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Big Knives: Guide to Choosing and Using Large Blades

Written by:
Dr. Braide Honest
April 8, 2024
Big knife

Every task nowadays seems to require finesse, but the big knives are often overlooked. When it has to do with those tough jobs where raw power is more important than a shining example of preciseness, that’s when these heavy blades really shine. They’re like the heavy lifters of the knife world, built tough and ready to tackle anything you throw at them. From thick heavy materials to lots of heavy duties, big knives had to certainly always be the tool one should have handy to get it done fast and efficiently. They are not only devices but the symbols of tradition and inheritance that come down generations. They remind us of the tenacity that sticks and our adventurous spirits, which are always game enough to take up whatever challenge comes their way. Also, something lies in their being special. So, yeah, big knives matter—they’re like the reliable friend who’s always got your back, no matter what.

big knives

The Power and Versatility of Large Blades

When you have a challenge that needs more muscle than finesse; that’s when you reach for the big knives. Ruggedly constructed and heavyweight, that implies they can embrace any hefty task that might see blades of smaller sizes heading in the other direction. Think about hiking in a dense forest, and needing to clear your trail. That’s when the trusty machete comes out, ready to start slicing through the underbrush like it is melting butter. Or maybe you’ve just caught dinner while out hunting. Time to break out your cleaver, ready to get this cut of meat going and ready for a nice fast-featured meal around the fire. A big knife isn’t just a tool but a friend a person can trust in time of need, standing ever ready to stand up to whatever challenges may come with strength and dependability.

large knives

When a pocket knife just won’t cut it

Sometimes that old standby-trusty pocket knife is not going to cut the monster. There have been times when what you’re doing really needs a bigger blade with good weight, like when you set out for adventure and you’ve got to hack through thick bushes, or you have a home project to complete and realize you’re going to be hacking away at something tough—pretty much when you are very certain that a pocket knife just isn’t going to cut it. That’s more like trying to hammer a nail with a toothpick which is impossible. This is exactly when you lay down the pocket knife and grab something bigger capable of taking the brunt of the heavy lifting and turn that stuff to light in no time. You need a dependable companion sometimes, one as strong and reliable as you are, one that you can count on when faced with relatively difficult tasks.

best big knives

Types of Big Knives and Their Uses

Machetes: The machete is a good weapon of choice when it is time to do battle with great outdoor activities, especially for the serious outdoorsman or survivalist. Its long and wide blade is so designed to clear the bush easily and to cut through anything preventing the user from maneuvering his destination just like having a hot knife passing through butter. Armed with a machete, even wild and impassable places become simple to make one’s way clear. An exceptional multi-personal machete is not only aimed at bush-cutting purposes but also can serve as a tool for building a shelter and lighting a fire, thus definitely gaining the top position of a must-possess thing for adventures in the wild.

Cleavers: Few tools are revered as the mighty cleaver in the kitchen. With a thick, rigid, heavy blade and solid construction, the cleaver is tailor-made for the precision butchering of meat and cutting through bone and sinew easily yet accurately. However, this culinary feat is not bound to meats; the cleaver is also very useful for vegetable chopping, where unwieldy, uneven slices are also effortlessly transformed into perfect cuts.

Bowie Knives: Jim Bowie who this knife was named after was a mythical frontiersman. Hence, each of these legendary blades represents rugged durability and unwavering reliability. If you need a companion for camping and survival tasks, then the Bowie knife is the ultimate choice. It doesn’t matter whether you are taking up an adventure in the wild or just getting prepared for exigencies, go along with this legendary choice. Also, in places where self-defense is the last option, the formidable presence of a Bowie knife deters against what might be lurking.

Kukris: With the inward curve, the kukris are handy in tasks for chopping and slicing. Whether it is clearing the underbrush from heavy vegetation or making a meal in the woods, a kukri provides precision and variety for the outdoors. Their design also suits well as self-defense tools since they can make great strikes on a person in close combat.

Survival Knives: Full of different tools and features, such knives become your best friends in any outdoor traveling or emergencies. Survival knives actually can mean the difference between life and death in some cases, especially when it comes to tasks like slicing through rope and cordage, starting fires, and signaling for help. Their very robust construction and multifunctional design make them worth carrying along by anyone venturing into the wild.

types of big knives

Choosing the Right Large Knife for the Task

  • Picking the perfect big knife is crucial—it’s not just about size.
  • Finding the right blade size is key for control and effectiveness.
  • Weight matters too—a heavier knife packs a punch but can tire you out with time.
  • Material choice impacts durability and edge retention like in the case of high-carbon steel which is very tough but rust easily and stainless steel which resists rust but does not hold its edge for too long.
  • Match your knife to the task—wood chopping, brush clearing, or cooking.
  • Take your time to choose wisely and seek advice if needed.
  • With the right big knife, you’ll tackle tasks with confidence.

camping knives

Using Your Large Knife Safely and Effectively

Despite being very useful when called upon, big knives definitely need to be handled with utmost care to avoid any kind of accident. It’s all in the wielding: the right way, the right place, with them in serviceable shape, sharpness, and use safety rules to the letter. Basically, being responsible for your big blade demands that you will give due respect to it, you can take all its benefits easily and inadvertently suffer from having any worries about getting hurt.

Proper Handling Techniques: All due caution has to be taken in the proper handling of a big knife so that safety is exercised in performing the chore. First and foremost comes the gripping of its handle. Firmly hold so that it does not result in any slip or accidents. Be deliberate and controlled in your movement while using the knife. Don’t get jerky, as that can bring trouble. Pay attention to where your other hand is placed, and make sure that it doesn’t come into the way of the knife blade, leading to unnecessary cuts. Oh, and here’s a big one: if the knife does slip or fall, just let it go. Trying to catch it mid-fall could end up with you getting hurt.

Sharpening and Maintenance Tips: You’ll want to tend to it with some TLC (“tender loving care”). You’ll maintain your big knife so often, buy a good tool or stone, and then learn how to use it correctly to maintain the shape of your tools. With a little practice and at the right angle, applying even pressure to the blade against the sharpening surface should see you right. Wash the knife properly after every use and try to dry it properly so that rust or gunk doesn’t develop on the blade. This is especially true if your knife has moving parts, for example, a folding mechanism. Lubricating your big knife often will aid its free movement, giving you that smooth user experience. It is advised you store your knife in a sheath or case and in a place that is cool and dry, in order to keep it safe and sound when not in use.

Safety Precautions: So big knives pose quite a safety issue. Show respect to the knife as for how to handle it, and always show consideration that one can get hurt. Always run through your knife before using it to ensure everything is okay. If some damage or wear appears, fix it up before using it. Always walk around with your knife safely covered so as not to acquire unnecessary cuts or scrapes, and immediately after use, remember to put it away. Look about as you use your knife to ensure you have enough working space. By taking these safety precautions, you can enjoy using your big knife without worrying about getting hurt.

chopping knives

Popular Big Knife Models and Brands

  • Fällkniven Modern Bowie MB survival knife, MB10
  • Condor Hudson Bay Knife 240-8.5HC camping knife
  • KA-BAR Camp Turok 7511, survival knife
  • Cold Steel Trail Master Bowie 16DT survival knife
  • Maserin Bowie 977 Green Micarta 977/MCV bowie knife
  • Böker Magnum John Jay Survival Knife 02SC004
  • Extrema Ratio KH Kukri Machete
  • ESEE Knives Junglas 2 desert tan, EE-JUNGLAS-II
  • SOG SOGfari machete – MC04-N machete
  • TOPS Knives Anaconda 9 Hunters Point AN9HP survival knife


Video credit: TheKnifeJunkie.

handmade custom knives


Best large camp knife

Well, Gerber StrongArm is the favorite of them all when it comes to camping. It is durable and, at the same time, it is flexible enough to be able to apply to many tasks, which one might have in the wild. The Gerber StrongArm is a versatile fixed-blade knife built for the rigors of camp life. This American-made knife features a full-tang 420HC steel blade with a black ceramic coating for durability and corrosion resistance. The ergonomic, diamond-textured rubber handle ensures a secure grip, even in wet or cold conditions.

Best knife for chopping wood

If ever you need a weapon with a firm blade that provides good weight behind it in order to cut firewood or wood generally, consider Cold Steel SRK or Ontario Knife Company (OKC) SP-10 Marine Raider Bowie, and your back is sorted for good service.

The Cold Steel SRK is a tough and dependable fixed-blade knife, built to handle the toughest jobs. Its thick SK-5 high carbon steel blade excels at chopping wood, while the tanto point adds strength and prevents breaking during batoning. The grippy Kraton handle ensures control, even with forceful swings.

The OKC SP-10 Marine Raider Bowie is a formidable fixed-blade knife inspired by classic Bowie designs. Its hefty 9.75-inch 1095 carbon steel blade boasts a black epoxy powder coat for durability and corrosion resistance. The comfortable Kraton handle provides a secure grip for wielding this powerful tool. Whether you need to clear brush, chop wood, or field dress large game, the SP-10 delivers strength and cutting capability.

Best big knife for butchering

It is a great idea for a butcher or a hunter to have a sharp and perfect knife. Among many, the Buck 119 Special is the most favorite with fans for its quick and smooth meat-cutting ability.

The Buck 119 Special is a legendary American fixed-blade knife prized for its versatility and performance. Its high-quality 420HC stainless steel blade holds a sharp edge, perfect for clean cuts in the field or butcher shop. The upswept blade design facilitates smooth slicing, while the comfortable handle ensures control during precise tasks.


Big knives are kind of the sidekick to a person, always ready to do any kind of tough job that he throws on it. They are tough and reliable; they are the first to express readiness to go on some adventure. These types of knives aren’t just about brute force. They’re a symbol of self-reliance, a testament to human ingenuity, and a gateway to new experiences in the wild.

However, with this power comes responsibility. Respect the inherent danger of these tools, prioritize safety, and choose the right knife for the job. By doing so, you can unlock the true potential of big knives and forge a lasting connection with these large blades.

Author: Braide Honest | Connect with me on LinkedIn

Further Reading:

Who uses BIG knives and why? (2022). [Online] [Accessed on 7th April 2024] Reddit

Ayres, J. (2021) Best Big Knives: Four Behemoths That Are A Cut Above The Rest. BLADE Magazine. [Online] [Accessed on 7th April 2024]

Types of knives – overview by use and knife type (2022) [Online]

What is the best survival knife?

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