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I Actually Learned Something Relevant from Ray Mears

Posted by Ryan Nafe 
I Actually Learned Something Relevant from Ray Mears
May 15, 2014 08:38PM
Hello everyone,

I've been doing some work with a SOG Fasthawk, using it on soft and somewhat sappy red pine. While using it along side another recently aquired knife, the Ka Bar Heavy Duty Warthog remembered something that I saw in a Ray Mears video I watched a while ago on YouTube. On a side note, the knife and tomahawk both have very interesting (to me) designs, but suffer from the same problem. Specifically, they both have primary grinds and edge bevels that are far too thick for their weights. Both had been sharpened and de-shouldered, the hawk from a 15-25 degree convex, and the knife to a 10-25 degree convex, both had the increase in angle on the edge from the shoulders to the apex ground to maintain the same factory edge bevel width, while removing some material behind the edge to make them useable in any efficient way.

About the Ray Mears flashback, I was remembering something from a video called Choosing and Using an Axe. Mears demonstrated a method of splitting smaller wood with an axe, and I tried it out. It is at 2:16 in this video:

I realised that this is just as easy, if not easier than, batoning a knife through similar wood. This eliminates the possible advantage noted by Cliff in his review of the GB Wildlife Hatchet. " Long blades do however have a couple of advantages for splitting over axes. On really small woods, up to a few inches in diamater or so, it can be easier to baton the knife through than split with an axe. Trying to be precise enough to split 1-2" wood with an axe isn't trivial and if the wood is wet it may still need to be split, plus it is also useful to split it for construction purposes." This eliminates that difference to the two types of tools, to my line of thinking. What are your thoughts?
Re: I Actually Learned Something Relevant from Ray Mears
May 16, 2014 06:51PM
It's something i do a lot for kindling. A point to note though, the longer the bit (handle to edge) the harder this gets. You'll notice a tendancy for the axe to want to twist. At the same time, i use my 36" axe the most for this and everything else. The extra weight makes doing anything without a swing that much easier.
Re: I Actually Learned Something Relevant from Ray Mears
May 17, 2014 07:53AM
Ok, is the reason that the larger bits do that because of the increased force needed for the increase in edge length? That SOG Fasthawk has a pretty short main grind, meaning its about .4 or .5 inches, and about 12 degrees, but it has athick edge. I didnt measure its thickness, but the out of box edge was thick enough and obtuse enough to be unable to cut soft woods or briars, brambles or grasses at the base. A short two inch bit with a 25° convex edge on A barely convex edge profile, meaning flat if you look at it, convex if you put the bit against a known to be flat edge like a ruler or something. It seemed to be much better at splitting than cutting. I need to take actual measurements to compare though. So that, along with it's 12 inch handle length could be why it worked well for me. I'l need to do some more comparative work too.
Re: I Actually Learned Something Relevant from Ray Mears
May 17, 2014 03:10PM
I believe the reason it does it is because of how far the center of mass is from the point of impact. Anything but a perfect hit with it will cause the CoM to want to follow through to the ground. Also just to make sure, when i say edge length, i am referring to the distance across the flat of the axe. From the edge of the bit to the eye.
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