Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The age old topic of knives

To be honest this is the most contentious subject in bushcraft. There's no such thing as the perfect knife. If there was we'd all have one and there would be no other choice for us to use. All I'm going to do now is tell you what to look for and be honest with yourself on the reasons.

Pictured above are my main users. They both work for me. One is a TBS Boar it's 02 tool steel and hair popping sharp. The other is an Opinel NO.6 in carbon steel which is also hair popping.

I bought these because they work for their intended use. No single knife will do every job. What you have to do is decide what you want it for. You aren't going to fillet a fish with an axe or are you going to be able to do much battoning with a scalpel. Remember that.

Now you have to think where you are using it. Carbon and salinity don't mix well, a nice knife in carbon steel will rust badly if there's salt in the air. If it's coastal areas you prefer you should get stainless.

Now I know that everyone says go carbon as it's easier to sharpen, but if you don't maintain the tool it will rust. Stainless, as a trade off, is harder to sharpen,  but it will take a bit more abuse (just don't leave it soaked constantly).

But with all that said the most important bit is does it work for your hand. It's all very well buying a knife, but if it doesn't work for you it may as well be a pretty ornament. A properly balanced knife will feel effortless. You should try before you buy. 

Never be ashamed in what you choose as a knife. It's your knife and works for you. Belt candy might look pretty, but if you prefer using a run of the mill clipper, then use it with pride.

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