Creating a Knife in a Survival Situation


( – In a survival situation, a knife is one of the most valuable tools you can have. It can be used as a weapon, utensil, or even modified and attached to other things to make it even more useful. We assume that just about everyone has one of these, but we also assume you want to prepare for the worst-case scenario, which could involve breaking or losing your knife. ?And that is exactly why it’s important to know how to make one.

Simple Knifemaking with Modern Tools

First, let’s assume you have the tools it would take to make a very simple knife. We’ll get to more basic and primitive methods in a bit.

Using Rivets or Pins

One of the most important parts of the knife is the handle. (You thought we were going to say blade, didn’t you?) The handle is important because it not only holds the blade in place, but can protect your hand from the blade as well. So, let’s start by securing the blade in the handle.

You’ll need a thin piece of metal (called a tang), two pieces of wood, a drill, 2 ⅛-inch rivets and a grinder.

Cut two pieces of wood to just slightly bigger or the same width as your tang. Drill two ⅛-inch holes in the wood, with space in between them. (Note we are deliberately not giving you specific measurements for everything so you can personalize your design.)

Place the tang under one of the pieces of wood, mark your drill holes, and then drill the holes in your tang. Use your rivets to secure each side of the handle to the tang. Grind the extended parts of the rivets smooth and even with the handle. Now, use your grinder to sharpen the edges of the protruding blade. (You can also cut the shape of your blade before securing it within the handle, then sharpen it with a grinder afterward.

Use what you have, a sharpening stone or even sandpaper to make the blade sharper. The finer the grit, the smoother the blade. You can also secure the handle with epoxy AND rivets, but only secure the handle with epoxy alone if you don’t intend to use this knife for heavy-duty cutting over long periods of time, as the epoxy could eventually loosen and leave you right back where you started.

If you don’t have access to rivets, use pins instead and countersink your holes. We recommend brass pins. Cut the pins a little long, then use a hammer to secure the handle to the blade by pounding the ends of the pins into the countersunk portion of the holes.

Primitive Rock Method

The key to making a worthwhile knife from rock is to use a quality rock. If you can find them, flint, obsidian, chert, jasper and quartz are all known for their ability to produce a decent blade. But you may not be able to be picky. In such cases, head to the nearest creek and find rocks that are large enough for you to work with and which make a ringing sound when clanked together.

Next, you’ll need a hammer stone. This is a rounded stone big enough to be useful as a “hammer” and small enough to fit in your hand and be easy to use.

Hold the rock you’re getting blades out of on your thigh. Now. strike it on the side with the hammer rock, so that the hammer rock essentially glances off the blade rock. Repeat this process until you have a decent collection of blades.

While you can use a blade without a “handle,” it’s dangerous to your own hand and makes it much easier for you to cut yourself just by holding the blade or when your hand slides as you use it. Try wrapping the handle section with cloth or weaving twine/rope around it.

As usual, we suggest you practice these techniques until you feel confident with them, then practice them some more so you can fine-tune your skills and maybe even develop more effective methods.

Have you ever had to make an improvised tool? Reply to your email and let us know, we would love to hear from you!

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