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SoMpls
distinguished member (120)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/13/2019 12:11PM
I had never felt the need to split firewood in the BWCA until my October trip this year in the 50 degree rain. Struggling to maintain the fire with soggy wood in those conditions was not very enjoyable.

As I'm planning to do most of my future tripping in shoulder seasons, I've decided that having the ability to split wood is a necessity going forward.

So I'd like to hear from the batoners and the choppers amongst us - what's the best way to process firewood? Is batoning with a heavy duty blade as efficient as using a hatchet or small axe?

I've been looking at this 9.5" bladed beast as a dedicated baton knife, but it's just as heavy as a GB outdoor axe or wildlife hatchet. There's also the option of a smaller knife like a Mora or Becker.

What would you do in my shoes?
 
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moustachesteve
member (13)member
 
12/13/2019 12:26PM
For simply splitting wood I'd recommend batoning. It's much safer - even if taking precautions and paying attention. You don't want a hatchet in your leg...don't ask how I know.
 
canoe212
distinguished member(1018)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/13/2019 12:35PM
I feel a batton is far superior in both weight and safety, without any loss in ease of use.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
12/13/2019 12:43PM
We never bring a hatchet - only a Sven Saw - but we only camp in the summer. With the proper skill level and proper usage, a smaller hatchet can be very useful for splitting firewood to get to the dry part.

I have seen where using a baton with a heavy knife works, too. I seem to remember watching Cliff Jacobson demonstrate that method.
 
12/13/2019 12:43PM
Baton works for me. Some people like to have crap load of firewood. We've all seen the pictures. For them I would say a hatchet is your whip
 
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member (307)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/13/2019 01:31PM
SoMpls: "I had never felt the need to split firewood in the BWCA until my October trip this year in the 50 degree rain. Struggling to maintain the fire with soggy wood in those conditions was not very enjoyable.

What would you do in my shoes? "

I do two of my three annual trips in early May and October. I'm never without my Wilderness axe or outdoor axe. If you are concerned about weight, the outdoor axe is without equal. You will have to use it as a baton on larger pieces of wood, but it has never let me down. It is also very safe to use that way.
 
12/13/2019 02:02PM

Left to right 4 1/2 inch Sheffield Hacker, Wetterlings hatchet,Gerber/Fiskars hatchet, 6 inch Cold Steel Tanto.
Mostly use the 4 1/2 inch Sheffield Hacker now, long blades not needed just a somewhat wide blade spine/back and a milder steel than most knifes for durability.
All have wide blades that make splitting by batoning easy. The sheaths I made with Kydex.

Left old folding bow saw (forgot the brand), right Irwin 16 inch. Make short splitting lengths quickly.

butthead
 
unshavenman
distinguished member(1168)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/13/2019 02:17PM
I will either baton or use a GB Small Forest Axe depending on the mood and the need. Shoulder season may mean more wood for warming fires and thus the axe, where the summer may just entail a small fire at night. The linked to Terävä Skrama knife seems like way overkill for batoning, unless you are thinking of using it on large logs. Any full tang knife will work with the typical size wood in the BWCAW. Currently I'm a fan of the Fallkniven F1.
 
Chuckles
senior member (53)senior membersenior member
 
12/13/2019 05:35PM
We always trip in late September or early October. We've always batoned with everything from a moraknife to a tiny 'survival' hatchet with mixed success. We've had some cold, rainy trips and have ended up with sore shoulders and hands from batoning wood. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.

Next trip, I'm adding a fiberglass wedge that isn't designed for splitting but groups report on this site that they work great and my tests agree. I'm also bringing my Fiskars splitting axe. The wedge weighs very little and the axe is a tolerable 2.7 lbs. It may be overkill to bring both, but I want to see what is worth the weight.
 
Jaywalker
distinguished member(1998)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/13/2019 06:12PM
I go to the BW year round, and IMO, the colder it gets the more axe is needed. Batoning is fine for summer, survival, etc. but if you plan to go regularly in Sept/Oct or early spring, I'd recommend a GB Small Forest Axe. Still light enough to manage with one hand, but enough handle to use two if really needed. Its just over 2 lbs, and is a quality product you can pass to your grandkids. I used to bring a small hardware store hatchet but retired it when I got the GB SF axe as just a tad heavier and splits vastly better. I use the slightly bigger GB Forest axe in winter.

 
Arcola
distinguished member (235)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/14/2019 07:50PM
I used to carry a small hatchet and it often fell short with less that desireable wood. I now carry and won't go without a GB small splitter. The ease at which it splits makes it the safest option for me. I've never had to or needed the use of and ax in the BW. Kept sharp, the small splitter will chop like an ax however. I'm willing to carry the weight.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(12892)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
12/14/2019 08:26PM
I’ve found the best way to process firewood is to use a good saw and an hatchet. After a good three day rain everything is going to be wet. You need to split wood to get to the dry stuff. Get a Irwin or Sven saw and a good hatchet.

Baton split wood is great if you are cooking with wood on a reflector oven. You need to add wood in small amounts to control the cooking heat.
 
Duff
senior member (55)senior membersenior member
 
12/14/2019 10:12PM
I tend to take larger cuts of firewood. The Fiskars 17" splitting axe works for me.
And what I usually do, is to sink it into the log. Then pick up the log and throw it against some granite at my feet. Using the weight of the log and the impact that the back of axe makes against the rock. It works pretty well, seems safer than swinging the axe all of the time. Plus the blade never accidentally hits rock on a normal splitting attempt that goes straight through to the ground.
Some logs might take three or more tosses.
Yes, the back spine of the handle takes some abuse, but you get pretty good with toss placement.
I take a step back on the tosses just to be safer, but all of the energy of the action stays pretty confined, axe nor log pieces move much.
The handle will break one day doing it this way, but I will just go out and buy another one when that happens. I have about twenty trips on this one.



 
firemedic5586
distinguished member (174)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/15/2019 12:52AM
When I go In, I do pack a bit heavy on the wood prep side of things.

1) Hults Bruk Aneby ax. I have been kicking around the idea of just taking a hawk with instead... Lighter and I can slide the handle out and use it as a hand tool also

2) 24" DUSTRUDE QUICK BUCK SAW

3) Three aluminum wedges for splitting.. The can take one heck of alot of abuse.. Plus I don't have to worry about burring a ax blade into myself..



 
KarlBAndersen1
distinguished member(1111)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/15/2019 01:50PM
What I made for myself to use - the Quetico Kleavor!!!
It's not nearly as heavy as a hatchet and can also be used for processing food.
With this an a Bahco Laplander I have all I need.
 
HowardSprague
distinguished member(2924)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/15/2019 05:48PM
Uh,.... “baton”....
Am I the only one here who has never heard of this? I’ve only heard the term associated with either law enforcement or marching bands.
 
gravelroad
distinguished member (276)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/15/2019 07:32PM
HowardSprague: "Uh,.... “baton”....
Am I the only one here who has never heard of this? I’ve only heard the term associated with either law enforcement or marching bands."


You are, so far. It’s commonly used these days in ”bushcrafting” circles and elsewhere to describe the technique of splitting wood with a knife built for the job and a forearm-sized piece of wood.

As for the OP’s question, my Mora Garberg gets to go on all my trips. It splits wood and handles field dressing, even preliminary processing, of deer with equal ease. And I don’t give a —— if it gets wet along the way, because I have the stainless steel version. Why carry a hatchet or axe that will readily lay open a wrist or lower leg and leave less room for food in the pack?

Mora Garberg review
 
scramble4a5
distinguished member (497)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/15/2019 08:45PM
Baton with a Becker BK2. It’s a beast.
 
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member (307)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/15/2019 09:07PM
"Why carry a hatchet or axe that will readily lay open a wrist or lower leg and leave less room for food in the pack? "

It is no more dangerous to baton with an axe or hatchet than a knife. I carry my axe on the outside of my back, doesn't take up any room.
 
jbacker7
member (5)member
 
12/16/2019 03:31PM
Baton.

I prefer carrying a big knife compared to an axe or hatchet, it just takes up less room for me and is lighter.

To be specific, this is for trips between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Outside of that, a shorter trip and an axe may be worth considering given the threat of weather. Also, I only cut and split wood about the size of my wrist/forearm. I find these fit under most of the grates best while leaving some space for air to fuel the fire. I don't like big logs and splits crammed under the fire grate in most instances.

If you haven't batoned before I'd recommend trying it.
 
gravelroad
distinguished member (276)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/16/2019 07:54PM
MidwestFirecraft: ""Why carry a hatchet or axe that will readily lay open a wrist or lower leg and leave less room for food in the pack? "

It is no more dangerous to baton with an axe or hatchet than a knife. I carry my axe on the outside of my back, doesn't take up any room."

What I attempted unsuccessfully to say is that the weight of an axe or hatchet reduces the food-carrying capacity. ;-)

I seriously doubt that people are buying axes and hatchets solely, or even primarily, to baton them.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(12892)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
12/16/2019 08:43PM
Yes, an axe or hatchet can be very dangerous, but I’m still bringing one.I bring enough food for the people involved with the trip and the length of the trip. Yes it will make my pack heavier, but in no means am I going to be cutting back on food. The two things just don’t go together.
 
12/16/2019 11:18PM
I always bring my saw and hatchet. I too carry them on the outside of my pack. Never know when you need to clear a portage or fallen tree across a river. I consider them essential tools.
 
mschi772
distinguished member (330)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/17/2019 12:26AM
Heck, I baton with my stainless Mora Companion--a knife that can sometimes be found for less than $20 (it's actually like $15 on some sites I've seen lately). It's still as good as when I bought it. People really obsess over having a full-tang for baton. They understand the potential strength benefits, so I get it, but the fact remains: I baton with my partial-tang Mora Companion. Others do too. Have you ever seen a Mora fail? I haven't. Heck, I've only heard rumors once that someone once heard from someone that someone they knew saw pictures of a failed Mora once.

My advice is always--just use a saw and baton a knife. It's effective, and it's much safer. The fact that this is my go-to advice doesn't mean I disapprove of other methods. I'll just never tell anyone else to use those methods because if they need to be told, I'm not comfortable pointing them in the direction of anything more dangerous. I've been known to use a hatchet and lust to this day about getting a GB Outdoor axe. Does that make me a hypocrite? Nope. I know what I'm doing, and if others know what they're doing, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they're skilled, experienced, and smart enough to know what their options are and to be safe.
 
GearGuy
senior member (66)senior membersenior member
 
12/17/2019 03:11AM
Batoning is less efficient energy wise and you'll end up cutting a lot less wood at the end of the day. Batoning takes up more space/time. If you make a baton and take it with you to the next campsite...now you're definitely taking up more space and weight than a hatchet. If you make a new baton at each campsite, now you're eating up time that could be used fishing. Batoning has a lot less physical leverage than can be applied. Ever bury the head of a hatchet/axe and then crank the handle sideways to finish the split? Good luck with your knife. Sharpening a baton knife is a full time job. If you've got a big knife, now you have a big blade to sharpen. A 10" batoning knife weighs almost 2 pounds compared to a 19" hatchet which weighs around 19 oz.

Hatchet packs away better. Hatchet uses less energy. An axe is better to have if you plan on chopping anything, due to the weight distribution being at the top of the swing rather than spread evenly through a long blade. An axe can can also fashion wedges and pound them to split wood - a knife can't pound at all. While only having ONE tool (aka being badly prepared), of course a big chopping knife can do many things at a hopefully tolerable level of efficiency. If you want things done properly, bring a smaller knife, a hatchet and a saw. If wood is a small concern, and fire isn't a big thing for you, then go with batoning knife. If you're like me and will run a fire 8-12 hours a day "For morale"....you're gonna want that hatchet.

Hand Saws are the simplest and best answer to this debate. They're much lighter, take up around the same space, maybe less, and are definitely the safest option.

Final note: Big knives are like big trucks. Most ppl are gonna think your overcompensating for something...And if you're worried about harming yourself with a hatchet/knife/saw, you shouldn't be using them. I'd never invite a guy again if he cut himself on a trip we were on. Those guys that cut their hands/legs open with a hatchet cause they got overzealous about firewood, or were too tired to know that they shouldn't be processing wood....are just plain idiots. Sorry not sorry!

References:
http://rockymountainbushcraft.blogspot.com/2014/07/knife-vs-hatchet-which-is-king-of.html
https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/hatchet-vs-large-wilderness-blade.822727/
 
gravelroad
distinguished member (276)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/17/2019 09:18AM
OMG.

Hell hath no fury like a (bushcrafter) scorned. ;-)
 
mschi772
distinguished member (330)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/17/2019 10:21AM
"Bushcrafter scorned" indeed. Some good info there, but also some pretty judgey tones and inaccurate assumptions. I certainly don't waste time crafting batons. I find something that will do the job as it is or with minimal tweaking and get to work. And I certainly don't carry it with me--I'll just find a new one at the next site.

Bottom line to this question (which has been asked by many before and will be asked by many more) is that one should just try all the different tools and methods there are and choose the system that they are most comfortable with. Whatever that ends-up being, THAT'S the answer.
 
AmarilloJim
distinguished member(1930)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/17/2019 11:08AM
For those of you worried about an axe strike, split your wood while kneeling.
 
tomo
member (31)member
 
12/17/2019 11:40AM
One of the reasons I like this site is that it reminds me that there are many different ways to camp. For the people who base camp, or travel in a large group, or travel primarily in the shoulder seasons and cook over an open fire, I can imagine that firewood processing is a labor of love, and having the right tool for the job is important (and not having the right tool for the job is a pain).

For others who cook primarily on a stove, or travel in a small group, or otherwise consider fire an occasional luxury, having the tools to process firewood is nice but not necessary.

I've traveled in the BWCA many times without an axe, bushcrafter knife, or saw. For the way I travel and the company I keep, those tools simply aren't necessary; I can find enough wood by scavenging that I don't need to saw and split. I can choose to cook on a stove if I don't want to have a fire. And I've yet to encounter an obstacle on a portage that I couldn't figure out a way to maneuver around without breaking out a saw.

Nowadays, I carry a small silky saw and a mora knife, which for my tripping style feels fully outfitted to process wood to meet my needs under just about any conditions. I can see, though, for other people with different styles this arrangement would be insufficient and inefficient. But for me it's just fine. As others have said, we all need to figure out what works best for us and our particular set of circumstances.

 
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member (307)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/17/2019 03:09PM
tomo: "One of the reasons I like this site is that it reminds me that there are many different ways to camp. As others have said, we all need to figure out what works best for us and our particular set of circumstances."

Well said!
 
mrballast
member (42)member
 
12/18/2019 05:29AM
If I want to go light, I take a beefy Mora and a saw. I would rather have multiple knives than hatchet if weight is important.

If base camping or with a large group, hatchets are great.

If it is real cold, I have always dreamed of packing in a 6 lb splitting maul. Get warm one way or another.
 
pamonster
distinguished member(953)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/18/2019 08:53AM
These are always the best posts lol

I keep it simple and take/use the tool for the job. Interpret that as you see fit.

I like to have a fire for cooking, hanging out, keeping bugs off me etc. I'll use a decent amount of wood for that. So the decision is obvious, for me. I take a saw and a small forest axe for wood processing. I also bring a knife and use it however I need to. Sometimes I'll baton but it's not how I do most of my splitting.
 
SoMpls
distinguished member (120)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/18/2019 12:20PM
Wow, some very strong opinions on both sides lol.

I think I am going to err on the side of more efficient processing and pick up a small forest axe. I'm not concerned about weight and do almost all cooking over a fire so I think it makes more sense for me than batoning. Thanks for the input, really helped me understand what's best for my situation.

Now the trick is just to not split my leg or hand open ;)
 
MidwestFirecraft
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12/18/2019 02:02PM
I grew up splitting wood with a maul. My grandparents heated with wood, and latter my parents. I wasn't until about 5 years ago that I learned to split with an axe. If your interested the following video is a great demonstration how to do it safely and efficiently.
> splitting wood with axe
 
12/18/2019 02:46PM
My take is that baton or hatchet, anything with a sharp edge can cut you...be careful.
I split wood for my fireplace and over the years have been grateful for a good pair of boots more than once. Similar threads pointed out errors in my method and I have not had any close calls since, and my hatchet is in much better shape as well.
I carry a Buck 106 and Sven saw. Oh, I also am more careful with the saw thanks to posts here.
 
lindylair
distinguished member(2182)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/18/2019 08:02PM
After some 35-40 BWCA trips I learned about batoning on this site a few years ago. It has definitely changed the way I process wood. I use one of those cheap Mora knives ( i have a few) that just keep on going and going. I have found batoning to be fun and effective and easily provides all the split wood we need(along with a saw). IMO it is also safer - going to the BWCA is somewhat about managing risks and even more so if you are solo or are very remote. Batoning seems to be much less risky to me. I don't care what tools people bring to the BWCA, I just hope they are knowledgeable about their use and extremely careful. I have seen plenty of people engage in what I would call risky behavior or at least not proper technique with a hatchet or axe and it makes me cringe.

One of the recommendations we are given when picking up our permit is to use wrist size or smaller down and dead wood. If we are doing this batoning is more than adequate. If you need a hatchet or an axe maybe the wood you are splitting is needlessly large? Smaller wood burns better anyways and should keep the normal casual evening fire burning just fine.

If you are careful and knowledgeable I guess use of a hatchet or an axe is probably pretty safe, but still more risky than batoning. In batoning the blade is already on or in the wood. With a hatchet or an axe there is a powerful swing required and if that blade deviates enough from a safe angle the possibility exists that upon impact the blade could deflect. There is almost no chance of this when batoning.

Anyways to each their own, I am happy that I don't need to bring a hatchet with me anymore and enjoy the art of batoning. At any rate, enjoy that campfire and the work you do to make it happen, whatever that might be.
 
RunningFox
member (39)member
 
12/18/2019 09:49PM
Split your own firewood and it will warm you twice. Discuss it with fellow canoe enthusiasts, and it will warm you thrice.
 
HowardSprague
distinguished member(2924)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/19/2019 08:57AM
lindylair: "........pretty safe, but still more risky than batoning. In batoning the blade is already on or in the wood. With a hatchet or an axe there is a powerful swing required and if that blade deviates enough from a safe angle the possibility exists that upon impact the blade could deflect........"

OK, so when I use a hatchet there is only one real swing...that is just to initially embed it into the wood, and then I pound the back of the hatchet with a heavier piece of wood until the wood splits.
So have I just been "batoning" but with a hatchet?
 
12/19/2019 09:25AM
No need to "swing" the hatchet or baton just place and pound. Splittin Wood

butthead
 
Tomcat
distinguished member (364)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/19/2019 09:33AM
RunningFox: "Split your own firewood and it will warm you twice. Discuss it with fellow canoe enthusiasts, and it will warm you thrice."

+1

I get it and love it ! ( GOOD ONE )
 
HowardSprague
distinguished member(2924)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/20/2019 02:20PM
butthead: "No need to "swing" the hatchet or baton just place and pound. Splittin Wood

butthead"


Yeah - very similar to what I do. But I never thought of flipping it over and hitting the hatchet side down against the ground. Sometimes I'll just pick up the embedded whole thing and strike it on the ground log side down.
 
Bearpath9
distinguished member (102)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/20/2019 05:24PM
Slick ! Like Howard, I did it by hitting the log on the ground. Looks to me like it would be safer also.
 
12/22/2019 01:20PM
MidwestFirecraft: ""Why carry a hatchet or axe that will readily lay open a wrist or lower leg and leave less room for food in the pack? "

It is no more dangerous to baton with an axe or hatchet than a knife. I carry my axe on the outside of my back, doesn't take up any room."



This is by far the best answer I’ve heard. Splitting with a small hatchet or handaxe in my opinion if done right is equally if not safer then a big knife. It’s the other things people tend to do with them which people theoretically can do with a knife... and they will that would be dangerous. It’s lack of common sense that causes accidents out there. I use my little hatchet almost everyday. I’m careful, cautious and always thinking about what I’m doing. Swinging one is very rare... and special precautions are taken. If you ended up with it on your thigh you probably shouldn’t be touching anything sharp. Haha.
 
KarlBAndersen1
distinguished member(1111)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/24/2019 05:08PM
I've enjoyed this thread.
Being a full time custom knife maker I offer this bit of advice - a knife is a cutting instrument.
It's not a hatchet, an axe, pry bar, screwdriver, etc.
That said, a decent knife should be able to help you in a survival situation, but if you ever break a knife batonning it through firewood, no company or maker will warranty it.
They are not designed for it and the basic edge geometry is designed for CUTTING - not splitting. There's a difference.
Hense, the non-warranty.
 
andym
distinguished member(4501)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/24/2019 08:28PM
Karl, if you were going to design the lightest splitting tool for camping what would it look like and about how much do you think it would weigh? I carry the GB mini hatchet which is under a lb but I wonder if a slightly wider head would split better. But the true splitters are quite a bit heavier from my point of view.
 
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member (307)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/24/2019 10:27PM
andym: "Karl, if you were going to design the lightest splitting tool for camping what would it look like and about how much do you think it would weigh? I carry the GB mini hatchet which is under a lb but I wonder if a slightly wider head would split better. But the true splitters are quite a bit heavier from my point of view."
Andy,
Not answering for Karl, but I owned the wildlife hatchet and sold it when I tried my outdoor axe. I can't explain why, but at 1 lbs, it splits better, and chops better. In all it is an amazing axe for the weight.
 
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member (307)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/24/2019 10:32PM
KarlBAndersen1: "I've enjoyed this thread.
Being a full time custom knife maker I offer this bit of advice - a knife is a cutting instrument.
It's not a hatchet, an axe, pry bar, screwdriver, etc.
That said, a decent knife should be able to help you in a survival situation, but if you ever break a knife batonning it through firewood, no company or maker will warranty it.
They are not designed for it and the basic edge geometry is designed for CUTTING - not splitting. There's a difference.
Hense, the non-warranty. "


Karl,
Not arguing with your line of thinking, but Busse will absolutely warranty your knife if damaged batonning with it.
Watched your last video on what I believed you called the "Black Iron Hunter", beautiful knife! Merry Christmas to all!
 
andym
distinguished member(4501)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/24/2019 11:58PM
MidwestFirecraft: "
Not answering for Karl, but I owned the wildlife hatchet and sold it when I tried my outdoor axe. I can't explain why, but at 1 lbs, it splits better, and chops better. In all it is an amazing axe for the weight. "


Thanks for the tip. I’ll take a look at one in person when I can. Could be that the slight increase in weight is worth it.

But I will admit that skill may be the most important ingredient. I’ve seen a friend take a part a large log with my mini hatchet.
 
andym
distinguished member(4501)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/25/2019 02:59AM
I've been looking at the GB axes on their website and the Outdoor Axe stands out by having a different head profile. Most of the hatchet and axe heads stay fairly thin and then widen to go around the handle. The Outdoor Axe has more of a wedge shape and gets wider faster the blade edge to the handle. That might make it a more effective splitter because it is actually a bit similar to the head shape on their splitting axes. This may not matter as much for the larger axes but may be a useful difference as compared to the forest hatchets. And it is only a quarter lb heavier than the mini belt hatchet.

The GB Splitting Hatchet has a similar profile to the Outdoor Axe but at 3.3 lbs is too heavy for me to consider.

It's a little late for Hannukah and Christmas but maybe I know what I want for my birthday.
 
gravelroad
distinguished member (276)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/26/2019 11:36PM
KarlBAndersen1: "I've enjoyed this thread.
Being a full time custom knife maker I offer this bit of advice - a knife is a cutting instrument.
It's not a hatchet, an axe, pry bar, screwdriver, etc.
That said, a decent knife should be able to help you in a survival situation, but if you ever break a knife batonning it through firewood, no company or maker will warranty it.
They are not designed for it and the basic edge geometry is designed for CUTTING - not splitting. There's a difference.
Hense, the non-warranty. "


I call BS. The Morakniv Garberg is advertised on their website as suitable for splitting 4” hardwood pieces. (That is not stated to be the upper limit.) I have split forearm-sized birch pieces by batoning with it and would not hesitate to go to 4” or more. Here’s their warranty:

“ We will replace your knife
We guarantee that all our knives are free from defects in materials, construction and workmanship for the lifetime of the product, with normal use and provided that the care instructions here on the website are followed. If the knife is faulty in terms of materials or workmanship, we will repair it free of charge, or exchange it for an identical knife, or for one of equivalent value if the model has been discontinued.”
 
KarlBAndersen1
distinguished member(1111)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/27/2019 07:29AM
gravelroad: "KarlBAndersen1: "I've enjoyed this thread.
Being a full time custom knife maker I offer this bit of advice - a knife is a cutting instrument.
It's not a hatchet, an axe, pry bar, screwdriver, etc.
That said, a decent knife should be able to help you in a survival situation, but if you ever break a knife batonning it through firewood, no company or maker will warranty it.
They are not designed for it and the basic edge geometry is designed for CUTTING - not splitting. There's a difference.
Hense, the non-warranty. "



I call BS. The Morakniv Garberg is advertised on their website as suitable for splitting 4” hardwood pieces. (That is not stated to be the upper limit.) I have split forearm-sized birch pieces by batoning with it and would not hesitate to go to 4” or more. Here’s their warranty:


“ We will replace your knife
We guarantee that all our knives are free from defects in materials, construction and workmanship for the lifetime of the product, with normal use and provided that the care instructions here on the website are followed. If the knife is faulty in terms of materials or workmanship, we will repair it free of charge, or exchange it for an identical knife, or for one of equivalent value if the model has been discontinued.”"


And..........exactly what part do you call bull shit?
I apologize if I'm not familiar with all of the world's knife companies' warranty policies.
Make sure you pay attention to that small print there where it says, ".........with normal use." The "normal" use of a knife is cutting.
But, then again, what do I know?
 
KarlBAndersen1
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12/27/2019 07:33AM
andym: "Karl, if you were going to design the lightest splitting tool for camping what would it look like and about how much do you think it would weigh?."


These will be coming out in an outfitting catalog in the Spring. I forgot to weigh the one I just sent out for photos but it is far less than a hatchet.
 
gravelroad
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12/27/2019 11:43AM
KarlBAndersen1: "gravelroad: "KarlBAndersen1: "I've enjoyed this thread.
Being a full time custom knife maker I offer this bit of advice - a knife is a cutting instrument.
It's not a hatchet, an axe, pry bar, screwdriver, etc.
That said, a decent knife should be able to help you in a survival situation, but if you ever break a knife batonning it through firewood, no company or maker will warranty it.
They are not designed for it and the basic edge geometry is designed for CUTTING - not splitting. There's a difference.
Hense, the non-warranty. "




I call BS. The Morakniv Garberg is advertised on their website as suitable for splitting 4” hardwood pieces. (That is not stated to be the upper limit.) I have split forearm-sized birch pieces by batoning with it and would not hesitate to go to 4” or more. Here’s their warranty:



“ We will replace your knife
We guarantee that all our knives are free from defects in materials, construction and workmanship for the lifetime of the product, with normal use and provided that the care instructions here on the website are followed. If the knife is faulty in terms of materials or workmanship, we will repair it free of charge, or exchange it for an identical knife, or for one of equivalent value if the model has been discontinued.”"



And..........exactly what part do you call bull shit?
I apologize if I'm not familiar with all of the world's knife companies' warranty policies.
Make sure you pay attention to that small print there where it says, ".........with normal use." The "normal" use of a knife is cutting.
But, then again, what do I know?"


You made the categorical statement that “no” knife manufacturer would stand by its product if it broke while batoning. When confronted with a counter example, you backtracked with a phony apology while implying that Morakniv would not stand by its warranty. Not too sharp on your part.
 
andym
distinguished member(4501)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/27/2019 02:51PM
Karl, that’s a beauty. I looked in an outfitting catalog and saw another camp cleaver and it was listed at 13.5 ounces. That’s the same as the GB mini belt hatchet and 3 ounces lighter than the outdoor axe. The camp cleavers have a longer blade and so have a different range of other uses.

What size wood would you split with your cleaver?

BTW, with that curved blade I would want to keep it in the kitchen at home. It would make a great chefs knife for year round enjoyment.
 
KarlBAndersen1
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12/27/2019 06:14PM
andym: "Karl, that’s a beauty. I looked in an outfitting catalog and saw another camp cleaver and it was listed at 13.5 ounces. That’s the same as the GB mini belt hatchet and 3 ounces lighter than the outdoor axe. The camp cleavers have a longer blade and so have a different range of other uses.


What size wood would you split with your cleaver?

BTW, with that curved blade I would want to keep it in the kitchen at home. It would make a great chefs knife for year round enjoyment. "


Thanks. I'm surely having a lot of fun with the ones I've made. Eventually there will be enough field use to create a more accurate description of its capabilities.
I don't know that it will, but it should split material up to the cutting edge length. Of course, there are numerous variables involved.
 
KarlBAndersen1
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12/27/2019 06:19PM
gravelroad: "KarlBAndersen1: "gravelroad: "KarlBAndersen1: "I've enjoyed this thread.
Being a full time custom knife maker I offer this bit of advice - a knife is a cutting instrument.
It's not a hatchet, an axe, pry bar, screwdriver, etc.
That said, a decent knife should be able to help you in a survival situation, but if you ever break a knife batonning it through firewood, no company or maker will warranty it.
They are not designed for it and the basic edge geometry is designed for CUTTING - not splitting. There's a difference.
Hense, the non-warranty. "




I call BS. The Morakniv Garberg is advertised on their website as suitable for splitting 4” hardwood pieces. (That is not stated to be the upper limit.) I have split forearm-sized birch pieces by batoning with it and would not hesitate to go to 4” or more. Here’s their warranty:



“ We will replace your knife
We guarantee that all our knives are free from defects in materials, construction and workmanship for the lifetime of the product, with normal use and provided that the care instructions here on the website are followed. If the knife is faulty in terms of materials or workmanship, we will repair it free of charge, or exchange it for an identical knife, or for one of equivalent value if the model has been discontinued.”"




And..........exactly what part do you call bull shit?
I apologize if I'm not familiar with all of the world's knife companies' warranty policies.
Make sure you pay attention to that small print there where it says, ".........with normal use." The "normal" use of a knife is cutting.
But, then again, what do I know?"



You made the categorical statement that “no” knife manufacturer would stand by its product if it broke while batoning. When confronted with a counter example, you backtracked with a phony apology while implying that Morakniv would not stand by its warranty. Not too sharp on your part."


Ok then. You rock on brother.
 
KarlBAndersen1
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12/27/2019 06:57PM
andym: "Karl, that’s a beauty. I looked in an outfitting catalog and saw another camp cleaver and it was listed at 13.5 ounces. That’s the same as the GB mini belt hatchet and 3 ounces lighter than the outdoor axe. The camp cleavers have a longer blade and so have a different range of other uses.


What size wood would you split with your cleaver?

BTW, with that curved blade I would want to keep it in the kitchen at home. It would make a great chefs knife for year round enjoyment. "


Which makes me think of something else - this is not a fine slicer like a chef's knife. You may not like it in the kitchen.
It's designed for field use. It has a more blunt edge than a knife. This IS designed for chopping and splitting, unlike a knife.
The spine on these knives is a bit over .250" while a good kitchen knife may be as fine as .070".
2 very different animals.
 
andym
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12/27/2019 08:10PM
Thanks for the extra info, Karl. Sounds like a great tool and I’ll be looking forward to its introduction.
 
12/28/2019 12:48PM
MidwestFirecraft: "I grew up splitting wood with a maul. My grandparents heated with wood, and latter my parents. I wasn't until about 5 years ago that I learned to split with an axe. If your interested the following video is a great demonstration how to do it safely and efficiently.
> splitting wood with axe "



That is a cool video...I can’t believe I never thought of trying it that way.

I also like Buttheads hatchet batoning video. This site is so awesome with options.

T
 
MidwestFirecraft
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12/28/2019 04:13PM
timatkn: "MidwestFirecraft: "I grew up splitting wood with a maul. My grandparents heated with wood, and latter my parents. I wasn't until about 5 years ago that I learned to split with an axe. If your interested the following video is a great demonstration how to do it safely and efficiently.
> splitting wood with axe "




That is a cool video...I can’t believe I never thought of trying it that way.


I also like Buttheads hatchet batoning video. This site is so awesome with options.


T"


Thanks. It has been a true joy watching young men and women learn the art of firecraft and self reliance. With knees bent, and a solid log to catch the head for either through splits, or misses, I have never had an injury on my watch. Obviously you must be very vigilant in ensuring the proper technique is used every time with new users or children.
 
Bearpath9
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12/28/2019 05:21PM
MidwestFirecraft: "I grew up splitting wood with a maul. My grandparents heated with wood, and latter my parents. I wasn't until about 5 years ago that I learned to split with an axe. If your interested the following video is a great demonstration how to do it safely and efficiently.
> splitting wood with axe "


Do you suppose that would work with a shorter handle, say 20" ? I liked the video, seems like another better way than the way I do it.
 
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member (307)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/28/2019 05:52PM
Bearpath9: "MidwestFirecraft: "I grew up splitting wood with a maul. My grandparents heated with wood, and latter my parents. I wasn't until about 5 years ago that I learned to split with an axe. If your interested the following video is a great demonstration how to do it safely and efficiently.
> splitting wood with axe "



Do you suppose that would work with a shorter handle, say 20" ? I liked the video, seems like another better way than the way I do it."


As you would expect, the longer the handle the easier it is to split bigger pieces. I have split many rounds 8 inch and under with the 19 inch Small forest axe with that method. If your not splitting huge home heating rounds it will work just fine. Tried to upload video of my 10 year old daughter using that technique with the SF axe, but site is under maintenance.
 
TechnoScout
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12/29/2019 10:05PM
Saw and bantonning knife. But I have only made ten trips to the BWCA. My first batonning was with a morakniv. Now I have a Schrade.

What I hate about this Gear Forum...seems like every time I read it...some new item appears in my Amazon wish list!
 
moose
member (5)member
 
12/30/2019 09:50AM
Batoning and a saw works well for me. Being a big guy, I can easily handle my large knife that works well for batoning and as an ax if needed. So far, I haven’t seen a need for an ax at the BWCA campsites I’ve visited.

 
TechnoScout
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12/30/2019 11:07AM
Vaguely familiar ;-)
 
Minnesotian
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12/31/2019 10:45AM
GearGuy: If wood is a small concern, and fire isn't a big thing for you, then go with batoning knife. If you're like me and will run a fire 8-12 hours a day "For morale"....you're gonna want that hatchet. "

And I think that is the crux of the argument of batoning wood or bringing a hatchet or axe. It all depends on how much fire you want/need.

I have traveled/canoe/backpacked plenty of times where I haven't brought any device for processing wood and did just fine with my nightly campfire. Other times I have brought two saws, hatchet, axe and batoning knife. But that is mostly in winter.

Here is the batoning knife I use. Thanks Butthead! Sheffield Footprint Hacking knife

By the way, why are you running a fire for 8-12 hours a day? Is this during the winter and you are using a lean-to?
 
KarlBAndersen1
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12/31/2019 06:42PM
Well.................just because.
(Since it's a topic I though we might enjoy some eye candy)
I just finished this Ladder Pattern Damascus Quetico Kleavor

Baton this!!!!





 
12/31/2019 07:52PM
I wouldn't worry too much about your hands when using your hatchet or axe. You can have full function with Jarl Varg type prosthetics. Any Norsemen fans out there? I'm a computer idiot and can't figure out how to include a picture in this post. maybe someone can help out.
 
joewildlife
distinguished member (435)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/31/2019 08:37PM
timatkn: "MidwestFirecraft: "I grew up splitting wood with a maul. My grandparents heated with wood, and latter my parents. I wasn't until about 5 years ago that I learned to split with an axe. If your interested the following video is a great demonstration how to do it safely and efficiently.
> splitting wood with axe "




That is a cool video...I can’t believe I never thought of trying it that way.


I also like Buttheads hatchet batoning video. This site is so awesome with options.


T"


I agree great thread and learn something new every day. I now carry a Council Tool Wood Craft Pack Axe and man I like it. That and a Dustrude saw.
Joe
 
01/01/2020 12:01PM
Karl,

"The Quetico Kleaver" ... eye candy for sure ... one fine looking baton !
 
01/01/2020 01:06PM
minnmike: " I wouldn't worry too much about your hands when using your hatchet or axe. You can have full function with Jarl Varg type prosthetics. Any Norsemen fans out there? I'm a computer idiot and can't figure out how to include a picture in this post. maybe someone can help out."

Sure,
Jarl Varg Prostheses.

butthead
 
andym
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01/01/2020 06:03PM
That Kleavor is awful pretty. While I'm pretty confident they are out of my price range, I do hope you will weigh some of them and let us know the results.
 
countrybois
member (47)member
 
01/01/2020 07:42PM
andym: "That Kleavor is awful pretty. While I'm pretty confident they are out of my price range, I do hope you will weigh some of them and let us know the results."

Without the sheath it weighs 15.2 ounces and 1 pound 2.5 ounces with the sheath.
 
MidwestFirecraft
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01/01/2020 09:39PM
For reference, Outdoor axe is 1 lb 4.3 oz with sheath.
 
andym
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01/03/2020 02:56AM
An interesting comparison given that the weights are pretty close. For pure splitting efficiency, I'm guessing the axe wins due to the more wedge shaped head. If you use the Kleavor for other camp chores then it may win out. Also, if you are going to frame one of them and put it under display lights at home between trips then I'd go with the Kleavor.
 
countrybois
member (47)member
 
01/16/2020 04:25PM


Karl,

Watched your last video on what I believed you called the "Black Iron Hunter", beautiful knife! Merry Christmas to all!"


It is.... and I am now the lucky owner!! Merry Christmas to me!
 
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