Conflicting views about bushcraft

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Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
Hi Guys,

I recently posted a video on Youtube comparing a cheap bushcraft knife with one of its more expensive counterparts.

[video=youtube;O8hZOoGnPJU]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8hZOoGnPJU[/video]

Now I know everyone has their own opinions and I like to think I am as open as the next person but there was quite a scathing comment made which got my goat
I have copied the conversation below, sorry its quite long winded, and you may be able to tell I was getting wound up by the end of it. I know the guy may have just been trolling and it was my own fault for biting but I just wonder what other peoples views are on this and if I am really of the mark here???



Holy Smokes!!! You Brits must all be smoking too much Crack. Purchasing a Buschcraft knife for 400.00 pds (which is over $600.00 USD) is unthinkable. You have got to be a complete Moron.

No wonder the UK is sinking as a nation faster than the Bismark. What idiot thinks this a good idea?

I use a Mora # 1 and # 2, and also my favorite, an Old Hickory Butcher Knife which costs about $10.00 USD on Ebay. My Old Hickory will do anything that Ray Mears monstrosity will do and then some.

What this is telling us is how down right twisted and perverted the Buschcraft Industry as a whole has gotten with its preening metrosexualized Twits and Fops.

We can't find any peace with the Dandies now following us into the Bush and poisoning that as well with their Gucci Blades and Granfors Bruks Axe Fashion Statements...Shameful.

Hopefully soon you metros will tire of the woods and go find some other hobby to poison and compromise. 



Woodcraft Hamster

I'm not quite sure I understand your problem?

Yes the Ray Mears is an expensive custom knife and not to everyone's taste but as I said in the video I am not suggesting everyone should go out and buy one.
Custom knives are as much a work of art as they are functional tools and there is a clear difference in quality and workmanship to a massed produced knife such as the mora.

I am all for bush crafting on a budget and did so for many years but why it should be a problem to upgrade to better kit, be it lighter, more durable, better made or better suited to a specific task when you have the opportunity is beyond me.

If low cost is your aim I am all for it, especially as many don't have the luxury of buying expensive kit, but don't really understand why you feel the need to slate others who have decided they want to spend more on their kit.

I can honestly say I have never smoked crack in my life, don't consider myself a metrosexual and am utterly confused how I could possibly poison bushcraft for anyone simply by my choice of knife???






+Woodcraft Hamster You have a right to use whatever you want in the Bush. There is no question about that.

Your crime is you pervert the very essence of Bushcraft by even bringing up the idea of a high end knife.

That is like someone comparing an average car and a BMW 7 Series of a Mercedes 500 SL or a Rolls Royce to go to and from work and discussing the merits of each.

The average person doesn't really think they need a high end status vehicle to get to and from work. It has no place in the discussion. And neither do high end knives.

In that context, it has no place. Nor does this Ray Mears Knife.

The essence of Bushcraft is to do more with less. Not to show some mindless splitting of a piece of wood as justification for packing a diamond encrusted "bushcraft blade." . That is just a bourgeois justification.

If you REALLY want to show something, show us how to do Bushcraft WITHOUT ANY KNIFE. That is the essence of life in the Bush.

You Brits are doing some damn fine Bushcraft but people like you have completely lost your way.

You've lost sight of even what the questions are let alone the answers. 




Woodcraft Hamster

I think you may have misinterpreted the point of my video.

Forget for a moment that i choose to use a custom knife (as do many, many other bushcrafters) the purpose of the video is to show that both the high end and the budget knives are designed to do the same job and that the two knives i have featured do indeed perform extremely well with very little difference between them.
As i said before i am not suggesting that people go out and buy a custom high end knife to be able to practice bushcraft or that such a knife will make anyone a better bushcrafter but quite frankly i find it offensive that you suggest that owning a custom blade would somehow make me a worse bushcrafter or that i have lost my way.

The fact that custom knives exist and that people are willing to buy them seems a strange topic to take issue with, surely those who litter, wantonly damage natural areas and generally treat nature with little or no respect would be a more worthy area of concern.

Just through my own experience i have found most people practice bushcraft for a multitude of reasons. For some it is simply being outdoors and in nature whilst other want to learn and preserve lost or dwindling skills. Some wish to imitate their ancestors and use very traditional gear whilst others like to use all the latest high tech kit.
Personally i dont see anything wrong with either approach and, perhaps naively, like to see myself as somewhere in between.




+Woodcraft Hamster You have a right to your views, and I respect that. However, there is something wrong with presenting any endeavor as being all encompassing. This is a European ideology that is not supported by the majority of the world.

And here you and I differ. I remember seeing a Ray Mears Video on YouTube in which he literally brought a suitcase of stones to sharpen a knife. Under your definition, this is perfectly acceptable. Under mine, this is a perversion.

On that video, I mentioned that I carry two stones:each being about 1 inch by four inches long. I can and do sharpen anything with that. I can even sharpen a Samuri sword or a full size axe etc.

The problem with your egalitarian way of thinking is that it actually touts different ways of approaching Bushcraft as equally acceptable. That is the equivalent of Moral Relativism.

I and many people like me disagree. And this is what we are objecting to in these goofy metrosexualized presentations. It doesn't work that way. At least not for those of us that live in Canada, the USA, Australia and in other parts of the world in which we do have relative wilderness and challenging environments.

On a personal level, I completely support your right to do your stuff in any manner that you choose. I don't have a problem with it. However, the problem I do have is the suggestion that there is no difference between learning skills visa vie utilizing cheap but effective gear, and learning skills via high end custom ego satisfying junk like this Ray Mears Knife. This is completely false.

Those of us that have a serious interest in Survival/Bushcraft are interested in setting the record straight. The use of high end high quality gear is completely inappropriate in the development of outdoor skills.

These customized overpriced and useless tools that are designed to satisfy the ego rather than develop hands on skills has absolutely no place in the outdoor lexicon.

What this does is "gentrifies" the outdoors. This is unacceptable. 



Woodcraft Hamster

As you say everyone has the right to their own views and though i dont disagree entirely with what you are saying I do strongly believe that there are many ways of approaching bushcraft and that bushcraft is not limited to any one definition or a predefined set of rules.

I think where we fundamentally disagree is that cheap but effective gear is absolutely fine for bushcraft and should not in any way be frowned upon but by the same right custom or expensive gear, provided it it is also effective, will allow you practice exactly the same skills.
Neither will make you a better bushcrafter as they are simply tools to allow you to carry out a particular task, the skill with which you do that task comes down to practice and your own personal skill level. Any skilled learned with one of these knives could be put into practice with other without any issues.

I can understand your views that many custom items are "overpriced" especially in comparison to their lower budget counterparts but to claim that they are all useless or junk seems very narrow minded. I have first hand epxerience of the two knives i used in my video and both are perfectly capable of any task i would wish to use them for, does the fact that one of them is a custom knife make me somehow less skilled or worthy to be out practicing bushcraft? I would suggest that it does not.

I know the video you mentioned regarding knife sharpening and should point out that the camp in question was designed to be an expedition base camp which would traditionally include additional equipment you would not carry on the trail.
Lets also not forget that this was a TV show being filmed and at no point was it suggested that a full set of waterstones were a good item to carry in your pack.
I may be wrong so forgive me if i am but i am sure that during the same episode, if not it was another in the same series, there is a section covering use of a DC4 sharpening stone when in the field.




Sorry I did say it was a bit long winded. Now im not trying to profess any great love for Ray Mears or expensive gear and didn't think that was what came across in my video.
As I say I got steadily more wound up with the comments (though I did keep replying) but what I cant get my head around is that there are people who genuinely feel that someones choice to by an expensive piece of kit would somehow affect their ability to learn and practice bushcraft.
I know there are some people who fall under the "all the gear but no idea" category but I don't think that was what this chap was getting at and he seemed genuinely passionate about his view.

I suppose my questions are have I read the comments incorrectly here and if not does anyone else share this view?
 

Tom Gold

Forager
Nov 2, 2012
153
0
Scotland
www.thetreeline.co.uk
Yeah, he gets a little repetative doesnt he? Clearly very passionate.

In one sense I get what he's saying; the difference between having a knife when you need one and not having a knife when you need one is so massive - potentially life or death in extreme circumstances - that if you do have one, the differnce between expensive and cheap may be negligiable by comparison. Also, having taken a squizz at RM's website recently I was astounded by the cost of the stuff on offer - £80.00 for handmade leather tool roll.

That said, mountain men of old were fastidious about their kit and how they chose it, I'm guessing they paid top dollar for it.
 

Wayne

BCUK Welfare Officer
Mod
Dec 7, 2003
3,503
374
49
West Sussex
www.forestknights.co.uk
You cant please everyone all the time. People will always have strong views and interpret what we say against there own belief systems. As our world view changes with age and experience it is almost impossible to suggest there is one right and one wrong way to enjoy bushcraft. I own several high end knives and a large number of axes and carving tools. I enjoy using them. I almost always pick up a mora when i'm going to the woods and I only fly with a mora and a cheaper axe on expedition.

I
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,853
1,070
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Florida
He's right that the high end stuff is just exorbitant for a real everyday user. However he's wrong to portray it as a British phenomenom for people to spend such sums. It's just as possible to occur over here as well.

On the other hand you're right that their are other criteria apart from practicality that influence personal choices and they're just as valid.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,709
2,628
S. Lanarkshire
Lowest common denominator purporting to be egalitarian.

If a decent knife maker is due his wages for a good job well done, then there's no way he can compete with a sub£20 factory made Mora.
That the Mora is a good knife is not in dispute; that many who can afford it choose to pay a skilled craftsman to make a really good tool for them, seems to be the bit that that fellow totally misses…..and then disguises it as a rant again the acquisition of such a knife 'polluting the purity' of his bushcraft :rolleyes:

Truthfully I don't think there is a problem; just that he perceives an issue and chooses to rant.

Frankly I'd rather see capable people using tools than fret about how much they paid for aforementioned tools.

M
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,853
1,070
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Florida
You cant please everyone all the time. People will always have strong views and interpret what we say against there own belief systems. As our world view changes with age and experience it is almost impossible to suggest there is one right and one wrong way to enjoy bushcraft......

Indeed; just try to even define bushcraft itself in a way that satisfies everybody.
 

Goatboy

Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
14,956
13
Scotland
Sounds like someone with a whole poke of chips (should that be "fries") on his shoulders.

Yes the RM knife is beyond most folks budgets. But it's an aspirational piece, and if no-one aspired or pushed boundaries we wouldn't move on. Why does he buy a knife at all when he could go and knap some flint or use a piece of broken glass. Both are free.

There's a long history of craftsmanship in Europe, whereas traditionally the US has been an industrial nation. Hence their G.I.'s and mediocre Sherman tanks in WWII. The Germans had better tanks but not enough of them. Indeed it was their industrialisation that helped them win their independence from us. Some schools of thought state that their more mass produced muskets with interchangeable parts helped them keep troops in the field whereas or rifles had to be sent back to England for repair.

I wouldn't bother with him too much, unfortunately from what I've read on YT the vast overall majority are either trolling of can barely string a sentence together (or spell) never mind be open minded.

Also blokes like to collect shiny things. Not just in modern times but look at the high status grave goods that are constantly being turned up. Look at the +ULFBERHT+ swords. Beautifully pattern welded and very advanced for their time. But there's speculative evidence that they were so sought after that there were counterfeits made. (The spelling is different and the metal quality isn't as good). So man has always wanted a better blade.
 

wicca

Native
Oct 19, 2008
1,065
32
South Coast
Don't worry about it Mate, I suspect he's a bored Wall Street Commodities Trader who thinks he's in the bush when he walks across Central Park. He's on his lunch break and.. wait... Ah! yes.. " metrosexualized ".."metrosexual"
" pervert ".." perversion. "...I think he has a problem and really should consider that at 38 years of age he ought to consider A) moving out from his Mother's house and B) Stop wearing that daft Davy Crockett hat and looking in the bedroom mirror..;)
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,853
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Florida
....... Indeed it was their industrialisation that helped them win their independence from us. Some schools of thought state that their more mass produced muskets with interchangeable parts helped them keep troops in the field whereas or rifles had to be sent back to England for repair......

The rest of your comment is pretty much true but this bit's a might off. We didn't have mass produced muskets with interchangeable parts until quite a while after the revolutionary War. Indeed, during that period the militia's primary weapon was a rifled squirrel gun privately owned by the militiaman (all firearms still being hand made one at a time) The primary weapon of the British in this period was the Brown Bess, an unrifled musket and great skill with the bayonet.

The factors allowing us to prevail also included a divided attention on your end. You were also defending the Empire's interest in other areas around the world and IIRC were also at war with France at the time. In simplest terms, you had other priorities that drained resources away from maintaining sovereign control of these colonies. Or perhaps simpler still, we had a lot of luck.
 
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Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,709
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S. Lanarkshire
…..thing was too; a lot of the Colonists were 'family', so to speak; there wasn't really the desire to crush them underfoot for a disagreement over their own political destiny. If they were up for able rebellion they were capable of defending themselves from foreign powers. Let them get on with it, let things settle down and get back to trading :)

M
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,853
1,070
64
Florida
…..thing was too; a lot of the Colonists were 'family', so to speak; there wasn't really the desire to crush them underfoot for a disagreement over their own political destiny. If they were up for able rebellion they were capable of defending themselves from foreign powers. Let them get on with it, let things settle down and get back to trading :)

M

Quite true. Ironically it was our reliance on trade with Great Britain back then that caused one of our differences today. The early congress seriously considered adopting the metric system as out first official system of measurements right after the ratification of the constitution. They decided against it only because our most important trading partner, Great Britain, was still on the imperial system.
 
Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
Thanks for the replies all, my faith in humanity is now restored.

I could understand the point if he were against expensive kit, I even agree to a point that certain kit (especially brand names) can be overpriced but how that effects the individuals enjoyment of bushcraft or even more so other peoples is beyond me.

I am firmly in the quality tool camp and if you can afford something handmade (which is often though not always better made) than something mass produced I say go for it if you are that way inclined.
I like the idea that I can purchase a quality tool that will very likely outlive me that can be passed on, I still do really rate the Mora's of this world but have been through 3 Clippers in my time. I don't think badly of them because of this as when you pay £11 plus postage you, should, expect to get what you pay for to a degree.
 

bb07

Native
Feb 21, 2010
1,322
0
Rupert's Land
Don't feel bad. You don't have to justify your purchases of anything (except maybe to your wife:)), least of all to someone who criticizes the cost of that knife while insulting your nationality, especially when I've seen custom knives sell for more than that on BCUSA and elsewhere.

Life is short and I've always believed that one should buy whatever they like. If it gives us pleasure to do so, why not?
Try not to let people like that get under your skin because they simply aren't worth the bother.
 

Old Bones

Settler
Oct 14, 2009
745
69
East Anglia
Agreed - you kind of get what you pay for. A hand made knife will be much more expensive than something mass produced, in much the same way that a Savile Row suit costs a great deal more than something cut by machine in a factory. I wish I could afford Savile Row, but I realise that the cost involved is not a rip off, and in fact might be under-charging, relatively speaking, when you consider the time, the knowledge and the expertise involved.

I like the idea of a tool designed for the user, and made for that person. Its generally the way that swords/knives would have been produced for warriors, etc centuries ago - by a smith for a particular customer (although we hope they would have paid for it, in order to avoid a Inigo Montoya situation). And yes, we do like bling - that special chasing, the pommel done a certain way, etc.
You pays your money, and takes your choice. As as your happy, thats fine. As for the phrase 'its preening metrosexualized Twits and Fops' - thats says a lot about the commenter, and besides, whats wrong with good grooming?
 

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
22,281
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Pembrokeshire
All in all I think it is his problem - not yours ... the man comes over as slightly ... erm ... "too passionate" on the subject and I would be concerned about letting him play with ANY sharp objects..
 

leon-1

Full Member
Please define Bushcraft?

What is "A Bushcraft Knife"?

There is no clearcut definition of what Bushcraft really is and therefore there is no clearcut definition of what a Bushcraft knife really is.

As a Survival and Bushcraft instructor who has taught to civilians, regular and reserve forces my opinion on knives and equipment is this.

As to cost, it's irrelevant.
As to design, that's irrelevant as well.

What is the best knife?
The one that you have on you at the time.

If you have no knife then the ability to manufacture (possibly knapp) a cutting implement of some form.

Knives and equipment are irrelevant. Knowledge, skill set and mind set are really what matters. If you can deliver the desired result with what you have available to you I couldn't care less whether it's a Bison Bushcraft, Woodlore, Gene Ingram, Kellam, Mora knife or SAK.

Is it Bourgeois? Who cares. He's politicizing an interest. Bushcraft and survival have no socio political alignment and I don't give a damn what this guy has to say and neither should you. It's like saying that using this tool for stamp collecting because it's more expensive is for the Bourgeois. Horses for courses my friend.

Peoples interests only become political when people make them that, be you a pauper or a king we all have to start somewhere and the majority of us will start with a Mora knife. Curiosity, or a natural magpie nature will draw us to more expensive "Shiney" items later, are they any better. Well in some ways yes they are, but in others no they're not. In the end it comes down to the ability to use an item or even to improvise and get by without an item is what's important and anyone who says differently is full of it.
 

Mike313

Nomad
Apr 6, 2014
269
22
South East
The thing that jumps out of that exchange is his intolerance of your view-point or the fact that people might wish to spend extra to get better equipment - as people who take their activities seriously do - be it photography, woodwork, bushcraft, fishing or whatever. As an aside, besides my Opinels and my trusty Victorinox, I only have one fixed blade knife, a Mora. In my case, I will reach the boundaries of my talent in the use of the knife long before I could ever reach the technical limitations of the knife :) so I take an inverted satisfaction in knowing my limited ability will save me money! ;)
 
Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
I think many here have confirmed my own views that a knife is a knife and you use what you have at the time.
Skills learnt with a custom tool, except in really specialist circumstances, should transfer over to a budget version and vice versa.

I don't really know why it irritated me so much, possibly the mildly offensive remarks, but those aside the guys responses were quite well written and thought out - I just couldn't reconcile with his overall view.

The bit that did make me chuckle was that by saying anyone buying high end gear is gentrifying the outdoors sounds to me very elitist (you can't call yourself a bushcrafter unless you spent less than £10 on a knife)
Surely this type of elitist attitude is what he is accusing myself and other like me of?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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