Let's talk about knives

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by Smithy, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. Smithy

    Smithy Outdoorsman, Bladesmith

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    First off, as a matter of full disclosure, I am a "professional hobbyist" knifemaker. That is, I have a full-time job, but bladesmithing is my apprenticeship to my retirement.

    Second, I do not believe that there is one superior brand, or even style, of knife that's appropriate for every situation, let alone survival. Survival and preparedness cover so many situations, that I think the best we can do is talk about the guidelines, and things to look for, when choosing a knife. Personal taste, and personal experience will color our choices as well.


    So, what makes a good survival knife? If one defines survival as existing away from "home" and readily available manufactured goods, then it must first be able to do whatever I ask of any knife. It should be exceptionally sharp, exceptionally durable, and capable of taking a great deal of abuse without failure. The American Bladesmith Society has a performance test that all members must pass in order to earn their Journeyman rank... a test blade must first shave hair from the arm, cut through a free-hanging hemp rope (1 inch thick) in a single cut, chop through two 2x4's, and then shave hair again. Then, the smith must put the blade in a vise, and bend it 90 degrees without breaking (a partial crack is okay, but the blade must not fail completely).

    While I am not a member of the ABS, I do use their test to gauge my own quality, and I can confidently say that a knife made to these standards will serve the survivalist very well. The test covers the areas of proper heat treating, edge geometry, the sharpening skill of the maker, and the steel itself. If any of those areas are weak, the knife will underperform, and in a survival situation, that's just not cool.


    Knives are generally made of either carbon steels (which generally includes tool steels), and stainless. The paleo guys will correct me with knapped work that surpasses the maximum sharpness steel could ever get, and we can go off on a tangent of bronze-age stuff, ceramics, and synthetics... but most of us work in steel, and that meets the modern need quite well.

    Stainless steel has the advantage of corroding (rusting) far slower than carbon and tool steels. It accomplishes this by adding other elements in large amounts, as much as 13% by weight, in order to alloy the steel to a "stainless" state. Chromium is the usual suspect, though there are other things in there as well. At such high alloy levels, the forging and heat treating of stainless steel is a difficult process; most blades are stamped and ground from sheets fresh from the mill, and heat treated with computer controls and precise repetition.

    Carbon steel is a simpler recipe, but is easier to manipulate (forge) and can be easily recycled and modified. It will rust quickly if weathered, but can be more flexible, durable, and even aesthetically pleasing. The modern customer tends to prefer shiny to performance, so most of the knives getting cranked out of factories by the thousands are made of stainless, by machine, rather than hand-made to an individual's specifications.
     
  2. Smithy

    Smithy Outdoorsman, Bladesmith

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    Styles of Knives

    The classic "survival knife" generally appears in most people's heads as a derivative of the USMC K-Bar, a long stout blade with a bowie-clip point, straight guard, and round handle. Some cheaper models use a short screw tang on a hollow handle for storing additional survival kit items, some high end ones incorporate advanced steels, full tangs, and various shapes besides the main cutting edge for a wide assortment of uses.

    A survival knife is what gets the job done when you need it. They can, truthfully, come in all sizes and shapes. I have a small survival kit in an Altoids can, with a plastic bag for water, a lighter, a book of matches, some very thin nylon high-strength cordage, and a small blade I designed for finger-thumb use (no handle, as such). With this kit, I can cut things, tie things, and light things on fire. With that, I can do much to improve my situation and make other things as needed. I carry a "neck knife" when camping, which really isn't much more than a glorified steak knife, similar in size, and carried in a sheath which I wear around the neck and tuck under my shirt. It is conveniet, sharp, and comfortable to use. I also carry a Finnish Leuku, which resembles a small machete, and I find it incredibly useful across a wide spectrum of chores, including just about everything a small handaxe would do.

    American Frontiersmen often carried 2 blades... a medium knife, perhaps 6-8 inches long, and a belt axe, whose actual dimensions are surprisingly small, though it is a very effective tool. The knife was used for cutting, the axe for chopping, and any job too big for those was often not attempted at all without specialized tooling. Modern "camp knives" are often marketed with the ability to chop, and the ABS test reinforces this notion, but the use of multiple, more focused tools, may actually get the job done better.

    Throughout history, we see different cultures bring up the trademark knife that they identify with. In Finland, it's the Pukko. In America, the Bowie. Japan has the Tanto, Scotland the Sgian Dubh, Italy the Stilleto, and so on and so forth. Since the rest of the world was way past "surviving" by the time Iron and Steel came into play, I like to look at the early American experience, where knives accompanied Frontiersmen, Traders, and Voyageurs into the wilderness, and were called upon to serve in an environment unattached to manufactured goods. A Rendevous might happen annually, and if your gear failed, it could be months before you had a chance to resupply, and you still had to ply your trade, whether it be trapping, trading, or homesteading, with what you had left. The tools of that time epitomize to me, the height of human reliance on a blade.
     

  3. ke4sky

    ke4sky ke4sky

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    Plain and simple

    While I own a few custom knives, the ones I use most are plain and simple, the Camillus Mil-K-818 I was issued in 1967, an original Leatherman Pocket Survival Tool (PST) and a K-BAR.

    The Mil-K-818 is a simple stainless steel pocket knife of the "boy scout" pattern. Colonial, and Camillus were prime contractors. The Mil-K-818 is has been out of production since Camillus closed. The Chinese copies vary in quality from only OK to poor. Suitable replacements for your compact survival kit are the similar Victorinox Soldier which Swiss enlisted personnel actually carry, or the Boker Scout Kniofe from A.G. Russells. BTW, the screwdriver on the real Swiss Army knife perfectly fits the sights adjustments on a SIG P210 pistol or Strumgewehr if you happen to have one!

    The original Letterman PST was simpler and less cluttered than the loaded with gimicks ones they sell now. Among today's generation of high speed, lolw-drag military operators the Leatherman Super Tool is the favorite, althought I understand that model is now gone.

    Issue K-Bars are 1095 plain carbon steel heat treated to Rc54-58. Carbon steel can be field sharpened with a wet stream rock if you have to. D2 and similar custom knife steels do have superior edge holding ability on a mission, but they require quality ceramic or diamond stones to properly restore their edge once they get dull.

    Plain carbon steel does a better job than stainless to strike sparks for starting survival fires with your Doan Machinery Co. fire starting tool. Plain carbon is also inexpensive enough that you can buy multiple spares to stash in your gear in case you lose one on a mission, or if you need them as trading stock for your indigenous helpers. A buddy who was a PH regularly bought WWII USN Marble pattern Ontarios by the dozen as handouts. An interesting observation among native peoples that if you give them a shiny stainless knife they will sell it or trade it off immedately, but if you just give them plain carbon steel working knife having h a nice "ring" to the steel as they touch it up with their steel while they butcher, they will never let it go. Hmm... there is a lesson there.

    Years ago this same fellow used multiple K-Bars and Mil aircrew survival knives as pitons and rope anchor points to hoist a wounded operator up a cliff to an LZ to extract him and the rest of the team when things went sour! I'm sure a Loveless chute knife would have made just as good a piton, but if they hadn't multiples at hand for the task that day they all would have been MIA.

    The normal K-BAR blade bevel is a 25 degree chopping edge, but you can do well for general outdoor use using a Lansky coarse diamond 120 brick to recut the bevel to 20 degrees, then bring back the edge with 280, and finish with 600. The key for bush use is to carry a compact, but good quality l sharpening steel or ceramic rod to touch up the edge each time you use the knife before you put it away, to maintain the edge.

    While any high grade machine oil, JP or kerosene works OK for honing, we always used plain old mineral oil, USP from the drug store for weapons oil, honing blades and for its established medicinal purposes. Food grade oil is best to keep blades from rusting that will be used for food preparation because you don't need any intestinal upsets. An advantage also is their being colorless, odorless and tasteless so that they don't alert game or the enemy to your presence.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  4. Smithy

    Smithy Outdoorsman, Bladesmith

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    The modern survivalist

    The most remote place in the lower 48 is in the Southeast corner of Yellowstone National Park, 22 miles from any road. A distance that can be hiked in a couple days over difficult terrain, by most Americans.

    Classic survival scenarios call for an abrupt end to our way of life, either through massive natural disaster, economic meltdown, foreign invasion, zombies, disease, or terrorism. In any event, the common theme is the sudden unavailability of manufactured goods, money, and trust. Following this line, it is reasonable to prepare materially with things that are anticipated to be needed, and won't be for sale, at some point in the future. A good knife should definately be on this list.

    Will your "survival future" depend on the hunting and trapping of game? Will it involve physical defense against competitors of scare resources? Will it be an unwelcome return to "simpler times" accompanied with a lower population (for whatever reason), or a Mad Max scramble to the death? How we see the future drives how we prepare for it.

    The average US household has about 10 knives, mostly in the kitchen. A set of steak knives (6) and a few larger ones, round out the basic assumption for most any family in this country. Consider that many men carry pocketknives, and most folks on this forum probably have a few more lying around in their camping/fishing/hunting gear, and it's obvious that even if Walmart were to leave the face of the planet tomorrow, we would not be without basic tools anytime soon.



    My Bottom Line for Any Type of Survival

    At the end of the day, we tend to revert to form, and into our habits. We use what we know. Obtaining a knife "just" for the survival kit, without the knowledge of what its strengths and weaknesses are, and how to maintain and sharpen it, is foolish. Get out there and practice the skills needed when "things" aren't as available any more. Social skills are at the top of my list, followed by a large larder, water, and fuel, in order to weather short-term disruptions of any cause.

    If you hunt, you already have the tools you need. If you plan on hunting in a survival situation, you'd better know now how to do it. You don't wake up one day with the skills. I suspect, in a worst-case scenario, after the looting and depopulation and scavaging is over, the people of highest value will be the teachers of useful skills. Those who know what they're doing, and have experience at it, will be far better off than those of us who just read about it online. The same is true with the use of edged tools and weapons. If I were to pick up a sword today, I would likely chop my own arm off before successfully defending my family. I haven't practiced, I don't know what's important. Use what you know.

    For the survival knife, I think for most of us, it will be the knife we use while camping, while in the kitchen, and while hunting. It will be comfortable in the hand, sharp, easy to maintain and sharpen, and familiar to us.

    If you don't have one of these, go get one now, and start getting used to using it. Instead of butcher cuts, start buying meat in larger pieces. Practice dismembering chickens, or if you have the freezer space, pigs and cow parts that aren't already on a foam tray in plastic wrap. Learn what kind of blade is more useful for various tasks, and then find a knife that really works for you, for what you need it for. We won't all be chopping down trees with our camp knives, more likely relying on the blades we have to do mundane, everyday work.

    Have I made an arguement against being prepared or getting specialized equipment for emergencies? It sort of sounds like it, but really what I'm getting at is to practice what you prepare for, rather than buy in anticipation of future use "just in case". Get the right tool for the right job, and go do some of it, before it's too late to discover that you have the wrong tool and need to resupply.



    I hope this was helpful to the community.
     
  5. Smithy

    Smithy Outdoorsman, Bladesmith

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    So, now the million-dollar qustion, what's your favorite survival knife? Mine would have to be my Leuku:

    [​IMG]


    From Finland, it's a very flat grind from edge to spine, and of a European stainless I'm not familiar with, they call it "silver steel". I haven't tried the ABS bending test with it, but it does everything else quite well, surprisingly well. It is also very light, which I enjoy, and the full pouch sheath keeps it safe and secure. I never go into the woods without it, regardless of what other knives I carry. It is that good.
     
  6. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    I've owned A LOT of pocket knives in my life and so far my favorite as been my S&W S.W.A.T.

    Smooth open, very nicely crafted blade and well weighted.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. coinguy

    coinguy Guest

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    I always carry my old stand-by of a Swiss army knife in my pocket, as I have done for many years, and a Spyderco police model on my pocket. I finally had to retire my first Spyderco after carrying it for about 20 years. The serrations are almost worn away from resharpening on the blade. I keep a US military MK I knife and a WW I US military bolo in my truck. For a sheath knife to carry, I have a Gerber BMF without the serrations and a Parrish custom, both of which I picked up back in the late 80's. The Parrish is a hollow handled knife, made from a solid billet of steel so it is not weak like most all of the hollow handled knives. I've used it to cut down trees on my place in tri-states before I sold it.

    I've always tried to stay away from gimmick knives and stay with working knives. I have some neat ones in my collection, like my small coffin handled boot knife made by Al Mar before he died and my bolo made from damascus steel made from a meteorite with mastodon bone scales but these are more for show than work. Everytime I've gotten Randals in trade, someone talks me out of it for too many bucks. But you will find most all of my Gerbers, Cold Steels and Pumas are used.

    G
     
  8. Jezcruzen

    Jezcruzen Well-Known Member

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    I carry a Kershaw 1550 "Shadow" lock-blade that has the Ken Onion opening assist feature. I've carried it now for five or six years, and us it almost daily for utility chores. It's certainly no custom, but with proper care and sharpening it works for me.

    I just can't bring myself to pay $300 - $400 for a knife! For me, commercially produced blades provide what I need just fine. I bought a Cold Steel Master Hunter when they first came out some years ago. While I don't like the sheath, the knife has performed admirably, and I've used it over many deer kills. Having a thick, strong blade that takes a keen edge without fuss, along with a non-slip handle makes it a winner. It's steel is carbon, I believe. I hear these are no longer being produced, or are using stainless now.

    The best knife deal I've found is a new Swedish Mora for $9. I bought two.
     
  9. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    I make some of my own custom knives once in a while, but to tell you the truth, it's not worth my time...
    Spending weeks making a custom when I can buy a perfectly adequate knife for $30 to $100.

    And just for the record,
    A 'Survival' knife will be the one you have in your pocket or can make on the site of the situation that made you 'Survive'.

    It's not called a 'Survival' situation if you go out in the woods and 'Play' at being 'Grizzly Adams'...

    'Survival' would be a plane crash, at which time you would be left to make a 'Knife' out of wreckage from the plane, if any was salvageable....

    'Survival' would be a boat sinking and you getting away with noting more than something that floats or maybe what's in the life raft...
    ---------------------------------

    In 'Jungle Survival School' in the military,
    They always taught us a rifle is your best friend,
    It will clothe you, keep you warm & Dry,
    It can keep you fed and safe from dangerous things...

    A gun is just a gun until it runs out of bullets,
    And then it's a poorly balanced club.

    Down through the years I've purchased or been given about every kind & style of knife you can think of, from inexpensive junk to hatefully expensive customs,
    And I've made quite a few myself just to see if I could do it, and then to get something that wasn't commercially available.

    These are some of the knives I have laying around, this is just what will fit on the magnet rail above my rifle cleaning bench.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, it covers 'Bowie' style knives, drop point skinning knives, and has a representation of human killing knives from my military days...
    Along with on the far right, one of the most useful tools I've ever used, the two styles of woodsman hatches, horizontal and vertical.

    I can tell you now, the best 'Survival' knife is the one in your pocket when you are put into a 'Survival' situation!
     
  10. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    Looks like a couple of the African bush knives I picked up made from old vehicle springs...

    Won't use them although they work surprisingly well because there isn't any hand guard protection (Hilt).

    Can't afford mistakes in a survival situation,
    and a serious accident, Like getting fingers on blade,
    (No matter what it's cause, altitude sickness, fatigue, emotional distress, ect.)
    Could very easily turn a hunting trip into an emergency situation.

    Ever seen an Alaskan Ulu knife?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I watched an Inuit woman hide out a 300 pound seal in about 20 minutes with one of these...
    All through the MOUTH HOLE!
    And in -20°F weather!

    I have a home made version that mounts on a 'Tomahawk' handle that makes for about a perfect companion set.
     
  11. Tom

    Tom Guest

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    We have an Ulu. Makes a wonderful chopping tool to cut up vegtables and herbs.
     
  12. carnut1100

    carnut1100 Well-Known Member

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    I make knives from old car springs all the time. Good fun and cheap and easy to get material.
    I don't carry a knife on me, as they are classed as "offensive weapons" here unless you have a work related reason to have it on your person in public, but i do always have a knife in the car and around the house and of course if I go camping etc.
    I have a "rescue knife" which is a folder with a stainless blade, one hand open, glass breaker tip, seat belt webbing cutter and a serrated blade with a non sharpened rounded tip for cutting stuff away from someone without cutting them.
    That is always near me, and usually my stainless Opinel No. 8 folder is nearby too.
    got a few Bowie style knives and a kit with a swiss army knife and a compass and mini-maglite that is always in the car.
     
  13. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    I don't subscribe to the 'One Knife' theory...
    I'm liable to have several blades of different descriptions and for different purposes when we go into the rough.

    I usually have a small folder all the time.
    Kershaw (Ken Onion designed 'Scallion' with partly serrated blade)
    I find it the right size ratio between functionality, durability and price.

    [​IMG]
    ----------------------

    When I hit the woods for jeep trail rides, camping out or hunting, I usually have my 'Belt Pack' along, and that has a large Becker Bowie,

    [​IMG]

    A 'Survival' Knife should CERTAINLY be able to drive a nail, and some thin blade with no mass certainly isn't going to chop kindling for a fire or drive nails for hanging carcasses or gear, or carry the mass to cut through breast or back bones on a field dress and quarter...

    Since I use mine for EVERYTHING from hammer, to pry bar, to bone splitter, to log splitter, I call it a 'Camp Knife', and as you can guess, I need a new one every few years!

    At around $50 with a VERY usable sheath and a life time warranty on the blade, I find this particular chunk of mass produced metal to work VERY well for me!...
    Of course, those over sized, slippery plastic scales had to go!

    The para cord takes a little longer to wash the blood out/off of, but it's MUCH better for grip when your hands are cold and it takes up a bunch more shock when you are chopping on something!
    Gives the entire package a slimmer profile also...

    [​IMG]

    If you take a good look at the top of the picture, you will see a plastic insert that fits in the sheath behind the blade.
    It's got two sterile suture packs and two sterile scalpel blades.
    Found out they come in handy for digging out those long thorns and fishhooks on those 'Way Out There' hunting trips!

    The blade has a Gerber multi-Tool with both very sharp single blade and serrated blade on it also.
    (and the silver thing is a knife/hook sharpener and diamond file for keeping the edges up to 'Snuff')

    That 6 blades so far including the pocket knife, and there is usually a large, sturdy folder in my pouch that keeps the rain gear and bug spray, so that would be a total of 7 blades on camping trip...
    (if you can count a couple of sterile pack scalpel blades as 'Knives')
     
  14. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    Being a knifesmith what is your thoughts on the Becker line of bowie's. Well crafted blade?
     
  15. Smithy

    Smithy Outdoorsman, Bladesmith

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    That Becker looks a lot like the knife I just made for an Elk-huntin' friend.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    Very nice! What is the process like for crafting a knife like that. The hand rest (probably wrong term) is that welded onto the handle?
     
  17. Smithy

    Smithy Outdoorsman, Bladesmith

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    The blade is hand-forged from a custom 1084(MF), which has some grain refiners in it. The guard and buttplate are forged wrought iron... the guard piece was twisted hot, then flattened, to get the look of the grain. It is not welded in place... the slot was drilled and hand-filed to fit, then cutler's resin (pinion pine pitch, boiled, with charcoal powder added as an aggregate) added behind it, inside the buffalo horn spacer, and the elk bone, all the way back to the wrought plate on back. The tang was then peened over to secure the whole package.

    Here's a couple more closeups:

    Front
    [​IMG]

    Back
    [​IMG]

    Ingredients
    [​IMG]

    In the forge
    [​IMG]


    Once the blade is forged to shape, I grind it clean, through progressive grits, finishing at 400. Then I etch the blade to expose some of the character, and in this case, the quench line, then hand-sand again at 600 grit, and use a 1000 grit japanese slip stone.

    The wrought iron fittings were forged, cut, and flat-ground, then etched in ferric chloride (heated) for about an hour, with a couple breaks for a rinse and 600-grit sanding. This rustication process reveals the grain of the iron, without excessive pitting, or leaving an oxide on the surface of the metal. All the parts are then treated with Renaissance wax to protect them. The bone and horn were buffed with white tripoli compound after shaping and sanding to 400 grit.

    The beauty of this knife, is that the roundness of the elk bone handle allows you to hold the knife different ways, without feeling 'wrong', like a more ergonomically shaped handle might. By filling the bone with pitch, also, it puts the balance way back in the hand, and to use it is a very stable experience.

    The knife is, of course, razor sharp, with a mostly flat grind and fine appleseed edge that goes back maybe 1/8 inch, buffed sharp with green chrome oxide compound after sharpening to 800 grit... which removes the wire edge and polishes the cutting surface. I've been using this sharpening technique for a few years now, and I've been very satisfied at the range of cutting tasks it does well.

    Thanks for asking, Dean.
     
  18. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    Smithy, that looks A LOT like my favorite skinning knives!
    Looks like excellent work, and from the way you write, you really seem to know your stuff!
    ..............

    I just can't find a better knife that a thick back drop point for skinning large game!
    Old timer (from when they still made a carbon steel blade) is my favorite and I've had it for years.
    Works GREAT!

    I've bought about every kind of knife that came out at one time or another and tried it, but I keep coming back to the Old Timer, it just 'Feels Right'...
    ------------------------

    My Becker is for general camp work, large enough and heavy enough to drive nails, hack through large bones and wrist size limbs, and to use as a pry bar... General Heavy Use camp work... Opening cans of pork & beans, cutting the occasional chunk of Jerky!

    I would NEVER mistake the Becker (or any large Bowie) for a 'Skinning' Knife!

    And at $50 with a good sheath (most sheaths are useless to me) it's a pretty good deal!
    ----------------------------

    I make knives, and since I'm a 'Pack Rat', I don't scrap anything, everything gets reused!

    Brass valve stems from big trucks make a GREAT source for brass for pommels and guards,

    Car springs and railroad spikes/screws make for good material for heavy 'Utility' blades,

    Railroad track is high Manganese steel, so it work hardens very well and makes for excellent hammers, hatchets, axes and striking tools.

    Nothing I've found yet makes better fine blades than bearing races or the large steel ball bearings out of heavy mining equipment!
    That bearing steel makes some EXCELLENT blades!
    .............................

    I don't want to take ANYTHING away from the guys that make really fine custom blades! They do great work, spend long hours researching the materials used,
    Spend long years perfecting the ability to attain different finishes, and make the knives as appealing as they are functional in a lot of cases!
    There are a LOT of truly great 'Amateur' blade makers out there....
    (and I use the word 'Amateur' simply because they don't make a living making custom blades, not because they aren't as gifted and educated as the 'Professional' knife makers!)

    I'm just not one of them!

    I never bother making 'Custom' blades, I make 'Working' tools...

    No extra fancy parts, and I pay very little attention to finish when I'm making blades or tools...
    Mine get brass guards simply because it's easier to work brass than steel.
    Mine get steel pommels simply because you can drive nails with steel.
    Mine get thick blades simply because you can't pry on things with thin blades!

    If you can't dip it in paint, blood, mud, brake fluid and poke in the fire without cringing about how much time and money you have in it, then it's not for me...
    ----------------------------------

    I'm not one of the 'End Of The World' guys either,
    I don't need Dielectric handles/sheaths for cutting electrified fences the 'Invading Hordes' are going to put up or saw back on the blades...

    The slowest saw on earth is one on the back of a knife!
    Not being an 'Extremest' idiot, I have a chain saw or bow saw or wire saw for that kind work!
    ---And I have insulated fence pliers for working on the stock electric fences!

    My knives need to do, Well, not to put too fine a point on it, KNIFE STUFF!
    Cut, chop, sometimes pry (although I know I shouldn't!)
    ...........

    I like wrist lanyards.
    Most people in North America HATE them and make fun of you if you use one!

    About the third time you have a chopping tool slip out of your cold, wet, bloody hand and take off towards your legs, you will see the wisdom of a wrist lanyard!

    On a recent trip to Alaska when a flying service dropped us off about 150 miles from our actual destination, we had to walk out...
    My Girlfriend dropped not one, but TWO knives, one down the crack between rocks where it was unrecoverable, and a second in a swiftly flowing river where it was unrecoverable!
    Simply using the already dangling wrist lanyards would have stopped that in both instances!
    ..........

    I like Straight blades with full tangs!
    You can keep those tube handled 'Rambo' knives with the saw back and epoxied in blades...
    And all those stupid heavy and cumbersome folding knives sold as 'Survival' knives...
    ..............

    I don't like stupid large handles that I can't get a full grip on!
    That Becker I'm using now had a stupid large set of scales on it, so they had to go!
    Para cord or wire wrapped handles are best for 'Survival' situations anyway, more material for you to use in 'Survival' situations...
    .............................

    Anyway, there are many fine production knives that fit my needs, and they are WAY CHEAP compared to my time and efforts!
    And people may find my 'Utility' knives and tools 'Crude', but I can make them as hard, and as sharp, as any of the 'Custom' knives, so if you are using one for 'Work', mine might not be as refined, but they will do just as much work!

    Just my personal preferences, so what do you guys like?
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
  19. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    Went camping last weekend, wound up making an ULU out of a can lid and piece of scrap wood for food preparation!
    I just can't imagine anything faster than an ULU for food preparation!

    When in the Marines, I made an ULU from a large washer I found in the dirt down by the motor pool and used it for the duration of my time in the Marines... Including Jungle Survival School!

    An ULU is LIGHTENING FAST, cuts VERY efficiently and controlled in both directions, no wrist twisting to turn it around because there is a point on BOTH ends, and it works with the natural motion of you wrist!
    Much more practical than the issued Kabar for skinning, dressing, preparing any game and it has a 101 uses around the camp!

    Instead of the stupid big 'Rambo' knives, people should take a look at what the 'Native' people are using for real survival!
    Thin, smaller blades with relatively thick edges on them, and they work GREAT!
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
  20. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    Smithy,
    I don't know the technical terms for it,
    But do you treat your thinner blades with two heat/quench zones?
    Harder edges with more flexible spines?

    If so, do you use clay slurry for it?

    I've been trying different ways of doing that from time to time, everything from dropping point/edge in the quinch quickly and first, and then slowing down the quench for the backsides of the blades,
    To using clay based slurry on the back of the blades to slow the quench...

    How would you do it if you were going to give your blades two quench/hardness zones?