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Batoning is bogus

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by ricebasher302, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. ricebasher302

    ricebasher302 Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. hmphargh

    hmphargh Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. ricebasher302

    ricebasher302 Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  5. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    Because manly men do not need a hatchet or axe.

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

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Heck with that. I use my HEAD to cut wood!
  7. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator

    A field expedient technique at best? I have a folding saw and small hatchet
  8. floorit76

    floorit76 Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. ricebasher302

    ricebasher302 Well-Known Member

    Sometimes the job site requires more resourcefulness than being lost in the wilderness does. Been there.;)
  10. floorit76

    floorit76 Well-Known Member

    Well, that and I'm just plain lazy. My van was 50' away, and there's 3 hammers and 2 saws in there. ;)
  11. PRM

    PRM Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. JHansenAK47

    JHansenAK47 Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. RatDrall

    RatDrall Well-Known Member

    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...

  14. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    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.

  15. ricebasher302

    ricebasher302 Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. Fat_46

    Fat_46 Well-Known Member

    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.
  17. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Well-Known Member

    A surprisingly small amount of thermite makes batoning for dry wood unnecessary ... and it's a lot more fun. :D
  18. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  19. ATBackPackin

    ATBackPackin Well-Known Member

    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.

  20. kBob

    kBob Well-Known Member

    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.


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