From the explanation of how to sharpen the Tristick to test the knife's performance and its uses, to cautions to keep in mind.

What is Trystick?

A tri-stick is a stick that creates notches (cuts) and cuts used in bushcraft and survival on a single branch.

The purpose is to determine the performance of the knife, how to handle the knife, and to practice notch creation, and it will not be used for anything after creation.

It was popularized by Mors Kochanski, a bushcraft/survival instructor in Canada, and since it spread while being improved, the order, the type of notch, the number of notches, etc. are different depending on the literature.

The description of the notch is explained at the bottom of the page.

See the notch list

Use applications

As mentioned above, it is used for trial cutting and practice of knife handling.
Basically, it is often used to grasp notches that are easy to cut with a purchased knife and to check the sharpness of sharpened knives.
There are many overseas bushcraft associations that use tri-sticks as skill tests.

In addition, you can make notches in various ways, such as shallow, deep, gouging, cutting, and stabbing, so it is suitable for practicing knife handling.

It is also a practice to cut notches, but there are many notches that are not used in camping and bushcraft, so if you practice notches, it is faster to cut only the notches that you use.

branches suitable for tristicks

Tri-sticks use tree branches, so pick them up in the mountains and have them ready.
If you are not used to it, try to pick up the ideal branch for the tri-stick, lower the difficulty level, and practice.

thickness of branches

1.5cm ~ 2.5cm.
If it is too thin, it will break easily, and if it is too thick, it will be difficult to cut.
Personally, I use a knife that is thick enough to just barely be able to hold the branch in order to make one turn with the blade of the knife.

branch length

30cm ~ 40cm.
The length of the branch depends on the number of notches, but prepare a branch of 30 cm or more.
But don't worry about the length until you get used to it.
In the first place, there are 5 types of cuts for the tip of the branch, and it is impossible to cut all the notches with one branch, so collect more than long branches.

knotty branch

Tri-sticks are basically cut by avoiding knots, so if there are many knots, the area that can be used will be less and it will be difficult to use, so choose branches with few knots.

straight and rounded branches

It's okay if the branches are slightly crooked, but choose branches that are as straight as possible. And make it a round branch.
Do not use branches that are bent, sharp, or broken.

unbroken branch

Cracked branches can be difficult to cut, but the cracks can spread from where you cut them, which is dangerous, so avoid them.

rotten branches

Some branches may be rotten or eaten by worms, but be aware that such branches can quickly soften and cut through quickly with a knife.


Coniferous trees tend to be softer and easier to cut, but I personally think it's important to use branches that are actually used for camping and bushcraft (branches that have fallen on campsites).


It is also used to practice knife handling and test sharpness, so basically any knife is fine, but try to avoid unstable knives such as folding knives such as Opinel.
Let's do it with a knife used for wood craft as much as possible.

Since there is a lot of detailed work, a knife with a thick blade or a large knife with a long blade will be more difficult, so be careful when handling it if you are not used to it.

The tri-stick was invented in the Nordic bushcraft, so I recommend the Finnish traditional puukko for the knife.
Bushcraft is explained on the page "About Bushcraft".


  • Blunt EndBlunt End


    Shape[Tip] A cut that flattens and bevels the tip.

    UsageUsed to make it easier to beat.

    Learn more
  • Sharp PointSharp Point


    Shape[Tip] A cut that sharpens the tip.

    UsageUsed when sticking to the ground.

    Learn more
  • V NotchV Notch


    ShapeA notch that cuts into a V shape.

    UsageMainly used as a point to hook a string.

    Learn more
  • Saddle notchSaddle notch


    ShapeA notch that rounds the V notch.

    UsageUsed when stacking trees.

    Learn more
  • Symetrical thinningSymetrical thinning


    ShapeA straight cut at the center of the saddle notch.

    UsageCut multiple sides and use it as a trap trigger.

    Learn more
  • Beveled edge cutBeveled edge cut


    ShapeV shaped cut that goes around the branch once.

    UsageIt is mainly used for hooking strings.

    Learn more
  • 90 degree latch90 degree latch


    ShapeA notch that cuts one side of V notch at a right angle.

    UsageMainly used as a trap trigger.

    Learn more
  • latch notchlatch notch


    ShapeA notch with a straight line at the center of the 90 degree latch.

    UsageMainly used as a trap trigger.

    Learn more
  • Pot hook notchPot hook notch


    ShapeA cut that creates grooves and protrusions.

    UsageUsed when hanging something.

    Learn more
  • Bow notchBow notch


    ShapeNotch like pot hook notch with an arc.

    UsageAs the name implies, it is used to hang a bowstring.

    Learn more
  • Square reductionSquare reduction


    ShapeA cut that puts out a square stick.

    UsageMainly for practice, but can also be used as a trap trigger.

    Learn more
  • Round reductionRound reduction


    ShapeA cut that puts out a round bar.

    UsageIt is used when thinning a tree with holes.

    Learn more
  • Lashing crossLashing cross


    ShapeA cut that creates an X-shaped groove.

    UsageUsed for tying.

    Learn more
  • Dovetail notch ♀Dovetail notch ♀


    ShapeA notch with a trapezoidal groove.

    UsageIt is used to combine males and females into a tree.

    Learn more
  • Dovetail notch ♂Dovetail notch ♂


    ShapeNotch that makes a protrusion that fits ♀.

    UsageIt is used to combine males and females into a tree.

    Learn more
  • Hole through stickHole through stick


    ShapeCut to make a hole in the center after cutting the front and back to make it thinner.

    UsageMainly used to pass a string.

    Learn more
  • Root stripperRoot stripper


    Shape[Tip] A cut that is thin and flat with a V-shaped groove in the center.

    UsageUsed for stripping bark of twigs.

    Learn more
  • Spear pointSpear point


    Shape[Tip] A cut that cuts through the center of the branch.

    UsageUsed to pinch the arrowhead.

    Learn more

More Details

According to Kohansky, it can be cut in one notch and one minute.
Once you get used to handling the knife and cutting the notches, it's acceptable, so instead of practicing cutting quickly, let's practice understanding the characteristics of the knife and cutting tips.
Don't rush the cut, as it can cause deep cuts to your hands and fingers, and can even cut your fingers in half.

Tri-stick material created by Kohansky is this site You can purchase it for free at . English of course.
If you like bushcraft, Kohansky's Youtube or book is also recommended.

important point

Using sharp knives to cut wood can easily injure you.
Let's be careful, of course, but let's put it in the corner of our mind that anyone who cuts many times as practice will get injured once.
It is also necessary to prepare for deep scratches that leave marks.

The tri-stick has many notches that are frequently used in bushcraft, but there is no opportunity to use it in normal camping, so there is no need to practice.

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