This is probably a little off topic, because battening is as far as I can tell a modern......what? It is not a skill or a need. It is just a method thought up to add to the things that bushcrafters do. But I know that many of this blog's followers do so through their interest in bush skills & survival.
My guest speaker this time is also known to me. Vigo has a lot of experience living under harsh conditions in a variety of countries and knows of which he speaks. Read what he has to say and see if you can see the wisdom in his words and the sense it makes.
I have a large collection of knives long, short, fancy, machetes, parang,
kukuri (the Nepalese one), however if i would be in a survival situation with
only one knife as a tool, small or large, the last thing I would do is
batoning. Not only because a wrong hit can break the blade but because a good
survival knife (that can be sharpened in the field without modern contraptions)
is bound to get some damages to the bevels (like folding or chipping), if it
doesnt like many of the knives on the market, it will be almost impossible to
sharpen in the field. With the proper technique you can cut a bit more than
thumb size branch with a standard 4" blade bush craft knife, Scandi grind
and no more than 4 mm blade thickness. Splitting logs with a knife, no way in a
survival situation, there is plenty of wood that can be harvested with bare
hand and if you really have a lot of energies to spend (not a good thing in a
survival situation) a belt ax would be more appropriate. In my recent
expedition in Africa I saw the bush primitives never use their blades for
chopping wood, they are too precious to be risked in such a rough task,
chopping wood is done with a very primitive, but effective, small or medium ax.
With due respect for the Africans, we might know a bit more than they do,
however for sure they know how to conserve the little they have. I like long
blades, but I dont like heavy blades, a little chopping is fine, but I woudnt
touch anything more than 1 1/2" in diameter, is not worth the risk and the
amount of energies spent.