How to cut down a small sapling with a pocketknife

‘Tension cutting’┬áis a quick, effective and controlled way to cut small saplings. I was amazed how well it worked the first time I tried it, after watching a demo on Youtube. With a sharp knife and good technique it is easy to cut saplings which would otherwise normally be tackled with a saw or chopping tool (axe, tomahawk, machete, etc).

Tension cutting
Bend the sapling near it’s base, and position yourself above the bend. Place the knife edge on the outside of the bend, pointing down.
Tension cutting
Using a straight arm and a hammer grip, lower your body weight down onto the blade. If necessary, rock the blade against the sapling.
Tension cutting
The tension caused by bending the sapling opens the cut as it made, reducing the friction which would otherwise jam the blade.

Thanks to my cousin Ed Coleridge for taking these photos.

Knife used: Spyderco Paramilitary PE.