Axes, hatchets, tomahawks, and how to pick the right bladed tools

Discussion in 'Blades' started by The_Prepared, Jan 27, 2019.

  1. The_Prepared

    The_Prepared Derpy Monkey

    Bit of a combo-post. Wanted to share newly-published thoughts from experienced bushcrafters/preppers about how to mix the right bladed tools together based on your situation, plus some new review roundups on over 100 products:
    If you've tried multiple in a category, would love to hear thoughts on what worked well for you in the field?

    What do you think are the core tools everyone should have? We like:
    1. Field knife
    2. Multi-tool
    3. An axe or jungle blade (kukri etc) depending on where you live
    4. Folding saw
    Edited to add new links for reviews of saws, multitools, machetes and kukris, and Bowies.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  2. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey++

    Core tools from my perspective are...

    #1 - Pocket knife, whatever flavor you enjoy
    #2 - Tomahawk in the winter, because I chop lots more firewood, machete in the summer for beating through the sub tropical growth in my area. Tomahawk over hatchet, because a broken handle is easier to replace from the bush on the tommy, not on a hatchet. The tommy head can also be removed and used as a hand blade, and can be attached to a stick in adze fashion for another handy tool.
    #3 - Big knife, with a blade not less than 4" and no longer than 8", needs to be able to cut bread, clean fish, and light chopping and cutting chores.
    #4 - I consider a folding saw a luxury, but usually have an 8" one with me.

    Always experimenting, and now testing a new big knife that has a completely hollow handle, like made from tubing or pipe. Can be used as a spear head, attached to a shorter stick it doubles as a machete, and also is the big knife. It's inexpensive but very durable and I have used it extensively in the field. Now retiring my other big knives, and will see how the pipe knife survives the coming hot months, and I won't be carrying a machete this summer but will rely on the big knife to fill both roles.

    I'm woodsrunning, traveling light, and not doing extensive bush construction projects past primitive traps and quick shelters.
  3. The_Prepared

    The_Prepared Derpy Monkey

    @Oltymer Are you in a southern climate? Why an 8" blade over something more manageable in the 5-ish range?
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  4. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey++

    Tennessee, very jungle like in the heat, and yes, I have been in the tropics and the northern forests, this place is brutal. It ate Union soldiers alive during the Civil War, without much effort from the Confederates.

    You are correct, a 5" is more manageable, especially at cleaning fish but my pocket knife fills in a lot of space there too. My big knife is also depended on for self defense and an 8" blade will reach the human heart from any angle in the torso, and yes I have been there too...

    My retired big knife is a Kabar USMC, and I also carried a Kukri a number of years but I like the pipe knife even better, and don't know what took me so long to try one out.

    I also know what works for me may not be the best for everyone.
  5. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    While in the tropics a machete, k-bar and pocket knife covered the basics quite well.
  6. Merkun

    Merkun furious dreamer

    My woods walking days were more than a few days ago, but a 4 or 5 inch sheath knife and 3/4 axe to go with the 1911 and 870 did for my needs at the time. Today, the 870 would be replaced with an MSR. My needs clearly did not call for a machete or large knife back then, but had it done, I would have tried to find a kukri.
  7. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Pocket utility knives (1 on me and 1 in pack), several Mora knives (all in pack), folding fillet knife (pack), Bark River FR belt knife, a medium sized axe (CS Trail Boss) / OR / An Estwing hatchet for the day pack. And a Silky Gomboy folding saw -best in the world hands down.

    Everything else is just "fluff" to me. I like toying around with tomahawks, but I've not found a practical use for them. I'm not Mel Gibson and I'm not a Comanche. Your mileage may freaking vary. I don't need a machete, but they are awesome when you do need them. I don't use chain type saws, most are junk and those which aren't require too much energy to use.
    Gator 45/70 and The_Prepared like this.
  8. The_Prepared

    The_Prepared Derpy Monkey

    We're putting the folding saw roundup together soon. Obviously know the Silky Gomboy and it's level of popularity, but is there anything else even close?
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  9. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Silky's operate on the 'pull' motion, not the 'push' for cutting, which is why a lot of folks break blades or claim they aren't sufficient. It takes practice, but they are without a doubt the best there is. Some ultralight packers will use another variety with plastic parts and such, but those people aren't real survivalists, more like yuppies with too much time on their hands. Lars from Survival Russia uses Silky exclusively in -40 and below, deep in the Russian wilderness. He knows what's up.

    No, there's nothing in the folding saw category that even comes close.
    Gator 45/70 and The_Prepared like this.
  10. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I. A fighting knife . because if life and death call for it , nothing else will do. If you have never been in that type of situation you can not appreciate the difference it makes .
    2. A utilitarian knife used for camp maintenance ,likely to get dull with use most often wood processing.
    3. If there is the highest probability if getting into brush a machete deals with it best hands down, preferably one with a hook in the handle and a lanyard .
    4. If there is no brush to deal with but trees in abundance a buck saw out performs pruning saws, and is the better use of energy(calories)
    5. In this case a full size or boys ax is adequate for splitting wood .
    6. If there is an abundance of limb wood then a hatchet is adequate ,practical.
    7. Having to build something heavy, making a bear trap , or a more significant shelter, require the larger tools.
    If you allow for the unexpected it is far better than assuming nothing can go wrong.
    Gator 45/70 and The_Prepared like this.
  11. The_Prepared

    The_Prepared Derpy Monkey

    If you could only have one of those two, which would it be? (Don't want to assume the numbering answered that.)
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  12. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Having had face to face confrontations with several predators the fighting knife .
    Gator 45/70, Zimmy and The_Prepared like this.
  13. AndyinEverson

    AndyinEverson Black Powder Monkey

    My favorite knife that I own.
    Its a Blackjack model 5 with a stacked leather handle and a 5 1/2 inch carbon steel blade.
    I carried it all through my Army days and on four combat deployments.
    It has always worked and never let me down.
    Four "working" knives of mine , two of which are from the 1890's , that get used a bunch as camping , hunting and kitchen knives.

    A Hudson Bay Pattern Camp Axe , circa 1920's -30's...still gets used as a camp axe...
    A 1870's-80's "Pipe tomahawk"...
    I like a good "working knife or axe" , but that doesn't mean that they need to be made 5 minutes ago or out of the latest and greatest of materials...using a axe or knife that has "been around" and still doing its job , makes me happy....:D
    The_Prepared likes this.
  14. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    If we gonna show pictures then...

    AndyinEverson and The_Prepared like this.
  15. The_Prepared

    The_Prepared Derpy Monkey

    That pipe axe has a cool look to it.
    AndyinEverson likes this.
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