To make a fire you need three things: heat, fuel, and oxygen. Building the basic setup for a fire you need to have tinder, kindling, smaller wood, and larger logs. Any of the three tools being discussed will be able to produce tinder and kindling. When it comes to gathering limbs and larger logs it’s easy to see that the axe has its advantages. The axe is able to chop down larger trees, cut them into manageable pieces, and split those into smaller wood for fire building. The machete can easily cut small and larger limbs. The problem faced is that the machete doesn’t do so well for splitting anything smaller. Basically, you get what you get. A good sized machete is still able to easily chop through four inch limbs or trees to make good fire wood. The survival knife is more limited in the sizes of material it can be worked through. The weight of the knife simply does not allow for chopping through large items. In order to cut larger through larger pieces of wood the wood should be placed under stress by bending and then the knife should be struck on the spine using something that would not inherently damage the blade. The knife can also be used to “baton” larger pieces up to around four inches thick into smaller kindling.
Getting the fire started is another issue. The easiest way to start a fire is of course gasoline and a lighter. What if you don’t have a lighter? Any of these can be used with a magnesium bar or a flint a steel technique to create a spark. What about a more primitive method? The bow drill is a fast way to create a coal for starting a fire provided you have some cordage (why do you think we wear the awesome ZTC bracelets?). Making the spindle, fire board, and bearing block becomes the issue. The knife can easily be used to whittle cedar into a spindle and carve the notch in the fire board as well as making the fire board from a block of cedar. The machete with its saw tooth spine can easily carve out the notch in the fire board. The whittling of the spindle is more difficult with the larger blade, but still achievable. The axe on the other hand makes it much more difficult to carve or whittle as that is not what the blade is intended to do.
Stay tuned for the next episode! - Country1059