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Why batoning

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by The Evangelist Cowboy, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    Is anybody going to San Antone?
    I've always been curious as to why people baton with their knife then rather just use a hatchet. Any thoughtS?
     
  2. buck1032

    buck1032 Member

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    I have only done it on the occasion I needed to split smaller wood and didnt have said hatchet or ax.
     
  3. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    Is anybody going to San Antone?
    Guess its just so outlandish to me, why ruin your good blade? No matter what steel it is it seems to be that batoning and chopping like a hatchet increases its wear. I always have hatchet handy so just a little confused that every youtube commando feels the need to baton their spyderco to show it can work.
     
  4. redneck

    redneck Member

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    I wouldn't do it with a folder, but I frequently baton fixed blades making kindling for fires and haven't damaged one yet. I limit it to pieces that are half as thick as the blade is long and try to avoid obvious knots and things like that but it really isn't that big of a deal.
    I have a camp axe and a hatchet that usually stay in camp and see their fair share of use as well, but when you get to trying to split off small pieces for feather sticks and what not, then I find it safer to use the knife than an axe.
     
  5. glistam

    glistam Member

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    I will use my hatchet whenever possible, even "baton" the hatchet (with a log or small sledge) when certainty of blade placement is needed. But sometimes the split I'm trying to achieve (usually very small pieces) is just too precise, and the hatchet is just too heavy to do it safely. And sometimes I don't have a hatchet and have to make do, though yes, only smaller pieces.

    One overlooked use of batoning is to cut heavy rope. This is explained in the famous cordage bible, The Ashley Book of Knots. You place the rope on a wood spar or log, put your knife over it, and give it a sharp smack with a piece of wood (or a marlinespike if using a proper rigger's knife). It will cleave neatly through, much better than "sawing" a thick rope.
     
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  6. WrongHanded

    WrongHanded Member

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    Depending on what you're doing, it can be much safer to baton with a knife than use a hatchet. It's certainly effective for splitting longer limbs where a hatchet would just get stuck. Also good for green wood where hatchets are more likely to bind, going with the grain.

    If you're using another piece of wood as a baton, rather than a piece of metal or a rock, there's no damage to the blade in my experience.....unless you're working through a board that happens to have a nail in it.

    Some people know how to use hatchets and axes safely. But from what I've seen, most people just think they know how. That l leads to accidents.
     
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  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    If I have a hatchet with me I'd use it every time. But I always have a knife of some sort with me, the hatchet, axe and bigger tools stay in the truck. When I'm hiking miles from the truck I can't take everything with me and a hatchet is a lot of weight for something that will rarely if ever be used.

    A sturdy 4"-5" fixed blade knife can do a lot of things and I make it a point to always have one on me or in the pack as well as a smaller folder. Batoning with a knife is a survival technique for those times where no other better tools are available.
     
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  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Not everyone does.
     
  9. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I consider "batoning" abuse and it undoubtedly it has broken many a knife blade. I think people do it because they can. Some have also used knives to cut nails, drive nails, chop concrete block. I have seen a lot of broken knife tips, because the owner decided it would make a good screwdriver. Knife blades are made from very hard steels so they will retain a cutting edge, they are not the proper tool for cutting shakes or splitting wood down the grain. The proper tool is a Froe:


    487_21-1024x730.jpg

    https://www.gransforsbruk.com/en/product/gransfors-froe/

    Wiki has an article, these are very old tools.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Froe

    Froes are made from tough steel, hard enough to split, survive twisting, easy to sharpen, but able with withstand pounding and a bit of prying.

    Manufacturer’s are making knives thick enough to withstand batoning, because after all, internet “experts” consider batoning essential. However, I consider the response, huge, heavy, thick knives, ill suited for much of anything else besides chopping and use as a pry bar. Perhaps such huge honkers are popular because the average knife owner today does not walk, but rides everywhere. I recall showing my Boss, a WW2 veteran, the Western Bowie I purchased at a K Mart. It was a huge knife, and he said “imagine carrying that!”. I did not know what he meant at the time, but now, quite a bit older, I am of the opinion he was remarking about not only the size, but the weight. Boss had marched with a full back pack, up the hot, muddy, hills of New Guinea, and these marches were so physically exhausting that GI’s passed out. Once recovered, if recovered, you had to march to where your unit had stopped for the night. Civil War marches were no less exhausting, one account I read, Soldiers were actually dying from heat stroke during marches, and that was acceptable in the big scheme of things. Walking for miles, carrying everything you had, that was common prior to WW2, but not now. Now, everyone rides. So knives don’t have to be light, you can carry a huge amount of stuff with you, stuff that would have been pared down if you had to carry it on your person. I believe this is reflected in the weight gained on many current knife models , and also, the firearms of today.

    If you want to break your knife, I think batoning is an excellent technique to get you there. Maybe, the experts will demand a cell phone they can use to beat on the back of the knife, while batoning, thus eliminating the need to find a hammer or block of wood.
     
  10. WrongHanded

    WrongHanded Member

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    I carry a Fallkniven A1 whilst hiking, and an S1 otherwise. I wouldn't, and I haven't, hesitated to baton either through wood when it is as necessary. I am thoroughly confident they won't break.

    Knives hang on the belt better than I suspect a Froe would. Or a saw, for that matter. Which can be much more useful than a knife too, for certain tasks.
     
  11. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    Looking it from one side, batoning is a valid technique when one has nothing else as a tool, except his knife - it's a survival, last ditch technique. But to not carry a hatchet when you know you will need it, because it's "too heavy", and at the same time show up with a foot long & half an inch thick monstrosity of a blade that someone called "knife" and you use it for practically everything, but it's good for nothing, makes not much sense to me either. It's like insisting on using a magnesium fire starter, because a cigarette lighter can be lost, or forgotten. Well guess what, that ugly metal rod can get lost too...
     
  12. milemaker13

    milemaker13 Member

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    Yep, I agree. Best use would be out hiking/camping. Ya got yer knife with ya, so just grab a little log (or a big stick I guess:)) and you got yersef a safe little way to split them pieces a kinlin.
     
  13. MTNSTRYDER

    MTNSTRYDER Member

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    I keep my Hawk sharp enough to skin game or shave with same as my knives.I’m not going to baton ether one!In the woods kindling should be dry and easy to break or it’s fire wood not kindling.
    I do agree with #5 gistam rope should be cut clean that is the only time it should be used.If you are near a vehicle they make axe’s/spliting malls and even malls for kindling.Don’t baton just don’t.
     
  14. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    You have to know your limits of the knife when you baton. Common sense which is very rare will make your fixed blade knife such as a chopper into in effective tool. Most people that ruin knives in batoning exceed the limits of the knife by wanting to split a log instead of a branch. I have no problem batoning if I am hiking for a couple of days or more. Not carrying a hatchet saves weight buy allowing me to instead use the weight on food or water. Instead a small folding saw or wire saw is what I use on bigger pieces of wood that need to be cut for shelter.
     
  15. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    If it is an emergency you are in a unfortunate situation. If all you have is your knife, and it is a survival situation, then your odds of making it are not good. If by batoning you break your one and only knife, it is my opinion, you are not going to make it.


    I agree. This traditional tomahawk, made by H&B forge in 1974, is a far better chopper than any knife I have ever owned, and is surprisingly light, which is why these were carried on the belt, along with a knife, by trappers, mountain men, and Indians. The knife was used as a tool to cut things. Not to split wood.

    woxKdUM.jpg
     
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  16. kBob

    kBob Member

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    So over the holidays I was kneeling next to the fire place happily batoning with an old bowie built from a kit and got to thinking about you guys. I felt guilty about waking this ancient $10 steel bowie shaped bar a buddy had put several ours into even though it has served that purpose next to our fire place since 1992.

    So I went out onto the back pouch to pick out some plank like pieces to make kindling from and picked up my nice little Swedish hatchet I got at a yard sale some years back (and posted here). Gosh that first piece did break down into four useful bits very easy with the hatchet. and the next had third split away with great ease. My next chop included a bit ( a very small bit thankfully) of my left thumb. After the bleeding stopped I went back to batoning at the fireplace with my old knife.

    If I break it I will put it on a plaque in my shop to remind me of how stupid I was to baton at the fireplace in this house with it for 26 plus years..........

    For all I know your $400 custom made toad sticker might break on the first bat with a club or first twist halfway down a chunk of fire wood and it is probably not a good idea for you to baton. Me and my now 35 year old $10 knife blade that was a gift from an old high school buddy will just mind our own business.

    You know that fro does look nice, you could get some real leverage with that hickory handle for slitting.

    -kBob
     
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  17. ARKLITE881South

    ARKLITE881South Member

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    If i was to baton, i'd use a knife that i know could take it, minimum K-bar style. Using a hatchet, can be very dangerous, especially if its sharp like some of the top end hatchets are. I have several gransford burks, and similar hatchets that you can almost shave with. They can be very dangerous. Have you ever had wet hands, or gloves , chopping with a short handled hatchet? Have it rotate in your hand, and basically go out of your control. SCARY to say the least. Having a hatchet with a longer handle, that allows a 2 handed grip is great. But, still can be dangerous. By using a good, well built knife and a piece of wood to drive the knife through the wood, you can save yourself a serious injury. A "fro'' would be great, but, just more weight than necessary to pack around with you. I've used a short axe, and hatchet, as well as many knives in my 70 yrs, they can and will still cut you, use the right tools, for the purpose you need to use them, and you'll save yourself a lot of pain, dr bills, and time.
     
  18. zignal_zero

    zignal_zero Member

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    I was recently on a camping/hunting trip, here in KS, at the worst possible time (really bad cold spell came through). Starting a fire wasn't a luxury, it was a matter of survival (or at least avoiding several sick days due to catching a killer cold maybe even pneumonia). I had some skinning knives (for the deer that got away) a Cold Steel Trench Hawk (good chopper but the spike would make batoning impossible) and a Cold Steel Drop Forged Hunter (handy lil knife). I batonned some kindling wich the DFH and stayed alive (albeit miserable). That little guy didn't even notice, he might as well have been cutting a steak. Then again, there is a technique to it. Ya gotta do it right.
     
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  19. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    I have no problem with batoning. I sometimes think it's an over-sold feature on bush craft knives, but I also think a knife I could potentially rely on to save my life should be able to handle it to some degree.

    I've never been in a survival situation. However, if I were building an emergency fire, I wouldn't spend time splitting wood. It would knee-broken kindling and any big logs would be put on the fire to burn in half.

    I can see batoning a viable method for cutting and notching green, small diameter saplings for tool and trap making more than splitting precut logs.

    However, different strokes for different folks. I don't have an issue if people do it. It's a skill I know how to use even if I have had no use for it...yet. I firmly believe in having as many tools in your toolbox as you can fit. There may a day where I find myself needing to press a fixed blade into a service when I would normally use a hatchet or khukuri but find myself without one.
     
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  20. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    Is anybody going to San Antone?
    Love CS here! I have the special forces shovel in the jeep at all times, even if the hatchet gets lost the shovel will make a dandy chopper if needbe.
     
  21. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    I used the standard issue entrenching tool to chop through many a root when digging foxholes. I used it once to kill a nest of baby copperheads (was ordered to), and I've seen it used as a self-defense weapon.
     
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