When you are out in the wilderness on the vast majority of occasions, there should be no need for you to rely on advanced survival skills, however, there is one skill which you should learn, and that is how to make a knife using only the materials you might find around you. The reason we say this is that a knife is probably the one tool which you can use for many survival tasks.
It can be used to prepare food, and in extreme cases, it can even be the weapon you use to kill your food. A knife is also used to help spark tinder to light a fire, and for other tasks such as carving wood, or cutting materials, and it could even be used as a weapon against predators.
Why Learn to Make a Knife?
This might be a question you are asking, especially if you are someone who prepares well for trips out into the wilderness. If so, you are likely to carry a spare knife, or maybe even more than one spare, so you might not see that you’ll ever have to make a knife. It’s a fair point, but can you really say that every eventuality is covered by carrying spares in your backpack?
What if you and your backpack are somehow separated? It could fall off as you are climbing a peak, or into the river. It could even catch alight if left too close to the fire. All unlikely, we agree, but isn’t the whole point of learning survival skills, that you can use them in the most unlikely of circumstances?
For everyone else, who may not be as prepared as some, there are issues of knives being lost due to them falling unnoticed out of their sheath, or a knife could break while being used. There’s also the sadly all-too-common issue of people forgetting to pack their knife, so, can we all agree, that it is worth learning how to make a knife in the wilderness, just in case?
Making a Knife in the Wilderness
Ok, so we’ve agreed that having a knife, even if it is a makeshift one, is a good idea, so the next step is to gather together the items you are going to need to make one. Once you have them then we can go through the process of producing a sharp edge for your knife.
Step 1: Find Your Blade Stone
The first item you want to look for is thin stone, preferably something that resembles flint or slate. This is going to be the stone used for the blade of your knife. Ideally, you want one which is about the size of your palm. If there are any rivers or stream nearby, these are good places where the sort of stones you are looking for can found. Look for pieces that have smooth, glass-like sides. The reason we are looking for stones like flint or slate is that when they shear, they often do so into pieces which have naturally sharp edges.
Step 2: Find Your Chisel Stone
Now you want to look for another stone, but this time you want one which is very hard, with rough edges, as this is going to be used to chisel the first stone into the shape of a blade. Again, we want the size to be small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. You are going to be striking this stone against the first in order to shape it, so the emphasis must be on this stone being solid and hard.
Step 3: Time to Shape Your Blade
It is important that before you start striking one stone against the other, that you hold each of them correctly. If you don’t, you’ll either fail to chip away anything, or you’ll strike your fingers, which will undoubtedly be very painful. What you should do first is hold the blade stone firmly in the palm of your weaker hand. In other words, if you are right-handed, hold it in your left hand, and vice versa.
Now, assuming the chisel stone is in your stronger hand, strike it against the other stone at an angle of 45 degrees. This should start chipping away the edges of the weaker stone and eventually produce a sharp edge on it. Continue this striking process until you have 2/3 of the blade stone with a sharp edge
Step 4: Lastly, Your Handle
If you have carried out steps 1 to 3 correctly you should have enough of the stone left which you can then rub the harder stone against, in order to form a smooth handle for your knife.