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#288174 - 02/14/18 03:12 PM Re: A good knife for bushcraft AND kitchen duty? [Re: hikermor]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4660
Loc: SOCAL
Is it tactical if it isn’t all black and “tactical” isn’t in its name? wink That said, I have an obsidian knife with elk handle and a natural wrap of some type. Got it on eBay for cheap and yes, it is very sharp. Its blade profile would be good in D2.

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#288175 - 02/14/18 04:55 PM Re: A good knife for bushcraft AND kitchen duty? [Re: Montanero]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6131
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: Montanero


Are you speaking from personal experience? And then wouldn't it be mastodon instead of elephant? Lol.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to find flint, chert, or obsidian in many areas. Sometimes you may need to settle for any kind of rock you can break. It may not be suitable for filleting a fish, but they will chop a tree.


Some years ago, the circus came to town and one of their elephants expired. The archeo professor got hold of the carcass and enlisted some grad students to work on butchering the beast (you will do anything for a good grade, right?). It evidently went pretty well (I was told of this by the prof later). The edges dulled rapidly, but could be resharpened quickly (if you knew what you were doing).

There are bison kill sites where the critters were butchered in great quantities (+100 or more) and if you dig carefully, you find vast quantities of retouch flakes, the result of resharpening efforts.

Still, when guns and knives were available, stone was quickly abandoned. The interest in G&K continues to this day - must be something in the water.

Years ago, I heard a presentation by a Swedish archeo who had been using stone axes. He found that they were actually pretty efficient, especially on smaller trees, but that you didn't swing them like a steel ax. You just nibbled away. A proficient woodcutter had a much harder time adjusting to the new tools than newbie grad students..

Although I am a certified geezer (81 in two !!) mastodons and mammoths were only fossils when I came along.
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#288176 - 02/14/18 05:04 PM Re: A good knife for bushcraft AND kitchen duty? [Re: albusgrammaticus]
Montanero Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1188
Loc: North Carolina
I have never butchered an animal with stone tools, but have tried most every other survival task with them. They work, but I would prefer a good knife, saw or axe made of good steel any day.

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#288177 - 02/14/18 05:29 PM Re: A good knife for bushcraft AND kitchen duty? [Re: hikermor]
albusgrammaticus Online   content
Newbie

Registered: 07/18/17
Posts: 39
Loc: Italy
Well, apparently the Mesoamerican obsidian swords, like the Aztec Macuahuitl, were fearsome weapons, razor sharp and devastating for the unarmored human body.

www.thevintagenews.com/2016/09/19/macuah...man-even-horse/

But they were very brittle and couldn't stand a chance in a duel with the steel swords carried by the Spanish conquistadores.

I wouldn't go so far to advocate carrying an obsidian blade nowadays, but I admit I'm more and more attracted by traditional designs lately, not only in blades, but in every tool and utilitarian object.

Just a few years ago I too was mildly caught up in the whole "tacticool" fad, but I came to appreciate simple designs and natural materials. Maybe it's something one realizes with age? smile


Edited by albusgrammaticus (02/14/18 05:32 PM)

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#288178 - 02/14/18 06:47 PM Re: A good knife for bushcraft AND kitchen duty? [Re: albusgrammaticus]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6131
Loc: southern Cal
Theoretically, an obsidian edge was the sharpest possible, being only one molecule wide as the blade was split from the larger piece, but obviously very fragile. This assumes good obsidian with no flaws, something abundant in Aztec country.

Today, the bottom of a beer glass bottle is equivalent to good obsidian.

Prehistorically, obsidian from Yellowstone was traded at least as far as Illinois
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#288179 - 02/14/18 07:36 PM Re: A good knife for bushcraft AND kitchen duty? [Re: hikermor]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1066
Loc: Alaska
A couple of years ago, we were hiking at the "Big Obsidian Flow", at Newberry Crater, near Bend Oregon. An interpretive sign about obsidian said that in the '70s an archeologist named Donald Crabtree needed heart surgery. He persuaded his surgeon to make some of the incisions with an obsidian blade, and some with a conventional steel scalpel. The incisions made with obsidian healed better, with much less scar tissue than those made with steel.
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#288180 - 02/14/18 09:53 PM Re: A good knife for bushcraft AND kitchen duty? [Re: AKSAR]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6131
Loc: southern Cal
Wikipedia states: "Obsidian is used by some surgeons for scalpel blades, although this is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use on humans." - probably OK to use on archaeologists, though...

Crabtree is well known for his work in lithic technology, and this is an interesting development. The real question is the type of steel used in the conventional scalpels - 420HC? D2? 154CM?

Come to think about it, the Aztecs used obsidian extensively in their cardiac work and there is no reported development of scar tissue in that endeavor.
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#288181 - 02/14/18 10:11 PM Re: A good knife for bushcraft AND kitchen duty? [Re: hikermor]
albusgrammaticus Online   content
Newbie

Registered: 07/18/17
Posts: 39
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: hikermor

Come to think about it, the Aztecs used obsidian extensively in their cardiac work and there is no reported development of scar tissue in that endeavor.


And, I might add, no patient was ever heard complaining about the Aztecs operations...

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#288182 - 02/14/18 10:58 PM Re: A good knife for bushcraft AND kitchen duty? [Re: albusgrammaticus]
Montanero Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1188
Loc: North Carolina
Off of the stone age tools, but my military gear is not tactical, mine is usually old and outdated and inexpensive. Except my knives, they are very cool, and not inexpensive.

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#288183 - 02/14/18 11:39 PM Re: A good knife for bushcraft AND kitchen duty? [Re: hikermor]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4660
Loc: SOCAL
Originally Posted By: hikermor
... The real question is the type of steel used in the conventional scalpels - 420HC? D2? 154CM?...

Sandvik 13c26 among others. IIRC D2 wouldn’t work, carbides are too large/coarse.

As I recall one of the primary attributes of surgical steel is its resistance to corrosion. Blood is very corrosive and repeated sterilization through an autoclave is required. I don’t know anything about that but the buzzwords; apparently an autoclave uses super-heated steam.

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