Carrying a knife is essential for anyone practicing bushcraft. A knife is one of the most versatile and indispensable tools you can have in the wilderness. It can be used for a wide range of tasks, from cutting and carving to food preparation and first aid.
Choosing the best bushcraft knife for the money and using it safely is crucial for making the most of this valuable tool. There are several things that must be kept in mind before finalizing your choice including grind type and blade material quality, we have got it covered in the buying guide in detail.
Pre-Purchase Conditions for Bushcraft Knife
Carrying a good knife while engaging in bushcraft activities or spending time in the wilderness can be extremely useful and important for a variety of reasons.
Here are a few key points to consider when choosing a bushcraft knife:
The blade of a knife is its most important feature, and the material it is made of can greatly affect its performance.
Some common materials used in knife blades include carbon steel, stainless steel, and high-carbon stainless steel.
A thicker blade may be more durable and better able to handle heavy-duty tasks, but it may also be more difficult to control and may not be as effective for fine tasks.
A thinner blade may be more agile and better suited for fine tasks, but it may not be as durable and may not hold up as well under heavy use.
The length of the blade can also be an important factor to consider. A longer blade may be better suited for heavy-duty tasks, but it may also be more difficult to control and may not be as effective for fine tasks.
A shorter blade may be more agile and better suited for fine tasks, but it may not be as effective for heavy-duty tasks.
The handle of a knife is another important consideration when choosing a knife for bushcraft. The material it is made of can affect the knife’s durability, grip, and overall feel in the hand.
Some common materials used in knife handles include wood, plastic, rubber, G10, and micarta.
- Wood handles are classic and provide a comfortable, natural grip. They can be more prone to damage than other handle materials, however, so they may require more careful maintenance.
- Plastic and rubber handles are more durable than wood and are less prone to damage. They can provide a secure grip, even in wet conditions, but some people may find them less comfortable to hold for extended periods of time.
Each material has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to choose a handle material that feels comfortable and offers a secure grip.
The shape of the blade can also be an important factor to consider. Some common blade shapes for bushcraft knives include drop point, clip point, and straight back.
- A blade with a drop point, for instance, is often preferred for bushcraft because it offers a strong tip and a curved belly that is useful for skinning and carving.
- A blade with a clip point, on the other hand, may be better for piercing and cutting in tight spaces.
It’s always a good idea to choose a knife from a reputable brand with a proven track record of producing high-quality knives.
This can help ensure that you get a knife that is well-made and will last for a long time.
By considering these factors, you can find a knife that is well-suited to your needs and preferences and will serve you well in the wilderness.
What are the Best Steels for Bushcraft Knife?
A good knife can never be made of bad steel. A knife’s steel determines its usage and quality. Not all knife steels are created equally; different types of steels come with different features. The simple is that the metal that makes your knife directly influences your experience, expectations, and interests.
The most familiar types of steel are stainless steel (Stain Resistant steel) and high-carbon steel. In reality, there are many categories of knife blade steels.
Here we will discuss the most commonly used steel for a bushcraft knife blade. Also, you can check the best stainless steel knives that have the best blade material.
440C Stainless Steel
A variety of bushcraft knives constitute a 440C stainless steel blade. It’s the most widely used steel for bushcraft knife making, so most of the knives are cheap. This material contains approximately 17% chromium and offers mechanical properties through heat resistance.
The optimum corrosion and hardness are obtained in the hardened and hardened and tempered conditions. This grade provides the superior wear resistance of high carbon steel with a stainless steel corrosion-resistant. The optimum corrosion and hardness are obtained in tempered and hardened conditions.
The blades are easy to re-sharpen. The unique properties of this material are hardness, yield strength, tensile strength, Poisson’s ratio, shear modulus, elastic modulus, and bulk modulus.
Similarly, 440A and 440B also have almost the same properties, but the only difference is carbon content. 440A is soft and contains less carbon, 440B is harder and contains more carbon, while 440C is the hardest and high-end stainless steel.
Some of the knives below have a 440C blade type. Good quality is available on the best budget.
154CM Stainless Steel
Crucible Industries in the United States manufacture this stainless steel. Crucible 154CM is a modified form of martensitic stainless steel type 440C in which molybdenum has been added. It comprises three principal elements: carbon, chromium, and molybdenum. No knife steel is 100% resistant to corrosion, but 154CM will not rust for years.
The high chromium content in it enhances the corrosion resistance. This steel’s other properties are edge retention, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, sharpness, machinability, and toughness. 154CM is widely used in making bushcraft knives just because of its unique properties. Other knives such as hunting knives, EDC knives, and some kitchen knives are also made up of 154CM stainless steel.
Check out these high-quality knives containing a 154CM stainless steel blade.
1095 High Carbon
This particular type of knife steel blade is most loved by the bushcraft/survival community. It retains the edge like a boss. It contains approximately 95% carbon, which mainly serves to harden the steel and reduce the amount of wear that a blade will experience over time. This material tends to rust if not oiled deliberately or appropriately cared for.
These kinds of blades usually have some coating to combat rusting, but so long as the blade has been properly cared for, rust shouldn’t be a problem for anyone. Heat-treated 1095 may have higher strength. Unlike stainless steel. It’s not alloyed with chromium, so it can take an excellent polish quickly.
Almost all top bushcraft knife brands like ESEE, TOPS, Schrade, Ontario, and many others continue to use 1095 high-carbon steel in diverse ways. Some examples of high-carbon steel knives are.
What is the Best Grind for Bushcraft Knife?
While choosing the bushcraft knife, you must know the importance of grind type. Finding the best grind for a bushcraft knife is crucial. No doubt, different grinds have been used for various purposes for years.
The grind on a blade tends to decide its advantages and disadvantages for a particular task. Some grinds are sharper, while some are stronger.
Most field experts try to find a balance between the two. The fact is that the grind angle and width of the blade stock affect the strength of the blade much more than the grind type. So, keeping in mind all facts and figures we’ve explained top knife grinds are used to make the best bushcraft knives.
Top Knife Grinds
Scandi grind is also known as zero grinds. The Scandi runs to the edge with no angle change, which makes it unique. The Scandi is ground to zero and keeps the edge as thin as possible with no change in angle. Changes in angle generate extra friction. So, the Scandi grind meets with the least resistance possible when it enters the cutting medium.
When the blade enters the cutting medium, it touches the transition point where the bevel changes to the flat. This feature is one reason why the knife can dive deep into a cut and take off huge potato-chip-like shavings.
The other significant benefit of a Scandi grind is that it is easy to sharpen on the field. It’s easy to set your angle on the stone with the apparent change in the grind. This kind of grind is not suitable for food preparations but is known as the best bushcraft knife grind.
To get a more clear view and strength estimation, check out these Scandi grind knives.
The Sabre grind is a somewhat common blade grind that contains a primary flat edge bevel, which begins around the middle of the knife and continues along the edge side. The secondary bevel forms the final sharpened edge of the knife. This sort of grind is very strong and specifically designed to offer maximum edge retention for cutting ability.
The overall thicker edge ensures easy slicing and cutting through a large object. This grind is designed to fulfill the demand for a strong blade. The stock is kept quite thicker so that the blade can stand up to hard use, such as chopping. Due to the thicker stock, this grind is not too good for slicing compared to other grinds.
Some of the bushcraft Knives with Sabre Grind are listed here.
Full Flat Grind
It’s somewhat a hybrid of Sabre and Scandi grind. A high flat grind goes down from the spine to the edge bevel in a flat, linear slope. This grind can be thick and heavy or thin and sharp, or in between the two, you can get what you need. Most flat grinds are a balance between the two, though it will depend on the design.
This grind has the thickest spine and thin edge for excellent slicing. The thin edge allows easy slicing and smooth moving through the medium. A flat grind is typically stronger than a hollow grind and cuts better than the sabre grind. A wide variety of bushcraft knives come with a full flat grind.
It’s less durable than the Scandi grind, and difficult to sharpen. But when the extremely sharp edge is obtained, the knife will be a lot stiffer, making it more useful for woodworking. Check out the Full Flat Grind bushcraft knives.
Convex grind is generally not a common but very expensive grind. The convex grind is analogous to the Scandi grind in the sense the taper begins close to the knife edge.
However, it has a rounded curve, not a straight grind, which implies the steel behind the edge is thicker, resulting in one of the most durable grinds on the market.
This kind of grind is ideal for wood crafting, strong enough for the big game, and the long-lasting edge make it the ultimate bushcraft knife grind.
It works better at taking small amounts of material off or doing finer cuts. The thick edge can take a beating without chipping or rolling. Not all choppers use the convex grind. But it takes a lot of time to sharpen; due to this, they are relatively uncommon.
It is well known that the thinner the edge, the better it cuts. The hollow grind is one of the thinnest edges you can get. This grind is usually done on a thin blade and ground to have a thin edge. It’s also known as a double grind.
If you combine a hollow grind, a thin edge, and a nice deep belly, it will be one of the best slicing knives you have ever had. Sharpening the hollow grind is typically easier than other grinds. This kind of grind is best for gutting, skinning, and butchering animals. Dressing your game demands a knife that has the ideal slicing to take off the skin.
Hollow grinds are versatile for hunting and skinning knives for this reason. When you need to survive longer in the wild, you will spend more time cleaning the game than anything else you do with a knife. So, this knife grind is essentially there in the bush crafters kit.
Who are the Best Bushcraft Brands or Knife Makers?
Plenty of brands have been producing the best knives for years. The features of any knife merely depend on the brand and more on the quality of the material used.
But if you find both at a place, it will be incredible. We’ve mentioned several top brands that are producing quality bushcraft knives, maybe some are missing.
After years of experience and compiling reviews from professionals, we concluded that you should carry several knives in your outdoor kit. It would be best if you kept a Scandi grind for fine woodwork, a Sabre for heavy camp tasks, a Convex grind for chopping, and a hollow grind for the cleaning game.
Scandi Grind is often referred to as the best bushcraft knife grind. You should also know about blade sharpening. As far as the type of steel is concerned, high-carbon steel is considered the best by many bushcrafters.
So, don’t stick to only one material, stay updated!