Can a big blade replace a hatchet/axe?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by DangerZone98, Jan 30, 2021.

  1. desmobob


    May 5, 2003
    If you've done any winter camping, you would know it's virtually impossible to tell if deadfallen wood is dry or soaked when it's frozen solid. Anything on the ground is best assumed wet and left there. There is no "dryer wood inside" of a piece of wet fallen wood on the ground and you don't have the time and energy to waste to get to it if there was. It's one thing to collect and process enough wood to make a small fire for hot cocoa on an afternoon hike, but another thing altogether to process enough wood to keep a wood-hungry open fire going all night to keep you from freezing.

    In a survival situation, you would spend/waste a lot of your energy, calories and time trying to get a warming fire going with deadfall wood of unknown condition. Even dead standing wood is sometimes soaked and you won't know until you try to burn it and water and steam starts hissing out. To survive in the cold, you need to be as efficient as possible with wood processing, hence the advantage of having the proper tools if possible.

    Trying to learn survival by theory is risky and mostly worthless. Get out and do some actual camping in the winter and in the rain and bad weather. You can do it very safely, close to your car or home in case you have to bail out. You'll learn the realities, not the theories, and the amount of self-confidence you gain will be great.
  2. MarkN86


    Sep 3, 2012
    I take back what I said about chopping down trees, standing dead ones DO work, just not live trees. I've heard of harvesting standing dead pines for the sappy wood, apparently it burns pretty well, never done it though. It definitely takes a capable tool to take down a standing tree.

    A kukri is a different story entirely, those things are beasts and I do agree that they would be able to chop as well as a hatchet.

    We did it for years lighting the wood stove, and if done right your hand is nowhere near it. Nobody ever had their wrist hit.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2021
  3. desmobob


    May 5, 2003
    Here's one very safe way to do it:
  4. GermanyChris


    Feb 18, 2015
    I suppose a big enough knife could but why?
  5. Chapp


    Mar 28, 2018
    Now we're at it, after quoting century old gentlemen, people are posting pictures of themselves as an argument of authority.

    That's exactly my point. In a survival or conservative camping trip, you don't need to cut down trees. Unless you're trying to build a caban for your two nights stand at best, which is stupid. The "bring a saw" was a sarcastic comment.

    Now, since you're speaking about of your firewood and kinda bragging about those : you'll get the same result out of medium sized branches and you can cut them perfectly fine with a big camping knife. It's more time-effective and energy efficient to cut branches than cutting down chunk of trees like you did, especially in winter. Way more respectful toward nature too, since trees take years to grow.

    The sea didn't change neither and yet, we're not traveling on four-masted barques anymore. Call me back when your two gentleman from the last century try an Esee 6.

    I wouldn't call that safe at all. Especially the part where he knocks the piece of wood while the hatchet isn't well stabilized yet. Way less safe than just batonning with a big carbon blade.
  6. Pilsner

    Pilsner Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 28, 2017
    Oh dear, you seem to be very angry indeed. ESEE 6? I’ve tried one. I like ESEE knives. Now, since you are choosing to be deeply unpleasant, not only to me but to others, I’ll bid you good night. Enjoy chopping with your big knife.
  7. Chapp


    Mar 28, 2018
    I'm not angry. Next time I'll put a little smiley for you.
  8. desmobob


    May 5, 2003
    No "argument of authority"; just a couple of photos showing that I enjoy winter camping and have actually done it. I thought some people might enjoy them and they might add at least a touch of credibility to my opinions.

    I don't know how I, or anyone, could find a reason to brag about firewood. Large rounds burn a LOT longer than medium branches. I would have guessed someone with your winter camping experience would know that. (I bet you could even do the math to learn the surface area-to-volume numbers and estimate the burning rate.)

    I never thought that using standing dead wood was disrespectful to nature. Neither does my state's department of environmental conservation, apparently, as it is allowed on state land.

    I'll leave you to continue your one-big-knife fantasies, which I tend to believe are mostly enjoyed by people who have never spent any real time in the wild...
    jfk1110 likes this.
  9. Boru13

    Boru13 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Apr 25, 2000
    There's nothing wrong with members posting pictures to support their opinions.

    Another thing to consider, some might find it easier and quicker to touch up a hatchet or ax as opposed to a big blade. Time can become very critical if you find yourself in a survival situation.
    jfk1110, MarkN86, desmobob and 5 others like this.
  10. Chapp


    Mar 28, 2018
    Two big chunk of rounded wood barely aligned vs the same amount of wood in smaller branches that you can arrange in a tidy way. Exact same result for one quarter of the hastle. Like I said previousely to another poster : practices have evolved since 1880.

    Just so you know, standing dead trees are an important part of a forest life. Insects colonize and pecker eat those. It's also a comfy nest for smaller owls, squirrel etc. A dead standing tree isn't ok to cut off and never has been, especially as such thickness. Your state can say whatever they want about the subjet, if the US were good at environmental stuff it would be known by now (they aren't).

    Nice way of contraditcing yourself in one sentance. Using pictures of camping trips to build a credibility is exactly what an argument from authority means, you're trying to stand on something else than your own cogntive abilities to get your point across. Imagine if I did the same, what would be the result ? A quote war of who has the best camping trip pictures ? For real ? If your argument stand, you don't need to go full-instagram to back it up.

    Am I still allowed to find that unproductive/unecessary in the context of a conversation or will I catch a ban for it ?
  11. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker

    Feb 28, 2011
    You're very badly mistaken if you think a large round and a bundle of branches will burn the same way or for the same length of time, even if there's equivalent mass. A huge amount of how things burn is determined by relative surface area. If you have a bundle of smaller sticks you'll have a fire that will put off more heat in the short term, but will eat through fuel much more quickly. Large rounds burn much more slowly and steadily.
  12. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    I’ve got a new idea for a very good knife for the purpose. It will have a long handle, maybe about 12-16 inches, and we will concentrate the weight out at the end. The end will be roughly 6”x4” and rectangular and have a wedgy convex grind.

    Edit: just in case it wasn't obvious, I'm describing a hatchet.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2021
  13. Boru13

    Boru13 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Apr 25, 2000
    You're welcome to share your opinion, members don't catch a ban for that.
    EngrSorenson likes this.
  14. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 13, 2017
    In regards to the OP.

    I don’t believe a big knife is a replacement for a hatchet, or a hatchet a replacement for an axe.

    However, it is certainly possible to press a large chopper into duties that are more ideally done with the others.

    If I have a large pile of rounds to split, I’d much rather use an axe or maul. If I need to split a round into a lot of smaller sticks I prefer using a chopper and baton.

    Having and using all these different tools are a lot of fun, but also convenient.

    Due to the environmental variables everyone has, I don’t think it’s easy or even possible to say a knife can replace a hatchet or axe.
    jfk1110 and MarkN86 like this.
  15. afishhunter

    afishhunter Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 21, 2014
    Can a big knife replace an axe or hatchet?
    Not if you're going to be felling or limbing trees, or splitting a bear's head to stop the bear from attacking and eating you dead or alive.**

    Personally, I'll stick with the smaller 3.5 to 5 inch blade knives and an axe. The smaller knives are more useful for general tasks. Big knife ain't worth a wolf's hoot for cleaning game, for example.

    I must have been doing it wrong. I always found processing firewood/wood while camping a rare task. Food prep and whittling hotdog/bratwurst/marshmallow roasting sticks, and maybe a tent stake or three (daRn fragile plastic tent stakes. Y can't they include stainless steel wire tent stakes?), and feather sticks were much more common/likely.

    **One of Outdoor Life magazine's "It Happened To Me" stories, back around 1967(?) A guy from PA or upstate NY, I forget which, claimed he was chopping firewood from deadfall when an adult black bear charged him. He claimed he used his axe to chop the bear's head in half, hitting it between the eyes, stopping the attack. True story? Road Apple/Meadow Muffin/Bull Chips story? I don't know.
    jfk1110 and desmobob like this.
  16. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jan 29, 2010 you are "above the treeline"....interesting.....very very interesting..... :D
    Pilsner likes this.
  17. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    Axe , even a camp axe 26" Estwing size , can serve as very effective weapon . Against 2 or 4 legged threats .

    Can provide more reach , leverage and raw kinetic energy to your target than most any one hand implement .

    It's a two-handed tool/ weapon so that the forces are multiplied by more than 2X . You can use the whole body , not just one arm .

    A full sized felling axe might be less than nimble / lively , unless you're very strong ...but a camper's axe is just fine , IMO .
    jfk1110 and desmobob like this.
  18. Jsega51

    Jsega51 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2015
    It can replace it, but it’s situation dependent. Will a knife replace a smaller camp axe for me? Probably not. For others, it certainly does. This quote is from a company that makes lightweight tents and titanium stoves for back country adventurers:

    “Longer burn times require larger wood. If you prep larger wood you can get through the night with 3-4 stokings. In our opinion a good beefy knife for batoning rounds and a good quality folding or lightweight saw are all the tools you need for wood prep, and are superior to a hatchet or axe for most users.”
  19. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    I've always marveled that out in the wilderness there apparently be big hardwood rounds just laying around everywhere , waiting eagerly to be salvaged . :rolleyes:

    I've never been blessed by such bounty . Had to use a chainsaw ! :(
    jfk1110, MarkN86 and EngrSorenson like this.
  20. Jsega51

    Jsega51 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2015
    Well they didn’t specify the size of the rounds and they also said that a portable saw was needed to pair with the knife so there’s that as well. Also, the portable stoves are quite small since they’re for a tent, so cutting large diameter rounds is unnecessary. If you’re having trouble picturing what I’m talking about, check out Seek Outside, that’s where the quote came from.

    Like I said, it’s situation dependent, and most likely a personal choice what tools are used. :rolleyes:
    DocJD likes this.

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