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Old 12-26-2008, 09:06 AM   #1
Egg
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Default Knives and edged tools.

I have searched through Avalaons preperations list and have not been able to find any good solid easy to follow advice about knives and edged tools for long term survival in an outdoor environment; so I have decided to write a piece and put in what I have learnt from many summers and winters working on the land in both a woodland and moorland setting.

First questions and most important ones I feel are these; what do I need my knife / edged tool to do? am I battoning? am I gutting and skinning? am I creating shelters and fires with it daily or more? is it my only tool?

Seems a big list, but mentally can be answered in seconds. My main need is for creating shelters and fires. So I source a knife with this in mind first and foremost.

Secondly I look at what material the actual blade is made of. Am I going to be in / around the water alot or in a wet environment? am i going to need to strike a fire steel with it?

So we see stainless steel and high carbon content blades. Both of these have good and bad points that need considering as no material is perfect. What we need to do is strike a balance.
As stated, stainless steel knives are good for water work and wet environments - their ability to withstand corrosion better is a plus, although with a stainless steel blade, aim to purchase a laminated blade not a single one piece. This means that an inner 'core' of the blade is sandwhiched between an outer layer either side. This gives the blade good sharpening qualities as well as durability.

High carbon content blades though are what I will always use. Yes they need more care to prevent rusting and corrosion, but they are in my considerable experience more easily sharpend and hold a sharper edge for longer thus saving time and effort to sharpen them.

One tip for all blades is unless travelling or using the blade, try to avoid keeping it stored for any length of time in its sheath - this will prevent any moisture build up from sitting on the blade for a logn time and thus cerating corrosive spotting. Keep it wrapped in a good cloth with a light coating of acid free / additive free oil. 3 in 1 is again best in my experience.

Makeing sure your knife has a full tang.

The tang is the continuation of the metal used to make the blade into the handle itself to give rigidity and strength. A full tang knife will bear a heavier strain and be stronger than a half tang knife - the difference is that a half tang knife will have a comb like handle going into the material, where as a full tang will fill the handle and have material either side.

(Never ever use a folding / lock knife as your first work tool. A folding blade cannot and does not have the strength to carry out prolonged demanding tasks; the weak point being the lock itself).

Blade width and length.

A blade for hard use has to be thicker to withstand a good hard use over many years. It adds to the strength and makes demanding tasks easier. keep thin blades for delicate tasks such as skinning and the like.
Length wise, nothing under three and a half inches and nothing over five is a rule i work to. Those big Rambo type knives? as useful as a fishing net in the sahara desert. The bigger the blade unless chopping back vegitation, the harder it will be to complete finer tasks.


Knife and task.

Thick heavy blade = camp fire / shelter making and butchering big animals.

Smaller thick blades = Camp tasks / personal shelter making and finer animal butchery.

Thin blades = Skinning and delicate tasks.

Stainless steel = wet environments and water use.

Carbon blades = My favorites.

My last piece of advice? buy an axe and have it as a companion to your main knife.

An axe will do all of the heavy tasks, alot of the finer tasks and be there for when you really do need to bring a tree down for creating a larger shelter. As with all work tools though, keep them sharp, keep them cared for, and keep within a reasonable budget. I have seen grown men weep when they have lost that £300 Ray mears knife whilst out on the moors and mountains and couldn't afford to purchase a back up knife!

If you have any questions about this quick guide, please do ask them and I will advise as best as I can using my own personal experience as a guide.
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Old 12-26-2008, 09:25 AM   #2
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Serrations. I forgot to add a little bit about serrated blades. If its for a long term survival tool in the wilderness with little resources, do not buy a blade with any serrations on it. They are hard to maintain and keep sharp in a tool shed, let alone out in the field for days and weeks ata time and in constant use.

However, if you have rope and need to work it, carry a second blade kept soley for this task. Either this or keep your main blade sharp

I am in no way linked to this web site, but I do possess a few of these Mora knives and can attest to their ability to be perfect back up bush craft knives.
Razor sharp, light, but with awesome size to strength ratio I feel that for the very low cost they are excellent to stow away in your kit bag.

http://www.bushcraftuk.com/index.php...uct-flyer.html

Last edited by Egg; 12-26-2008 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 12-26-2008, 09:47 AM   #3
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Can you recommend a good sharpening stone??
What knife would you buy for about £100 budget?
I have a nice full tang Spanish knife but it was only a cheap £40 one so am not sure on the quality of the blade.
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

http://www.outdoorpros.com/Prod/Buck...m/11931/Cat/36

Have this as my bench sharpening kit (heres a pic) with its coarse, fine and wet stone super fine - it can take a terrible abused blade and turn it back into a useful working tool in minutes.

For in the pocket out and about I use a folding diamond sharpener similar to this one.
http://www.kaizenbonsai.com/shop/pro...18b1ffd9acfba0


As for a good knife under £100?

http://www.survival-school.org/Defau...&productid=175

Fallkniven F1. Its my next purchase after I borrowed one for a month whilst out and about and couldn't take my knives over seas in my hand luggage. Its able to cope easily with heavier tasks, but is versatile and able to cope with finer tasks too. The stainless trilaminate blade is awesome, absolutely awesome.

Last edited by Egg; 12-26-2008 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 12-27-2008, 12:25 AM   #5
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Good thread, and well spotted Egg - it certainly has not been properly covered here.

Since you are preparing, there is some benefit in having a selection for different scenarios (domestic, camping, car bug out, on foot bug out etc). I think you need to cover all the bases which are, in no particular order:

1) Machete
2) Axe (s)
3) Small knife (s)
4) Big knife
5) Folding pocket knife (locking, if you laws allow it)

I am the proud owner of a Wilkinson Sword Dartmoor survival knife that I would be happy to be with if the SHTF, but its huge and heavy and impractical as your only knife (but you could get by). I also have a Hattori deer skinner that is a fine high quality blade.

I agree with Egg about Carbon blades, but you have to remember to look after them. I think a lot of bollocks is talked about blade steel, and there is a ton of good info about it on the web. Look out for VG-10, 154CM and D2 tool steel (aka carbon).

Also worth noting is that very few knives (except the really expensive hand finished ones) or tools for that matter are delivered properly "sharp".

You should purchase a sharpening system based on different grades of abrasive that ends up with the edge being highly polished. A blade that can easily sever the cells of the material you are cutting (be it wood, animal or vegetable) is what you should aim for. You should be able to shave with your Axe! It might sound silly, but buy a book on how to sharpen knives, read and learn and figure out how to do it properly. There is nothing like using sharp tools It makes me almost as happy as using a well tuned chainsaw.

Finally - NEVER BE WITHOUT a good knife. Even if its a small pocket folding knife that is designed to conform to your local "carry" laws. Have one at all times.

Also remember, where you have a knife you must also always have a first aid kit.

Finally, dont even think of buying a combat knife unless you are planning on getting properly trained in fighting with a knife (which is hard training to come by these days). I wouldn't advise even thinking of using a knife for defense/offense unless you have at least three years of martial arts training first ("black belt" standard -though what that means these days is anyones guess, the standards seem to have slipped)

A..
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Old 12-27-2008, 12:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Good points on the safety side of knives A
Last week I stabbed myself in the arm using a stanley knife, stupidly cutting some wood by pulling the blade towards instead of away from me, it's so easy to forget how sharp knife is and how soft you are.
Even small pen knives used without respect can easily fold and cut you. I speak from experience, as a boy I spent most of my childhood in the fields building dens etc
I always carried a pen knife and a catapult.

Also agree on using a knife for defense, I trained in knife combat while studying Karate, one of the first things we were taught was that if you pull a knife apart from risking cutting yourself in combat you could also be providing your enemy with a weapon that he/she may use on you.
Knives used in combat are close quarter fighting, much better to keep your distance, the best defense is to run away if possible.
Personally I wouldn't even think of using a knife in a fight.
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Here are some knives I like:

Keep this one in your bag:
http://www.heinnie.com/p4Xi6g996894/.../p-92-199-503/

I also like as an every day carry (no lock and short blade):
http://www.heinnie.com/p4Xi6g996894/...-199-322-1795/

This has a lock, so probably cant be carried in fascist police states like UK/Australia unless you have a good excuse/reason:
http://www.heinnie.com/p4Xi6g996894/...-199-323-1813/

Leatherman, lightweight folder, fast onehanded opening, liner lock, 154CM blade:
http://www.heinnie.com/p4Xi6g996894/.../p-92-163-555/

Leatherman, lockback folder. 154CM blade, tough knife:
http://www.heinnie.com/p4Xi6g996894/.../p-92-163-558/

Hattori - perfection in my eyes - but your mileage may vary! Beauty is, after all in the eye of the beholder:
http://www.heinnie.com/p4Xi6g996894/...p-92-148-1092/

The legendary Dartmoor CSK:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5er7n80Hec0
I read the owner sold it for UKP175 - what a fool. I would not part with mine ever. Look here for example: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/DARTMOOR-KNIFE...QQcmdZViewItem

A..
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Old 12-27-2008, 04:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Cheers for chipping in guys. Swanny, for cutting towards yourself, think of it as a lesson learnt; your not going to do that again in a hurry are you? best to learn all your saftey lessons now whilst there is still drs, hospitals and anti biotics floating around.

Anchor - Good point about having more than one system - I totally agree with you. One blade? no way! The need for a back up and tools to do other jobs is vital important.

Multitools. I have the Leatherman Wave - Good blade, good saw, good pliers, good rope cutter. As ideal as a small multi tool as I have ever found. Again though, its whats within your budget and planning scope that counts the most.
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Agree - my multitool (in by bag that I take to work everyday) is a Leatherman Charge Ti. I used to have SOG Paratool that was pretty good but the Charge Ti beats it so the SOG stays in the glove box of the Car now.

A..
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Old 12-27-2008, 11:30 AM   #10
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Sadly cutting towards myself is a lesson I have not learnt more than once
No doubt I will need to learn it again
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Old 12-27-2008, 11:46 AM   #11
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

I got a Sammi camp knife for Christmas four years back - big, clean, curly birch wood handle and a superb high carbon blade that cuts beautiful. Withstands easily heavy use, and is practical for butchering up a big deer or such like.

Last edited by Egg; 12-27-2008 at 12:31 PM. Reason: My words get mixed when i type too fast.
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Old 12-27-2008, 09:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Sorry to lead OT but is there a thread somewhere that says "everything essential I can actually get in a backpack"?

I have no house or permanent home and because of flying can't even keep a larger knife or so most of the time. Thanks.
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:19 AM   #13
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Hi Egg, Do you know anything about scythes? I have bought one, its an Austrian one and either I havent the technique correct yet or I havent got it sharp enough. I have a peening jig to sharpen it, but I figured as it is new I should be able to put a good edge on it just with my stone. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks

Carmen

Ps I have a long and a short blade for it
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:44 AM   #14
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Hi Carmen-

I've used a scythe quite a bit, so here's my take on them: You don't need the blade polished sharp; I like them sharp for sure, but not a razor polish. A little bit of roughness at the edge seems to make them grab the grass better, sort of a saw-tooth effect.

I usually use a good-sized single cut fine tooth file for initial sharpening, then touch up with a medium or medium-fine stone. If the file skates on the steel instead of cutting, the blade is too hard for filing and you'll have to use the stone or peen it.

I haven't used the peening jig, but I can see its advantages: one isn't wearing away any steel, and peening the steel work-hardens the edge.

Also, keep the bottom flat; put the cutting edge on top. Work the cutting edge from the top of the blade, then stone the burr off holding the stone flat against the bottom of the scythe blade.
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:58 AM   #15
asteram
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Czymra- Try googling for survival or survival blogs and look for "grab and go" bags.
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Old 01-02-2009, 03:43 PM   #16
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Thanks asteram. I hope you scythe is meant for grass only.
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:14 PM   #17
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Thanks Asteram. I will take your advice
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:09 AM   #18
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Default Re: Knives and edged tools.

Czymra- Your joke took me a minute to get, but I'm the non-violent type. Yes, only for grass but one does need to watch out for toads and bunnies hiding in it. And snakes of course.
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