Tool Kit - What do I need in it?

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Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
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Birmingham
As part of changing how I think about what I carry and how I use it, I have some questions that hopefully people on the forum can answer.

1) I am going to start carrying a bow saw with 2 blades, one for fine work and one for green wood. If you carry a bow saw what length do you use?
2) I am going to add some sort of rasp file. Does any one use or carry one? If so what make and model?
3) What do you carry to make holes in wood?
4) What is the difference in use between a hatchet, tomahawk and axe? I have basic axe experience however an thinking of changing to a tomahawk because of the advantage of using the head on its own.
5) I carry a knife, axe, saw, scrapper, draw knife so what else do you carry and why?
 
i presume you talk about a tool kit for the woods?!
my preferred length for bow saws (and bucksaws) is 19" , but here they have only 21" available which still works o. k. anything longer seems to "wobble sideways" too much which makes straight cuts more difficult...
over here i also often carry the local "collection of compromises/ jack of all trades --master of none" a.k.a. "machete" or a parang or nata
 
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Stew

Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
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The simple answer is that you need the tools for the jobs you plan to do.

For me, I’ve never had a use for a rasp or drill when in the woods but if you have different tasks planned then go for it. No one can really tell you what you should carry...
 
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Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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As Stew said, it really depends on the tasks you have in mind. Ignoring going into the wood to do serious work (such as coppicing and thinning) I take different tools in with me depending on what I plan to do. I don't take a rasp for any of my greenwood working in the woods but I do take a spoke shave. My bow saw blades are 24" and I only carry a greenwood blade; finer stuff is done with the Laplander. If you're carrying all those tools I don't see the point in saving the weight of the axe handle to be honest. I usually have a Forest Axe sized one and my carving axe but if I know I'll be doing heavy work it will be a full felling axe. If I plan on doing finer carving I'll take the tool roll with my carving and spoon knives.

Having said all that, if I'm journeying, it will be my belt knife and a SAK with a saw and scissors - nothing else.
 

Minotaur

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Apr 27, 2005
1,222
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Birmingham
i presume you talk about a tool kit for the woods?!
Yeah sorry should have made that clear.

my preferred length for bow saws (and bucksaws) is 19" , but here they have only 21" available which still works o. k. anything longer seems to "wobble sideways" too much which makes straight cuts more difficult...
Yeah I have a 12" and 24" bow saw however they do not seem to make the 18" anymore and there does seem to be a 21" now as well. Cool thanks for that.

over here i also often carry the local "collection of compromises/ jack of all trades --master of none" a.k.a. "machete" or a parang or nata
I have been looking at my Bushman and thinking of upgrading to a Kukri.

The simple answer is that you need the tools for the jobs you plan to do.
As Stew said, it really depends on the tasks you have in mind.
That is sort of the thing, I want to get better at using what I already carry and build a general base kit for that.
I have been watching a lot of US videos lately and they seem to process wood (Batoning etc) differently from the ways I have in the past.

For me, I’ve never had a use for a rasp or drill when in the woods but if you have different tasks planned then go for it. No one can really tell you what you should carry...
Tom Brown Jr talks about carrying a rasp however I have not seen an explanation of what he does with it in anything I have read. That said it is used by a lot of Bow makers and can see how it would be useful for tinder etc.

Ignoring going into the wood to do serious work (such as coppicing and thinning) I take different tools in with me depending on what I plan to do. I don't take a rasp for any of my greenwood working in the woods but I do take a spoke shave. My bow saw blades are 24" and I only carry a greenwood blade; finer stuff is done with the Laplander. If you're carrying all those tools I don't see the point in saving the weight of the axe handle to be honest. I usually have a Forest Axe sized one and my carving axe but if I know I'll be doing heavy work it will be a full felling axe. If I plan on doing finer carving I'll take the tool roll with my carving and spoon knives.
I have wondered about a Spoke Shave and a hook knife.
As I said I have done the basic axe stuff however it has never been the choice. I have always managed to get what I need done with a knife and saw. If it was not such a lump of metal I would carry a billhook because for wood processing it just works.
It not about saving weight with the tomahawk, it the fact that you can de-handle it and use the head. To be honest, I sort of wondering if I am trying to fit an axe into my set up because it what everyone seems to say I should have. Maybe I should dump the axe idea in favor of something else or nothing and see what road blocks I hit.

Having said all that, if I'm journeying, it will be my belt knife and a SAK with a saw and scissors - nothing else.
Hiking it my sak huntsman and my Rough Rider Large Canoe however I am looking at the what I carry and why across the board.

The closest I can get to my thinking is I am trying to do a sustainable PACE set up sort of modeled along the lines of a Roman Soldier. Which sounds really weird even to me however it about being fit enough to carry what I need and walk 40 miles a day. At the same time with a lightweight hiking enjoyment of the world. It also about trying to move away from plastics as much as I can. Still thinking about this....
 

gra_farmer

Settler
Mar 29, 2016
663
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Kent
I am personally still redesigning my bushcraft / camping grab bag, but I agree with Broch, when your just off, has to be a fixed (<4 inches) and either a SAK or multi tool.

To be honest I use a multi at least once everyday, and very rarely parted from one.

But when in the woods for fun, it is a laplander saw, fixed scandi, and either a larger blade or small axe. I have also been down the tomohawk route and for me the best one is the CRKT Woods Chogan T-Hawk, works very well once you sort out the edge bevel.
 
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MrEd

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Feb 18, 2010
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Short of very heavy splitting etc I have found I have been able to do all I want with a bow saw, Laplander and my knife.

I only take extra tools when I have a specific project in mind, and tbh that’s rarely more than a hook knife or some scotch eye augers etc.

I don’t carry an axe, I know it’s de rijeur for bushcraft but tbh i just haven’t needed one, for the stuff I do, in the UK.

I must get a folding bow saw though.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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Berlin
I usually carry a 110 cm full tang scandi grind knife and a Victorinox Compact and that's all for hiking, trekking and traveling.

For winter camping in Germany I would take a shorter folding saw and a Fiskars X7 hatchet for firewood.

With groups or in a static camp as well as in the canoe I would carry a shorter foldable bow saw that is out of production.

Would I need to replace it, I would try out the Agawa Canyon Boreal 21 with all purpose blade.

 
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Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
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Birmingham
I usually carry a 110 cm full tang scandi grind knife and a Victorinox Compact and that's all for hiking, trekking and traveling.
I am personally still redesigning my bushcraft / camping grab bag, but I agree with Broch, when your just off, has to be a fixed (<4 inches) and either a SAK or multi tool.
To be honest I use a multi at least once everyday, and very rarely parted from one.
Yeah I agree if hiking however for my Bushcraft kit I trying to work out what I should be carrying.

In the real world my leatherman rocks however due to the law I cannot carry it most of the time so I am looking to change that part of my EDC. Bushcraft wise, my SAK Huntsman fills that niche. To be honest, the blade part of both tools I could live without. Really wish I could send my Leatherman off to be de-bladed and have them replaced with something more useful. Then I could just carry my canoe for an edge.

But when in the woods for fun, it is a laplander saw, fixed scandi, and either a larger blade or small axe. I have also been down the tomohawk route and for me the best one is the CRKT Woods Chogan T-Hawk, works very well once you sort out the edge bevel.
I looking at that or the Cold Steel Rifleman's Hawk however I just wondered what difference you find between the axe, tomahawk, and large blade. What can you do with one that you cannot do with others?
That said the CRKT Berserker looks interesting.


Short of very heavy splitting etc I have found I have been able to do all I want with a bow saw, Laplander and my knife.
Have you seen some of things done with make your own wood wedges?

I only take extra tools when I have a specific project in mind, and tbh that’s rarely more than a hook knife or some scotch eye augers etc.
It the hole making things that I wonder about.

I don’t carry an axe, I know it’s de rijeur for bushcraft but tbh i just haven’t needed one, for the stuff I do, in the UK.
Yeah, I was taught to use them and then basically shown they a waste of time and effort however seen some interesting things that make me wonder. That said I wonder if I should just look at things like the United Cutlery Honshu Boshin Kukri. I really like a billhook for UK style forest, they just too heavy.

I must get a folding bow saw though.
I looking at the saw question as well because I wonder do I go bow saw or stick with green wood folding and add a Japanese for fine work. Or just use the Japanese for both.
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,428
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Bedfordshire
I am with Stew. I haven't been able to work out what it is that you want to be able to make, or how a day with this proposed kit would unfold. Can you please clarify? Is this tool kit to be carried in addition to over-night gear? Tools are heavy!

Also, what sort of place do you live in? Does it have any outdoor space at all, or is it a flat in town? There are some jobs which it is definitely easier to do in a more permanent home work are, but its not easy managing shavings in an apartment. This will help folk understand why you want to do all your work in the woods.

I make things, but the kit you are proposing is much more involved than I have ever carried or would want to carry.

I have never seen a bow saw blade for fine work. Only those for seasoned wood or green wood, and the green wood blades will cut both. Something with finer teeth would be good, but I would look to a folding Japanese pull saw if you really want to craft things. Maybe only pruning size, but there are wood working options out there.

The rasp you are looking for is a 4-in-1 Hand Rasp, 8 inch. Not that I carry one, but if you want to carry a raspy bit of metal, that is the one to carry. They are not easy to find new in the UK. Nicholson made them.
I would snap that one up.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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@Le Loup surely can explain you the differences between a tomahawk and a usual hatchet. And where you can get a good tomahawk should you want one.
 
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Jared

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 8, 2005
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Largely depends on what intend to do as others have said.

If I'm doing serious work (tree felling and the like) then go to is a 32" bow saw. But cutting that large of wood, it's either got be on your own land, or have permission.
Avoid triangular shaped bow saws, they're just a pain, want a rectangular shaped one.
If want smaller than 21", Hultafors make a dinky 12".
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,655
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Vantaa, Finland
Tomahawks seem to invariably have thin blades while hatchets are more like miniature felling axes or splitting axes. I have friends who have tried hawks for trekking and been thoroughly disappointed. Some have tried light kukris and been fairly happy. It is -as many things are- a matter of taste and custom and being used to something.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,643
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Berlin
I think regarding the Tomahawk, that it is a question of technique.
They obviously have been used as bushcraft tools and are still in use in the USA but it seems to be complicated to use them if one is used to a normal European hatchet.

That is a weapon that can be used skillfull for bushcraft use. And it is very light. But I guess most of us would get a few problems to use them in the beginning.

And another important point is:

The Tomahawk is a weapon that can be used as a tool too.

The hatchet is a usual tool that can be used as a weapon too, like a screwdriver.

I can carry a full size axe over the shoulder in the middle of Berlin, without any legal problems and I could carry a Tomahawk too.

But it seems to me as if in Britain things one carries around with a good reason should better be and look like a tool.

In the eyes of most people a Fiskars hatchet should be a tool as long as I don't attack anyone. It is obviously a tool.

But a tomahawk is a weapon and never had been something else, even if I am pretty convinced, that most of them exclusively had been used as a tool.
 
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C_Claycomb

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Oct 6, 2003
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Describing the traditional tomahawk with removable head, as described by Minotaur, the biggest difference is the handle needing to be tapered so that the whole handle can pass through the head. This means the hawk is more prone to turning in the hand, there is no knob on the end to give directional control. I have seen it said that while a hawk can be a very versatile tool, it is more of an advanced tool, a hatchet is easier to use and harder to damage.

The appearance of tomahawks in bushcraft is the result of their use in trade with Native Americans and use by the early explorers. In those situations, having a handle that could be easily replaced in the field, and fairly quickly, was a huge benefit.
As an example, this one does not have a thin blade, but many do.
Doesn't mean they are a better tool for wood work than a hatchet. If you are figuring out a tool kit, I would look at a hatchet or SFA which will allow you to split and hew with more ease and control.
 
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