Dont batton with your knife

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,570
455
Mercia
It may not damage a butter knife to use it as a screwdriver either. Doesn't make it the right tool for the job.

I can't see anything you described doing that a froe can't do better and with more precision. You can move a froe handle to control the split - something you both can't and shouldn't do with a knife

We can disagree though
 

tamoko

Full Member
Jun 28, 2009
265
12
Zuerich
bushcraftru.com
"the more you know the less you care" It isn't?
Can you carry any necessary tools for any possible tasks in the wildness, or you can practice bushcraft only in your workshop with a lot of proper tool?
 

Jared

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 8, 2005
2,578
130
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Wales
I think battoning is probably the lesser of some evils.

One is chopping across the grain, see videos of people swinging a knife about with as much force as they can muster which isn't good. I think if you've just got a full tang knife then battoning is the more controlled and safer option.

Also Woodsmith experience get Morris to make riving irons, which are the middle ground between using a knife and a froe for about 18 quid, lightweight and save your knife some abuse.


Also it rather depends on the knife... if you have one of the these

[video=youtube;K2m4A5Kfcl8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2m4A5Kfcl8[/video]

then maybe less of an issue. ;)
 
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Bladeophile

Tenderfoot
Jul 23, 2013
96
0
Basingstoke UK
Sorry to --- on the parade but I reckon battoning is here to stay. Been using it for years, never come close to breaking a knife or amputating useful parts of my anatomy - in marked contrast to numerous dangerous wieldings of axe vids I've seen. I mean things that really make you want to look away from the screen just in case.
Knives have evolved fast, just like everything else - and continue to do so. Try finding a Trailmaster back in the old days. You could - if you found a maker and had enough folding stuff. Some useful tips. Don't batton a fragile knife. Big battons best everyday. Go easy in cold weather. If you must go through a knot align the blade and grain. Put a good solid foundation under the piece you're battoning - then the knife will really work for you. Protect your blade against rock/stone/dirt. Pick a knife with gradual transition between blade and tang. Use a heavy dense hardwood batton.

Large volume tree processing is a different job entirely - and here nothing competes with a med/large woodsmans axe (When in the right hands).
 

Stew

Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
5,482
505
Aylesbury
stewartjlight-knives.com
It amazes me how much this subject seems to polarise people time and again.

At the end of the day, I don't really care what other people think about batoning - I do it and am happy with it. I know the 'risks'.
Me doing it doesn't effect anyone else. I could understand if it was a group survival situation and we had one knife between us that it would be disrespectful of other people to do it if some were against it. It's not though so I'll continue as I wish, not harming anyone else.

I also stick my knife in the soil point first, roughly sharpen on a belt grinder without stropping, leave it covered in dirt and sap, don't worry about rust too much and probably plenty of other things that will have people 'tsk'ing. ;)

My life though. :D
 

Jinsin456

Settler
Nov 14, 2010
725
0
Maybole, Scotland
Can;t watch the videos as I'm at work but I baton with my knife all the time. Usually only the smaller stuff as I find you can be more precise and use a LOT less effort when splitting down kindling. That being said and I think it's been mentioned on here already, I would tend to steer away from splitting much thicker than wrist thick, more down to my ability level more than anything though, for that I would use an axe as I feel it would take less effort.

At the end of the day knives aren't made of glass and are a tool to be used, I love my knife (Enzo Trapper in 01) but I don't have a massive sentimental attachment to it as it could easily be replaced.
 

Tiley

Full Member
Oct 19, 2006
2,064
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Gloucestershire
Great video - very entertaining. I am surprised by the entrenched views taken by some of the contributors to the thread though. There is always an ideal tool for every situation and application but, whether in the interests of lightweight or forgetfulness, if you forget your axe or hatchet, why not baton with a knife? You may have to work a bit harder to get that edge back once you've returned home but, if it's all you've got when you're in the woods, it seems foolish not to use it.

By and large, I do tend to take an axe for batoning; if the aim is to take less and make my pack lighter, I take my little Husqvarna hatchet which is brilliant. However, I am not afraid to use my knife, if circumstances demand it, to split wood for the fire.

I like the idea of splitting wood with a spoon. Is it possible with a spork? Perhaps then one of the most useless and poorly designed things in the entire outdoor activity world would have a real purpose...
 

Huon

Native
May 12, 2004
1,327
1
Spain
Great video - very entertaining. I am surprised by the entrenched views taken by some of the contributors to the thread though. There is always an ideal tool for every situation and application but, whether in the interests of lightweight or forgetfulness, if you forget your axe or hatchet, why not baton with a knife? You may have to work a bit harder to get that edge back once you've returned home but, if it's all you've got when you're in the woods, it seems foolish not to use it.

By and large, I do tend to take an axe for batoning; if the aim is to take less and make my pack lighter, I take my little Husqvarna hatchet which is brilliant. However, I am not afraid to use my knife, if circumstances demand it, to split wood for the fire.

I like the idea of splitting wood with a spoon. Is it possible with a spork? Perhaps then one of the most useless and poorly designed things in the entire outdoor activity world would have a real purpose...

Battoning with a spork is no problem but only if the spork is pink. I believe Mr. Fenna may have put up an instructional video somewhere.....

:D
 

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
21,924
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Battoning with a spork is no problem but only if the spork is pink. I believe Mr. Fenna may have put up an instructional video somewhere.....

:D

Maybe I should show how to baton with a Pink Plastic Spork - just to show how really useful they are in the outdoors! :)
 

Wayne

BCUK Welfare Officer
Mod
Dec 7, 2003
3,464
326
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West Sussex
www.forestknights.co.uk
I still agree with Mary. I think she has explained the advantages of using a knife to baton far more eloquently than I could have. :You_Rock_

Secondly i often smile when I see people carry so many sharps about. Most UK bush crafters do Not require an axe for the style of bushcraft they practice. Generally camping for one or two nights less than 500m from their cars.

The most they use an axe for is a 10 minute burst of log splitting to build a fire. Most of which could have been achieved using a knife or a froe or a few extra minutes on proper wood selection.

How many of the axe carrying general public have the skill and knowledge to safely fell a 30+ inch diameter tree with Axe or the access to the land to do it?

Most carry an axe in the UK because they like shiny new toys. Every task I do with my axe could be performed with another tool just not as quickly.

The the argument about efficiency does not reflect the true energy of the whole system. Calories and space needed to carry the extra tools. Was splitting wood really necessary. Was a fire necessary?

I like to think I'm pretty handy with most sharps so am in no way anti axe.
 

Big Stu 12

Full Member
Jan 7, 2012
6,025
2
Ipswich
Secondly i often smile when I see people carry so many sharps about. Most UK bush crafters do Not require an axe for the style of bushcraft they practice. Generally camping for one or two nights less than 500m from their cars.

.

I also seen some that dont really need more then a butter knife... or a long handled spoon... :)
 

Uilleachan

Full Member
Aug 14, 2013
585
5
Northwest Scotland
Well I thought the vid very good and very funny. I'll try my best not to come across all Adolph :D

In a perverted kind of way I like splitting wood, I split a couple of real pigs over the last few weeks that have been hanging round in my shed since the 2006 storm firewood bonanza, I'd periodically put them on the block and have a go, finally I got them split and burnt, thats most satisfying in a me against the un-split-able round kind of way, looking at a piece of wood sussing the grain the likely weakness and hitting it in the right place is enjoyable when it works frustrating when it doesn't. The humdrum of wood fetching handling and splitting is however a real pain, great when it's done but hard to get motivated.

So I can understand the allure and satisfaction one finds in working with wood in this way. But I simply don't see the need to batton with a knife, once one understands how easily wood splits if one reads and works with the grain it's a known quantity it's not something that requires practice. Sure, have a go and learn how to do it, but once you've done a bit; you've done a bit, make a few tent pegs from quartered or eighth'ed rounds and move on and learn how to use an axe. If you have a lot of wood to split one soon realises that even a cutting axe is the wrong tool for anything of any gnarly-ness or volume.

I know there's a whole heap of stuff that can be done with just a knife and very clever some of it is too, but if I ever found myself in a situation with just a knife where my life depended on it, i'd be looking out for it and taking great care of it. I simply cannot foresee a situation where I'd need to split much wood with my knife. Using the knife to make tools then using the tools to do the work, thats the way to do it, in my opinion. Make a wedge or two fine, but if you have a saw to cut a batton-able round then one can saw a wedge and cut a start for it. A bushman, even the big one plus a few spare blades weighs little more than a good bushcraft knife, why wouldn't one carry one? and if one had a saw why would one even consider anything but the lightest splitting with a knife?