Story by Joshua Swanagon, Photos by Jim Cooper (SharpByCoop Photography)
Although the term “bushcraft” wasn’t coined until recent times, the art of bushcrafting has been around longer than the knife itself. Over the years, as our knowledge of the natural world has expanded, so has our ability to make the kind of knives that can handle anything nature can throw at them – as well as our ability to make them beautiful and a joy to use.
While there is a large market for EDC, tactical, kitchen and all other assortments of knives, I have found that the bushcraft market tends to lead, in terms interest. Perhaps it is because bushcrafting, and our use of knives in this manner, has been around the longest – or perhaps it is something different entirely.
Having been a magazine Editor, on the topic of knives, for some time I have noticed that everyone wants to write about bushcraft knives – myself included. Sure, I can get people to write about EDC knives, tactical knives, hunting knives, kitchen knives, etc. but I tend to have substantially more bushcraft writers than anything else.
After giving it some thought, I believe I know the reason – at least when it comes to myself. EDC knives are great, you always have them on you, you pull them out to open boxes, cut cord, eat an apple, etc. and then you put it back in your pocket – or wherever you normally carry it.
Tactical knives are great to train with and keep around in the event of conflict that requires edged escalation. Kitchen knives cut food and then get put away. And so on and so on.
However, bushcraft knives are like the playground of the knife world. When you pull a bushcraft knife out of its sheath, you immediately start to look around at all of the things you can whittle, carve, cut, build, craft, etc.
When it comes to knife reviews, bushcraft knives are by far the most fun and the easiest to write up, because you get to head out into the woods and have some serious play time. The only limit is your imagination.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot you can do with other types of knives as well. But there is just something about looking at the bushcraft knife in your hand, and then looking at the fallen tree before you, and going to work to create something great with your simple knife and the raw, unprocessed materials provided by nature.
With that said, the only thing better than getting out into the woods and having some play time with a dedicated bushcraft knife, is getting out into the woods with a custom dedicated bushcraft knife. The time and dedication put into a custom knife really tends to show more, when being used as intended.
Beautifully crafted custom knives make great show pieces and can be enjoyed for the functional art that they are. But to truly enjoy every aspect of a custom knife comes from using it and building that personal connection with it, which will help you identify more about it than looks alone will ever adequately portray.
Stay sharp and keep it real. K&G
Model: Puuko & Hunting KnifeBlade Material Puukko: 115CrV3Blade Material Hunting Knife: RWL-34Blade Length: 4 inchesOverall Length: 8.5 inchesHandle Material: Birch BarkBolster/Guard Material Puukko: BrassBolster/Guard Material Hunting Knife: NickleWebsite: www.PekkaTCK.fiFacebook: @PekkaTuominenCustomKnivesInstagram: @PekkaTuominenCustomKnives
Model: Fixed UtilityBlade Material: CPM154Blade Length: 5 inchesOverall Length: 10.5 inchesHandle Material: White Cable Bone, Blue G-10, Black Vulcanized spacers with Stabilized Curly White OakInstagram: @JimPerkinsKnifeLeather
Model: Trail BuddyBlade Material: 440C Stainless SteelBlade Length: 2.75 inchesOverall Length: 7.75 inchesHandle Material: Tasmanian Spalted Myrtle BurlBolster/Guard Material: Stainless Steel
Model: Wagon Wheel BowieBlade Material: Wrought iron wagon wheel san mai over 1084Blade Length: 10 inchesOverall Length: 15.75 inchesHandle Material: Ash wagon tongue from the Springfield Wagon Company, 1873-1951Bolster/Guard Material: Wagon wheel wrought iron guard, with 1836 half dollar spacerNote: Wagon iron from g-g-grandfather from Spicewood, TXWebsite: www.FryCustomKnives.comFacebook: @jkf96aInstagram: @FryCustomKnives
Blade Material: DamasteelBlade Length: 4.5 inchesOverall Length: 9 inchesHandle Material: Sambar StagBolster/Guard Material: 416 Stainless SteelFacebook: @parkerknivesaustraliaInstagram: @parkerknivesaustralia
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Joshua Swanagon has studied survival in both urban and wilderness environments in Colorado and Michigan for most of his life, while also adding experience in harsher terrains abroad. He utilizes his experience and years of diverse martial arts and combatives training and real world application as a self-defense/combatives instructor, published freelance writer and Field Editor for various magazines in the fields of knives, survival, self-defense and tactical subject matters. Joshua also brings with him his years of experience as Editor of, and Subject Matter Expert for, Knives Illustrated Magazine.
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