen it up and try it again, skipping the brick chopping this time, and I think you'll find the effect of chopping through one 2x4 has no noticable effect on the edge.

Ka-Bars are not differentially tempered; no factory knives are.

If I understand your description of the different strokes you were using correctly ... it sounds like you were pulling the blade toward yourself at the moment of striking, like a draw cut? I think the improved results were due to increased blade speed as it struck; that's a motion similar to a whipcracking style karate chop -- I think it was increased speed of impact and not a slicing effect like a draw cut.

Try experimenting with different chopping motions ... if you've never done any chopping with a knife before it can take a while to figure out how to do it efficiently -- but sharpen it up first!

-Cougar Allen :{)
Upstart :

is it normal for pine to deform and chip an edge?

Yes, but it should take more than one 2x4. Assuming a well tempered steel blade you will very likely tire long before the metal will fatigue enough to induce visible effects along the edge.

Thanks guys. Cougar, you're right about my "draw" cut. I was also using some extra wrist action (whip style). Rest assured, the Ka-Bar is sharp again. Seeing the dulled edge just made me grin. I like sharpening. It's therapy.

[This message has been edited by UPSTARTCROWE (edited 17 December 1999).]