Can a big blade replace a hatchet/axe?

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An axe is better than a big knife for chopping. A knife is better for other tasks. I prefer a tomahawk and my regular EDC 4-1/2" fixed blade for woods bumming. If I know that I'll be doing a lot of chopping, a full sized axe, or better, a chainsaw, will be my weapon of choice.
 

sodak

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I haven’t tried batoning or any kind of wood processing with a knife yet, so I’m curious to know your opinions. What do you folks think? Can a kukri/Junglas/BK9/Busse and other big blades stand in for axes? Or would you prefer an axe paired with a 4-5” blade?

The context I have in mind is wilderness survival, but feel free to discuss other situations as well.

Hatchet yes, axe, no. Nothing beats an axe in the wilderness for capability. And saying that, a good saw is incredibly useful as well. But a saw can't break through ice on a lake to get drinking water....
 

Knives&Lint

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Sure, a big blade could replace a hatchet in a pinch, or perhaps if you were backpacking and trying to keep things light. Honestly though, I've never even considered it. When I need to process firewood into smaller pieces I simply go to the truck and grab the hatchet (or maul). Go with the ideal tool for the job whenever you have the option IMHO.
 
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:eek::poop: Yeah , you really don't wanna chop your leg / foot , with no medical help close by .[/QUOT]

I don't want to be chopping my leg or foot, even if medical help is right on the scene either. It's still going to hurt. It seems to me learning to use a tool safely is important. It doesn't matter if you are out in the wilderness or right next to the hospital.

O.B.
 
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Interesting inputs from everyone. From what I understand so far, while a big blade could reasonably fill in for a hatchet, a dedicated axe would still be the more efficient wood processing tool. Kinda biased towards big knives, but I’ll definitely look into more axes in the future.
 

Billy The Hungry

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I have done it. An axe or hatchet is a better tool for wood processing. However, the method of breaking down wood with a fixed blade knife, safely, is a good skill to learn.
 
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A big knife works well enough for me about 70% of the time. I'm ok giving of the cutting power for the weight savings. If I'm going out for multiple days or the weather is cold and nasty I'm bringing a good hatchet or boy's axe.
 

MyLegsAreOk

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I haven’t tried batoning or any kind of wood processing with a knife yet, so I’m curious to know your opinions. What do you folks think? Can a kukri/Junglas/BK9/Busse and other big blades stand in for axes? Or would you prefer an axe paired with a 4-5” blade?

The context I have in mind is wilderness survival, but feel free to discuss other situations as well.
NEGATIVE. Look how a hammer and axe is constructed. It has the handle right through the blade. It will reduce the shock a tang will take and is perpendicular to the force of impact. In addiction more power can be exerted on to the target of either tool and take less wear out of you. Battoning a knife can be done but not recommended. Use an axe and awl.
 
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Agree totally . To post #25

But , a few minutes to a competent ER and your chances of recovery with minimal loss of function are very good .

In a wilderness survival scenario , you are probably dead .
 
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What do you folks think? Can a kukri/Junglas/BK9/Busse and other big blades stand in for axes?

No way. They can fill in for a hatchet if necessary. Even a boy's axe with a 2.5-pound head on a 28" handle has far more chopping power than a big fixed blade. When I used to do some winter camping, I carried my usual 4" fixed blade along with a packable bow saw and a Hudson Bay axe.
 
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Axe , even a camper size , is real handy to salvage deadwood that's just laying around most woods .

You just bust it up , more than really cutting . Saves time and energy .

Axe gives you the reach , leverage , and mass concentrated at the tip to easily do this standing up .

With some practice , you can do most large knife stuff with a well sharpened Estwing 26 .

Pretty inexpensive , mostly steel and very durable / versatile survival tool.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Estwing+campers+axe+for+survival+&t=osx&iax=videos&ia=videos
 

Velitrius

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For me it comes down to conditions. In the wild we don’t often encounter a convenient level stump to chop on. And under those conditions the knife excels.

Hmmm. The only "convenient level stump to chop on" as far as I am concerned is for splitting firewood at home or camp. Usually with a maul.

An axe usually comes in handy for everything else. Never a need for a level spot.\

Perhaps your uses for an axe differ greatly from mine.
 

EngrSorenson

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Just to throw in here- it’s a long winded answer, but your question is one I've pondered many times.

remember that in most survival situations you’re probably going to be foraging small dead limbs from the forest floor. That’s potentially a lot of hacking- time and calories expended. IMHO a good hatchet is the way to go- you can baton a hatchet just as you might a knife for cases where you need to split those branches for kindling. Most of the work is going to be resizing them to length, however, and you get way better efficiency if you have good chopping technique with a hatchet. Hatchets also fit more applications than a saw, so that’s what I’d stick with.

another thing to consider in survival mode; you’ll probably want to protect the fine edge of whatever knife you have, so leave the abuse to the hatchet.

a good ol’ Estwing 24a would be my bulletproof answer, can’t beat the simplicity, but it’s not the most ergonomic hatchet. My more ergonomic (but less bulletproof) preference would be a Council Tools “flying fox”. The stock haft is a little narrow for my tastes but it works just fine. I replaced it with something beefier and I can chop all day long.

my choice in knife would be an ESEE 3 in S35VN for its low maintenance and edge retention for what I’d need a knife for.

Edit: take the above for what you will- I’m just a guy that likes to make fires while camping in remote places.
 
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MtnHawk1

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My guess is that most of those who advocate using a hatchet or axe use a vehicle to carry their tools for them.

For those that actually carry their own tools and equipment in the wilderness, and need to keep weight and bulk to a minimum, I can't think of a better tool than a big knife (I prefer blades around 10") with a finger choil. It may not do everything as well as an axe or a smaller knife, but it can do everything, from chopping wood to more delicate tasks such as game and food prep.

Because edged tools are so vital in the wilderness I also usually carry a 4.5" fixed blade and quality multi-tool, but my first choice is always a big, high-quality knife.
 

not2sharp

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Part of this depends on the environment. In South America or the sub-tropics the machete is preferred, in Asia it’s often the bolo or parang. It depends on what you are up against. For most of people in North America, a Leatherman or SAKs will easily carry the day’s, and bushcrafting is little more than a rare form of entertainment. Most public parks require minimal impact and few if any camp fires; it’s not the kind of place where you go equipped like Paul Bunyan to be accepted.

n2s
 

EngrSorenson

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My guess is that most of those who advocate using a hatchet or axe use a vehicle to carry their tools for them.

For those that actually carry their own tools and equipment in the wilderness, and need to keep weight and bulk to a minimum, I can't think of a better tool than a big knife (I prefer blades around 10") with a finger choil. It may not do everything as well as an axe or a smaller knife, but it can do everything, from chopping wood to more delicate tasks such as game and food prep.

Because edged tools are so vital in the wilderness I also usually carry a 4.5" fixed blade and quality multi-tool, but my first choice is always a big, high-quality knife.

so wait... hold up...

you carry a 10” knife because a 1.25-1.5 lbs hatchet is too heavy? I just looked up the specs on the Junglas which is a 10” knife. The “knife only” weight is 23 ounces, or 1.4 lbs. What knife are you using?

I mean, you have a great point- it matters how he got in that situation, but most people don’t go out for a hike carrying a 10” knife, either.
 

longbow

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I have a bolo that will definitely keep with an axe. I tried it out against a CS Trail Boss. I thought the bolo did just fine. Wasn't as sharp as the axe either but overall I thought it was easier to use when chopping up thick branches. The bolo is based on the 1904 pattern I think but maybe its 1913 something along those lines. I'll look at it when I go upstairs. stay safe
 
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