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Batoning a piece of wood Batoning.jpg
Batoning a piece of wood

Batoning is the technique of cutting or splitting wood by using a baton-sized stick or mallet to repeatedly strike the spine of a sturdy knife, chisel or blade in order to drive it through wood, similar to how a froe is used. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] The batoning method can be used to make kindling or desired forms such as boards, slats or notches. The practice is most useful for obtaining dry wood from the inside of logs for the purpose of fire making.

A club is among the simplest of all weapons: a short staff or stick, usually made of wood, wielded as a weapon since prehistoric times. There are several examples of blunt-force trauma caused by clubs in the past, including at the site of Nataruk in Turkana, Kenya, described as the scene of a prehistoric conflict between bands of hunter-gatherers 10,000 years ago. In popular culture, clubs are associated with primitive cultures, especially cavemen.

Mallet Tool for striking the workpiece or another tool with a relatively large head

A mallet is a kind of hammer, often made of rubber or sometimes wood, that is smaller than a maul or beetle, and usually has a relatively large head. The term is descriptive of the overall size and proportions of the tool, and not the materials it may be made of, though most mallets have striking faces that are softer than steel.

Knife tool with a cutting edge or blade

A knife is a tool with a cutting edge or blade attached to a handle. Mankind's first tool, knives were used at least two-and-a-half million years ago, as evidenced by the Oldowan tools. Originally made of rock, bone, flint, and obsidian, over the centuries, in step with improvements in metallurgy or manufacture, knife blades have been made from bronze, copper, iron, steel, ceramics, and titanium. Most modern knives have either fixed or folding blades; blade patterns and styles vary by maker and country of origin.



Tools used in batoning are: a strong, fixed-blade, preferably full tang knife or machete with a thick spine, and a club-sized length of dense or green wood for striking the knife's spine and tip.

A machete is a broad blade used either as an implement like an axe, or in combat like a short sword. The blade is typically 32.5 to 45 centimetres long and usually under 3 millimetres (0.12 in) thick. In the Spanish language, the word is a diminutive form of the word macho, which was used to refer to sledgehammers. In the English language, an equivalent term is matchet, though it is less commonly used. In the English-speaking Caribbean, such as Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, and Grenada and in Trinidad and Tobago, the term cutlass is used for these agricultural tools.

Green wood unseasoned wood

Green wood is wood that has been recently cut and therefore has not had an opportunity to season (dry) by evaporation of the internal moisture. Green wood contains more moisture than seasoned wood, which has been dried through passage of time or by forced drying in kilns. Green wood is considered to have 100% moisture content relative to air-dried or seasoned wood which is considered to be 20%. Energy density charts for wood fuels tend to use air-dried wood as their reference, thus oven-dried or 0% moisture content can reflect 103.4% energy content.


The basic method involves repeatedly striking the spine of the knife to force the middle of the blade into the wood. The tip is then struck, to continue forcing the blade deeper, until a split is achieved. [6]

Uses and advantages

This technique is useful for the simple splitting of wood for kindling, to access dry wood within a wet log, and for the production of shingles, slats, or boards. It is also useful for cutting notches, or making clean crosscuts against the grain of the wood.[ citation needed ] The technique is also especially useful when a chopping tool is not available.


Care must be taken to avoid damage to the knife. Breakage of the blade is a common result of striking the spine of the knife at an angle. If this happens the broken blade can become irretrievably embedded within the split. In a survival situation, this can be catastrophic. [7]

See also

Bushcraft wilderness survival skills

Bushcraft is a popular term for wilderness survival skills. The term was popularized in the Southern Hemisphere by Les Hiddins as well as in the Northern Hemisphere by Mors Kochanski and recently gained considerable currency in the United Kingdom due to the popularity of Ray Mears and his bushcraft and survival television programs. It is also becoming popular in urban areas where the average person is separated from nature, as a way to get back in tune with their rural roots. The origin of the phrase "bushcraft" comes from skills used in the bush country of Australia. Often the phrase 'wilderness skills' is used as it describes skills used all over the world.

Fire making process of starting a fire artificially

Fire making, fire lighting or fire craft is the process of starting a fire artificially. It requires completing the fire triangle, usually by heating tinder above its autoignition temperature.

Scoutcraft is a term used to cover a variety of woodcraft knowledge and skills required by people seeking to venture into wild country and sustain themselves independently. The term has been adopted by Scouting organizations to reflect skills and knowledge which are felt to be a core part of the various programs, alongside community and spirituality. Skills commonly included are camping, cooking, first aid, wilderness survival, orienteering and pioneering.

Related Research Articles

Differential heat treatment

Differential heat treatment is a technique used during heat treating to harden or soften certain areas of a steel object, creating a difference in hardness between these areas. There are many techniques for creating a difference in properties, but most can be defined as either differential hardening or differential tempering. These were common heat treating techniques used historically in Europe and Asia, with possibly the most widely known example being from Japanese swordsmithing. Some modern varieties were developed in the twentieth century as metallurgical knowledge and technology rapidly increased.

Wood carving form of working wood by means of a cutting tool

Wood carving is a form of woodworking by means of a cutting tool (knife) in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object. The phrase may also refer to the finished product, from individual sculptures to hand-worked mouldings composing part of a tracery.

Blade sharp cutting part of a weapon or tool

A blade is the portion of a tool, weapon, or machine with an edge that is designed to puncture, chop, slice or scrape surfaces or materials. Blades are typically made from materials that are harder than those they are to be used on. Historically, humans have made blades from flaking stones such as flint or obsidian, and from various metal such as copper, bronze and iron. Modern blades are often made of steel or ceramic. Blades are one of humanity's oldest tools, and continue to be used for combat, food preparation, and other purposes.

Japanese kitchen knife type of a knife used for food preparation

Japanese kitchen knives are a type of a knife used for food preparation. These knives come in many different varieties and are often made using traditional Japanese blacksmithing techniques. They can be made from stainless steel, or hagane, which is the same kind of steel used to make samurai swords. Most knives are referred to as hōchō or sometimes -bōchō, but can have other names including -kiri. There are four general categories used to distinguish the Japanese knife designs: handle, blade grind, steel, and construction.

<i>Usuba bōchō</i>

Usuba bōchō is the traditional vegetable knife for the professional Japanese chef. Like other Japanese professional knives, usuba are chisel ground, and have a bevel on the front side, and have a hollow ground urasuki on the back side. Usuba characteristically have a flat edge, with little or no curve, and are tall, to allow knuckle clearance when chopping on a cutting board. Usuba literally means "thin blade" indicating its relative thinness compared to other knives, required for cutting through firm vegetables without cracking them. Due to its height and straight edge, usuba are also used for specialized cuts such as katsuramuki, shaving a vegetable cylinder into a thin sheet.

Stone carving

Stone carving is an activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. Owing to the permanence of the material, stone work has survived which was created during our prehistory.

Crosscut saw saw

A crosscut saw is any saw designed for cutting wood perpendicular to (across) the wood grain. Crosscut saws may be small or large, with small teeth close together for fine work like woodworking or large for coarse work like log bucking, and can be a hand tool or power tool.


A froe, shake axe or paling knife is a tool for cleaving wood by splitting it along the grain. It is an L-shaped tool, used by hammering one edge of its blade into the end of a piece of wood in the direction of the grain, then twisting the blade in the wood by rotating the haft (handle).


A drawknife is a traditional woodworking hand tool used to shape wood by removing shavings. It consists of a blade with a handle at each end. The blade is much longer than it is deep. It is pulled or "drawn" toward the user.

Kitchen knife used for the processing of food and are often used in the kitchen

A kitchen knife is any knife that is intended to be used in food preparation. While much of this work can be accomplished with a few general-purpose knives – notably a large chef's knife, a tough cleaver, and a small paring knife – there are also many specialized knives that are designed for specific tasks. Kitchen knives can be made from several different materials.

Pole lathe

A pole lathe is a wood-turning lathe that uses a long pole as a return spring for a treadle. Pressing the treadle pulls on a cord that is wrapped around the piece of wood or billet being turned. The other end of the cord reaches up to the end of a long springy pole. As the action is reciprocating, the work rotates in one direction and then back the other way. Cutting is only carried out on the down stroke of the treadle, the spring of the pole only being sufficient to return the treadle to the raised position ready for the next down stroke. Modern reciprocating lathes often replace the springy pole with an elastic bungee cord.

A wedge is a triangular shaped tool, and is a portable inclined plane, and one of the six classical simple machines. It can be used to separate two objects or portions of an object, lift up an object, or hold an object in place. It functions by converting a force applied to its blunt end into forces perpendicular (normal) to its inclined surfaces. The mechanical advantage of a wedge is given by the ratio of the length of its slope to its width. Although a short wedge with a wide angle may do a job faster, it requires more force than a long wedge with a narrow angle.

Survival knife

Survival knives are knives intended for survival purposes in a wilderness environment, often in an emergency when the user has lost most of his/her main equipment. Military units issue some type of survival knife to pilots in the event their plane may be shot down. Survival knives can be used for trapping, skinning, wood cutting, wood carving, and other uses. Hunters, hikers, and outdoor sport enthusiasts use survival knives. Some survival knives are heavy-bladed and thick. Other survival knives are lightweight or fold in order to save weight and bulk as part of a larger survival kit. Their functions often include serving as a hunting knife. Features, such as hollow handles that could be used as storage space for matches or similar small items, began gaining popularity in the 1980s. Custom or semi-custom makers such as Americans Jimmy Lile, Bo Randall, and Chris Reeve are often credited with inventing those features.

Sharpening activity

Sharpening is the process of creating or refining a sharp edge of appropriate shape on a tool or implement designed for cutting. Sharpening is done by grinding away material on the implement with an abrasive substance harder than the material of the implement, followed sometimes by processes to polish the sharp surface to increase smoothness and to correct small mechanical deformations without regrinding.

Feather stick

A feather stick is a length of wood which is shaved to produce a cluster of thin curls protruding from the wood. It allows damp wood to be used to start a fire when dry tinder is hard to find.

This glossary of woodworking lists a number of specialized terms and concepts used in woodworking, carpentry, and related disciplines.

Axe tool or weapon

An axe is an implement that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood; to harvest timber; as a weapon; and as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol. The axe has many forms and specialised uses but generally consists of an axe head with a handle, or helve.

Wood splitting

Wood splitting is an ancient technique used in carpentry to make lumber for making wooden objects, some basket weaving, and to make firewood. Unlike wood sawing, the wood is split along the grain using tools such as a hammer and wedges, splitting maul, cleaving axe, side knife, or froe.

Glossary of firelighting Wikimedia list article

This is an alphabetized glossary of terms pertaining to lighting fires, along with their definitions. Firelighting is the process of starting a fire artificially. Fire was an essential tool in early human cultural development. It requires completing the fire triangle, usually by initiating the combustion of a suitably flammable material.


  1. Field & Stream Mar 2006, p.45
  2. Field & Stream Dec 2008 - Jan 200, p.113
  3. 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive! , Cody Lundin, Russ Miller, p.175
  4. Fundamentals of search and rescue , Donald C. Cooper, p.72
  5. "Batoning Chisel - Lee Valley Tools". Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  6. McCann, John D.. Stay Alive: Survival Skills You Need. Krause Publications (24 Oct 2011).
  7. "Batoning: How to Safely Baton With Your Knife (With Video)". ShilohTV. 2010-05-15. Retrieved 2011-12-02.