Tool Kit - What do I need in it?

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Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,222
69
Birmingham
There is no ‘should’ about what you need. There is no definitive bushcraft toolkit or uniform.
I have an annoying answer yes and no. I agree that there is no right choice now however there are guides in what people in a type of terrain use.
 

Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,222
69
Birmingham
Start with telling us what you want to achieve. Top down thinking rather than bottom up.
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!
The plan is to carry it however I think it is part of the what can you do with what you carry. I have plans this year to try and do the Bushcraft USA courses so I want to be able to do anything in them.
I want a tool kit that lets me do everything from a try stick to shave horse. I have some ideas for a spindle and rope walks.
I think what I am trying to work out is my version of a nessmuk and then an upgrade to a medium kit (which can build a bow).

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.
Yes I have a back garden and can get out into the wild.

I make things, but the kit you are proposing is much more involved than I have ever carried or would want to carry.
I get that however I am trying to work out what to carry and what I need to carry. As I said if weight was not an issue I would carry a billhook.

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.
I think you are all talking me out of the bow saw unless I want to cut down trees. My folding saw and little Japanese saw weight next to nothing.
An axe uses the weight of its head to increase its power which by the sounds of it a tomahawk does not have the same weight power increase. That said it does have a longer handle than a hand axe I think so maybe that the trade off. Also it might explain why people are saying takes more skill because the longer handle would require more skill to use I think.
While I can see the tomahawk weapon argument in the US, I think anyone in the UK is going to see an axe however I think the big blade might have a Zombie issue.

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.
That is what I think a rasp is however there is this or this. I cannot see why Tom Brown would recommend what we think of as a rasp however if you see a Shinto Rasp in action it a fine tinder maker for a start.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,635
1,010
Berlin
I admit that I am less orientated to reenact an old Canadian trapper than interested in hiking, and I see tools for outdoor use mainly as means for fire and food preparation.

It reflects of course the legal frame in Germany, where every little stone and every weed theoretically has an owner, who otherwise can't forbid me to access his land without own good reason.

I can sit legally in the wood of Mr Smith all the day without asking him for permission, but I am not allowed to cut down and burn his firewood of course. Otherwise in fact nobody becomes angry if I burn a few twigs for making a soup in a secure distance of the forest if it isn't too hot and dry anyway. And if the twigs are a bit bigger in unpleasant weather conditions also nobody cares about, because there surely will not come so many others who like to follow my bad example.
That means, as long as I leave the place more or less how I did find it, and as long as I don't steal firewood of a for the forest owner interesting larger size, I can do what I want.

The legal frame of other countries may differ a bit but the obvious interests of the landowners don't, and so I nowhere got problems with landowners all my life with my bushcraft orientated trekking stile.

I admit, that I usually set up my camp with sunset and leave it early in the morning, but of course I met a few landowners too in the last decades.
It is obvious, that I don't plan to settle there and fortunately I am able to explain in a few languages, what I am doing there, and when I plan to leave the ground.

As most people don't see hiking, eating or sleeping as a heavy crime, I really never, never in 40 years of hiking and wild camping (for just one night in each place) met a landowner who became angry or unfriendly. But I have to tell you that I treat foreign land far more carefully and responsible than the own land.
My impact on foreign land is next to nothing, especially in the long run, and that's easily visible, if one meets me.

As long as I was hiking with some kind of Boy Scout group, we had been of course a bit less stealthy, and of course is the impact of 6 persons on a little place far heavier during just one night than the impact of a single person. But otherwise landowners usually support boy scouts, because it's well known that this is an organisation that teaches youngsters the most responsible behaviour outdoors.
People trust in the boy scout uniforms, and they are absolutely right with that.

So I did carry as a Boy Scout leader a folding frame saw and I used it a lot by cutting arm thick firewood, the for me most handy size, and the biggest size that does not yet interest the forest owner.
And we also did carry a 600g hatchet to make tent poles and tent stakes, to split kindling and to hit the big wooden pegs for our large tent into the ground.

But alone, I tend to carry smaller tools, because I have to carry them alone and I usually don't need larger ones and if my tools are small, a landowner who meets me in or next to his forest can see immediately that I am only equipped to process fire wood sizes he isn't interested in himself. I mean an 11 cm full tang knife, like the Morakniv Garberg, a usual sized folding saw like the Bahco Laplander and perhaps a 600 g hatchet like the Fiskars X7, easily portable sizes that can be carried invisible inside of the rucksack. In all German weather conditions tools in this size are really large enough for an experienced single hiker, and as you probably have noticed in my other thread I talk about winter conditions down to -25*C.

If I cut and burn away that little crap, I even help the landowner to clean up the forest and make his own work easier if he later wants to pick up the larger firewood sizes for his house or in order to sell it.

If I come along something that looks like a private nature reserve I don't enter it anyway, because I don't want to disturb the animals who live in there, and try to avoid the ticks who live with them.
Who doesn't care about disturbing the roe deers in their living room will first get attacked by ticks and if he doesn't understand it, he will get sooner or later a real problem with a well sized boar.

In my personal opinion one should try to achieve first as much as possible with a modern full tang knife like Mora Garberg or Jääkäripuukko 110. That is absolutely sensible from a survival training aspect. Who enters the woods should in my opinion train to manage all kind of problems that he could get into with just his usual hiking equipment tools.

And I don't need and want to carry more than such a well sized knife in warm condtions and perhaps a folding saw and a 600g hatchet in winter and spring.
I don't need them by the way, but I admit that they are pretty handy.

Something else is of course if one plans to play with land owners permission around a static camp or if one really wants to enter deep woods in areas like we can find them in parts of Canada, Skandinavia and Russia.
If I would expect really cold weather in woods where nobody will come along in the next few years, I probably would also carry an axe and a well sized folding bow saw. In canoe and pulka the weight isn't such a problem anyway.
 
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C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,417
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Bedfordshire
Hi Minotaur,

I have that Shinto rasp, and I have had a couple of larger Surforms, as well as a posher Microplane. I used them all on my bow making, along with a Vallorbe cabinet rasp. In my opinion the cabinet rasp is the most useful because of its rounded side, which allows both more rapid stock removal, and the rasping of concave shapes. The Shinto rasp is great for flats. I haven't used a Surform tool in years, I do not consider them in the same league as the other rasps or spoke shaves.

The reason for a rasp is that it can very safely and efficiently remove wood without a lot of tear-out in areas of changing grain direction. For example, the handle fade-outs on an American style flat bow, or where a spoon handle meets the bowl, or around the knob end of an axe handle, or just around a knot in an otherwise straight area. They also give you the chance to shape bone and antler rapidly. They can save the edge of your knife for finer work.

If you want a tinder maker, figure out a scraper, like a cabinet scraper. Much lighter, more compact, and arguably makes better shavings. The rasps tend to make dust.

Sorry about the house question. When I was at university I lived in an apartment, no access to a garden. I was dead keen to build a bow and gave it a good try, but the thumping from axe work drove people crazy and I had no where to dispose of the huge pile of shavings.

I tend to like my draw-knife more than my spoke shaves, but either one requires that you have a means to hold the work firmly while you pull against it. Bow building without a way to hold the bow can get frustrating.
 
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C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,417
1,378
Bedfordshire
For making holes, something I have wanted to try for a while is to use a 1/4" hex ratchet on a 1/4" hex drive drill bit and see whether that works. Cannot expect fast rill speed, but more the sort of speed you get with a bit and brace, but more compact.
 
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bobnewboy

Native
Jul 2, 2014
1,027
476
North West Somerset
My favourite tinder maker is a good quality pencil sharpener. It is light, compact, easy to use on dry dead twigs or split wood, and of course safe. It fits easily in a tinderbox/bag, and is totally legal to carry (at the moment anyway!). I choose a better quality one as the blade keeps it’s edge far better, and the blade is usually replaceable with a screwdriver (on your SAK). Your Pencil Sharpener May Vary though :)
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,417
1,378
Bedfordshire
What size / type of bit?

Had the thought when I first saw the Bosch self cut spade bits.

There are also hex driven Forstner bits, but I am not so sure about them. I have a plain shank 18mm bit and it likes to go fast in a drill press, so the opposite from what is wanted here.

These might work

As might this

I was interested in holes under 14mm. I had a crazy idea for my next US trip of making a tensahedron hammock stand from Home Depot lumber. Being able to pass cord through stud size timber would be a big help. Such trips are out the window now, and I have a tent, so I haven't pursued the idea. I don't have any 1/4 drills with self pulling thread tips, but I could try one of my flat bits.
 
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That size knife is usually called a sword, take a decade away and its a knife. :D
i always thought "decade" means "a period of ten years" -- what are you feeding to your tools?! :p :p (sorry, couldn't resist... :banghead:)

in my earlier post i mentioned carrying a long blade or machete on occasion: this is due to the fact that i'm in the tropics where it's occasionally necessary to clear some obstacle out of the way or to open a coconut on the beach -- fortunately nobody here raises an eyebrow about it :) the bucksaw and other large tools are reserved for firewood cutting and other tasks around the farm while my exploring/ hiking mean going light(er)...
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,417
1,378
Bedfordshire
Space bit?

All but one of the bit types linked above are self pulling.

My idea was for something considerably lighter and more compact than a brace.

There is something to be said for bits that do not have pull in, they might work with a bow-drill system.
 
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Stew

Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
5,688
655
Aylesbury
stewartjlight-knives.com
Had the thought when I first saw the Bosch self cut spade bits.

There are also hex driven Forstner bits, but I am not so sure about them. I have a plain shank 18mm bit and it likes to go fast in a drill press, so the opposite from what is wanted here.

These might work

As might this

I was interested in holes under 14mm. I had a crazy idea for my next US trip of making a tensahedron hammock stand from Home Depot lumber. Being able to pass cord through stud size timber would be a big help. Such trips are out the window now, and I have a tent, so I haven't pursued the idea. I don't have any 1/4 drills with self pulling thread tips, but I could try one of my flat bits.

The four spiral bits are awesome to use. Very aggressive!
Must say, I’m generally not keen on self pulling bits and usually drill a pilot hole first so that it doesn’t pull, if that style is my only option.
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,651
736
Vantaa, Finland
i always thought "decade" means "a period of ten years" -- what are you feeding to your tools?! :p :p (sorry, couldn't resist... :banghead:)
But you understood anyway. ;) The usage for multiples of ten is fairly common in engineering and science but apparently not all that much elsewhere.

I have never been in jungle, the farthest south I have been is Dubai I guess, counts well as a hell hole but not really jungle country. But yes I can understand easily why jungle environment would require a different set of tools and in some cases very different from the ones I use in the Taiga.

In fact I would gladly hear what set you use in the Green Hell.
 
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Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,222
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Birmingham
I admit that I am less orientated to reenact an old Canadian trapper than interested in hiking, and I see tools for outdoor use mainly as means for fire and food preparation.
LOL not sure about the Trapper however if you can find a nice patch of land for nothing in Alaska with Internet I would be very interested.

It reflects of course the legal frame in Germany, where every little stone and every weed theoretically has an owner, who otherwise can't forbid me to access his land without own good reason.
I think that applies in England at least as far as Land Owners go even if there a footpath supposed to be there. I get that it is often a case of the few spoiling it for the many having talked to Land Owners.

I can sit legally in the wood of Mr Smith all the day without asking him for permission, but I am not allowed to cut down and burn his firewood of course. Otherwise in fact nobody becomes angry if I burn a few twigs for making a soup in a secure distance of the forest if it isn't too hot and dry anyway. And if the twigs are a bit bigger in unpleasant weather conditions also nobody cares about, because there surely will not come so many others who like to follow my bad example.
That means, as long as I leave the place more or less how I did find it, and as long as I don't steal firewood of a for the forest owner interesting larger size, I can do what I want.
The legal frame of other countries may differ a bit but the obvious interests of the landowners don't, and so I nowhere got problems with landowners all my life with my bushcraft orientated trekking stile.
I have never cut green wood without permission and then only for a permanent use. You can always find fallen wood for any use you would have.

I admit, that I usually set up my camp with sunset and leave it early in the morning, but of course I met a few landowners too in the last decades.
It is obvious, that I don't plan to settle there and fortunately I am able to explain in a few languages, what I am doing there, and when I plan to leave the ground.
I am planning to do more of that in the future as it seems to be the way to do a lot of the long walks in the UK.

As most people don't see hiking, eating or sleeping as a heavy crime, I really never, never in 40 years of hiking and wild camping (for just one night in each place) met a landowner who became angry or unfriendly. But I have to tell you that I treat foreign land far more carefully and responsible than the own land.
My impact on foreign land is next to nothing, especially in the long run, and that's easily visible, if one meets me.
You must have had a good run or never walked in the UK. I have done a few guided hikes and the amount of effort they put in up to and including walking it weeks before and the amount of times they cannot do the walk for some issue is surprising.
My favorite story is the farmer who went mental at us for walking round his field doing no damage to his crops and when the 2 of us rather timed asked were the footpath continued because we had not been able to find it. Fully expecting at this point to have somehow got lost in the last mile following a signed posted footpath. At which point he pointed to a brand new fence with no gates and said its that way. We were the lucky ones because the other group walked the other way round the field and got electrocuted by a fence.

As long as I was hiking with some kind of Boy Scout group, we had been of course a bit less stealthy, and of course is the impact of 6 persons on a little place far heavier during just one night than the impact of a single person. But otherwise landowners usually support boy scouts, because it's well known that this is an organisation that teaches youngsters the most responsible behaviour outdoors.
People trust in the boy scout uniforms, and they are absolutely right with that.
We always asked was there anything they wanted due so we have made a point of cleaning paths of fallen wood etc.

So I did carry as a Boy Scout leader a folding frame saw and I used it a lot by cutting arm thick firewood, the for me most handy size, and the biggest size that does not yet interest the forest owner.
And we also did carry a 600g hatchet to make tent poles and tent stakes, to split kindling and to hit the big wooden pegs for our large tent into the ground.
I never carried a saw until the arrival of the folding pruning variety. Saws were for fire wood processing at large camps.

But alone, I tend to carry smaller tools, because I have to carry them alone and I usually don't need larger ones and if my tools are small, a landowner who meets me in or next to his forest can see immediately that I am only equipped to process fire wood sizes he isn't interested in himself. I mean an 11 cm full tang knife, like the Morakniv Garberg, a usual sized folding saw like the Bahco Laplander and perhaps a 600 g hatchet like the Fiskars X7, easily portable sizes that can be carried invisible inside of the rucksack. In all German weather conditions tools in this size are really large enough for an experienced single hiker, and as you probably have noticed in my other thread I talk about winter conditions down to -25*C.
If I cut and burn away that little crap, I even help the landowner to clean up the forest and make his own work easier if he later wants to pick up the larger firewood sizes for his house or in order to sell it.
This is one of the things I am wondering about going to a hobo or wood burning stove. I do just wonder if the meths stove works better from a practical point of view.

If I come along something that looks like a private nature reserve I don't enter it anyway, because I don't want to disturb the animals who live in there, and try to avoid the ticks who live with them.
Who doesn't care about disturbing the roe deers in their living room will first get attacked by ticks and if he doesn't understand it, he will get sooner or later a real problem with a well sized boar.
I know we have them however I do not know anyone who has actually met a boar in the UK face to face. I have seen deer in weird places not so much when hiking.

In my personal opinion one should try to achieve first as much as possible with a modern full tang knife like Mora Garberg or Jääkäripuukko 110. That is absolutely sensible from a survival training aspect. Who enters the woods should in my opinion train to manage all kind of problems that he could get into with just his usual hiking equipment tools.
Yeah I think that is were this discussion is heading me to try and do what I want to do with what I carry except adding my small Japanese saw and a scrapper.
I will set up an axe use area at home and maybe add a tomahawk to the mix. To try and see if I want to carry one on a more regular basis.

And I don't need and want to carry more than such a well sized knife in warm condtions and perhaps a folding saw and a 600g hatchet in winter and spring.
I don't need them by the way, but I admit that they are pretty handy.
Something else is of course if one plans to play with land owners permission around a static camp or if one really wants to enter deep woods in areas like we can find them in parts of Canada, Skandinavia and Russia.
If I would expect really cold weather in woods where nobody will come along in the next few years, I probably would also carry an axe and a well sized folding bow saw. In canoe and pulka the weight isn't such a problem anyway.
I think that would start towards what I think of as the large kit.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,635
1,010
Berlin
As you know my opinion is that even the drill awl at the SAK is as well designed as useless, because I would need it only to make Ski poles, what I don't do.

But would I want to drill little holes in the forest by hand, I would of course think about a bow drill system.
I am no specialist, but I think it was done like that before they invented the hand driven drill machine, which is relatively heavy but should be for some uses stll a good idea.

You need a German one of course:


 
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Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,222
69
Birmingham
Hi Minotaur,

I have that Shinto rasp, and I have had a couple of larger Surforms, as well as a posher Microplane. I used them all on my bow making, along with a Vallorbe cabinet rasp. In my opinion the cabinet rasp is the most useful because of its rounded side, which allows both more rapid stock removal, and the rasping of concave shapes. The Shinto rasp is great for flats. I haven't used a Surform tool in years, I do not consider them in the same league as the other rasps or spoke shaves.

The reason for a rasp is that it can very safely and efficiently remove wood without a lot of tear-out in areas of changing grain direction. For example, the handle fade-outs on an American style flat bow, or where a spoon handle meets the bowl, or around the knob end of an axe handle, or just around a knot in an otherwise straight area. They also give you the chance to shape bone and antler rapidly. They can save the edge of your knife for finer work.
This is exactly what I was looking for. I have added a Shinto and Vallorbe cabinet rasp to my home tool kit and will use them there before decided if the weight worth it.

If you want a tinder maker, figure out a scraper, like a cabinet scraper. Much lighter, more compact, and arguably makes better shavings. The rasps tend to make dust.
I think the scrapper is the one worth the weight.

Sorry about the house question. When I was at university I lived in an apartment, no access to a garden. I was dead keen to build a bow and gave it a good try, but the thumping from axe work drove people crazy and I had no where to dispose of the huge pile of shavings.
No worries, I live in a really good part of the city in a weird way because I am surrounded by parks and really close to the edge of the city.

I tend to like my draw-knife more than my spoke shaves, but either one requires that you have a means to hold the work firmly while you pull against it. Bow building without a way to hold the bow can get frustrating.
My current practical history question is what did Native Americans use to do that? I have seen a medieval re-enactor professional bowyer make a long bow and the shave horse is an amazing piece of kit. It amazing how quickly he did it with so few tools.
 

Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,222
69
Birmingham
As you know my opinion is that even the drill awl at the SAK is as well designed as useless, because I would need it only to make Ski poles, what I don't do.

But would I want to drill little holes in the forest by hand, I would of course think about a bow drill system.
I am no specialist, but I think it was done like that before they invented the hand driven drill machine, which is relatively heavy but should be for some uses stll a good idea.
I have seen on BushcraftUSA them doing that with a flatten ended nail in the end of the drill part.

You need a German one of course:
Lol not sure anyone makes an English one anymore.
Wonder were the hand brace sets in drill history?
 
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But you understood anyway. ;) The usage for multiples of ten is fairly common in engineering and science but apparently not all that much elsewhere.

fact I would gladly hear what set you u

But you understood anyway. ;) The usage for multiples of ten is fairly common in engineering and science but apparently not all that much elsewhere.

I have never been in jungle, the farthest south I have been is Dubai I guess, counts well as a hell hole but not really jungle country. But yes I can understand easily why jungle environment would require a different set of tools and in some cases very different from the ones I use in the Taiga.

In fact I would gladly hear what set you use in the Green Hell.
to me it's not a hell -- it's a place where i feel comfortable (my favourite place on the planet is commonly known as "Australia ) -- my definition of "hell" are cities...

i haven't done an overnighter in years :( :( (because of lack of opportunity) but tool wise that wouldn't make a difference; as stated several times in the past my most used cutting tools got lost during an armed robbery 2years ago and i haven't been able to replace them, yet :( :( my standard carry consisted (and hopefully will again) of a fixed blade (F1 in a shoulder holster/ baldric carry), Leatherman Supertool + small fixed blade (food prep + skinning/ gutting small game, fish, eel etc.) on my belt + 130mm pocketboy in my shoulder bag. this was my standard set-up regardless of where i was (Oz,Nz, Japan or else). in addition often a machete (16" ), parang (once had to get an import permit for a one night stopover in Singapore...), hatchet or 150mm nata depending on terrain and what i was doing. firewood processing on a backpacking trip usually means collecting small stuff, the chopping tools are mainly for coconuts, harvesting the occasional fallen piece for projects etc. as i prefer to leave as little trace as possible... .maybe not the lightest set-up in the world but carrying more than one blade is common amongst many cultures and goes at least as far back as "Otzi"

edit: instead of the 4tools i lost i'm currently using a bahco " multipurpose tradesman knife" (basically a mora under a different name) -- does the job until i'm able to upgrade... :)
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,635
1,010
Berlin
There are types of ground that can catch fire or embers.
We have them in lower Saxony for example and in east German pine woods we have to pay attention too.

But usually I just look for sand and ignite my fire directly on it. Stone would work too of course. If I can't find a secure ground I simply don't ignite a fire there.

In my opinion a pot needs a bail to hang it under a tripod over a fire. Everything else may be a trekking or mountaineering pot, but is no bushcraft pot in my opinion.

There are a few other pots with bail on the market of course, but these here seem to be pretty practical, as they have the butterfly handles too:

Pathfinder Bush Pot 1750 ml


Lixada mug 750 ml, stainless steel

 
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Hultafors Outdoor knife for Sale

We have a a number of Hultafors Outdoor Knives with Firesteels for sale.

You can see more details here in this thread OUTDOOR KNIVES The price is £27 posted to the UK. Pay via the paypal button below.