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Best Wood Processing Tool on Planet Earth
on November 12, 2011
First, let me just say, that this is not a fighting blade and really is not a machete, either. If I had to give it an aptly descriptive name, it would be SP-8 SURVIVAL TOOL ... In short, you could build a log cabin, with this thing ... a good one !
Here are the tasks it excels at, by order of efficiency.
* SPLITTING LOGS: Using an impact baton (on par with a Cold Steel Trailmaster ).
This blade has the span, the thickness and the height to split logs over 6" in diameter.
Because the stock is so thick (a full quarter inch), you only need to baton half way through ... if that far.
Because the edge is straight and there is no point or belly, it is the strongest "hand axe", period.
* LIMBING: Sheer mass and reach ... Rakes limbs off like whiskers (often with one chop).
* FELLING: Certainly, at least as efficient as ANY hand-axe, hatchet, or hawk ... Long, massive, 1095 edge. Consider that the LONG edge is much safer to use than a hatchet or hand axe, especially when you are fatigued or under stress or if the light is not good or if your footing or position is awkward. I am just saying that you are more likely to connect more consistently (to miss or "glance" less often) because the edge is much longer than a hand-axe. If you DO manage to chip or roll or dull PART OF your edge, you will still have MORE SHARP EDGE, remaining, to work with, until you can repair your edge.
* DRAW BLADE: Will strip bark and shape logs like a dedicated draw-blade.
* "CHISEL": You can use a hammer, mallet, or baton to impact the butt/pommel and shape notches, bowls, joints, etc. The tip is not an actual chisel grind ... it has the same (flat saber primary grind) profile as the main blade.
* PRY-TOOL: Just look at it ! ... You can re-profile the tip any way you like ... as a crow-bar or as a "chisel" (I prefer the factory profile)
* RASP: Contrary to what most users think, the "saw-back" is VERY useful, as a RASP, for shaping joints and notches and removing chips and material, as well as flatting knots, stripping bark or for manufacturing fine tinder-dust, from the dry, inner wood.
* MEAT PROCESSING: Particularly, quartering, hide-fleshing and cutting bone, joints, sinew, chopping and cutting larger steaks & roasts, etc.
* HAMMER: Don't try this, But ... I have used the flat side of the SLAB, as a hammer, to drive stakes. I have used the spine as a lever, to pull stakes out of the ground (I typically do not baby the tip-edge because I do not do much finer timber-shaping work, but your mileage may vary).
WHAT IT DOES NOT DO (well) ?? : Drilling, Jerking, Trail-Breaking, Fighting, Carving, Fillet. You are not going to gut and skin a squirrel, with this tool. It is not a "Bird and Trout" type blade. Sure, the SP-8 will cut cordage and shave feather sticks, etc., if pressed to do so but it is really not intended to take the place of a handy camp-utility blade (let's face it).
I could totally get by with just this blade and my MORA BUSHCRAFT BLACK knife, but a BAHCO LAPLANDER folding Saw (or a SVEN SAW) and a fillet knife are also good to have along.
THE SHEATH, BTW, is VERY robust. I lash this wicked beast to the outside of my pack, by running my top compression strap thru the belt loop and I run a loop of P-cord between the bottom ring and a carabiner, which is clipped to the bottom row of the MOLLE/PALS webbing ... It is secured tightly, is out of the way, and easy to access.
Just do this, while they are still available ! ... Under $60, delivered ?! ... DUDE !!
The handle is perfect and grippy and will NEVER break (like a hatchet).
The One thing I would change about this tool is that I would like for the lanyard hole to be TWICE the size (diameter) because, while a single thickness of 550 paracord will EASILY slide thru the hole, *I* (personally) would prefer to be able to (easily) pass a double-thickness LOOP of p-cord thru this hole, as a temporary wrist-lanyard, for the most "violent" tasks and in colder weather. I have come to appreciate this feature on my TOPS BoB Fieldcraft Knife and I would VERY much welcome a larger lanyard hole on the SP-8. Still ... I can pass a short (single thickness) length of p-cord thru and tie an expedient knot, almost instantly ... so ... not a serious issue.
NOTE: This SP-8 is not "technically" legal to carry in Texas but, since it has no point, and is not a Bowie or a spear or a sword or a dagger or a tomahawk, it really does not fit the description of any "expressly prohibited weapon" and, even though it exceeds our 5.5" blade limit, I have successfully convinced law enforcement officials that this TOOL has no value as a weapon (either for agression or for defense) ... It is a CAMP TOOL ... Period (and a truly world-class camp tool, at WAY less than half the cost of a Cold Steel Trailmaster) ... Hmmm ? My BK-2 does not even come close (cannot compare) to this SP-8, even though it is the same price.