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 Post subject: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:33 am 
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So we on ZS are often leaning toward the skank side of being gear whores. We have our BOB with cool stuff that we will used if the worst comes to the worst and our in house preps of food, water + if lucky firearms and defensive measures and if smart and lucky a garden etc etc.

Now I think most people will agree knives are an incredibly important tool (perhaps the most important tool man ever created?). We have lots of different kinds of knives, kerambits to butter knives. What I was hoping this thread could be was
A) Some gear porn as we all like a bit of that!
B) A discussion on merits of knives for bushcraft/out door living. (Eg, scandi grind, thumb guard etc)

Obviously this will generate some debate I'm sure but sure we in this wonderful sub-forum can keep it civil.

My last comment in this post is: I've been debating a slightly larger knife, a chopper/bigger beast. What are peoples opinions on these? I'm talking RAT RC5 style. I personally used to be skeptical but got a chance to use one a few times and was drawn to them somehow. Been looking at Ranger's models, RAT (or is it ESEE now?!) and would love a Scrap Yard but they don't seem to be in stock...

Oh right my bushcraft knife:
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An Enzo Trapper, full tang, has served me well so far. Edge seems to hold well and has a nice weight to it.


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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:26 pm 
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Hello! This will be my first post on ZS. I have lived in the woods my whole life. My most memmorable occasion was getting my first knife, a pakastani wood scale piece-of-crap folder. But it was my Excalibur. Since then i have used and abused a whole lot of knives. I think that it is agreeable that the knife IS mans most important invention. From the knife we brought ourselves to the top of the food chain(thats arguable i know). At this point this cave man has narrowed it down to three knives. For an all around survival knife I have been abusing a Becker 7. An amazing knife to say the least. I love the swisstool and frown upon the leatherman. Too small for my needs. As an all around carry I like the CRKT M21-04G. I am a knife snob. Ill admit it. I use my knifes on daily basis, so I always look for the most durable not aesthetically pleasin hunk of metal that i know I could really lay into. All three mentioned above have seen a lot and are still sharp edged tools. I am a firm believer that you do not alwys need to pay top dollar to get the best either. Personal preference is the key, as with all things pertaining to self survival. I love this forum and cant wait to meet you all.


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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 4:23 am 
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We kind of have a whole gear section so I think pictures of knives and discussion of aspects of said knives should go there.

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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:51 am 
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yes but this is the bushcraft section where he wishes to discuss the aspects, designs etc of bushcraft knives. Most likely in the hopes that no one will be blathering on about how unless your knife is 12+ inches long and half an inch thick you wont be able to pry a car door open with it. Now back on topic.

For me I really prefer something at about 4" for the blade and about 5" on the handle as I've found the extra length seems to be a little better for control when your doing finer work (feather sticks, notches for snare set ups, etc). and of course my current blade is thinner than most of my others as well tapering from 3/32 at the hilt down to 1/8 near the tip. I almost forgot its a convex grind which I'm digging so far as it seems really easy to keep a great edge on. I'll try to get a picture up later.


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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:12 pm 
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the_alias wrote:
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An Enzo Trapper, full tang, has served me well so far. Edge seems to hold well and has a nice weight to it.


I've been wanting to get an Enzo Trapper and Nordic myself. Which steel did you get your Trapper in? Also, did you buy it pre-made or did you put it together yourself?

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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:54 am 
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I like the simpler scandi knives.

A bit of steel, a nickle, brass or silver bolster, a nice birch handle and a simple leather pouch sheath.

I like to see a true scandi grind, no guards and keep the lines smooth...

Scandis were knives designed through subtraction - any superfluous junk got tossed a long time ago and I think that that philosophy makes for the best knives.

Im a big supporter of Moras, good steel and a good steal. You cant really go wrong with any of the other knife makers from Northern Europe, however I tend to lean toward the Finnish made knives. My favorites are made by Heimo Roselli. His Leuko are amazing. His Puukko are awesome. His Axes are wood chopping demons, despite their unorthodox looks. His "kitchen" knives are outstanding as well... one of his santoku and an ulu and my kitchen cutlery is damn near complete. He doesnt offer an "actual" paring knife, but one of his puukko can fit that roll nicely. Not a cheap kitchen setup, by any means, but it makes drool just thinking about it. The one complaint about Roselli worth noting is the sheaths... those could use an upgrade to something more traditional.


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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:24 am 
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ninja-elbow wrote:
We kind of have a whole gear section so I think pictures of knives and discussion of aspects of said knives should go there.


You are correct but will have to think more on this. Perhaps if people post some bushcraft knife skills within this thread I would be more inclined to leave it here.

Suizen.

Thanks for the reminder on the Mora. I have been looking for an inexpensive knife to replace the last one lost. Going to go with carbon steel but not sure which one. Maybe that set of the three classics so I could give one away to my uncle who is lacking in the fixed blade knife department.

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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:53 am 
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I've not much time at the moment but the reason I posted this here was as fixinto said. Just thought it would be nice to have one knife thread within the bushcraft section of the forum seeing how important knives are to the 'art of bushcraft'! Instead of seeing it lost in Other Gear...My two cents on the matter I just WW's judgement either way.

TC - It was a kit build I assembled it myself and I went with D2 scandi grind.


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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:14 am 
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the_alias wrote:
TC - It was a kit build I assembled it myself and I went with D2 scandi grind.


Cool. I've been thinking about going with O1 for my one, or maybe the AUS 8 stainless one. Have you had any problems with your D2 chipping at all? I've heard some people complaining about this with their trappers in D2. Although I know that D2 can be a touch brittle sometimes, I was worried there might have been a batch with a bad heat treatment or something.

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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:53 pm 
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While I have quite a few folders my collection of fixed blades is in it's fledgeling stages. My current bush knife is a Mora #840-MG:
Image
(not my picture)

Great knife. I was pleasantly suprised by the solid construction and quality considering I only paid $12 for it. It's a carbon blade, probably 1095. The plastic sheath is even pretty nice.


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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:37 pm 
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Stormrider wrote:
While I have quite a few folders my collection of fixed blades is in it's fledgeling stages. My current bush knife is a Mora #840-MG:
Image
(not my picture)

Great knife. I was pleasantly suprised by the solid construction and quality considering I only paid $12 for it. It's a carbon blade, probably 1095. The plastic sheath is even pretty nice.


These are pretty handy. I picked up a few end of 2008 from SG. The best thing about them is they are an affordable bush knife that can handle a lot of tasks and I like to carry them inside my pants pocket! I use the sheath's clippy hook thing on my pants pocket to "lock" it in and the knife rides right there at the edge nice and secure insdie the pocket.

I "preserve" the carbon blade by just use. It's got a good patina. It got some rust on it (small spots) last summer and I cleaned it by wiping the oils off my brow and nose on the blade and "scrubbing" it good with my hanky. When I have the olive oil I use that instead. Using it regularly (in and around my home mostly) seems to keep it in pretty good shape though.

Since then I have found the one shop in Portland that sells Mora knives (mostly the red handled ones) and have a few of those. He does charge a bit more but I like the F2F service and support that and with shipping costs (except from Ragnar at Ragweed Forge) it's kind of a wash.

Reasons why I prefer Mora:
1) Pedigree and history
-- people who talk shit about Mora's have either used them wrong and/or say some form of the saying about "... I value my life so..."
2) Cost
-- $9-$15 'aint bad. Main issue I have with cost is the cry when you lose it aspect. I lost a semi-custom Al Mar back in 1993 in Gaum. Had it in my open leather sheath with cotter-pins and a marlin spike while going some work on the Captain's Gig. Handrail caught the clip and forced it out of the sheath, slid down the side of the cabin, rested dramatically on the gunwhale next to my shoe; me, BM2 Branum and Mormon Don gasped and it plopped into the bay under the USS Shasta. A tear is welling in my eye now as I am sure one is also welling in Mormon Don's eye and he has no reason why. I found another knife like it but it was going for over $1000.
3) They do what a knife is supposed to do
--As Suizen noted, the evolution of the Scandi knife is all about dropping the unnecessary. I support this philosophy by using the tools and doing the same in my life. A good Scandi knife is a combination of blade/handle/sheath to be used to cut things. The simplicity of the engineering allows countless combinations of technique. Because nothing is hampering my grip on the basic Mora knife, I can grip it in numerous ways.

**full disclosure: My bushcraft knife is actually a Helle Lief Ericsson 2000 Year Commemorative knife** Probably even simpler in engineering than a Mora but cost me $90 back in 2000. Not many available right now either - let me know if you find any. The design was based off knives commonly found in Dark Ages graves but they made it with a laminated blade.

Suffice to say, the simpler the knife design, the more apt one is to learn techniques making it more versatile - that is my philosophy. Also, it's a tool; one I may like and a few I have preference over but in the end it is just a tool. The only thing that matters is what I did with it. Dreams, intent and fantasy don't.

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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:47 pm 
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Another vote for the Mora as an all-around bush knife.

I also got one of these last year:
Image
It's a 'Hori Hori' knife, sold by Lee Valley as a gardening tool.
Strong, thick blade, sharp knife edge on one side, serrated edge on other. It's heavy enough for light chopping, but only has a half-tang. It's primary use is for light digging. It has a concave-convex blade for scooping earth, and the serrated edge is good for roots.
I'm carrying it for archaeological fieldwork (rooting around in tree-throws, cleaning up cutbank profiles, etc.) and it's way handier and easier to carry than a masonry trowel, with the added benefit of also being halfway useful as a general bush tool. The metric graduations can also be handy in my line of work.
If I didn't have to dig lots of little holes, I don't think it's the heavy knife I'd pick, but I do, so I carry it instead of a larger fixed-blade or hatchet.

*edited to link to smaller photo


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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:24 pm 
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I been looking over these Mora knives but know nothing about them. Some are .079 thick and others .098. Often I like thicker blades as beat the heck out of my knives but not for every application. So seeing how this is a skill sub forum will toss out my applications and hope those with actual field experience can direct me the best Mora models for my needs.

AO.

The Eastern forest. Temperatures range from 100 with high humility to -20 dry and cold. When I mean range we are taking about everything in between. Here are my field needs.

1. Clean native brook trout and naturalized browns.

2. Batoning wood.

3. Preparing black birch cooking sticks.

4. Taking down smaller green saplings. I use my saw/axe but yea never know.

5. Taking down smaller standing deadwood, my preference is Maple. Same goes for using my saw/axe but just incase.

6. Cutting cordage.

7. Field dressing deer and small game.

8. Saltwater activates including fishing and yak day outings.

9. Freshwater yak day trips. Sometimes camping too.

10. Small high visibility fixed knife for the day pack.

My preference is for synthetic materials and carbon steel however will also get one in stainless as these knives aren’t all that expensive. I take XL gloves so often frown on smaller handles but willing to comprise for things like the little daypack etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:27 pm 
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Mine was under 30$ :)

viewtopic.php?f=33&t=59541

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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:53 am 
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Woods:
Mora #1 - the basic knife they make. Carbon 3 7/8th" blade @ .098 thickness, large birch handle painted red, plastic sheath and $10. Add some gaudy colored tape to the sheath and maybe the handle and you are set. You could even drill a hole in the end of the handle and add a yellow lanyard or something. If it don't work, you're only out $10 (plus shipping) and you can stash it away in some kit or tool box or something.
http://www.ragweedforge.com/1.jpg

It'll pretty much take care of all your list and I trust you have the skill to back it up. :)

Mine is my new necker and it lives in my day hike kit which pretty much goes into the woods with my 100% of the time. I pull it out of the pack and put it around my neck and away I go. Critter (Dave Cantenury's friend) uses one to field dress deer in videos.

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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:41 am 
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WoodsWalker, Id suggest buying 2.

First is the #1 (or #2, slightly larger than the #1) for the majority of your listed tasks.

For the HighVis/Water, Id switch to a #760. You can get them in Blue, Green, Camo or Orange


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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:01 pm 
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I was curious if anyone has any experience using the Cold Steel Master Hunter as a general purpose bushcraft/survival knife in situations similar to what Woods Walker described above (except located in the mid-south). With the possible exception of the thickness of the blade it seems to have all the attributes I'm looking for in an outdoor knife. In particular I'm interested in the AUS-8 or San Mai III versions.

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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:55 pm 
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Woods Walker wrote:
I been looking over these Mora knives but know nothing about them. Some are .079 thick and others .098. Often I like thicker blades as beat the heck out of my knives but not for every application. So seeing how this is a skill sub forum will toss out my applications and hope those with actual field experience can direct me the best Mora models for my needs.

AO.

The Eastern forest. Temperatures range from 100 with high humility to -20 dry and cold. When I mean range we are taking about everything in between. Here are my field needs.

1. Clean native brook trout and naturalized browns.

2. Batoning wood.

3. Preparing black birch cooking sticks.

4. Taking down smaller green saplings. I use my saw/axe but yea never know.

5. Taking down smaller standing deadwood, my preference is Maple. Same goes for using my saw/axe but just incase.

6. Cutting cordage.

7. Field dressing deer and small game.

8. Saltwater activates including fishing and yak day outings.

9. Freshwater yak day trips. Sometimes camping too.

10. Small high visibility fixed knife for the day pack.

My preference is for synthetic materials and carbon steel however will also get one in stainless as these knives aren’t all that expensive. I take XL gloves so often frown on smaller handles but willing to comprise for things like the little daypack etc.


Woodswalker:

Just check out the ragweed forge website and look around, you'll be hard pressed to find something you don't like. Ninja elbow and Suizen have given you good suggestions. Mine would just be to forget about any serious batoning with a mora knife. If you're working with softwoods, maybe, but in hardwoods you'll probably roll the edge...


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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:59 pm 
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Stormrider wrote:
Mine would just be to forget about any serious batoning with a mora knife. If you're working with softwoods, maybe, but in hardwoods you'll probably roll the edge...


Interesting...

Is this something you have experienced?


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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:02 pm 
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Suizen wrote:
Stormrider wrote:
Mine would just be to forget about any serious batoning with a mora knife. If you're working with softwoods, maybe, but in hardwoods you'll probably roll the edge...


Interesting...

Is this something you have experienced?


Yep. To be fair though the wood was 2 year old seasoned and frozen oak...I probably shouldn't have even bothered.


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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:45 pm 
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Ok maybe that #760 in orange might be good. Anyone know about the #780 Triflex carbon blade? Well anyways before the day is up going to order two Moras and see what happens though my Ka-Bar has given me good service. I will find out first hand what these can do in the woods. If anyone is interested could put them though the Bushcraft wringer and post the results. At the very least might make for some cool if not messy photos plus impart a little knowledge at the same time.

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"Do not mess with the forces of Nature, for thou art small and biodegradable!"

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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:55 pm 
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One thing a Mora #1 can do that a Ka-Bar (and I carried an Ontario version for about 10 years) is get down into a little bottle that you put the really thick peanut butter in to get it out without wrecking your little bottle. 8)

ETA: Personal anecdote
My first real backpacking trip was when I was 14 and me and my Dad did a 4 day trip up and down Mt. Hood. This was the mid 80s and being young I thought: a) The Russians were coming for us any day now and b) you needed a huge Rambo knife when in the woods so you could hunt pigs and fight. Dad thought I was being silly but let me carry the big knife on the trip.

Thing was useless other than weighing a lot. The big lesson was the first morning on the mountain I was trying to get the peanut butter out of a plastic tube/bottle thing Dad packed it in and he said, "Here, I use one of these." and he scooped out the PB with the little blade on his Swiss Army knife.

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Last edited by ninja-elbow on Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:56 pm 
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Given WWs parameters I would select a ESEE 3. I know he is talking about Moras but the thread is about bush knives.

ESEE-3 (formerly Rat Cutlery)


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 Post subject: Re: Bushcraft Knives
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:19 pm 
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If you dont think the mora is a bush knife please go here

http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/index.php


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