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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We've all been told how chopping is best done by alternating hits at an angle, from right to left, trying to remove a chip with each pair of hits. At least on rigidly secured branches, that you hit with a 10" long full flat grind knife, 2" wide, a pound in weight, and no thicker at the edge than 0.030", I think this needs to be revisited...



A tree I had needed about a dozen 3" or more limbs trimmed at the base, so they were very rigidly secured as I worked, and, to my surprise, I found that just repeatedly hitting one side, in a diagonal, trying to hit inside the same cut every time, finished the work almost twice as fast as even the best of alternating hits sequence...

For some reason, angling the single cut worked far better than trying for a straight 90 degrees: Fibers seemed to fight harder at 90 degrees...

Hitting repeatedly inside the single angled cut was also far easier, and more consistent, than trying to make "perfect" alternating hits.

I think alternating hits is a method developped for axes and hatchets, and it might still be better if your knife has a hollow sabre grind line, thickening the middle of the blade, or maybe even a fat full convex.

But if your knife is a large true Full Flat Grind, then the profile is so slim it can hit hard the bottom of even a very deep cut, deepening it, without being slowed down excessively by pinching.

I'll have to test further what goes on with loose limbs, but for now it seems like a large Full Flat Grind knife can definitely de-limb large limbs with fewer hits than even a comparable hatchet, due to the slim profile allowing repeating the hits inside the one diagonal cut. It does leave a somewhat more poky stub however...

Gaston
 

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Discussion Starter #2
So I later did a small amount of additional testing on loose unsecured branches (the very ones I took off my tree), since I was quite taken by the 70% plus improvement I was getting with my "new" one-sided chopping method, at least when they were rigidly attached to the trunk...



Here, at the right, is a slightly better than typical one-side result (with two fewer misses than typical out of 12), versus quite typical, reasonably accurate two-sided chops at the left (one with almost no misses), both with around 14 hits, with the one sided one being only 12 hits, to be on the safe side of not overblowing things...

Way less impressive than the nearly doubling of effect observed on a stiff target (which really helped the successive hits bite deeper into one another)... Still, I would call it a 25% improvement, even on loose limbs around 3 inches... This makes Full Flat Grinds inherently punch above their weight, I would say, provided you keep targets under 4 inches, and the hits slanted. Bigger blades really start to "stick" when they hit straighter, especially into bigger wood.

The reason for Full Flat Grinds "sticking" is that the wood "pinches" the sides over a much broader surface than on a full convex blade, or on a sabre hollow grind for that matter: 22 ounces, and/or 11 inches, are the points where the "wedging power" starts to get troublesome for Full Flat Grinds...

This ability to "pile" the hits makes FFG the likely first choice for heavy duty survival. I still like Sabre Hollow Grinds for the "cushioned" impact feel they give on wood, as the Sabre Hollow Grind allows thinner edges, without the risk of side load damage, since the wood pinches the blade much higher than the edge. I never liked convex edges, since they "pinch" close to the edge, but maybe one day I will try the Thor... I think convex edges on choppers is like knives trying to imitate axes, and the one sided hit method seems to be a further argument against doing that. Knives are not hatchets, and they thrive on overall geometry finesse.

This later observation does make my personal liking of sabre hollow grind choppers more and more unjustified as well... (The Schf 45 is an excellent example of what a great hollow grind chopper should be like, but the Full Flat Grind SP-52 is probably a better choice)... On the other hand, the FFG Traimaster is too light and thin handled, owing to the much narrower fighting-like blade style. The Thor probably pays a similar price...

Schf 45 vs Fallkniven Thor would be an interesting match-up!

G.
 

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Try it on something 6 inches thick, and you’ll see why alternating is how you do it on things that require an axe or hatchet, or may be better served by a saw.

BTW, your 12-14 number of hits with your knife would be reduced to 2-3 with a hatchet or axe.

Which is why they were carried by most people that lived in the forests back in the day.

That said, you are correct, if you are unprepared and MUST use a knife to bump knots or cut small limbs off trees, alternating angles is far less important.
 
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