The most critical performance factor for any bushcrafter to consider is how well the knife cuts through wood. If it can’t do that well, then it’s not a good knife for this job. Choosing the best bushcraft knife can be confusing, but when you know the theory behind bladesmithing, it becomes easier to pick the superb one. Many things must be kept in mind before finalizing your choice; the grind type and blade material quality should be prioritized.
Best Steel 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 makes your knife directly influences your experience, expectations, and interests. The most familiar types of steel are stainless steel (Stain Resistant steel) and carbon steel. In reality, there are many categories of knife blade steels. Here we will discuss the most commonly used steels for a bushcraft knife blade. Best Budget Bushcraft Knives must have 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, offers mechanical properties through heat resistant. The optimum corrosion and hardness are obtained in the hardened and hardened and tempered condition. 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 the tempered and hardened conditions.
The blades are easy to resharpen. 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 440C blade type. Good quality is available in 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 the bushcraft knives just because of its unique properties. Other knives such as hunting knives, EDC knives, some kitchen knives are also made up of 154CM stainless steel.
Check out these high quality knives containing 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. These kinds of blades usually have some coating to combat rusting, but so long as the blade has properly cared, 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 other continue to use 1095 high carbon steel in diverse ways. Some examples of high carbon steel knives are.
Best Grind for Bushcraft Knife in 2021
While choosing the best 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 towards 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 used to make the best bushcraft knives.
Top Knife Grinds
- Scandi Grind
- Saber Grind
- Full Flat Grind
- Convex Grind
- Hollow Grind
Scandi grind is also known as zero grind. The Scandi runs to the edge with no angle change, which makes it unique. The Scandi is ground to zero 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 significat benefit of a Scandi grind 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 known as the best bushcraft knife grind.
To get 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 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. 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 smoothly move through the medium. A flat grind is typically stronger than the 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, difficult to sharpen. But when the extremely sharp edge is obtained, knife will be a lot stiffer, making it more useful for wood working. Check out the Full Flat Grind bushcraft knives.
Convex grind generally not a common but very expensive grind. The convex grind is analogous to the Scandi grind in a 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. Its also known as 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 ideal slicing to take off the skin.
Hollow grinds are versatile to 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 bushcrafters kit.
Best Bushcraft Knife Makers
Plenty of brands have been producing the best bushcraft knives for years. The features of any knife merely depend on the brand and more on the quality 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, may be some are missing.
- Condor Tool & Knife
- Buck Knives
- Cold Steel
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 Scandi grind for fine wood works, a Saber for heavy camp tasks, a Convex grind for chopping, and a hollow grind for cleaning game. Scandi Grind is often referred to as the best bushcraft knife grind. You must also have knowledge regarding blade sharpening. As far as the type of steel is concerned, high carbon steel is considered best by many bushcrafters. Don’t stick to only one material; be updated.