Ideal features of a bushcraft knife listed by Kochanski in Bushcraft include:
My most-used knife is a #1 K. J. Ericksson Mora with a carbon steel blade just under 4" long (around 10 cm). The handle was painted red by the factory, and I burned off the red paint and fire-hardened the birch handle. I then coated it with boiled linseed oil, but I now use teak oil, which is less slippery and more suited for outdoor exposure. The blade portion was carefully suspended in vinegar overnight to give it a dull, corrosion-resistant patina. I also flattened the back of the blade with a file for more comfortable push cuts, and carefully re-sharpened the factory edge on a waterstone.
- fixed blade (not folding)
- carbon steel (or laminated carbon steel) blade
- no guard (it interferes with some grips)
- palm width in length (around 4 inches)
- single edge
- full tang (blade extends fully into handle)
- oval handle
- durable pommel (end of handle)
Attached to the sheath is a neck lanyard, pealess whistle, twisted double-strand paracord (just the right length for a firebow string, twist-braided for better gripping of the spindle), and a small firesteel (under the paracord). Rubber bands made of sections of bicycle inner tube secure the whistle and firesteel.
A knife like this which meets most of Kochanski's criteria can be purchased for around $10 to $20 at Ragweed Forge or Ben's Backwoods. Mine was $10.50. I bought two, and carry the second in my pack as a backup.
There are other styles of knives which are higher quality and more durable, but those are significantly more expensive.
Edited 12/21/2008 1:49 am