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Birch v. Baton (1-0)

I'm a little bored thinking about DNS and other work things and I decided to hit pause on my Tivo. I'll return to Shark Week later tonight. In the meantime I decided to do some batoning.

Shrade stuck in a quarter segment of birch and my broken baton
I took a small half segment of birch from my stock and started whacking. The first split was a little tough and I got the sense that the knot was going to be tough. After the first split I went back to my different Mora knives only to discover some things:

  • The Mora Light My Fire knife is no good for batoning hardwood.  The thickness of the blade prevents it from acting more like a wedge. Later I tried some more feathersticking and while the blade would grab the wood it seemed to require more power than I thought necessary.
  • The different Mora Carbon blades were generally thicker and baton'd better. The blades with the smooth polish did better on the feathersticking.
  • The Stainless Steel Mora was probably the best balance.
All of the blades above were either just under 4" or just over. The Schrade was about 5" and so it did the tough work and in the end it failed too. Or at least the Baton did. In the picture above the knot in the birch was not passable to the Schrade. And the softwood I used as a baton cracked under the stress.


I decided to try the Mora Pathfinder. I cleaned up my baton and inserted my Pathfinder into the established fault. I started whacking with all I had. I did not make and progress even though the Pathfinder is about the same thickness as the Schrade, however, the Pathfinder is longer and so there was more to contact with. In the end it failed too. 


I even tried driving the wood and Pathfinder as if it were a hammer and all I got for my trouble is a sore shoulder.


One thing that comes to mind is a demo I watched recently. The ax instructor talked about the "english" that you need to put on the ax as it enters the wood.  The idea he was presenting was that the you wanted to preserve the sharpness of the ax once it had penetrated the wood and then use it as a wedge. Much the way you might put backspin on a cue ball you would put side spin on the ax to force the fracture.

For now the Birch has won and I need a new baton.

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