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10 Jun, 43 tweets, 7 min read
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Bushcraft knives are medium-size fixed-blade knives, mostly utilizing carbon or high-quality stainless steels. Their hallmarks include comfortable grips, sharpened spines for scrapping a ferro rod or other firestarter, and edges suitable
for carving and splitting natural materials such as wood.

Most bushcraft knives are meant to be carried on a belt with a formed sheath in either plastic or leather. While some can be used for high-stress work, most bushcraft knives fall into a medium-duty role.
While some would argue that edge retention or a precision Scandi grind is the most important feature of a bushcraft knife, I'd put handle comfort at the top of the pile. Having a blade that'll split wood and featherstick a whole tree is great, but it's going to be a miserable
experience if the knife doesn't fit in your hand. Micarta, rubber, and non-rigid handles with a gentle palm swell usually offer a more ergonomic grip.
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Blade
Simplicity is key when choosing a blade shape for your bushcraft knife. Wild grinds, recurves, or serrations will only hinder its usefulness as a tool. Most all-purpose knives will feature a blade with a
between 3.5 and 4.5 inches. This is a general rule, though your hand size and grip will play a role. Whatever size you’re after, you should gravitate toward something with a nice mix of straight edges and a gentle belly, curving up toward the tip.
And while we’re here, let’s talk about tips. Clip points, drop points, and spear points are relatively common, but you won’t see many trailing, tanto, or sheepsfoot models.
Speaking on knives, in his 1988 classic β€œBushcraft,” legendary woodsman Mors Kochanski said, β€œAll general-use knives should have the blade tip close to the profile center-line of the handle.” This allows users to more easily control the blade’s point during drilling or detail
work. This approach also brings added durability to the knife, as the tip is less thin than a Bowie design.
Steel
Let’s hear from Kochanski again, straight from his Knifecraft chapter: β€œThe blade should be of a good quality carbon steel … Carbon, unlike stainless steel, can be used as the striker in the flint and steel method of fire-lighting. Inexpensive stainless steels have a bad
reputation with respect to producing a keen edge let alone holding it. The Mora stainless steels, however, are every bit as good as their carbon steels.”
This is a hotly debated topic in the bushcraft community. The traditional argument calls for high-carbon steel, with several logical reasons. These steels are usually softer, making them less likely to shatter under heavy use. They’re also easier to sharpen in the field and can
take on a wicked edge. On the downside, they can be prone to rust if not properly cared for. And, while they may take a great edge, they may not hold it for as long as a harder stainless steel blade.
Stainless, on the other hand, is great for beginners. It’s well-suited for wet tasks and food prep, but it should still be wiped down after use. Metallurgy has advanced quite a bit since 1988, so there are plenty of brands making excellent bushcraft knives in stainless steel.
Depending on your variety of stainless, the knife will generally stay sharp for a longer period of time. But once it dulls, sharpening may be a bit more of a challenge. Stainless is also not as well-suited for firestarting, as carbon steel reacts well with a ferro rod.
In the end, it comes down to how you plan to use the knife.
Handle
As with any tool that spends hours in your hand, comfort is at a premium with bushcraft knives. The classic design calls for a basic oval shape, often referred to as a β€œbroomstick” handle. While these are both comfortable and proven, some of the more modern designs feature
a more sculpted approach.
Morakniv, for instance, adds contours for the palm and a subtle finger guard. I generally prefer the latter approach, but only when it’s employed sparingly. If your β€œbushcraft” knife has a busy handle with cutouts for each finger, you’re going to have a bad time.
What about materials? A G10 or hard plastic handle will suffice, but a Micarta handle or other natural material usually offers superior comfort on a fixed-blade knife.
Blade Design
The final aspect of the blade we will discuss here is the overall design. The design encompasses the edge and the grind of the knife. Before we jump deeper into the specifics of blade design, let’s first talk about bushcraft needs.
So, if you’re looking for a bushcraft knife, you’ll need to be able to utilize it for almost all survival tasks. This means you need a knife with the ability to do push-cuts, build a fire, drill, topping and tailing, and more. Many bushcrafters will use this same knife for
cooking, hunting, and fishing as well.

With all of that in mind, the best bushcraft knives should have a defined drop point with a flat cutting edge and grind. All in all, you want a knife that can make everyday outdoor tasks more manageable.
To get more specific, you want a blade grind that fits your needs. Here are some examples of different grind options and their benefits:
Flat grind: Mostly found on kitchen knives and suitable for chopping.
Convex grind: Smooth transition lines give a stronger edge and cleaner cut

Hollow grind: Incredibly thin giving a razor edge cut and making it easier to sharpen and useful for skinning and dressing.
Chisel grind: Good general purpose heavy-duty cutting and woodcutting.

Scandi grind: Short, flat grind on a thin blade where the primary grind is also the edge bevel. Short for a Scandinavian grind.
The most popular grinds for bushcraft knives are Hollow, Chisel, and Scandi grinds.
Other general blade aspects to notice is if it is full tang and if there is a portion of the knife that has a serrated edge. Some bushcraft purists do not like serrated edges, but some prefer them to make certain tasks like cutting wood easier.
When a knife is full tang the metal of the blade funs entirely through the handle.
Sheath
Finally, we have the sheath. The sheath of the knife is what keeps the blade protected and secure when it is not in use.
Materials often used to make a sheath include leather, plastic, or nylon. Some nylon sheaths will be quite durable, but others are cheaply made and will break down quickly. Some nylon sheaths will be cut gradually over time by taking the knife in and out.
Leather is a traditional material used, but it is often a bit more expensive. Some knives on our list used leather sheaths, and they are rather durable. Cheaply made leather sheaths will usually glue together scraps of leather to create a sheath. This is not ideal, and you should
look for a sheath that is a solid piece with minimal seams.

Then we have the plastic sheath. Some plastic sheaths, like Morakniv, are made with durable materials and are extremely easy to clean.
I am partial to plastic sheaths because of those reasons. They are minimalistic, heavy-duty, and don’t hold grime. The major battle with a plastic sheath is how it connects to you. They will use either a plastic or metal attachment, which can be somewhat annoying to wear.
Steel Variant

High carbon steel blades come in different varieties, including O1, A2, CPM D2, D2, 5190, 52100, 1080, 1085, and 1095. The advantage of carbon/alloy is that they will not dull as quickly. However, they are more prone to rusting. You can avoid rust by oiling the
You can avoid rust by oiling the blade and keeping it clean.

Another distinct advantage of high carbon blades is that they will be softer than other steel. To some, this may not be ideal. However, softer steel is much easier to grind and keep sharp.
Stainless steel will also come in a few different varieties, including VG10, 440c, CPM S35V, CPM 154cm, and CPM 3v. You can kind of think of stainless steel blades as the complete opposite of high carbon. The material is much tougher, making it somewhat lower maintenance but much
more difficult to sharpen when the time comes. The good news is that you don’t have to worry much about rust.
The most commonly used steel types that best classify these knives are: 440C, 154CM and 1095 high Carbon.
Final Thoughts

So in the final analysis, for a do-it-all survival/bushcraft knife my needs will best be met with a four-inch, 1/8-inch thick, Scandi or convex grind rigid blade, drop point knife. It must be full tang, with a well-designed handle.
The knife will come with a safe, well-designed sheath that is comfortable to carry.
Here's 4 pictures to help you understand the Criterias of a Knife

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