By Chris Black
In this day and age, making your own tools and weapons may seem an anachronism and also pretty inadequate. There are knives made from high-tech materials available everywhere, and plenty of models to choose from. Regardless of your need or your preference, there’s a knife ou there to suit your needs.
What happens, though, if society collapses and there are no longer superstores from which to purchase any knives? This theory applies to absolutely everything, including tools, weapons, food, and even clothes. We are living in modern times; everything is just a click away or a phone call away, but that can change in the blink of an eye.
Suppose that you are facing a life and death situation. Maybe the sun won’t shine tomorrow, or you’ll get lost in the woods, or your plane will crash, many scenarios are possible in which you will need a knife but won’t have one. When you’re in the wild, a knife will be your best friend; it could literally be the difference between life and death.
If you like knives like I do, you may be interested in a crash course on “how to make your own knife”. I bet you’ve asked yourself at least once (I surely did) how a knife is made. Making your own knife is like the ultimate level when it comes to survival. So, if you’re forced to make your own blade, to protect and to serve you, what would you do? Where would you start from?
What to Use
Modern knives are made of various qualities of steel or other alloys, plastic or various composite materials. When you’re lost in the wilderness, it would seem improbable for you to have access to cutting tools, hammers, forges and other tools and equipment necessary for forging metals. so a regular “made of steel” knife is out of the question.
That’s okay though, because the first knives were made in an era in which iron was not even discovered yet. There are certainly other ways to get the job done. The first knives are dated from the Stone Age, and they were made out of stone by our crafty ancestors.
Making a knife out of stone is not very hard at all. Practically anybody, with a little bit of practice, can build himself a cool knife by flint knapping, just like the prehistoric men did.
Flint knapping (the process of shaping stone into a tool or weapon) can be done using hammerrock tools as well as wood and bone to refine them. Obsidian, flint, and chert are common stones used in knife-making.
In theory, it’s a simple process: find a piece of rock that has the desired dimensions and hammer it with another rock until you give it a “knife like” shape. After that you must flake off the end of the “blade” to make it sharp and affix a handle on the other end and voila! That’s about it.
It only takes a few rocks and some mad skills (that you’ll acquire with practice) to make yourself a cool looking, functional knife.
What to Do
Now, here are the basic steps you need to follow when making your own knife:
1. Find your raw materials. Native Americans were experts in obsidian and flint knapping, primily because it’s readily available in many places and both are good materials for knives. As a beginner, flint is probably your best option. Both rocks are very hard and tough, they cut well and yet they’re pretty easy to carve and to bring them to the desired shape. The bigger the initial rock, the larger the blade will be.
Geology rocks folks! Knowing which rock is what when it comes to stones could prove very useful in a survival situation, so get your facts straight and learn how to distinguish between different types of rock. For example, obsidian looks like black glass, because it’s actually solidified magma, and it’s pretty hard to find. Flint on the other hand is more common. As a general rule of thumb, creeks are abundant in high quality rocks for making blades, so that’s where you should take a look first.
2. Find yourself a hammerstone, which is actually a medium sized rock that you will be using for striking off the blades. The hammer stone should be as closed to a spherical shape as possible.
3. Use the hammer stone to strike the edge of the rock (the future knife) and if you strike well, the force of the strike will shatter the bottom of the rock, creating a blade like profile. It’s hard to explain; all you need is practice.
4. Be careful when hitting the rock. Rock shrapnel may hurt your eyes. Also avoid hitting your fingers. Don’t hit too hard; go nice and easy and have patience at all times.
5. Use a piece of wood or your hammerrock to polish the blade til it’s sharp.
6. After the job’s done, you’ll have to add a handle to the sharp flint blade. You can use a piece of wood for that, affixed with wire or something improvised from your own clothes.
Don’t worry, if our ancestors could do it, so can we. All it takes is practice and patience.
This article first appeared at Survivopedia: DIY Knives for Off-Grid Survival
Find out more about cold weapons on Bulletproof Home.
Photo sources: 1, 2.