(Adapted from the U.S. Army Survival Manual)
Survival knives have three basic functions. To puncture, slash
or chop, and cut. A knife is also an invaluable tool used to
construct other survival items. You may find yourself without
a knife or you may need another type knife or a spear. To improvise
you can use stone, bone, wood, or metal to make survival knives
or spear blades.
To make a stone knife, you will need a sharp-edged piece of
stone, a chipping tool, and a flaking tool. A chipping tool is
a light, blunt-edged tool used to break off small pieces of stone.
A flaking tool is a pointed tool used to break off thin, flattened
pieces of stone. You can make a chipping tool from wood, bone,
or metal, and a flaking tool from bone, antler tines, or soft
iron (Figure 12-3).
Start making the knife by roughing out the desired shape on
your sharp piece of stone, using the chipping tool. Try to make
the knife fairly thin. Then, using the flaking tool, press it
against the edges. This action will cause flakes to come off
the opposite side of the edge, leaving a razor sharp edge. Use
the flaking tool along the entire length of the edge you need
to sharpen. Eventually, you will have a very sharp cutting edge
that you can use as a knife.
Lash the blade to some type of hilt (Figure 12-3).
Note: Stone will make an excellent puncturing tool and a good
chopping tool but will not hold a fine edge. Some stones such
as chert or flint can have very fine edges.
You can also use bone as an effective field-expedient edged
weapon. First, you will need to select a suitable bone. The larger
bones, such as the leg bone of a deer or another medium-sized
animal, are best. Lay the bone upon another hard object. Shatter
the bone by hitting it with a heavy object, such as a rock. From
the pieces, select a suitable pointed splinter. You can further
shape and sharpen this splinter by rubbing it on a rough-surfaced
rock. If the piece is too small to handle, you can still use
it by adding a handle to it. Select a suitable piece of hardwood
for a handle and lash the bone splinter securely to it.
Note: Use the bone knife only to puncture. It will not hold
an edge and it may flake or break if used differently.
You can make field-expedient edged weapons from wood. Use
these only to puncture. Bamboo is the only wood that will hold
a suitable edge. To make a knife using wood, first select a straight-grained
piece of hardwood that is about 30 centimeters long and 2.5 centimeters
in diameter. Fashion the blade about 15 centimeters long. Shave
it down to a point. Use only the straight-grained portions of
the wood. Do not use the core or pith, as it would make a weak
Harden the point by a process known as fire hardening. If
a fire is possible, dry the blade portion over the fire slowly
until lightly charred. The drier the wood, the harder the point.
After lightly charring the blade portion, sharpen it on a coarse
stone. If using bamboo and after fashioning the blade, remove
any other wood to make the blade thinner from the inside portion
of the bamboo. Removal is done this way because bamboos
hardest part is its outer layer. Keep as much of this layer as
possible to ensure the hardest blade possible. When charring
bamboo over a fire, char only the inside wood; do not char the
Metal is the best material to make field-expedient edged weapons.
Metal, when properly designed, can fulfill a knifes three
uses-puncture, slice or chop, and cut. First, select a suitable
piece of metal, one that most resembles the desired end product.
Depending on the size and original shape, you can obtain a point
and cutting edge by rubbing the metal on a rough-surfaced stone.
If the metal is soft enough, you can hammer out one edge while
the metal is cold. Use a suitable flat, hard surface as an anvil
and a smaller, harder object of stone or metal as a hammer to
hammer out the edge. Make a knife handle from wood, bone, or
other material that will protect your hand.
You can use other materials to produce edged weapons. Glass
is a good alternative to an edged weapon or tool, if no other
material is available. Obtain a suitable piece in the same manner
as described for bone. Glass has a natural edge but is less durable
for heavy work. You can also sharpen plastic-if it is thick enough
or hard enough-into a durable point for puncturing.
Steve's Notes: You can also sharpen the edge of
a clam shell for a quick blade for chores like food-preparation.
Some rocks will break in such a way that the broken edges are
sharp enough to use as quick survival knives, even without modification.
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