Outdoor Skills - Field Sense

Handy Camp Tools & How to Use Them

Lock-blade pocketknife

Sheath knife


Ax or bow saw

Keep camp tools sharp & clean at all times, & covered or in sheath when not in use!

Keep fingers safely away from cutting edge when opening or closing knife

Give knife to others with blade closed

Always cut away from the body

To sharpen on whetstone, wet the stone with oil or water. Hold at the proper angle, pull toward you to sharpen one edge. Turn over and push away on the opposite edge like you are "carving" the stone

Keep people & objects at safe distance when swinging an ax

Make sure log or limb is securely braced before sawing or chopping

To sharpen an ax:
Secure firmly & use a file
Wear leather gloves while filing or sharpening

How to Use Woods Tools

Note: Be sure to follow all wood-cutting rules, especially on public lands.

  1. Use bow saw to cut down small dead trees or cut off larger dead branches.
  2. Trim limbs from downed dead trees with a hand ax or larger ax. Stand on opposite side of limb or trunk.
  3. Cut tree trunk into firewood length with a bow saw.
  4. Cut up smaller branches with hand ax, using contact method and cutting at an angle.
  5. Split large pieces of firewood with an ax by placing them against a chopping log. Keep hands low and feet separated behind the chopping log.
  6. Use contact method to split wood into kindling.
  7. Make fuzz sticks from kindling to speed up fire starting.
  8. To carry an ax, hold handle next to head with bit facing out and down. Carry hand ax with hand around head, handle down, and bit to rear.
  9. Learn to pass an ax safely: Hold handle near knob with head down, and pass to other person with bit facing out at tight angles between you. Then take firm grip on handle just below your hand.
  10. Keep woods tools covered or sheathed when they are not in use. Axes can be stuck in log with handle running up the log. Saws should be covered with cloth or an old piece of garden hose.


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