There are few items more versatile for survival than an axe. A sharp axe can do most things that a knife can, and so much more.
But when you look to purchase an axe, it can be overwhelming. There are literally hundreds of axes with a variety of subtle differences and wide ranging price tags.
What are the things you should pay attention to when buying an axe?
And how do you use an axe properly? What are the limits of what an axe can do?
I answer these questions and many more in this video. You’ll find links to my 2 favorite axes below.
My favorite axe-maker is Gransfors Bruk: www.gransforsbruk.com/en/
Here are my two favorite axes by Gransfors Bruk:
For portability and exclusive outdoor use: Small Forest Axe
For outdoor use and woodworking: Carpenter’s Axe
While they are not inexpensive (in the range of $125), they will last you a lifetime when properly maintained. You won’t regret having one on your next wilderness adventure.
What’s your favorite use of an axe? Leave any questions in the comment section below.
I teach survival for a living. Over the last 15 years, I’ve put myself into dozens of survival situations.
Sometimes I’m practicing for a short-term survival experience in the woods with minimal or no gear. Other times I’m hunting with my own handmade bow and arrow; it’s a combination of lightweight camping and survival.
When I tell people that I teach survival, they usually pause for a second. They’re trying to put me into a known category of ways that people earn a living. Then a lightbulb turns on: “You mean like that TV guy Bear Grylls?”
If I want to keep it simple, I say, “Yeah, pretty much.”
But for individuals that actually want to learn survival skills, it’s important to expand the term “survival”.
You probaby want to learn survival for different reasons. Maybe it’s to gain practical skills that will save you in a wilderness survival emergency.
Or you might yearn to learn the long-term survival skills of our ancestors: how to make a bow and arrow, hunting and trapping game, tanning hides, etc.
You could desire to be prepared for any theoretical survival situation that can occur in daily life.
The problem is that we lump this all into one general term: survival.
In this article, I will define the two survival genre’s that I teach: wilderness survival and bushcraft.
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When I first started writing this series, I thought it would take one or two articles to finish.
Seven articles, 15,000 words, and dozens of photos later… the series on How to Make a Bow and Arrow is complete.
Below you will find articles, book recommendations, websites for bow-building materials, and forums to discuss making the bow and arrow.
How to Make a Bow and Arrow 7-Part Series
Part 1 – Bow Wood Selection and Seasoning
Part 2 – Bow Design/Layout and Floor Tillering
Part 3 – Making a String and String Tillering
Part 4 – Finishing Your Bow and Measuring Bow Weight
Part 5 – Gathering, Seasoning, and Preparing an Arrow shaft
Part 6 – Making and Attaching an Arrowhead
Part 7 – Fletching and finishing an Arrow
Bowmaking Tools and Supplies
3RiversArchery.com - Great website for all things archery. My go to spot for modern and primitive archery gear
RaptorArcher.com - Excellent arrows and bow staves; faster delivery if you live on the west coast
Bowmaking Books (Amazon.com)
Traditional Bowyers Bible Part 1 by Jim Hamm and Co.
Traditional Bowyers Bible Part 2 by Jim Hamm and Co.
Traditional Bowyers Bible Part 3 by Jim Hamm and Co.
Traditional Bowyers Bible Part 4 by Jim Hamm and Co.
Hunting the Osage Bow by Dean Torges
Paleo Planet - All things primitive skills
Primitive Archer – Primarily focused on archery (bows, arrows, shooting, etc.)
Update: I’m in the beginning stages of creating a video course on bowmaking. Interested in more info about bowmaking?
Miss Part 6?
This journey is nearing a close. We’re starting our descent into the land of milk and honey. Okay, maybe it’s more like the land of wood and stone (and meat?). You get the idea.
The recap: Our arrow is straight and sealed and it has an arrowhead securely fashioned. All the arrow needs now is something to help guide its flight. Let’s talk about…
At the base of our arrow, we will attach 3 partial feathers. Each of these feathers are called a fletch. Collectively they’re known as fletching.
What’s the purpose of fletching?
It stabilizes the flight of the arrow. When an arrow is released from a bow, the arrow flexes and the bottom (where the feathers will live) want’s to “fishtail” back-and-forth.
The fletching helps this fishtail-effect turn into a straight shot.
My favorite fletching is made of turkey feathers or Canada goose feathers.
Either type works well. Turkey is a little tougher, but goose feathers are more water-resistant. Choose what’s available or what fits your environment the best.
Note on feathers: Be careful with using non-game bird feathers. Most songbird feathers are going to be too small anyway, but they are federally protected. Bald eagle fletching would probably not be a good idea either.
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Miss Part 5?
We are nearing launch. Let’s recap where we are in the arrow making process.
We’ve gathered and seasoned a relatively straight branch from a tree or shrub. After removing the bark, we cut it to our draw length plus 1 1/2″. Next we straightened our shoot with heat and then cut notches for the nock and the arrowhead. Lastly, we sealed the wood to prevent it from warping.
In this article, I will cover:
- Making an Arrowhead
- How to Make Pine Pitch Glue
- Hafting an Arrowhead
Making an Arrowhead
Let’s look at arrowheads, shall we?
There are two main categories for arrowheads: practice and hunting.
Field Point Goodies
Practice arrowheads are also known as field tips. The job of a field tip is to allow you to practice shooting your bow and arrow without dulling or breaking your hunting arrowheads. They are relatively dull, but ideally weigh the same as your hunting tips (more on this in the next article).
Hunting arrowheads are designed to penetrate. Standard broadheads usually have 3 or 4 metal blades. For a primitive arrow, our most common options are stone, metal, and bone.
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