bushcraft knife skills

Knife Skills for Bushcraft – Feather sticks

In this blog, we’re going to be looking at knife skills for bushcraft. In particular, we will be looking at how to use a knife to make feather sticks. Feather sticks are a great fire lighting tool and can help you to get a fire started in damp or even wet conditions. Read on to learn more about the bushcraft knife skills needed to create feather sticks.


First, a word on knives

Knife skills for bushcraft

A knife is often seen as a key part of a bushcraft enthusiast’s kit. Topics on ‘which’ knives are popular on many bushcraft internet forums, and knives are often fetishised among certain groups of bushcraft enthusiasts. We believe though that a knife is a tool and, like any tool, a knife is made to be used – not locked away and only ever taken out to look at. Also, like any tool, you need the skills to use it. Read on to learn more about knife skills for bushcraft and how to make feather sticks. 

Making feather sticks

bushcraft knife skills

When it comes to knife skills for bushcraft, feather sticks, like almost everything else, doesn’t start with the knife, it starts with choosing your materials.  Whatever you are doing in bushcraft, you should be looking to be using standing, deadwood. Bushcraft is about being in harmony with nature, not overcoming it.

Choosing wood for feather sticks

The wood that you should be looking for when it comes to feather sticks should be standing dead wood. The wood should be around the thickness of your arm and about the length of your extended middle finger to your elbow.

 Feather sticks

The first bushcraft knife skill that you will need for making feather sticks is battening. Battening is splitting wood by placing your knife on top of the wood and then, making sure that about an inch or so of the tip of the blade protrudes over the edge of the wood. Gentle tap the blade, being sure to hit it along the centre, into the wood. Keep bashing the knife into the wood until it splits, then repeat the process until you have split the piece of wood that you have chosen into four. 

Using your knife to make feather sticks

The next knife skill that you will need involves making the curls that form the feather sticks. To learn how to do this, watch the video below.

Weekend bushcraft course

Sharpen your bushcraft knife

On our
weekend bushcraft course we will introduce you to some basic knife skills. We will show you several knife techniques that you need for basic bushcraft skills and how best to put these into practice.

Our Intermediate Bushcraft Course will introduce you to more advanced techniques in a way that enables you to live out in the woods for a week. 

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