What is Batoning?

by Knife Expert on May 10, 2013

Thanks to my outdoor and camping experience, I get this question asked a lot “What is Batoning”? Well, simply put, Batoning is a skill that’s used for cutting wood with the help of several different tools rather than a single tool. Normally, people use a baton against a chisel or knife to split the wood in an attempt to use that wood to make fire.

So based on my professional experience, I’ll outline some important details with regards to Batoning in this post. However, if you’re new to this then I wouldn’t recommend trying this out by yourself; rather get a professional to teach you the below tips and tricks. A baton stick is used to pound the chisel or knife into the material so that’s something you’ll need to buy in case you don’t have one.

A lot of people tend to use a sledgehammer or something similar instead of a baton but personally, I wouldn’t recommend using anything except a baton for this task. This is because sledgehammers are heavier compared to a baton stick and you’ll end up damaging the spine of your knife as well. Also, since it’s heavier, there’s a higher chance of you losing control and hitting yourself in the process.

Why Batoning?

Apart from asking me “What is Batoning”, I also get another relevant question asked a lot which is “Why Batoning”. Well, let me elaborate more on that as well.

Normally what we do is that we simply chop wood directly using an axe. While that is more of a primitive and inefficient approach, the truth is that there are certain types of wood that are simply too tough to cut with an axe. In such cases, the axe simply bounces off the wood and I know of a lot of people having been injured in these cases. The reason this happens is that knot formation takes place within the wood and it’s these knots which are very hard to cut through.

And that’s where Batoning comes to our rescue. Not only does Batoning make it easier to cut the wood, the risk of being injured also goes down dramatically. Another thing that not many people realize is that chopping wood can take a toll on your back in the long run thanks to all the swinging and bending whereas with a Batoning technique, this is again minimized to a large extent.

So what exactly is a good Batoning technique?

It’s very important to learn a good or the right Batoning technique else it can cause breakage of your knife and thus there is a certain way of doing things.

Firstly, you should always ensure that your knife is absolutely straight before banging it into the wood. If the knife is placed at an angle of if the knife tip is crooked, then you’ve faltered at the very first step and your knife is sure to be damaged.

Secondly, choose the right knife for Batoning because there are also different knives that can be used. My personal preference is towards fixed blade knives or full tang knives as they are known (Read this detailed post on what is a full tang) because the knife itself has more strength and the chances of breakage are minimal.

Lastly, having good common sense and confidence is the key when you are doing this type of activity. They say practice makes a man perfect and that’s what your aim should be as well. Test your blades before hitting them with full force and you’ll do just fine!

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