Woodsman's Pal

The Woodsman’s Pal — Indispensable Survival Tool

The Woodsman’s Pal is a great tool for clearing bush, campsites, and trails. It is a compact, well balanced tool that is part axe and part machete. I think of it as a wilderness multi-tool.

History of the Woodsman’s Pal

The history of the Woodsman’s pal is interesting. It was originally produced in 1941 by Frederick Ehrsam, a Swiss national with a background in manufacturing edged tools and as a woodsman. His aim in designing the Woodsman’s Pal was to create a tool that could clear brush and blaze trails like a machete, while also being able to slice through stubborn vines, prune, split wood, trim suckers (those pesky tree sprouts that come up from the roots), and chop like an axe. He wanted it to be well balanced, fairly compact, lightweight, and relatively safe for the inexperienced user.

The top Brass in the Army quickly realized what a gem of a tool Mr. Ehrsam had designed. The Army started issuing them (known by the military as the LC-14-B) to the Signal Corp in 1941, and they were used through WWII, the Vietnam War, and into Desert Storm. It is used by the military not only for clearing brush and trails, but also as a close-quarter combat weapon and as a survival tool.

Other industries besides the military have embraced the Woodsman’s Pal: It is loved by survivalists, hunters, fisherman, campers, surveyors, forest personnel, wildlife management, homeowners, and many others. It is easy to understand why it is so favored once you use one in the field.

Woodsman's Pal Classic

The Woodsman’s Pal Classic is the basic model.


  •  Crafted from high-carbon 1075 cold pressed rolled steel – hardened to Rockwell C47+2. They went with 1075 steel because it doesn’t crack easily in the extreme cold like some other steels.
  • Coated with a fluorocarbon resin to help prevent corrosion.
  • The main blade can cut through a 1.5 inch branch with one swipe.
  • It has a bill hook that slices through vines and other undergrowth with ease.
  • Won’t crack or chip when the temperatures are below freezing.
  • The sharpened edge doesn’t go all the way to the end of the tool. This is designed as a safety feature. That keeps the blade from getting beat up when using the Woodsman’s Pal close to the ground.
  • It is very well balanced.
  • The back of the knife has a notch for your pinky to rest in when using the blade as a draw knife. The notch stops you from sliding (cutting) your fingers onto the bill hook.
  • The blade is easy to sharpen and holds its edge for a long time.

The Woodsman’s Pal is still handmade today in Pennsylvania from all American made materials, just like they were in 1941. There are 4 models to choose from:

  1. Classic Wood Model 481
  2. Military Model 284
  3. Long Reach Model 145
  4. Compact Model 784

Here is a comprehensive video showing the Woodsman’s Pal in action.


The Woodsman’s Pal is a very impressive tool that can be used anywhere a machete or hatchet can be used. It has a bill hook on the back that quickly and safely removes suckers, weeds, vines, and bramble without having to swing the blade. The main blade can also be used as a draw-knife, and the blunt end can be used as a shovel. It is a superior tool that is just as useful in the home garden as it is in a survival situation. I highly recommend it.

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