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Discussion in 'JK Handmade Knives' started by JK Knives, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. JK Knives

    JK Knives Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 6, 2001
    I get asked why I don’t really offer any really large knives or “choppers.” One reason is I don’t care to make them, another is I don’t feel they are needed, and finally, I don’t have a background in “wilderness survival.”
    My biggest outdoor adventure is going on a once a year camping trip with several members here. I believe an axe is a better chopping tool, and a small to midsize knife is a more practical tool for me. My main uses are for carving and food, not chopping down trees. Also I like a knife that is also practical for urban use. Think about it, how much time do we really get to spend in the woods.
    I look forward to hearing your opinions on this.
    Wurrwulf and austexjg like this.
  2. cbwoods67


    Oct 12, 2010
    Interesting topic, John.

    In my opinion, large knives are simply a novelty for most. Realistically, a folding saw is usually more efficient for cutting wood and and an axe or maul is better suited for splitting it.

    I am likely in the minority in that I spend a fair amount of time in the woods, both hiking and camping in mostly off trail areas. In those areas, I sometimes cut small shrubs or branches to establish an area for my hammock. For me, a heavier duty machete (in my case a modified Becker BK-4) is ideal in these circumstances, and is perfectly capable for firewood duty in the capacity that is needed. Plus, it is easy to strap to my pack and since I am so comfortable with using it, it provides a sense of security for things that go bump in the night.
  3. Wurrwulf

    Wurrwulf Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 3, 2015
    I'm right there with you, John. Most of my knives are 8" or less in overall length, and the only ones that get carried with any regularity are 6" or less. My knives get used in the kitchen mostly, so I do see some advantage in knives on the 8"+ range, but the thick stock knives don't appeal to me. 3/32" is the thickest I care for.
    protourist likes this.
  4. mqqn

    mqqn Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    I like big knives because I like big knives. You can always carry a small knife in addition, but you can't do with a small knife what you can do with a large knife.

    The Kershaw Camp 18 was one of the knives that we had as much fun with as any at the gatherings - and if you needed to you could cut a slice of ham or skin a squirrel, but you aren't going to chop a 3" log with an Izula. Just sayin'

    Does an axe do a better job at chopping? Yea, it does, but it does not carry as easily as my XD XT, for instance.

    I agree with Coop - a folding saw is de rigeur for a serious primitive camper.

    However, I get a better "man feeling" with a large knife than I do with a folding saw.

    As a final thought, what is remembered more from history; the very common smaller "trade knives" that were ubiquitous on the prairies, or the Bowie?


    fishiker, protourist and mykel m like this.
  5. RayseM

    RayseM Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    I like a big blade for woodwork such as limbing, after the tree is down. 20 to 30 oz. and maybe in the 10" blade length x 1/4" thick at the spine. I used and really enjoyed a Seigle for a while but swapped it out for a Khurkri. Being able to sheath these is a bonus. Not all big knives are properly balanced for that kind of work and can be dangerous. For camping - fire building - I agree that a hatchet is a great tool and as some of you know I'm a huge fan of Silky saws.

    mqqn likes this.
  6. protourist

    protourist Obdurate Member Platinum Member

    Aug 19, 2007
    I have a few knives that are basically choppers, for example kukris that work really well for the job. For the most part though, I really just like large blades. Little bitty blades have their place but they will never be as cool as the big boys.
    mqqn likes this.
  7. Rob Babcock

    Rob Babcock Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    I never really use a knife for chopping but I use one to baton wood. I think an axe or maul is ideal for splitting large rounds and a saw is my weapon of choice for cutting wood, but to make kindling I feel a large knife is more precise, easier to control.
    JK Knives likes this.
  8. cbach8tw

    cbach8tw Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 9, 2006
    IMG_0231.JPG IMG_0230.JPG IMG_0157.JPG IMG_0156.JPG I just like a primitive camp knife, somewhere in the 7 to 8 inch range for camp duties, although I really do not need one for the type of camping we do. Around the house, it is nice to have a heavier knife when cutting down limbs. My JK Hudson Bay fills that role. But I like a smaller knife around the camp site, maybe a 3.5 to 5 inch, just more handy for small jobs. So John, were they Hudson bays about as large (7 and 9 inches) a knife that you made?
    To be honest, the last time I went trailer camping, my Swiss Army knife in Alox got the most use. I do have this smaller JK that I want to try out as a front pocket knife.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
    protourist likes this.
  9. JK Knives

    JK Knives Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 6, 2001
    9” was the largest I made.
  10. grunt soldier

    grunt soldier

    Dec 4, 2009
    I like both medium and large knives. Might not be practical sometimes but I love them
    fishiker likes this.
  11. Rob Babcock

    Rob Babcock Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    I have a couple of them I think.
  12. fishiker


    Nov 5, 2006
    If I plan to be in the woods overnight in addition to a smaller fixed blade and SAK I'll always carry a hatchet and saw. If I'm hiking on established trails I'll have a fixed blade with a 3-5 inch blade. When I'm scouting the woods for hunting season or hiking off trail I'll carry a large knife. The large knife may not do everything as well as the other tools but it's capable of performing anything needed. I only have one larger JK but it's a work horse.
    JK Knives likes this.

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