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Greno Woods
Sheffield, England, S35 8RS
United Kingdom

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At Howl we specialise in journeying skills, the Bushcraft we practice and teach is that of the traveler. There is a wonderful simplicity that comes from taking a trip in the outdoors, a pragmatism gleaned from necessity. We draw from this experience in the field to teach a set of skills and knowledge based in expedience and realism, skills that actually get used while outdoors. We provide an insight into the Natural world, opening up a vast array of natural resources and knowledge to help you travel with less reliance on the contents of your rucksack: it’s what you carry in your mind that matters.

 

 We teach these practical skills in a friendly and open way, our hope being to enable you to make your adventures into the Great Outdoors memorable and enjoyable. We'll help you cultivate a positive attitude, a confidence in yourself, and a connection with the natural world through which you travel.

We promote the utmost respect for the environment, the ability to pass unnoticed through the woods brings with it a deeper understanding of the wilderness, and our part in it. It is this philosophy which forms the very core of our work.

We promote the utmost respect for the environment, the ability to pass unnoticed through the woods brings with it a deeper understanding of the wilderness, and our part in it. It is this philosophy which forms the very core of our work.

A simple technique for knife-craft

Howl Bushcraft Blog

A simple technique for knife-craft

Jamie Dakota

During bushcraft courses here in the UK and when hosting private tuition sessions there’s one concept above all that I find has the most impact on my clients proficiency with their knife.

In daily life we mostly find ourselves working directly in front of us, whether we’re typing a blog article or driving a car, there is a symmetry to the way we hold ourselves and hands rarely move away from our center-line.

However by moving away from working directly in front of us we can utilise the asymmetry to maximise our efforts in woodcraft. Holding the wood you are carving out sideways enables you to use your larger muscles in the shoulder, the upper arm, and even the back and abdomen. The benefit of these large muscles is they move smoothly, applying even pressure through your arm rather than the short and jerky movements that come from carving with your wrist.

bushcraft knife skills

This is the chief way that I hope to improve my clients carving abilities during our Itinerant Bushcraft Course.

 Another way we can increase our ability to easily remove material is seen in the way we hold the knife. You can think of this as three points:  1. Start the cut with the work piece close to your hand, using the first 2 inches of the blade next to the handle. This lessens the leverage on your wrist so that you’ll tire more slowly. You also have greater control of the leading edge closer to your hand.  2. As in the picture, lift the tip of the knife back towards yourself so the angle of the blade on the work is closer to 45 degrees. In doing this we create a guillotine effect, and the knife will slip through the fibers of the wood more easily.  3. As you push forward with the knife, also slice across so the blade runs through the work and the cut finishes at the tip of the knife. By sliding the sharp edge across the work we truly maximise the guillotine effect.

Another way we can increase our ability to easily remove material is seen in the way we hold the knife. You can think of this as three points:

1. Start the cut with the work piece close to your hand, using the first 2 inches of the blade next to the handle. This lessens the leverage on your wrist so that you’ll tire more slowly. You also have greater control of the leading edge closer to your hand.

2. As in the picture, lift the tip of the knife back towards yourself so the angle of the blade on the work is closer to 45 degrees. In doing this we create a guillotine effect, and the knife will slip through the fibers of the wood more easily.

3. As you push forward with the knife, also slice across so the blade runs through the work and the cut finishes at the tip of the knife. By sliding the sharp edge across the work we truly maximise the guillotine effect.

I hope these two methods prove useful for you, as I mentioned at the top it is these systems that I find most greatly improve the skills of my clients during our Bushcraft courses.

A lot can be said for having a sharp, sensibly proportioned knife too. In general I’s suggest a knife with a blade as long as your palm is wide, with a Scandinavian grind and a simple handle.

The ones pictured feature in our shop.

I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on increasing fluidity with knife crafts in the comments below. And of course feel free to share article with someone you think might find it useful.

All the best

JD