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View Poll Results: Which would you prefer in the Eastern US woodlands?
Small axe/large hatchet and a small fixed blade knife 44 58.67%
Collapsible saw and a large fixed blade knife 31 41.33%
Voters: 75. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-23-2012, 02:39 AM
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Default Axe and knife vs saw and knife



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Alright, once again I am curious as to the opinions of the SB community.

For Eastern US woodland camping, which do you see as a more viable option.
Option 1: A large hatchet/small axe and a smaller fixed blade knife (blade under 5 inches)
Option 2: Collapsible saw and a large fixed blade "survival" knife (blade over 8 inches)

I wanna compare short term and long term survival. Weight. Value. Shelter building. Wood processing for a fire. Defensive purposes. And whatever else pops into your head.
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Old 11-23-2012, 03:09 AM
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The saw is obviously lighter. I would go with it. I've always found the saw more useful. But it's much easier to break a saw blade then it is the axe handle.
Old 11-23-2012, 03:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argartis View Post
Alright, once again I am curious as to the opinions of the SB community.

For Eastern US woodland camping, which do you see as a more viable option.
Option 1: A large hatchet/small axe and a smaller fixed blade knife (blade under 5 inches)
Option 2: Collapsible saw and a large fixed blade "survival" knife (blade over 8 inches)

I wanna compare short term and long term survival. Weight. Value. Shelter building. Wood processing for a fire. Defensive purposes. And whatever else pops into your head.
shelter building and wood processing for fire the axe wins hands down defencive purposes id say a axe or knife would be good axe for its extra reach but the saw has no defensive value really
Old 11-23-2012, 06:42 AM
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It really depends on the season for me. The axe is typically more efficient at shelter building and processing firewood; however, our last backpacking trip out, my saw was the most valuable item. I was able to quickly saw through several downed trees. I cut them into 6-8 foot lengths (most were about 6-8 inches in diameter). Splitting for smaller stuff was done with the knife and baton, b and once the fire was going, I could lay the larger logs on top and burn them in half for even more efficient processing. We had a raging fire and no axe was needed.

To really take advantage of the axe, skill and dedicated practice are essential; without that, the axe becomes more weight than utility. I have some nice axes and they can do some amazing things…but for most needs, including short-term shelter building, I can get by with a fixed blade and saw.

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Old 11-23-2012, 08:37 AM
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In 40 yrs of hunting/trapping/backpacking I have not found a use for a 8" survival knife.

On the other hand I find I carry a take down bow saw and an axe on every late season trip.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerJohn View Post
shelter building and wood processing for fire the axe wins hands down defencive purposes id say a axe or knife would be good axe for its extra reach but the saw has no defensive value really
Good point.
A hatchet may be better for splitting the wood but a saw works better for cutting the wood in sections. But at the same time, a hatchet would be better for felling a tree vs a saw. You can use the knife to split wood if you want to risk batoning it and possibly breaking your knife. Either route seams logical. Also the Hatchet can be used as a hammer when turned around which is yet another tool to add to the mix. Dont think you can go wrong either way. Only real difference is a few ounces of weight.

Also keep in mind that that you can split logs using stick wedges just like you would with an axe. Just hammer them in using another decent size stick or small log. I understand that he uses a small parang in this video but it is similar to a large knife described in the OP. The principle still stands behind splitting the wood using this method. Skip ahead to 7:34 in timeline if you dont want to see the parang techniques.
http://youtu.be/EZ3fK9YEUBY
Old 11-23-2012, 09:16 AM
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It comes down to how long you intend to spend on the trip and what you need to accomplish with the tools you take. Personally for me, an axe handle would be easier to replace than a saw blade.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hick Industries View Post
In 40 yrs of hunting/trapping/backpacking I have not found a use for a 8" survival knife.

On the other hand I find I carry a take down bow saw and an axe on every late season trip.
Pretty much the same here, only in the eastern woodlands, and the western Sierra. The three wood processing tools that see the most use are my pocketknife, a saw (currently using a Sven Saw which I'm real happy with) and my axe or hatchet.
The only thing I've ever used a large knife for that I really felt was useful was kitchen work.
On any given trip I may have any combination of stuff with me, but the two constants are my saw and pocketknife.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:33 AM
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given the choice Id carry all 3 !
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:09 AM
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I took the saw/large knife but I would be OK with a saw and small knife. Because that is what I usually carry. Or a saw and my machete. Being that this is eastern woodland maybe a hatchet might be better but I am more skilled with the saw. I once upon a time had big knives. In my intemperate youth. After messing up a skinning job on a muley I started using small knifes. Worked much better. And you know what they say " The smaller the knife the bigger the ****".
Old 11-23-2012, 01:32 PM
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I've settled nicely into a Bhaco Laplander and a Becker BK2 Campanion.

Hasn't been a job yet I couldn't accomplish with those two.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:51 AM
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Well, I think I should post my opinions as well on this.
For short trips, I almost always take the saw and large knife combo. (been rocking the Tajima G-10 for the past 2-3 years, love it).
But in a SHTF or WROL, I would deffinately take the hatchet over the saw. But in either of these cases I would still have a large knife, or 2, or 3 depending. My big focus is durability, I mean I have axe/hatchet heads that are 3 to 4 times my age easily and they're still going strong. So if it came down to how many saw blades I have vs a sturdy hatchet head, that wins hands down.
Old 11-24-2012, 01:03 AM
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Hatchet for sure. Saws may be faster for larger logs but I actually believe them to be more tiring in most cases. Hatchet has another great advantage as well, because of its weight it makes a great hammer for driving stakes in the ground for shelter-building and traps. A hatchet will also stand up to far, far more abuse than a folding saw.
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Old 11-24-2012, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushcraft101 View Post
Good point.
A hatchet may be better for splitting the wood but a saw works better for cutting the wood in sections. But at the same time, a hatchet would be better for felling a tree vs a saw. You can use the knife to split wood if you want to risk batoning it and possibly breaking your knife. Either route seams logical. Also the Hatchet can be used as a hammer when turned around which is yet another tool to add to the mix. Dont think you can go wrong either way. Only real difference is a few ounces of weight.

Also keep in mind that that you can split logs using stick wedges just like you would with an axe. Just hammer them in using another decent size stick or small log. I understand that he uses a small parang in this video but it is similar to a large knife described in the OP. The principle still stands behind splitting the wood using this method. Skip ahead to 7:34 in timeline if you dont want to see the parang techniques.
http://youtu.be/EZ3fK9YEUBY
Split wood without an axe - YouTube
theres alot of things you can do without the propper tool but having the right tool is alot more efficient than using wooden splitting wedges and a rock
Old 11-24-2012, 04:27 AM
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If absolutely tied down and given only those two choices, axe/hatchet and knife win without question. Durability and versatility favor the axe, and there isn't a task a saw does that an axe can't accomplish......can't reverse that statement.....

For serious backcountry trips i'd probably have a small axe, several cutting tools AND a folding or take-down saw. Going bare minimalist i could scrape by with a quality multi-tool and a fixed blade knife. Ymmv
Old 11-24-2012, 09:29 AM
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What works best for me;

When hiking an axe is too heavy for me and of little use anywhere that I have hiked/camped/traveled. Even when Jeeping the only real use of an axe is to de-limb fallen trees and to split wood. Only large wood needs splitting so selecting the dead wood by size virtually eliminates the need of an axe/hatchet.

I never use an axe or saw for felling (chainsaw, if you must drop trees) if the standing deadwood cannot be pushed over just go to the next one (live wood often doesn't burn very well without splitting and isn't usually worth the trouble of carrying back to camp).

Cutting firewood to length is easier, for me, to do with a good bow saw.
Pruning saws are gardening tools and do not work as well as a bow saw for processing moderate to large quantities of wood. I favor a 21 inch Svensaw, one lives in each vehicle, the axes are rusting away in the shed, I think... there is a broad hatchet with the slaughtering tools.

A knife is nearly exclusively used for cooking or game preparation and I cannot think of the last time I wasted effort using it on wood other than some small carving tasks.

Enjoy!
Old 11-24-2012, 04:57 PM
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned, is that a saw is much quieter than an axe. I'm not in the US & a lot of our woodland is privately owned, so we have to be a bit sneakier.
Also, If I was thinking about defence, I'd go for a knife over an axe, as I'd prefer the option to be able to stab something/someone instead of trying to swing an axe & possibly missing.
Old 11-24-2012, 07:04 PM
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I always have a knife on me, that's a no-brainer. But on long back packing trips I carry a Sven Saw and an eastwing hatchet. make splitting wood much easier than with a knife.
Old 11-24-2012, 07:32 PM
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If I am carrying a saw i am probably driving a truck because a saw is work related.
Old 11-24-2012, 07:33 PM
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I have always lived in wooded and semi wooded areas. I never have to "cut" firewood. A seasoned outdoors man "gathers" firewood.
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