Guest post by Josh C
Any Prepper, Survivalist, Hunter, Camper or Outdoor Enthusiast should have a good knife and know how to use it. A good survival knife is the single most important piece of equipment you will ever have or use. With it, you can procure fire and food, and create shelter and other structures. Just as there’s a tool for every job, a wrench for tightening bolts, a hammer for pounding nails, there’s a knife for every task.
If you’re blazing trails or clearing brush you would want a Machete (check out this awesome CRKT Machete out on Amazon). If you’re splitting kindling or dressing game the obvious choice would be a Fixed Blade. Cutting rope and carving tent stakes then falls to the Folding Knife (this is one of the best folding knives priced at under $20).
Let’s take a look at the parts of a knife. The blade is made up of the edge, the tip, the point, and the coil. The tang is the part of the blade that runs through the handle.
When choosing a knife there’s a simple guideline to follow:
Hold the knife, how does it feel in your hand? Does it fit your hand comfortably? Is it too heavy for you to use effectively? Is it too big? Look it over, what is it made of? Are you going to be comfortable carrying it around with you on outings?
Use the knife, is the blade-shaped correctly for the jobs you may need to use it for? Will you be able to comfortably use it for an extended period of time? Go over all the cuts and slices you may need to make.
Research it; ask people who have it how it handles. Read reviews on it, many times have I bought a knife on impulse to have it break the first time I use it.
Price It, I have never spent more than twenty-five dollars on a knife. That said you should not skimp on quality, the knife you purchase has to be perfectly suited to you for you to survive.
Now, let’s take a look at the types of Cutting Edges there are available.
In a survival situation, a good chopper can make a world of difference. While an ax or hatchet would be equally useful for chopping, they lack the finesse of the machete.
There are several different styles of machetes ranging from the Gurka Kukri to the South American Bola. The only good way to find the style that suits you is to get out there and use it.
A good fixed blade is essential to your survival. When choosing a fixed blade one thing to keep in mind is whether or not it has a full tang.
The tang is the portion of the metal that runs through the handle. A full tang provides extra support for chopping and slicing or anything that requires putting any stress on the blade.
Also, try to stay away from hollow handled “survival” knives. These are accidents waiting to happen.
If it has a hollow handle than it has no support from the tang and is therefore probably the worst tool you can take into the woods.
A blade length of between 4 and 7 inches is probably best for survival and bushcraft purposes, any larger and it becomes too cumbersome to use effectively, any smaller and you might as well use a folding knife.
Pocket Knives can be divided into two further categories, Jack Knives, and Pen Knives. Jack Knives are hinged on only one end but may have more than one blade. Multi-Tools are divided between Multi-blade Knives and Multi-pliers.
Multi-blade Knives are hinged on both ends like Pen Knives but in addition to multiple blades, they have tools such as scissors, bottle openers, corkscrews, and screwdrivers. They are traditionally the only type of knife with a blade that locks in place, although it does not have to. Pen Knives are hinged on both ends and have multiple non-locking blades.
This style of knife was made popular by the Victorinox knife company. Multi-pliers are basically Multi-blade Knives that fold up inside folding needle-nose pliers. The Leatherman Knife Company made this tool popular. Sometimes generic multipliers are referred to as Leatherman tools.
There are two common types of steel used in making knives. The first being stainless steel, stainless steel has the advantage that it is virtually indestructible and in theory, won’t rust.
That said, it will tarnish over time, and will not keep a good edge for very long. The other type of steel is ‘carbon steel’. Carbon steel will take and hold an edge better than stainless but will rust if exposed to the elements.
There are several things that you can do to extend the life of your knives or any tool for that matter.
First, keep it dry. ‘Dry knives live long lives’. The process of rusting is scientifically known as rapid oxidization. If you leave an apple out in the open air for any period of time you will notice that it will start to turn brown.
That is called oxidization, which basically means that the fruit is losing moisture. Rusting occurs when metal gains moisture (whether it’s through being left out in the rain or other), and then rapidly losing it.
Keep it clean. If you ever have to cut a piece of food with your knife, and it’s still all sticky from that piece of pine you cut through the other day, then what are you going to do.
Sap and other sticky substances and residues can easily be removed by rubbing at the sap with rubbing alcohol and using a dish scrubby or rough sandpaper.
Finally, keep it sharp. A dull knife is much more dangerous than a sharp one. When carving with a dull knife you have to force the knife more than is necessary, making it harder to control. It is also a lot easier to work with a sharp knife.
There are many methods of knife sharpening, included are:
The Sharpening Steel (honing rod). The honing rod is a long round file used for quickly sharpening longer blades. Sharpening (wet) Stone. The sharpening stone is the most reliable knife sharpener out there. It has been used since before our forefathers came to America.
Precision Sharpening Systems. There are many different types of manual sharpeners and kits on the market. Okay, now I have a question… What’s your favorite survival knife?