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what`s the best all-round bushcraft knife


thekeeper
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12 hours ago, thekeeper said:

I like the look of the bushtool 

first time I have looked at these and hey look really good

 

(Warning- gratuitous, pic-heavy, knife-bore ramble! Some hunting pics/dead animals)

 

That design is indeed good: I had a Skookum Bushtool in CPM-3V (my all-time favourite carbon steel for knives; almost stainless, v tough, takes a great, stable edge.)

IMG_5874.jpg

I once reviewed an identical knife by Rob J EVs, which had a hex drive socket incorporated into a central hole in the handle and tang. It was a good knife: not too big,  like some bushcraft knife offerings.

My daughter modelling it with a bbq'd pigeon:

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While I like the design, which is very close to Mors Kochanski's idea of the ideal bushcraft knife, I find I prefer a slightly longer, less upswept blade (a slight drop point.)

 

My most comfortable, carbon steel bushcraft knife which fits that description is the Spyderco one designed by Chris Claycomb. 

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On the other hand, this is my preferred style for carving/wood work: a simple scandi style I made with some beautiful, stabilised maple that has fantastic chattoyance, (blade by JPieterson?):

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However this type of handle is not so good for wet-work; nasty tendency for one's hand to slip forward onto the blade if the tip snags. I also feel nervous, probably unnecessarily, about battoning hidden-tang/scandi-style knives.

My favourite all round stainless knife is a Stuart Mitchell "NAFOK" in SF100. I've been down the rabbit-hole of hyper-steels (I still have a Farid in CPM-Rex 121) and realised they don't  make for good REAL-WORLD use fixed blades. SF100, with its basic chemistry, is the perfect blend of corrosion resistance, edge-stability, ease of sharpening and toughness. This one has tapered tang with red vulcanised-fibre liners and looks much better than my pics show. Perfect balance, too.

3-A79-BB2-D-FC2-E-4071-892-F-BE47-EA2-DB

In case you are wondering, "NAFOK" stands for "Not Another F**king Outdoors Knife".

 

My most carried non-stainless bushcraft knife is this small, simple O1, cocobolo tool. It's the first knife I made from scratch and has the heads from the rounds i used to take my first two deer set  in the handle (I reprimed with oil-soaked primers because I thought it would look better, I regret this for two reasons...) Might be a bit small for a large-handed adult but can do most tasks, fits in a pocket and doesn't catch on things when sheathed on the belt.

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I've heard it said that the best knife for the job is the one you have on you. This is very true- I've used a UK legal penknife to gralloch and later process a fallow that unwisely appeared when I'd just packed up after a field zeroing.  Not the best tool for the job but it worked. 

In a similar vein, I once took a Stu Mitchell integral steak knife out with me and used that for gralloch, skin and butcher. Why? Just because. Because I wanted to try it out and maybe learn something (I learnt that you can do it but there are better tools for the job!)

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Ironically, I find the combat-oriented Spyderco Warrior in H1 makes an excellent Stalking knife and, once you're used to it, a perfectly useable bushcraft knife! 

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The pronounced belly of the blade doesn't favour whittling, but the point is still almost on the axis of the handle. This makes the tip controllable and much more useful than the blade shape would suggest. The guard and finger grooves are a mixed blessing- limit grip options but very secure. The serrated section of the spine is good for cutting cordage, de-legging/heading but not stripping bark etc.
 

497-F8337-524-E-486-F-8-DAB-A582-D598-F3

53384-FF1-FFD2-4-E13-9478-E41-AE7-C519-B

8-FBA0-E16-E869-4731-99-DD-407-F20-EB0-B

973-BBF3-A-1-D69-4-A56-A001-6387-CDEB959

Pretty versatile for such a "focused" knife and led me to challenge what I thought I knew about good designs for bushcraft. Totally impervious to rust, too.

So, oddities like the Warrior aside, I reckon my perfect bushcraft knife would be either the Chris Claycomb designed Spyderco Bushcraft or the Stuart Mitchell NAFOK in either CPM3V or SF100. 

Or just get a Mora.

 

Idle rambling over. 

 

 

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