I make quite a few knives for campers, hikers, hunters and those generally into bushcrafts in one form or another. I am also working to improve my own skills in bushcrafts and to learn to constantly make better knives for those purposes.
Here I will show some of my bush knives.
Of course the quintessential bush knife is the Nessmuk as shown in the 1884 George "Nessmuk" Sears book "Woodcraft". I have made several variations of the Nessmuk knife.
Damascus and Stag
Mirror Polished 440C Stainless Steel and Buffalo Horn
Damascus and Elk
A recent custom order with Damascus and desert ironwood
Others bushcraft knives I have made might include this survival knife
or my little "Trail Buddy" knives
But, when I decided to design a knife especially for bushcrafts, I looked at some of the popular models for inspiration. I combined some elements of those knives with my own ideas and came up with my Bush Knife. (I originally called these "Rio Grande" but later discovered that knives had already been made using that name.)
I chose the one on the right above as my personal carry knife for using and testing. It is made from 440C stainless steel, hollow ground and mirror polished, and has a canvas Micarta handle with a stainless steel butt cap.
I took it to Alaska with me in July 2010 where it saw various uses including splitting wood for the fire.
I later started practicing my bushcraft skills after joining the www.bushcraftsua.com forum.
One of the tasks was to make "feather sticks" to use as tinder for starting fires. I chopped through a couple of downed maple and walnut braches to start.
Next is the process of shaving very thin curls (feather sticks) from the sticks.
This is what we are after, feather sticks.
A whole bunch of feather sticks
I have not sharpened this knife since I made it. After chopping and splitting wood and making all of the shavings shown above it still slices through paper like a razor blade.
And it still looks great with no additional buffing.
The next part of my bushcraft training involved making fire with 5 manmade fire tinders. Here is what I decided to try. These include carboard soaked with wax, steel filings, sawdust soaked with wax, cotton balls soaked with petroleum jelly, a homemade "candle" of wax and sawdust, dryer lint and steel wool. I will try to light each of these with my ferro rod and steel striker. I also tried an alcohol pad not show in this photo.
First was the tried and true cotton balls soaked with petroleum jelly.
The cotton ball lit very easily with the first spark.
Next I tried the alcohol pad. This also lit very easily with a spark from my ferro rod.
Next I tried some steel shavings.
The steel shavings will sparkle when tossed into a fire but I had no luck lighting them with my ferro rod.
Next up is dryer lint which lit easily but also burned up quickly.
Now, 0000 steel wool
The steel wool lights easily but it burns quickly and it did not make a real flame. If I had some other tinder ready such as thin wood shavings or paper, I an sure I could get a fire started with this method.
Next is my mixture of thin strips of cardboard soaked with candle wax.
The cardboard and wax mixture was very difficult to light with the ferro rod. However, once I finally got it going, it burned very well and a long time.
Finally, we have my mixture of sawdust and wax.
While I was making this, I decided to try compacting some of the mixture into an old 35mm film canister to make a kind of candle.
The sawdust/wax mixture was pretty easy to get lit when it was crumbled up. I could not light the "candle" with a spark but I did light it from the crumbled pieces and it burned very well and for a long time.
The "candle" burned very well for at least 15 minutes yet it it had only burned a small portion off the end.
More of my bushcraft practice to come soon ....