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Knives and Processing Wood

What I wanted to do today was continue in our article series. We talked about yesterday, my humble opinion on knives, and I want to talk a little bit more and expand on some of those things that we talked about. Yesterday and show you some techniques and also again talk about some nonno’s for knife use. One of the things that we talked about a lot yesterday was using a baton with your knife, and basically, a baton is just a piece of hardwood and again I, like mine, you know about arm length from my armpit out to you, where the crook of my Wrist is, and it needs to be made out of a piece of hard wood that you can make contact with the back of your knife to create a better cutting tool out of your knife and give it more force.

If you don’t have an axe and you need to cut something that you can’t just push your knife through. Obviously you don’t want to chop with that knife, and we talked about that. So this becomes the thing that you swing and the knife becomes a solid point of contact that becomes a blade for cutting. So this is an extension of your knife. If you don’t have an axe now, if you have a saw, you may still need to baton.

But if you have an axe, you have no need for either. The problem is you’re not always going to have an axe in every situation and that’s why you need to learn or understand the limitations and capabilities of baton in your knife. So we can use any sized knife from the TLC that we talked about yesterday. All the way up to and including, like the Pathfinder Scout, with a big six-inch blade to baton, we can use the mores if we have to.

But again I tend to stay away from baton knives that are not full tang for fear that they may break at the rat tail and you may go for years without ever breaking a rat tail tang knife, but the time you need it. The most is usually when your equipment fails and I’m not going to take that chance and that’s what we talked about full tang knives. So what we’re going to talk about today is a little bit of do’s and don’ts with your knife, how to use your knife properly with a baton, how to not use your knife properly.

Obviously we talked about you never use your knife to swing like in hacks, because it’s very uncontrolled, it’s very unsafe and it doesn’t take maximum advantage of that blade. I can take a lot more advantage of that blade as a cutting surface by using it with a baton, then I can ever take by sewing it with my hand. The other thing I would never do with my knife is tie it to the end of the stick and make a spear, and I had a couple questions about that.

I’ve had people ask me about that before. Why don’t the knives that I use have the ability to be bolted on to something else as a spear? Well, if your knife is your only tool, why would you want to attach it to a stick? It could possibly come off of and now you’ve lost. Your only tool goes back to my same mentality of throwing knives. Why would I ever want to throw a knife and throw away the only tool that I have? I would never do that.

So I’m not going to use it for a spear at the same time by swinging it as something like an axe. I take a chance on doing damage to that knife for damage to myself. That’s unnecessary. If I can better control the way that knife cuts by using a baton and that’s what we’re going to talk about a lot today, stay with me guys, okay, so what I have in front of me is: I have a hickory sapling and this sapling is about Three inches in diameter at the bottom.

It would be something that I may use for a ridgepole or a construction portion of my shelter. If I were having to build something primitive, it’s a pretty tall tree, it’s probably over 20 feet tall. It’s got a lot of limbs on it. It’s got like I said about a three inch base. So let’s talk about how we would use our knife to process this tree depending on what we’re trying to do. Okay, so the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to bend this tree over and decide how much of this tree? I don’t need because I’m not going to need the top of this tree for my shelter, although I may use the branches and things like that.

That’s why we’re going to limit, but I’m not going to use the top most crooked portion of this for a construction element, my shelter, so I need to get rid of part of it. Okay, so, as I said, we’re going to have to limb this tree, someone there’s no reason for us to use our knife necessarily unless we have to. If I’ve got a baton already, I can probably beat on many of those limbs off of there by striking against them and down and just pull them off.

If they don’t come off. That way, then I’ll use my knife with the baton, but I want to save that knife as much as I can first remember that in a situation where you are truly stuck down to one tool and that tool is your cutting blade, it’s your most important asset. So the least you have to use it the better off. You are okay, so I’ve got the one here that doesn’t want to come off. What I’m going to do is I’m going to straddle this tree and I’m just going to cut it off with my knife.

The best way for me to effectively do that now that I’ve got it ripped down, is just to put my knife on top of it and hit down just like that and cut it off now. If I’ve got an area where I can’t get the limb off for some reason with my baton, then I will choose to baton my knife through that limb and we’ll talk about that next. Okay. So if I have a limb like this one and this one would come off just by smacking it with this baton, but for sake of this demonstration, we’re going to use our knife, what I’m going to do is I’m going to put my knife in the crotch Of that limb, just like this going down the tree, I’m going to use this area of my knife and again the majority of what you do is going to be used is going to be using this portion of your blade.

So I’m going to get that thing as close to the bottom, as I can and just cut it straight off, just like that with my knife. If I get to that point, I’m good it didn’t take, but a couple of small taps to get that done, and I wasn’t swinging and flailing my knife around like some kind of an axe and that’s the point. Okay, now we’re to the point where we’re going to take the top out of this tree. The best way for us to do that is to bend the top in toward us and push down what that does.

Is that put stress on the bend right here once we’ve got that Bend stressed, we can then safely cut it and as long as we’re standing on it, it’s going to flip out of our way. So we’re just going to take our knife and push down in toward the material just like this and we’re just beaver chewing in just like this, with our knife and sooner or later, even on a live hickory we’re going to get that off of there.

Now we have no top on this tree. All we have is this point. I want to get to add a little less dangerous and just round it off a little bit and then we’ll let the tree go back up. Okay. This is a very good example. This live hickory that were working on right now is a very good example of something that you would use for a spring poll you’re going to have to get rid of all the foliage on this tree, because it’s going to cause resistance when it tries to spring Upward, but a sapling like this – that’s nice and big nice and tall.

This thing’s still like 15 feet tall and has a lot of pressure on it. That’s what you’re going to have to have if you’re going to try to do primitive trapping, because something like this will lift an animal off the ground. Remember if you’re, using primitive methods to trap with you’ve got to get that animal off the ground. Something like this will do it, so that’s a very good technique to take the top out of a tree take a few, the branches off of the tree of the sapling, so that you can then use that for a spring Pole.

Okay, so again, this is our pole at present right here. This is a heavy-duty pole. I’m going to pull this thing down and let’s string up one more time on you about where it would be if it were a trap, spring device, and you can see how heavy due to that piece of hickory is. That makes a great spring pole you’re going to need something the size of that if you plan to do primitive trapping okay. So let’s look at this pole as if we’ve decided, we need to take the whole thing with us now.

Maybe we’re going to use this as a structural pole for a shelter or a travois or some type of a device for dragging someone out of the woods if we needed it like a like a mature of some kind that we can drag like a trip away Or we’re going to use this whole thing for a spring poll, but we didn’t happen to get lucky enough that this great spring poll was right by where we want to set our trap. So we got to take this with us to jam it somewhere else.

In a log jam or bury it partially in the ground or lever it somehow so that it will work the way we want it to work at any rate, when we cut this down, we don’t want to leave. You know a three-foot stump sticking up out here. That’s going to be a killing device if somebody trips on okay, all we’re going to do with this tree is we’re going to pull our knife out. So I figure out which side of the tree I need to get on for you guys to see this.

The best we’re going to come down at a low level of the tree and we’re going to cut ourselves a v-notch in this tree a little bit of an angle. And I want to cut that in there. With the belly of my knife, or just behind the belly, and then I want to come in cut that notch out just like that and if I’ve gotten myself half way through the tree. At that point, I should be able to bend this sapling over and it should break.

If that doesn’t happen, then I’m just going to move over a little bit and I’m going to cut a bigger chunk out off to one side, just like this again trying to go half way through the tree trying to control this. Let you guys see it at the same time a little bit sure, but that’s okay! Now it’s going to come straight over now. I can take my knife and shear it off just like this, and if I get some stubborn bark I’ll just run that over the top and go straight down on it and now that tree is ready to go.

I just beaver tune around it until I could push it over and then chopped it off, get it all with my baton, the first two-thirds of my knife and never had to swing anything except this, which is much more controllable and less sharp than swinging this. Okay. So, let’s take a smaller tree in this example, is something that we’re going to harvest. We’ve got a triple triples coming out of the ground right here.

All we’re going to do is bend this down and find our Bend and then we’re going to be virtual with our knife. If we don’t have a big enough knife that we can beat on it, oh we’re a little bit leery of batana our knife. We can always be virtue this thing down and I’m going to show you how to do that right now. Okay, so maybe the knife that we have is not optimal for batani, but it’s still plenty sharp.

Well, that’s just going to dictate to us what size trees. We can pick on a little bit, but we can still get the job done. We just need to figure out where this tree is flexing. You can see it flexing right there and that’s what we’re going to use our knife we’re going to take advantage of that Bend and we’re going to start to cut into that Bend. Just like this, you see how that just bent right over and busted with just a couple of cuts once I’ve done, that I can be virtu my way back around until I cut that completely out.

Just like that. Okay, again we’ll go back to our small knife for a minute and say that we want to process this down to a certain length, we’re going to use it for a tripod stand. Whatever the case may be, we can’t sit here and hack on this thing. For a half an hour with our knife trying to chop it, or we can just take our baton and make a V cut in here over halfway through on this side, turn it over and do exactly the same thing on the backside.

Having problems getting to lay the way I want to house it in top it first, that’s okay, another advantage to topping the tree beforehand is easier to control, and then you can see. I just cut that to length with two cuts very easily snap that off and that things cut to length I didn’t have to swing my knife. All I had to do is very controlled and use my baton very simple, okay, well we’re sitting here with this.

Stick in her hand, let’s talk about another reason or another way that we can use our knife. Now that we know we have a ninety degree spine on that knife again, we’ll go back in a smaller knife, the trap line, companion and if I want to process this thing, maybe this is a dead limb and I want to process this bark for use. As a tinder bundle, I can’t scrape the bark with my knife just like this on the back side, or I want to just remove the bark down to the inner bark or down to the sapwood.

I can do that very easy. With the back of this knife – and I don’t have to sacrifice my blade to try to do things like the bark removal – I can do that with the spine of my knife just like this, and you can see how good that 90 degree spine removes that bark. If I want fine shavings, I can get those as well, and this will work the same way for dead wood as it does for green wood. That 90 degree spine allows me to get very, very fine shavings if I need them, and that is exactly what happens with your ferrocerium rod when you scrape it you’re, taking those fine shavings of magnesium and other materials and removing them, and they spontaneously combust with oxygen And ignite, and one of the things I was talking about yesterday in my article, was about not worrying about carrying a downes bar because you wear out the mat, the mag board.

You wear out the Ferro rod long before you’re, going to wear out the magnesium and what a lot of people don’t understand is because these rods have so much magnesium in them. You can’t always just scrape the rod to get a pile of shavings and those shavings are going to be highly combustible. You just got to be careful about it, so that you’re not creating spark and then you’re going to get the same thing you get with magnesium.

So I wouldn’t carry the downes bar because it has magnesium on. I just care extra feral rod, okay, so real quick. Let’s talk about “’but awning wood as far as processing firewood goes now. This log is about four inches in diameter. If I have a saw, I can cut those logs, but I’m going to be here all day trying to do this. So it’s a lot easier for me to baton this. If I don’t have an axe, if I have an axe, I can forego all of that.

But I don’t have an axe because I’m down to you know I just carried a saw and a knife because that’s all I thought I was going to need or all I have is you know well I’ve got then I may have to beat on wood and That’s all there is to it, so there are ways that you can beat on logs like this properly and there’s ways to do it, I’m properly or unsafely, and one thing that I want you remember is like I said this is a four inch diameter long and That is one of the reasons for the length of this knife.

Okay, and this is about a five inch log. Actually, so there’s barely any stick out on the edge of this log. So when I get this knife down into here that this log hasn’t split for some reason, I still have something to hit with my baton. Besides the back of my knife or the back of my hand, that’s the reason for that blade length. If I have a four inch blade and I’ve got a vlog, this big once I get down to the center of it now I’m either banging on the back of my hand or I’m banging on the handle, and I don’t want to do that.

So that’s another reason for the five to six inch blade length, because a four inch log is good fuel size. It’s also good size for shelter, building material. You should never have to process anything bigger than four inches in diameter in a woodland emergency or a wilderness emergency scenario. You should never have to process anything bigger than that, so big choppers and things like that in eastern Willa’s aren’t necessary.

You really don’t need them. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to lay our knife on the log and I like to split the center first and you want to you: don’t ever want to do this, you don’t want the belly of your knife or the point of your knife. Going into this piece of wood remember that this area is going to be used for skinning tasks, find carving tasks and all of those types of things, and it’s also the hardest to resharpen that area in the field.

That’s important thing to remember that some people, don’t realize, is a straight long flat like this is much easier to resharpen than a curved edge right here, even in a controlled environment. That’s the part that most people have struggle with. So in the woods it’s really going to be a problem, so I need to conserve that area of my blade, the best I can so I’m going to push my knife, no matter how big my log is all the way to the edge of that blade.

Now this one just happens to be wide enough. Then it’s going to take up some of that area. I don’t want to use, but I have no choice in that with this long. If I had a choice I wouldn’t be doing it, then I’m going to get I’m going to hold back on the handle a little bit to make sure my hands completely out of the way and I’m going to take a seating tap. I’m going to make sure that knife is seated in there very well, then I’m going to take a harder smack if my knife gets cockeyed I’ll, move off to the side a little bit and continue now you can see I’ve went down through this log and it Did not split it completely out.

Part of that is blade, grind issue. If this was a Scandinavian, grinder or a wedge shape, it would split this much butter. This is a flat grind, which is a narrow. It’s a full flat grind, which is a narrow wedge, not near as good for splitting wood, much better for processing meat and game again trade off. If I had the Pathfinder knife in this thing, it would have split wide open. So now I’m at the mercy of smacking on this tip, but if this tip wasn’t here, what would I do? I need there to be swinging this down to try to bust it and flail around my knife, or I’d have to try to pry it out of there start over again, alright be smacking back here on my handles so by having that little blade length out there, I was able to effectively split that log open.

If I quarter this, that’s going to be more than enough for fuel, that’s going to be enough! Cutting down of that material to make fuel! This is long burning fuel. If it’s hard wood, that’s going to burn a lot faster. If I’m trying to make fire material for starting my fire like a kindling pile, then I’m going to have to split this down considerably more because kindling to me is something the size of a pencil or less.

So now I’m going to have to split that down again into eights. Then I’m going to have to drop down and split it into 16 crossways. Then I’m going to have to split that down into 30 seconds. I don’t have to get out of control with this. These pieces here are going to be good kindling. That’s an important thing to understand, especially if you’re in a wet weather situation you can’t find dry material oftentimes breaking inside a log is going to give you the driest material.

Now you could choose to go down. One step further with this: no problem, if you were really in wet conditions, you want to insure yourself a lot of surface area. You could split that down it’s a little bit more to stuff like this and that’s going to be more highly combustible. Now, if I were really really worried about my fire and I had really extremely wet conditions, then I might take a stick: the size of this one that was going to be kindling, and I might take that and use that to make a feather stick and again, I’m just using my thumb for a guide here.

This is hard wood, so it’s not going to shave down near as well as a piece of soft wood, wood, soft wood wood, but I can still get their surface area increased dramatically by putting some fine shavings around this piece of wood. Just like that, I knock them off. They don’t do me a whole lot of good. I really need to stay on their partner. That’s a function of this wood being dry, but these kernels are going to give me increased surface area for the flames and again you know this is a pretty good sized knife.

This is no Maura. This is a big butchering knife that we’re using, but it’ll get the job done, not as well as a Maura, but it’ll definitely get the job done and that’s what counts. Okay, folks! Well, I hope you enjoyed this article today a little bit more about knives. My thoughts on knives, what you can do with your knife, if you got the right skill level, how to use your knife to process different types of wood, and things like that, you may need to do in the woods and the safest way to do that.

I appreciate your time your support, your views, everything you for me for my school and for my family I’ll be back to another article. Soon, as I can, thanks guys, you


Knives and daggers are awesome! Plain and simple, right? Let me say, I enjoy my dagger collection with a little music playing in the background. 

 

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