Batoning is bogus


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ricebasher302
November 11, 2012, 03:31 PM
Can anyone PLEASE explain why batoning is such a hot topic in the "survival knife" world?

I grew up hunting, fishing and backpacking and NEVER had the need to split wood to make a campfire. Small dead branches are extremely plentiful in the forests I'm familiar with. The idea of finding larger wood, processing it into lengths only to split it into smaller wood with a frigging knife is ridiculous! Not to mention, if you were in a survival situation, why would you risk breaking your knife?

If I have branches too big to I break by hand or foot, I prop one end on a rock or log and drop another large rock in the middle to snap it. Works great. No tools required.

If I had wood large enough to need splitting, I had already cut it into lengths with a saw and had a hatchet, axe or splitting maul handy. Where in the forest will you find naturally-occurring, convenient lengths of square-butt firewood to baton into kindling?

I realize that batoning can test a blade's durability, but in my mind, it serves no real-world purpose.

Please enlighten me.

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hmphargh
November 11, 2012, 05:14 PM
Agree completely. I find that people like to do it as a demonstration of a knife's toughness, but put mildly, there are exceedlingly few cases where I think it would be realistic. Ability to make a fuzz stick is probably much more useful in general.

ricebasher302
November 11, 2012, 05:35 PM
I hope my post does not come across too condescending toward anyone who has used batoning as a technique to split wood. I just can't understand why it seems to be the go-to test for large "survival" type blades.

hso
November 11, 2012, 05:59 PM
For those of us in wet climates it is sometimes the only way to get to dry interior of a branch/limb to help get a fire going.

Anymore, though, it is a topic without reason behind it for most.

W.E.G.
November 11, 2012, 06:07 PM
Because manly men do not need a hatchet or axe.

Would you actually ADMIT that splitting logs with your Bowie knife hurts your hands?

Cosmoline
November 11, 2012, 06:32 PM
Heck with that. I use my HEAD to cut wood!

bikerdoc
November 11, 2012, 07:08 PM
A field expedient technique at best? I have a folding saw and small hatchet

floorit76
November 11, 2012, 07:14 PM
I actually did it a few days ago. Used my cordless drill for a hammer, to drive my Benchmade 940 through a 2x4 to make it a 2x2. Probably about the only time I'll need to do it.

ricebasher302
November 11, 2012, 07:29 PM
Used my cordless drill for a hammer, to drive my Benchmade 940 through a 2x4 to make it a 2x2

Sometimes the job site requires more resourcefulness than being lost in the wilderness does. Been there.;)

floorit76
November 11, 2012, 07:34 PM
Well, that and I'm just plain lazy. My van was 50' away, and there's 3 hammers and 2 saws in there. ;)

PRM
November 11, 2012, 07:35 PM
LOL... Here we go again!!! I'm putting the pop-corn on and waiting to see how long before the "fire pics" start showing up.

JHansenAK47
November 11, 2012, 08:11 PM
While batoning is not something that I care to do when an ax or saw are available I have found myself batoning as a field expedient measure. Most notably I cut a new trail(only 15 ft or so) to bypass an area where the old trail had eroded and fell 40-50 feet to the shoreline of a local reservoir. I was able to easily hack most of the branches away but there were a few that were sizable that batoning just made sense. Walking the half mile back to my truck to get my hatchet wasn't going to happen and simple bending and breaking a branch full of thorns wasn't appealing either.
As far as batoning wood to make kindling it has in my experience always been easier to use a hatchet or ax. I long ago realized that busting my behind doing camp chores just takes energy away from hunting, hiking, fishing or even time away from completing other tasks.

RatDrall
November 11, 2012, 08:17 PM
I grew up hunting, fishing and backpacking and NEVER had the need to split wood to make a campfire

With all of that experience, I'd think you'd have had to get a fire going with wet wood at some point. I've only been camping for a few years and have been forced to split wood to get a fire going, I'm not sure how I would have done it otherwise.

"Survivalists", it seems, are fascinated with batoning because they try to milk as much utility out of their tools as possible. I would consider batoning to be extremely important to understand, but definately wouldn't go out of my way to stress my knives so when it is unnecessary.

There are tools called "axes" that work way better than any knife for splitting wood open. Pretty too...

http://i588.photobucket.com/albums/ss323/RatDrall/Knives/028-1.jpg

rcmodel
November 11, 2012, 08:20 PM
I am nearly 70 years old, and a knife user all my life.

And I just found out what batoning was last year on the YouTubey thingy.

I always thought batoning was something Marching Bands & Cheerleaders did!
Stupid me!

All those years, if I needed to split firewood, I used a $20 dollar camp ax or a hatchet instead of a high-dollar custom knife I happened to be carrying at the time.

rc

ricebasher302
November 11, 2012, 08:24 PM
Perhaps splitting wood to find dry kindling is a possible reason to baton in a pinch. Certainly a hatchet is better suited to this, but one may not always be available.

Fat_46
November 11, 2012, 09:17 PM
It's a technique I use rarely, but do use. Mostly its for cutting a branch or 6 I didn't notice when setting up a treestand or ground blind, as I generally don't take a hatchet with me when hunting. Instead, I generally carry 2 NWA blades (a skinner and a Grohman Canadian inspired design). Sometimes a Kershaw Outcast if I'm in a big tamarack swamp. I should probably get a Marble's hatchet, but haven't yet, and the Fiskar's lives at home.

I consider it more of a field expedient technique rather than a solution, but it does work.

Texan Scott
November 12, 2012, 01:29 AM
A surprisingly small amount of thermite makes batoning for dry wood unnecessary ... and it's a lot more fun. :D

hso
November 12, 2012, 07:33 AM
If the only thing you have with you is a knife and you need to do something like you'd be smart to use a small axe to accomplish you would probably want to know that you're not going to break that knife using it batoning.

I've only split pieces as big as a couple of inches across since I'm not building a roaring blaze. Just get to the dry interior to get a small fire started just big enough to warm up and perhaps boil a liter of water.

ATBackPackin
November 12, 2012, 08:10 AM
I agree that batoning when other tools are available that are better suited for the job is foolish. However, when backpacking a hatchet or small ax is the second heaviest thing on my pack only behind the tent. Shaving weight usually comes down to ounces at a time and if you can cut three to five pounds by batoning then I am all for it.

Shawn

kBob
November 12, 2012, 09:08 AM
I did it friday night in my living room. First fireplace fire of the year and using the wood stacked next to the fireplace last winter and my kindling box was empty, hatchet was out in the pump house and gnarly old cheap bowie was right there.

It was convinent, it worked, what else is new? It's my knife and trust me it is not worth anything to a collector.

BSA currently condemns it......guess were I learned to do it 45 years ago.

-kBob

beatledog7
November 12, 2012, 09:26 AM
I've learned how to do it, just in case. If I were out in the woods on purpose I'd be carrying a better wood-splitting tool.

jimmyraythomason
November 12, 2012, 09:55 AM
For those of us in wet climates it is sometimes the only way to get to dry interior of a branch/limb to help get a fire going.
I've had to do this but found that it is more expedient to use my knife to cut discarded plastic milk jugs,et.al., into strips to start a fire. They will light no matter how wet they are.

JimStC
November 12, 2012, 10:53 AM
rc,
You are hilarious. I am 60 and recently learned what it is too. Prior to that I shared your belief about marching bands.
I normally use a machete. Lighter than some axes/hatchets. Just my preference.

Jim

ApacheCoTodd
November 12, 2012, 11:10 AM
I'd never even heard of it till the internet.

I should think it a bit of a paradox - being in a scenario where one may "need" to do it would be the same scenario where one would ill afford to put one's knife at risk - even if one did have a reasonable expectation that the knife might survive the task after seeing it "proven" on another knife on the internet.

On second though - I may be over judging and think I'll take my Randall down Tucson way to see if I really can cut my way out of (into?) an aircraft.

Deltaboy
November 12, 2012, 01:59 PM
Get and Use an AXE!!!!

hso
November 12, 2012, 03:48 PM
One of our Finnish members pointed out that carving a wedge and using it was preferable to using a knife. That was a "DOH!" moment for me reading that advice.

Deltaboy
November 12, 2012, 04:01 PM
Yep cutting wood for home we make wedges before we go. But if you bust one they are easy to make with a good axe.

Shadow 7D
November 12, 2012, 04:14 PM
You know, as a guy who as taken out more than my share of of trees with a variet of knives from a bayonet (the saw back actually works...) to a machete

I'll take a Chainsaw, thank you very much
just a cause you can, don't mean you gotta


HE HE HE
and I have you all beat

I've split wood with a butter knife HA...

hso
November 12, 2012, 04:15 PM
About as much as you'd ever want to discuss about batoning. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=632999&highlight=wedge

Charles S
November 12, 2012, 04:37 PM
A surprisingly small amount of thermite makes batoning for dry wood unnecessary ... and it's a lot more fun.

Now that is funny!

I agree, it is a technique I have never used, but then again all of my packs from backpacking, to hunting have a small hatchet.

Back to Scouts: "Be prepared."

ricebasher302
November 12, 2012, 07:44 PM
HSO, Thanks for the link. 'Twas a good read. I will concede that some reasonable points have been made. Obviously, if you found yourself in an unfortunate situation where the technique of batoning was for some reason your ONLY way to make a fire, one would do so, but I find this scenario unlikely. This quote from the old thread basically sums up how I still feel. I guess I'm just a bit too practical:

You see in an emergency you have to use a big knife to cut down a tree, chop it into nice logs, and split those logs by batoning. That makes sense. Who would want to collect dead + dry branches, for example. No one, because that would be crazy.

Pilot
November 12, 2012, 07:59 PM
I always bring a hunting/camp saw when I backpack or camp. Never had to baton, never wanted to baton. Beating on a good knife just seems senseless to me.

hso
November 12, 2012, 11:23 PM
ricebasher302,

We still end up with the problem of what to do when everything is wet and you don't have an axe.
It can rain for a week around where I live leaving no dry wood to collect. It can do that off and on for weeks this time of year. That means splitting those dead limbs mentioned to get to the dry wood inside.
Is there any need to split anything bigger than you need to? Nope.
Is there much need to split anything bigger than an inch or two to get to the dry wood inside? Nope.
Anything bigger than that is probably an exercise instead of necessity.
Is it best to use a small axe to do it? Depends on the size of the wood. At under 2 inches, no, but above yes.

There's no "one size fits all" answer.

BLB68
November 13, 2012, 04:02 AM
I think the main time that the knife comes into play is when you aren't otherwise prepared. If you're hauling around all of your camping gear for an extended stay, then getting stuck outdoors is just extra days of camping, not a survival situation.

The majority of people that I've seen in the news for survival situations fall into one of three categories: day hikers, skiers, and motorists in remote areas. If you're one of the first two, you may not have an axe or a saw, and it's a lot easier to convince someone to take along a few ounces of knife than tools that they likely won't need. The motorist should have more gear in their car, but most don't. You don't expect to die on the way to grandmother's house, even if is over the river and through the woods.

So, for those not expecting to be out long, having some kind of knife makes sense as a bare minimum, along with a small survival kit. Folding saws are pretty light too, but they aren't without their own pros and cons.

ApacheCoTodd
November 13, 2012, 02:46 PM
^^^ Sure. Right. I get that and well stated BLB68 but... BATONING? Where does potentially ruining your second most important survival tool and possibly harming one's self become a good idea - even if the knife in theory can survive it?

I'm not buying it. No scenario ever calls for the practice of batoning as shown throughout the internet.

I've built fires in rain forest - real rain forest where in theory nothing is dry - and jungle and have yet to get anywhere near batoning.

As a basic test of a knife's architecture and materials I guess it's right up there with the knife maker beating up vices, table legs and whatnots at a gun/knife show. He's not saying his is the knife to buy for when you need to attack a table or a vice - he's just saying the knife can stand up to this ridiculous abuse.

I get it as a test if that's the level of potential performance one wants/needs but get weary hearing about it being a valid use for a knife - particularly in a "survival" scenario.

David E
November 13, 2012, 03:01 PM
It's a technique I use rarely, but do use. Mostly its for cutting a branch or 6 I didn't notice when setting up a treestand

Sounds more like you're describing chopping with a knife to me.

Carrying a larger knife allows one tool to do multiple jobs.

Batoning could be one of those jobs. If you're worried about your knife breaking during such use, perhaps a different knife is in order.

Cody Lundin batoned his economical Mora thru a couple saplings on Dual Survival, so batoning doesn't always mean going thru a 16" diameter log.

ricebasher302
November 13, 2012, 07:44 PM
Is there much need to split anything bigger than an inch or two to get to the dry wood inside? Nope.
Anything bigger than that is probably an exercise instead of necessity.

I can see this being legit.

RatDrall
November 14, 2012, 09:26 AM
The majority of people that I've seen in the news for survival situations fall into one of three categories: day hikers, skiers, and motorists in remote areas. If you're one of the first two, you may not have an axe or a saw, and it's a lot easier to convince someone to take along a few ounces of knife than tools that they likely won't need.

This is the reason that I have a Bark River Bravo 1 in my Messenger Bag. I know that, no matter where I end up, I can use it (as a last resort) to break wood into small burnable pieces and get a fire going.

The Bravo 1, with a 4.25" blade at .20" thick, is as small as a knife can get and still do anything asked of a knife including batoning, in my opinion. They're small enough to wear in a high riding kydex holster under an untucked t-shirt. Also, even though the blade is thick, the hand ground convex edge puts it up there with my best slicers. Really no reason not to have one along. They're pretty too:

http://i588.photobucket.com/albums/ss323/RatDrall/Knives/002.jpg

^^^ Sure. Right. I get that and well stated BLB68 but... BATONING? Where does potentially ruining your second most important survival tool and possibly harming one's self become a good idea - even if the knife in theory can survive it?


The more you know, the less you need.

Jeff Randall, of ESEE Knives/ Randall's Adventure Training, uses a tiny Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon for his bugout bag while most people on the internet use a huge rucksack that I could hide my wife in.

For the rest of us, batoning with a knife is quite reasonable so long as we didn't buy a piece of crap that will break when used hard.

Owen Sparks
November 14, 2012, 11:52 AM
Anyone ever use a froe?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Froe

A froe is a wood splitting tool that is basically a knife on an L shaped handle that is used by striking the back side with a mallet. I bought one in an antique store and put it back into service.

jimmyraythomason
November 14, 2012, 12:25 PM
Anyone ever use a froe?
My dad and one of his brothers used one to make white oak splits for basket weaving.

JimStC
November 14, 2012, 03:44 PM
Maybe I am missing the point. If I want to get to dry heartwood I use a knife to whittle away the bark and sub bark. I save the bark. It can be dried by the fire for subsequent starts. Batoning seems like a "my knife is bigger than your knife" exercise. Not trying to preach or teach. Just seems logical to me.

Jim

David E
November 14, 2012, 04:20 PM
Batoning seems like a "my knife is bigger than your knife" exercise.

Jim

It seems you have just one idea of what batoning is or can be.

As I previously mentioned, survival instructor Cody Lundin batons thru saplings with regularity using a $15 Mora.

JimStC
November 14, 2012, 05:17 PM
David,
Not trying to argue. As Thoreau said "simplicity..."
Why baton, when there are better techniques to protect your knife?
YMMV.....
Jim

dayhiker
November 14, 2012, 07:58 PM
Why baton, when there are better techniques to protect your knife?

Because if you know proper techniques batoning won't hurt your knife. To confuse matters even more, I even baton my hatchet. :neener:

ricebasher302
November 14, 2012, 08:36 PM
For the rest of us, batoning with a knife is quite reasonable so long as we didn't buy a piece of crap that will break when used hard.

It's not a debate of whether or not one should be able to beat on the spine of his/her knife with a large stick. Do what you wish with your knife. I could not care less.

It's the idea that batoning is a necessary skill to the survivalist in an emergency fire-starting situation. I think that most people are kidding themselves if they think it really offers any benefit in this situation. What likely began as a neato, chest thumping knife trick artificially (via the internet) became the most important survival skill any outdoorsman could possibly know.

And as HSO and others have mentioned, batoning can be a means of extracting dry wood from within small branches, but it seem that so many "survivalists" on Youtube inevitably demostrate their keen ability to club their blade through a 18-inch thick piece of chainsaw cut hardwood. This is a joke.

kBob
November 14, 2012, 09:23 PM
When I learned it we called it "using your sheath knife for a splitting wedge" and it was several decades before the internet came along.

I do it for convience and have yet to break a blade (see several decades before the internet). Sure a hatchet would be better. Like last firday though it might be a pain to go get it.

I think we may be argueing several different things.

Is it an essentual survival skill? likely not. Though suppose you have limited mobility and need a fire right now?

Is it a useful thing to know and perhaps have some experience with? yes

Should you do it if you have a hatchet handy? No

Should we spend so much time effort and band width argueing about a personal choice? Nope.

-kBob

ricebasher302
November 14, 2012, 09:28 PM
Should we spend so much time effort and band width argueing about a personal choice? Nope.

Kinda what we're all here for, ain't it? A bunch a like-minded goons bangin' heads and spouting opinions, experience and knowledge. That's why I like it here.

hso
November 16, 2012, 02:44 PM
"Goons"
"Bashing heads"

Not hardly.

"Sharing opinions"

That's more like it.

I've used a knife to split smaller diameter wet wood to get to the interior dry wood. Some have "whittled" to get to dry wood. Some have never needed to.

On THR whether we respect each opinion or not we respect the other person enough to keep it civil so we can actually have a debate instead of disagreements.

Bartholomew Roberts
November 16, 2012, 04:14 PM
My introduction to batoning was less for for firemaking purposes and presented as more of a shelter-making/trap making/etc. where you needed planks (much like the froe mentioned earlier in the thread). The idea was more of a primitive survival type of thing where the knife was the only tool you had as I understood it.

As for breaking them, I'm sure it can happen but I've batonned a cheap $8 Mora into seasoned firewood until it got stuck - and I wasn't gentle in removing it; but the Mora did not break or even roll the edge and this wasn't even a full tang Mora. On the flip side, that experience certainly convinced me that if I had a hatchet or saw available, I'd use it before I tried to baton with a Mora.

ricebasher302
November 16, 2012, 07:25 PM
A bunch a like-minded goons bangin' heads and spouting opinions, experience and knowledge. That's why I like it here.

Allow me to rephrase: A bunch of like-minded enthusiasts considering each others' thoughts and feelings while humbly offering opinions, experience and knowledge.:)

Anyway, trap-making is something I'd never considered. I've built figure four traps in the shop just to gain an understanding of their function but of course used scrap lumber to build them. Making one with round branches could be difficult. If you could baton a couple pieces so that they had some flat sides, it would make the trap more functional I'd imagine. This seems like a viable use for batoning.

M&PVolk
November 17, 2012, 11:16 AM
Get a good knife and a tomahawk...all bases covered!

lobo9er
January 23, 2013, 11:19 PM
ha the MEGA THREAD is revisited. Batoning is not ideal but it works in a pinch. And of course an axe is better. Its also fun learning new techniques and skills. I will however take back some of my defense of the video, he was clearly just wailing on the knife in a ridiculous fashion. I am a bit bias against cold steel. 2:30 is awesome lol he beats the snot outta that knife. lol

lobo9er
January 23, 2013, 11:28 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiv-9X1C1k0

heres a more practical video.

TimboKhan
January 30, 2013, 01:23 AM
Batoning is not ideal but it works in a pinch

I basically agree with this. I got into some huge argument on here at some point a couple of years ago with some guy that hated batoning, and while I agreed that it wasn't the best thing, I just could not get him to agree that it's better to know the right way to do it and not need it than vice versa. I just don't understand why some people are so hardcore about not learning how to do it. No one in their right mind would argue that it is somehow superior to using an ax or a hatchet, but in the absence of an ax or a hatchet, why not use your knife? It's just another skill to have, and nothing more.

I have batoned a couple of things, but it was more just to see how to do it, and if I ever needed to, I could, so thats nice.

lobo9er
February 1, 2013, 07:25 AM
Timbokhan, I agree. The guy from the UK in the MEGA THREAD was the same way. He was going off about how he works in the woods and what not. Batoning is not an axe replacement and not for logging. Its a technique to use while camping if needs be. When I go hiking in to camp I'm not going to carry an axe. (usually) I will however take a stout knife. Everybody's different I suppose.

beatledog7
February 1, 2013, 08:29 AM
I grant that batoning is a relatively slow and inefficient way to create usable wood from wood that's too big. But I don't carry a axe in my truck or on my motorcycle.

Like any last resort methodology, it's not the preferred methodology, but it works in a pinch. Having a knife that can do it reasonably well without giving up other characteristics more in keeping with traditional uses for a field knife makes sense. By default, batoning beats having no way to split wood at all. If you choose a field knife can't do it, you're surrendering an option.

dayhiker
February 1, 2013, 03:11 PM
Since this thread came back, I'd like to add a couple things.

I like options...

Hand axe

http://i1104.photobucket.com/albums/h340/dayhiker1968/axe/100_1830.jpg


Wooden wedge

http://i1104.photobucket.com/albums/h340/dayhiker1968/SAK/100_1800.jpg

Knife..

http://i1104.photobucket.com/albums/h340/dayhiker1968/Photo-0020_zpsd60eee8c.jpg


I have used all three, as you can tell.

By default, batoning beats having no way to split wood at all. If you choose a field knife can't do it, you're surrendering an option.

Now I am not disagreeing here. However , wood selection and proper technique are far more important than what knife you have. If you will allow me to demonstrate.

The section of wood that my F1 split above is frozen, but it is straight grained Poplar. Easy to split so once the F1 made manageable chunks I split it down further with a very odd "field knife" choice.

A knife I carry every day that cost a whole $25, is made in China out of a cheap stainless steel (5CR15MoV), has a 3" Wharncliffe blade. Is hollow ground, and the tapered spine is 1/16" thick at its thickest point.


Enter the CRKT Folts S.P.E.W, the batoning beast.

http://i1104.photobucket.com/albums/h340/dayhiker1968/Photo-0021_zps6919d747.jpg

http://i1104.photobucket.com/albums/h340/dayhiker1968/Photo-0022_zps8dff5c27.jpg

No chips, rolling, and the tip is even intact ! So ,in general, if you are carefull, batoning will not destroy your knife.

Still in one piece...

http://i1104.photobucket.com/albums/h340/dayhiker1968/Photo-0023_zps7a82bca1.jpg

T.R.
February 2, 2013, 08:59 AM
I recently handled a cheap made in China hatchet at a flea market. Cost was $7.00. Why baton with a good knife when cheapy hatchets are available?

TR

JimStC
February 2, 2013, 09:06 AM
A skill (batoning) is like a tool. My preference is to have more tools than I need rather than less tools than I need. Do I use all the tools in my tool box? No. Am I glad I have all the tools in case I do need one? Yes.
To me that is the essence of this thread.........

Jim

dayhiker
February 2, 2013, 09:46 AM
Why baton with a good knife when cheapy hatchets are available?


For me it is weight. My kit I carry hiking weighs 10lbs, water and food included, when I bring my hand axe. It weighs 8lbs minus my hand axe.

Now 2lbs doesn't seem like much, but in the warmer months the axe isn't as valuable a tool to me. So it stays home.

hso
February 2, 2013, 11:11 AM
Yep, weight of the tool, but as has been pointed out it is a skill to get a knife to perform in a pinch when you don't have the correct tool.

dayhiker's photo showing how a carved wedge will split wood matches my experience. Make a big piece into pieces small enough to split with a knife by carving a wedge to get there without putting your knife at risk.

HoosierQ
February 4, 2013, 04:33 PM
Chuck Norris never batons. Wood splits itself out of respect and fear. So he's good.

mdauben
February 4, 2013, 05:46 PM
Can anyone PLEASE explain why batoning is such a hot topic in the "survival knife" world?

I always looked at it as an emergency technique, not something to do on a regular basis. Even then I don't really like the idea of risking the destruction of what might be your most important survival tool. Of course, I've had people on other forums tell me I don't know what I'm talking about and label me an "armchair expert" (I guess 40 years of experience hiking and back country camping from FL to AK doesn't count if its not documented on YouTube!). I just shrug my shoulders and go back to splitting wood with an axe like god intended. ;)

gossamer
February 5, 2013, 08:50 PM
Can anyone PLEASE explain why batoning is such a hot topic in the "survival knife" world?

I grew up hunting, fishing and backpacking and NEVER had the need to split wood to make a campfire. Small dead branches are extremely plentiful in the forests I'm familiar with. The idea of finding larger wood, processing it into lengths only to split it into smaller wood with a frigging knife is ridiculous! Not to mention, if you were in a survival situation, why would you risk breaking your knife?

If I have branches too big to I break by hand or foot, I prop one end on a rock or log and drop another large rock in the middle to snap it. Works great. No tools required.

If I had wood large enough to need splitting, I had already cut it into lengths with a saw and had a hatchet, axe or splitting maul handy. Where in the forest will you find naturally-occurring, convenient lengths of square-butt firewood to baton into kindling?

I realize that batoning can test a blade's durability, but in my mind, it serves no real-world purpose.

Please enlighten me.
I spent many many many nights backpacking, camping, fire building, hunting, scavenging and never once needed split wood for a fire or shelter. I domt live everywhere for sure, but i dont think it would be my biggest hangup. To each his own I guess.

rtrwv
March 16, 2013, 09:41 PM
Out of necessity I used my almar sere folder to baton some kindling at a rental in the smoky mtns. Only knife i HAD WITH ME.....left my go bag in the garage forgot to pack it. It worked well though my little greco hatchet has since been with me 24/7 and taken care of that issue. Have to add the little almar really takes a butt load of beating from me a real user.

cauldron
March 16, 2013, 11:25 PM
Once a year I go camping in up-state NY. The firewood is cut to length, and there are 'flats' from the log being made square at the mill. They don't burn well as is. They lay flay and snuff the fire. They are about an inck thick, and spliting with a knife is fast and easy for getting a pile of sticks to start the fire. Some of the pieces are so straight grained and thin, I showed someone how to split them with a crowbar. Just lay the wood flat and smack it.

I've only had to split wood while camping other places where fire wood is found instead of bought. I do it to get a clean burning fire for cooking. The sticks smoke more, and make more ash, and less coals.

I could split with an ax, or a hatchet, but I don't need that much wood, and I already have a knife. Winter camping is where an ax gets used more than a knife.

I've never hurt a knife batoning, but I've seen people use a hammer to baton a hatchet, or a rock on a knife spine. I'd never do either... I've also never hurt my hand.

Other than the odd flat pieces of wood, or to make a clean cook fire, it's not something I do often. It is a viable skill though, and can be done wrong or correctly. Some people use three types of rope and two dozen knots just setting up camp. Seems like overkill to me, but it makes them happy, and doesn't hurt.

Readyrod
March 23, 2013, 11:41 PM
If you are camping and using small wood you are probably better off with a small folding saw. If you are only splitting small wood a beefy knife should be fine. Specially if you don't want to carry too much gear. IMHO a knife is more versatile than an axe or a hatchet. Thing is if you are getting into chopping bigger wood I'd take a hatchet or axe, and a larger saw. They are made for the job and they do it well.

CA Raider
March 24, 2013, 01:01 PM
I'm with dayhiker - I rarely carry a tomahawk unless I am just car camping. They are very useful to have around.

There have been times when the only wood available was a few twigs for kindling, and some very big branches - too big to be useful. On those days I have regretted not having a camp saw or a tomahawk. So I could see "battoning" as being a useful skill under some circumstances. But I normally don't have a survival knife with a large heavy blade that can take that kind of beating.

CA R

JShirley
March 24, 2013, 04:05 PM
But...dayhiker also demonstrated with his SPEW that knives used in batoning needn't be beefy.

I personally have only used batoning as a test of a knife's strength, but that doesn't mean it doesn't fit anywhere in some folk's repetoir.

John

Pilot
March 26, 2013, 11:05 AM
I use my knives to cut things, not chop, saw, pry or other things abusive to my knives. I carry a lightweight camp saw when I backpack or camp to cut firewood. No need to baton.

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