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Thursday, August 30, 2012

How To Choose A Good Survival Knife

Choosing the best survival knife you can afford can mean the difference between life or death in a emergency situation. It can mean the difference of being able to get the job done that it was designed to do or to be a hindering piece of junk.

Note: The knives shown in the video are for demonstration of the different shapes of blades and handles. Some of the knives are of lower quality than the ones I prefer

Here are the things to look for in a good survival knife:

1. Full Tang- the metal blade should start at the tip and end at the butt of the handle. This allows the strongest design, rather than one that has a hollow handle where a survival kit would normally be stored. The hollow handled knives could break under strenuous applications.

2. Length- 6-12 inches. Anything longer could be in the way, unless it is a machete and you are in a jungle. In this case you should have a machete or similar and a survival knife.

3. Thickness- The blade should be 3/16 to 1/4 inch thick.
4. Steel Type- There are generally two types of metal blades- carbon steel and stainless steel. I prefer carbon steel blades because they are easier to sharpen and hold an edge longer. The only drawback is that carbon blades can rust. Stainless steel blades are harder to sharpen, are more brittle and the sharpened edge does not last as long. Stainless steel will not rust.

Stainless steel type- S60V, BG-42, S90V, CPM S30V, CPM 154

Carbon steel type- D2, A2, 01, carbon V, CPM 154

5. There are 4 basic blade geometry shapes: (see diagram)

Blade Geometry

6. The spine of the knife (top edge) should have a flat spot where it can be hit with a piece of wood to assist in cutting through wood.

7. The cutting edge of the blade should not be serrated, as this requires a special sharpening tool verses being able to just use a rock to sharpen the blade.

8. Sheath- should be of strong material, have a lanyard at the bottom for securing the knife to your leg; a belt loop; the handle securing strap should be able to keep the knife from falling out; the handle of the knife should have a hole for applying a lanyard; should have a place for a sharpening stone or tool.

One knife for one person may not be right for another. As long as you get a knife that meets the basics as listed above, you should be able to depend your life on it.

Remember- you get what you paid for. But, I have found some decent survival knives for under $30 that I would depend on in a survival situation.

Note on hollow handled knives- I have nothing against these type knives. I actually like them, as long as I realize that I am limited to how much abuse I can put them through.

Stay Prepare! Stay Alive!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Survival Walking Staff


Hack saw
Pop Rivet Gun
Measuring Tape


PVC Pipe, 1 inch x 6 ft, schedule 40, grey color
Black duct tape
550 Para cord (color optional) approx 50 ft.
PVC pipe connector, 1 inch, female, 3 each.
PVC pipe connector, 1 inch, male, 2 each.
PVC pipe cap, 1 inch dia., 1 each.
Metal conduit pipe connector, 1/2 x 1/2, 1 each.
Threaded rod, 1/2 inch dia., 1 inch length., 1 each
Cap to fit threaded rod, 1/2 inch dia., 1 each.
Soft plastic lids from coffee can. 2 each.
PVC glue
PVC pipe cleaner (optional)
Rubber "O" rings that fit around the male connector ends.
Dime or penny size coin collecting plastic tubes.


Measure the pipe to cut out two 1 1/2 foot lengths. This should give you three sections with one section measuring 3 feet and 2 sections measuring 1 1/2 feet each.

Use the sand paper and  smooth off the areas that were cut to remove burrs. Then roughen the outer sides of the tube where the PVC glue will go when applying the pipe connectors to give it a better grip.

Starting at the top part of the staff, take one 1 1/2' section and attach one female connector at the top. Take a rubber mallet or piece of wood to tap the connector down after applying the glue and connector to ensure it is seated all the way down.

On the same staff, take and place the bottom on top of one of the plastic coffee lids and trace out a circle of the end. Cut this circle out and place it in the top of the female adapter that has no threads. Next apply PVC glue to the same end of the staff and then attach the female connector ensuring that the end with the plastic disc is facing up and the threaded end of the connector is facing down. Tap this end as with the first connector to ensure it is firmly seated. Place the top cap on the top end.

On the second 1 1/2' section glue a male adapter to the top and tap it down as did with the first section. Attached the female adapter and plastic disc to the bottom as was done on the first 1 1/2' section.

On the third section (3 ft section), glue a male adapter to the top and tap it down as did with the other two sections. At the bottom of this section, insert the 1/2" conduit coupler until the bottom edge is flush with the bottom edge of the PVC pipe. Drill three holes equally around where the center body of the coupler would be. 

These holes should be the same size for the pop rivets that you will use to secure the coupler to the PVC pipe.

When connecting the staff sections, place an "O" ring on each of the male ends of the connectors to give the tubes a water tight fit.

Next insert the 1" x 1/2 threaded rod into the coupler and then add the end cap. This is the adapter set up for other connections, such as a spear tip, frog gig tip, walking tip, etc.

Next, wrap the body of the staff length wise with the black duct tape until the body is completely covered. This tape can be used later in an emergency if needed and also helps to melt snow if you fill one of the tubes to make drinking water.

Next, wrap the top portion of the staff with the para-cord to make a handle grip. The cord is also used in an emergency if needed.  Allow the staff to try for a day so that the connections bond tight.

Use the plastic coin tubes to hold small stuff or kits. This, I believe, is a reliable staff for emergencies. Do not place all your weight on this staff or it may break. If used properly, it will help is walking uphill and downhill and to help keep your balance. The staff also allows you to check ahead of your steps in tall grass for possible holes and hidden critters like snakes.

Have fun with your new survival staff.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Yucca Leaf Survival Shoes

The Yucca Plant is an awesome survival resource. A person with no knowledge of wilderness survival would take one look at the menacing plant and would rather stay away from it.

A person with knowledge of how wonderful this plant is would use it to its greatest potential. Lets recap on the many uses this plant has:

Protection- shelter
Weapon Making
Cordage Making
Survival shoes
Trap making
Sewing needle and thread

There may be a few more uses that have slipped my mind, but this is one desert plant you don't want to be without.

Here is a recap of the video on how to make survival footwear from the leaf of a yucca bush.

To start with, you need to obtain 80-90 leaves from the narrow leaf yucca bush. The broad leaf yucca are too large to weave, but can be used for cordage making if you do not have cordage. You may need more or less depending on the size of the person's foot.

Make a jig as shown in the video. The vertical leaves should be long enough in the jig so that they are 1 inch longer than the foot. The vertical leaves should be 1 inch wider than your foot to allow for 1/2 inch gap on each side.

Begin weaving the horizontal leaves until you get five rows completed. Lock these rows in and then use a twig to press each row down toward the heel of the jig. Keep doing these five rows until you have made it to the toe of the jig.

The toe and the heel vertical leaves that are sticking out get locked in to each other by going back in a vertical direction just as you locked in the horizontal leaves.

You will have to remove the jig in order to lock down the toe and heel parts of the shoe. If there are any gaps in the horizontal rows, you can weave in more rows to make them tighter.

You will need to make two pads per shoe as shown in the video. If the shoe is for a small person/child, you should only need one pad per foot. If your travel is mainly through desert sandy terrain, you can probably get by with one pad per foot, but may have to replace the ankle and toe loops as they make wear down from the walking.

Add the toe and ankle rings needed for securing the shoes to your feet. You may have some improvements you can add to my design. These shoes should take about 1 1/2 hours to make and this is the fastest design I could think of for making survival shoes.

So in the event you need to cover those puppies in a emergency and all you have is the yucca bush, don't hesitate to make a pair.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!