- Bram van Munster
- Site Admin
- Posts: 233
- Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:34 pm
- Location: the Netherlands
Some people take 'just one' knife with them, others take one for each task, but everyone seems to agree on the fact that the best knife is the one that does the job you want it to do.
The knives come in all shapes and sizes, with blades of one finger length to full machetes, but what makes a knife a good one?
Let's face it, our knives have to be strong in the wild, we abuse them and try to do things they were never designed for. It is safe to say a simple pocket folder knife won't do the job. I've seen people that try to split wood with their knife by pommeling it on the spine with a wooden mallet, drive it into a tree to they can stand on it and reach up, making feathersticks on a daily bases and still want the edge to be sharp enough to skin a rabbit and straight as an arrow.
Just because we won't change that behavior any time soon, and simply because even the most careful person will sometimes ask a lot of the knife, here are some do's and don'ts.
Looking at the way knives are made, and I'm not talking about the folders here, most are the same in basically. You have the scales (handles) of the knife, and the blade. With most knives, you can't see the steel part that sits inside the scales.
That part is called the tang. There are various types, such as the half tang, narrowing tang or partial tang (only part of the scales are filled), needle or stick tang (a thin and usually pretty weak "pin" that is almost the full length of the scales) and full tangs (the steel is the same shape as the scales for strength, and can be 'skeletonized' which means holes are drilled into the steel for added stability and weight reduction).
Partial tangs and needle tangs are very easy broken, as of course the steel inside is thinner. Both full tang and skeletonized tangs are usually quite broad, the same width as the spine of the blade, and can extend even at the and of the scales to act as a pommel.
So, we choose the full tang knife or the skeletonized tang knife. The size of the blade is very personal, and for most people a knife like the Mora Companion is a great start (or keeper). That one is made of stainless steel too, so it can take some bad weather as well.
The good knives always come with a sheath as well. It doesn't really matter what the sheath is made of, as long as it has a hole in the bottom so rain can drip out, and a way to attach it to yourself.
Some sheaths come with added bonuses, such as a firesteel attached to it. Especially the smaller firesteels are easy to misplace, so this offers a way to have your firesteel nearby at all times, with a lessened chance of losing it.
And of course there are the luxurious versions with even a whetstone attached to it, and other people get to take a whetstone with them. The advantages of taking a whetstone with you are the size, and the fact most come in two grain sizes. Eventually you're create a bur on the edge, or it goes blunt, and you'll need to sharpen the knife, so size does matter. Knife sheaths that come with a small whetstone attached are usually very small and one grain only.
When you are sharpening your knife, make sure you keep the same edge. There are many, for every job there's a different one, and some knives have a double edge even! Those are the ones that are the sharpest of all, but will loose their edge pretty quickly as well.
As with every tool, make sure to get the right tool for the job and make sure it is razor sharp.
Just because it is so sharp, always make sure to cut away from your body and limbs!!!
And just because it's a nice image, here's a very beautiful full tang knife. You can see the steel run from front to back, which is the way you want it if you ask me!!!