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Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Forgotten Paw Paw Fruit.

The Paw Paw tree (Asimina triloba) is indigenous to 26 states in the United States.

The Paw Paw is also called poor man's banana and Indiana banana.

Historically, the fruit was enjoyed by Native Americans and early European settlers alike.

Today the Paw Paw, which often grows along the banks of rivers and streams, is a convenient snack for kayakers and a staple in the autumn diets of many country dwellers.

The Paw Paw is high in protein, antioxidants, vitamins A and C and several essential minerals.

The Paw Paw taste like a cross between a banana and mango. It turns dark brown when ripe and the outer skin peels very easily. Just before the skin turns brown, it has a reddish yellow tint just like a mango and tastes closer to a mango than a banana.

The Paw Paw bruise easily and has a two to three day shelf life at room temperature when ripe.

The Paw Paw's maroon blossom, while beautiful, is said to smell like rotting meat.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How To Build A Survival Wiki-up Shelter.


95% Completed


  • Young saplings approximately one inch is diameter and 10-12 feet long. (Can be tied together to make longer main frame. You will need about 8 of these. Desert Willow was used for this shelter.)
  • Young saplings approximately 1/4-1/2 inch in diameter and 4 feet long. (These go around the sides of the frame. You will need approximately 8-10 of these.) (Note: if you can not find green saplings you can you yucca stalks and tie them together to make them longer and form them into a tee-pee type frame instead of a half dome shape.)
  • Cordage to tie the material together.
  • Thick brush for the sides.
  • Grass for bedding.

What you are going to use this type shelter for will determine where you want to build it. What I mean by this is if you are in survival mode and want to be rescued, then build in an area that can be seen from the sky and ground. If you are doing an escape and evasion type scenario, then build it in an area that conceals and blends with the terrain. Below is a distant photo of the wiki-up showing how well it can blend in with the surroundings.

Distant View of Wiki-up

When choosing locations, make sure you do not build it in dried up river beds or areas that appeared to have been flooded and above water line. A good place would be on the side of a hill opposite the direction of the wind. This helps keep the shelter warmer at night since cold air hugs the ground.

Start the frame work by tying two of the longer saplings together as shown in the below photo. Tie the two thinner tops together. This allows the saplings to bend in an arch. Do the same for the two of the other longer saplings. Next, cross them equally in the center in the shape of an "X" and tie them together in the middle.
Next, stand the frame up and separate the legs into 4 equal quadrants. Support the 4 legs with large stones so that the frame will remain standing. If it is windy, tie each leg to a large stone to keep it from blowing over.
Use the remaining long saplings and place them around the side equally from top to bottom to form the remaining for legs. There should be 8 legs when this part is done.
Next, take the smaller saplings and make two tiers of horizontal braces going all the way around the legs. Use the cordage to tie off each intersecting sapling.

Next, gather dense foliage, like creosote, desert willow, grasses, to use for covering the exterior. Start from the bottom and work your way to the top. This creates a layer effect. Hang the foliage over the horizontal rails with the direction of growth facing down. By placing the foliage in this manner gives you a natural hook to use to hold the foliage on the rails.

The more foliage you add to the frame the warmer and more wind proof the shelter will be. If you plan to have a small fire inside the wiki-up, leave a small opening at the top of the roof to let the smoke vent out.

You can make a door frame to place in front of the opening or you use a large bush that will cover the entrance. Gather grasses to use as bedding if you do not have a bed roll.

Be careful when using fire inside this type of shelter it could catch fire very easy. The more people you have the bigger this shelter needs to be. This not a very hard shelter to build, it is just time consuming.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Survival Fishing Using Mini Survival Kit

Blue Gill

I wanted to try out the small fishing kit that comes in the mini survival kits- the ones that come in the small tin cans or the handle of survival knives. Instead of taking apart a good survival kit that I can use for emergencies later, I purchased the same sized items to try out my testing.

Luckily, I was vacationing in Kentucky at my brother and uncle's properties where there were small ponds on both places. I had plenty of resources and bait to use. I was able to cut a pole and dig some worms.

The first pond at my brothers place was taking too long for results, so I changed locations. Sometimes in a survival situation you will have to do this. There were a lot of frogs in this pond that could have been caught as a meal.

The second location proved to be better. Not more than 5 minutes after throwing the line in the water, I got a bite. It was so fast that I was not able to film it. I didn't want to take a chance of losing the fish while I was attempting to to setup the camera. Maybe I should have set the camera first and then went fishing.

I only caught a small blue gill, but it was edible. I ate it fried in beer batter and corn on the cob.

I'm a little more confident now that I know the small fish kit works. Just need to have patience. I wont mention the fish that got away. [Wink!]

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Friday, October 3, 2014

Water From The Wild Grape Vine

The wild grape vine makes a great and easy source for obtaining fresh drinking water. The water is already purified by the plant itself. Spring is the best time to get the most fluid from the vine. Many vines can be set up at one time to harvest the water from them.

Not only does the vine provide water, the rest of the plant provides food and medicine. The fruit, when ripe are edible. The younger leaves can be blanched in hot water until soft and eaten in a salad, or you can use them to wrap other food sources like spring rolls.

Various parts of the plant can also be used for medicinal uses as listed below.

The vine and its parts contain:

Minerals: barlum, sulfur, cadmium, copper, iron, magnesium, mercury, nickel, sodium, zinc, aluminum
Acids: ascorbic acid (leaves, stems, fruits), aspartic, salicylic, fumaric, citric, succinic, and many more.
Tanins- seeds
Resveratrol- leaves
Coumarins- leaves
Amino Acids: alaninen, cycstine, gaba, valine, proline, lysine
Carbohydrates: glucose, sucrose, stachyose
Vitamins: niacin, thiamine, vitamin C, pantothenic acid
Flavanoids: quercetin, epicatechin, anthocyanins, epicatechin
Soluble fiber: petcin

Medicinal Value:

The grapevine leaves are useful in the circulation of blood in the Circulatory system. The leaves posses hemostatic venotonic and antiplatelet properties which helps prevent thrombi formation. Thrombi is associated with strokes. The properties within the leaves also aid in treating Varicose veins, Hemorrhoids and Vaginal bleeding, Endometriosis, poor circulation on the feet and legs, poor cerebral circulation, eye diseases, ocular degeneration, digestive system, intestinal bleeding.
This plant helps eliminate fluids and helps purify the blood.

External uses:

Help stop nose bleeds: crush dried leaves into a powder and sniff a small amount like snuff.
In March, just before the leaves grow, the water in the vine can be used as an eye drop solution.

Here is a Southwestern Desert version of the Wild Grape from

Vitis girdiana

Vitis girdiana is as species of wild grape known as the desert wild grape and valley grape. It is native to the southwestern United States and Baja California in Mexico.
This species is a woody vine with a coating of woolly hairs, especially on new growth. The woolly leaves are heart-shaped to kidney-shaped with serrated edges and sometimes shallowly lobed. The inflorescence is a panicle of unisexual flowers. The fruit is a spherical black grape usually not more than 8 millimeters wide.
It grows in canyon and streambank habitat.
Native American groups such as the Kumeyaay and LuiseƱo used the fruit for food. The Cahuilla used it fresh, cooked, or dried into raisins, and made it into wine. [source:]

As you can see, the grapevine has many uses. Do not overlook its use when it is available to you in a survival scenario. Its part of natures medicine chest.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

U-Trigger Twitch-up Snare

Snare Components:

One green sapling, approx. 2 ft long by 1/2 inch dia.
One crossbeam/bait trigger- 10 inches by 1/2 inch dia.
One floating/trigger pin- 4 inches by 1/2 dia.
Snare cordage (para-chord or similar)

This snare has only one entry point. The back side needs to be blocked so that game will not come in through this point. The sides of the game path should be built up as to funnel the game into the noose of the trap.

The baited trigger pin is positioned across the game trail, as shown in the diagram. The end opposite of where the cordage is tied has a flat spot cut on the under side of the trigger. This is where the floating pin sits against for stability.

The bait is secured in the center of the bait stick. The bait should be hard for the animal to remove in order for enough pressure to be applied to spring the trap.

Several of these traps should be installed for a better chance of getting your game. The size of the components of this trap can be adjusted to the size of game your are intending to catch.

This is just one example of the many styles of the twitch-up series of traps. What is meant by twitch-up is that the end of the snare cordage is tied to a bent sapling or dead fall creating tension on the trigger pin. 

When the trap is sprung, the animal is jerked upwards by the sapling or dead fall (also called the Engine) causing the noose loop to tighten around the animal not allowing it to escape and many times killing the animal.

Your traps should be checked daily to harvest any game that may be awaiting.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Crossbeam Twitch-Up Snare

Snare Installed

Snare Components:

Two stakes- approximately 18 inches by 1 inch dia.
One crossbeam- approximately 12 inches by 1/2 inch dia.
One trigger pin- 3 inches by 1/2 dia.
Snare cordage (para-chord or similar)

This snare has only one entry point. The back side needs to be blocked so that game will not come in through this point. The sides of the game path should be built up as to funnel the game into the noose of the trap.

The hooked end of the trigger pin faces toward the entry of the trap. The back side of the trap can be baited to lure the game into the snare.

Several of these traps should be installed for a better chance of getting your game. The size of the components of this trap can be adjusted to the size of game your are intending to catch.

This is just one example of the many styles of the twitch-up series of traps. What is meant by twitch-up is that the end of the snare cordage is tied to a bent sapling or dead fall creating tension on the trigger pin. 

When the trap is sprung, the animal is jerked upwards by the sapling or dead fall (also called the Engine) causing the noose loop to tighten around the animal not allowing it to escape and many times killing the animal.

Your traps should be checked daily to harvest any game that may be awaiting.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Survival Water Purification Drinking Straws

The ideal "just in case" filter primarily for emergency use when traveling, hiking, fishing or in emergency survival kits. Also ideal as a backup filter for survival kits, multi-day backpacking trips. The Frontier Filter can be used to drink from any bottle or cup, or directly from water sources. Super campact—fits anywhere.

The Frontier straw filter can be used from any water bottle, cup, or directly from a water source (fountain, lake, stream etc.).

Filter Features:

  • Compact & Ultra-Lightweight
  • Remove Contaminants to 2 Microns
  • Ideal Back-Up Filter
  • Filters up to 30 Gallon (depending on water clarity)
  • Emergency water filter for hiking and camping
  • Perfect for foreign travel emergencies
  • Ideal second filter for "back up" on backpacking trips
  • Removes Giardia, Cryptosporidium and bacteria such as E. Coli*
  • No, this is not a primary filter such as the Katadyn Pocket Filter or MSR Miniworks and is not intended to replace them. It is intended as a backup filter to your primary filter should it clog or fail for some reason or to use in conjunction with your water purification tablets. Excellent though for removing poor taste from city treated water or iodine taste after water treatment with Polar Pure or Potable Aqua tablets. Activated carbon helps reduce waterborne chemicals and improves water taste. Think of it as backup insurance.

Removes contaminates down to 2 microns in size including wide spread pathogens such as giardia, cryptosporidium and large bacteria such as E. Coli. Frontier's ultra lightweight and compact package size fits in the smallest day pack, waist pack, purse or pocket.

The ultra light and compact Frontier Filter easily slips into a day pack, waist pack or travel luggage and is ready when you need it. Frontier is the perfect “just in case” back-up filter. Carry the Frontier Filter as a back up on multi-day backpacking trips in case larger pump filters clog or become damaged.

The Frontier Filter can be used to drink from any water bottle, cup or directly from water sources. Frontier will remove pathogens and contaminants down to 2 microns in size including Giardia, Cryptosporidium and E.Coli*.


Filter Prep: A small amount of harmless carbon dust will be expelled on initial use. To remove carbon dust, draw water halfway up straw, Remove straw and discard water. Re-attach straw and drink normally.

Directions: Expand straw and attach wide end firmly onto filter. Fill bottle or cup from water source, insert filter and drink from straw. Take care not to submerge or otherwise contaminate drinking end of straw. Allow filter to air dry for 48 hours before storage.

*Note: Frontier Filter WILL NOT remove viruses or bacteria smaller than 2 microns (E. Coli bacteria is larger than 2 microns). If viruses or smaller bacteria are suspected, use a certified chemical treatment (i.e. Micropur tablets, AquaMira) or boil water before filtering.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cattail Stalk Survival Food Source

The Cattail has many survival uses. It can help start fires, make mats and baskets, make arrow shafts, insulation from the cold, stuffing for flotation devices, and as a food source.

The pollen, when in season, makes a good food source. The female flower pod, when green, can be eaten like corn.

But, the Cattail rhizomes/stalks are fairly high in starch content; this is usually listed at about 30% to 46%. The core can be ground into flour. 

One acre of cattails would yield about 6,475 pounds of flour (Harrington 1972). This flour would probably contain about 80% carbohydrates and around 6% to 8% protein.

The starchy rhizomes are nutritious with a protein content comparable to that of maize or rice.

The leaf bases can be eaten raw or cooked, especially in late spring when they are young and tender. In early summer the sheath can be removed from the developing green flower spike, which can then be boiled and eaten like corn on the cob. 

In mid-summer when the male flowers are mature, the pollen can be collected and used as a flour supplement or thickener.

It is not advisable to eat specimens deriving from polluted water as it is used as a bioremediator, it absorbs pollutants. Do not eat them if they taste very bitter or spicy.  (Source: wikipedia)

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Desert Hollygrape

The Desert Holly-grape (Mahonia spp.)

The Desert Hollygrape is also known as Oregon Grape, Fremont's Barberry and Algerita. This shrub is mainly found throughtout upper Sonoran, Desert Grasslands, Chaparral-Scrub and Juniper-Oak regions.

The leaves are tooth-shaped with spikes on the ends. The leaves have a bluish tint and the inner bark is a distinctive yellow. The berries can come in different colors; purple, red, yellowish-orange and sand color.

The berries can be eaten raw, dried for later, made into wine, jams or jellies. The berries have a sweetish tart refreshing taste and is rich in vitamin C. To make a refreshing beverage, boil one to two handfuls of the berries in water.

The roots of this shrub has medicinal value as well. The root has antimicrobial properties due to containing an alkaloid called berberine. A tincture can be made of 1:5 ratio with 50% alcohol. Approximately 10 drops of this solution taken before eating will assist the digestive system.

To aid in the functions of the galbladder and liver, 15-30 drops of this tincture can be taken. Use the bark from the lower part of the plant to make a good antimicrobial skin wash. Just crush the bark and let seep in cool water.

A tea can be made from the bark, as well, to make help with blood sugar problems. Wait a couple of weeks before taking more dosages of this plant.

The Berbarine alkaloid has been shown to kill giardia. This makes for a good water purification treatment when in a survival emergency.

The yellow inner bark was used by the natives and pioneers to make a yellow dye for dying bucking skin hides. Do not over look the variety of plant life that may be around you that can be used for food and medicine.

This is why I always say Stay Prepared, Stay Alive. Learn the different plants that are in your area, as well as the area you are traveling to. You may need this information and knowledge in a survival situation.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fire Starting With Cattail

The dried cattail seed head makes a great fire starter. It catches a spark very easily and burns quick. The fluffy seeds are also good for insulation when it is cold out. To use the dried fluff you need to build your fire pit with your smaller kindling and fine debris. Collect dried grass to build a birds nest shaped container and place the dried cattail fluff inside. 

If you have a flint and steel set or ferrous rod, the cattail will take a spark very quickly. If you are using the bow and drill method, the hot coal ember will catch the dried fluff very quickly.

If you run across the cattail during your survival trek, make sure to collect a few seed heads to take with you. Be sure to keep the fluff as dry as possible.

And also remember that the other parts of the cattail is a food source.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Homemade Survival Knife Modifications

I made this knife out of an old lawn mower blade. After finishing it I began to wonder how I could incorporate the hole and slots that were in the center of the blade. After a bit of thought I decided I could add a sling shot system that can shoot arrows. I have seen sling shots being converted for this purpose and figured I could do something that would accomplish the task.

I thought it would be simple, but it actually took me 2 days before I finally came up with the idea that you see in the video and photos. 

Materials used:

1. Black sling shot band with ammo patch already attached. (The black rubber tubing has the greatest pull than the yellow or red tubes.)
2. Two 1/16 inch U-bolts (2 inch x 3/4 inch)
3. Four 1/16 inch nuts
4. Four 1/16 inch flat washers
5. Two 1/16 inch locking washer (if you use lock nuts you will not need lock washers)

On the U-bolts you will need to cut off the threaded part of one of the shafts where the smooth shaft meets the threads. So, on each U-bolt you will have one long shaft and one short smooth shaft. Sand off the burrs from where you made the cuts so that they will not cut into the rubber tubing when you slide the assembly onto them.

When applying the tubing, wet the smooth shafts with a small amount of rubbing alcohol and slid the tubing onto the shaft and stop at the top where the shaft just begins to bend. Let this dry for 30 minutes before attempting to apply any force to the tubing.

When sliding the tubing onto the shaft, make sure the ammo pouch is in line with the direction of aim and is not twisted out of shape.

Take about a 4 inch piece of para chord and remove the inner white string leaving you with the outer sheath. Feed the para chord through the holes in the ammo pouch where the rubber tubing goes thru.  Go thru one hole and then across and thru to the other hole. Tie a knot at the end of the para chord.  This will give you a loop. The opening in the para chord should be wide enough to put a finger through for pulling the tubing back and holding the arrow.

This system has about a 30 pound pull and maybe more depending on how far back you pull the tubing. I am pretty sure that it will kill small game at 25-35 feet. With a good broad-head on the end, you can take down feral hogs with this set up, but you have to be close. Make sure you have an alternate means of protecting yourself in the event the hog does not die quickly and decides to attack you.

This was a fun project for me. It allowed me to think while working on it. I will attempt to put down some game animals with this system and to video the event to certify this set up for survival purposes. I was given an idea by a subscriber to add a fishing reel set up attached to the butt of the handle so that you can fish with this system. I need to go to the drawing board and do some calculating. I will post a follow up if come up with a solution. So stay tuned and wish me luck. Come back soon!

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pine Pollen Survival Food

Pine pollen is a survival super food. Take advantage of it while it is in season and it will help sustain you during survival situations. Even when not in survival mode, one can go into the wilderness and collect this super food and use it on a daily basis.

The male Catkins on the ends of the pine branches are what hold the pollen. The pollen can be collected in plastic bags by placing the bag over the Catkins and shaking and thumping the Catkins. A large amount can be collected in a short amount of time.

The pollen can be eaten as is or mixed into water or other beverages or sprinkled into foods.

Another potent function of Pine Pollen is that it is an androgen. The fact that Pine Pollen is an androgen means that it has the ability to raise testosterone levels effectively, making it a naturally derived source of testosterone. This is a huge discovery, as sources of testosterone in nature are few and far between. Pine Pollen raises the testosterone levels in the blood and balances the ratio of androgens to estrogen. 

What it is in the Pine Pollen that has this effect on the hormonal levels, are the sterols. The sterols are basically plant steroids, which benefit us, though also help the pines grow and develop.

Pine Pollen contains 18 Amino Acids

It is a complete protein source as it contains seven of of the essential amino acids. Pine pollen is about 30% protein.

Pine PollenAlanine 17mg
Arginine 30mg
Aspartic acid 33mg
Cysteine 3mg
Glutamic acid 47mg
Glycin 21mg
Histidine 6mg
Isoleucine 16mg
Leucine 25mg
Lysine 24mg
Phenylalanie 17mg
Proline 26mg
Serine 16mg
Threonine 15mg
Tryptophan 4mg
Tyrosine 11mg
Valine 19mg

Pine Pollen is Full of Vitamins

Vitamin A 1.3ug
B1 (Thiamin) 182ug
B2 (Riboflavin) 15ug
B3 (Niacin) 427ug
B6 (Pyridoxine) 39ug
B9 (Folic Acid) 28ug
Vitamin C 1686ug
Vitamin E 97ug
Vitamin D .7ug
Beta Carotene .8ug

Pine Pollen is Full of Minerals

Potassium 128.3mg
Sodium 10.5mg
Calcium 80.6mg
Magnesium 110.3mg
Phosphorus 218.3mg
Silicon 6.0mg
Iron 24.2mg
Zinc 3660ug
Selenium 3.1ug
Manganese 8.74mg
Copper .413mg
Molybdenum .3ug

Pine Pollen also has more:

Oleic acid
Alpha Linolenic Acid
Nucleic Acid
Superoxide Dismutase (SOD)

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Yucca Flower Seed Pod Survival Food

Edible Uses: Fully ripe fruit – raw, cooked or dried for winter use. A staple food for several native North American Indian tribes, the fruits are large, fleshy, sweet and palatable. The ovoid fruit is about 17cm long and 7cm wide. 

Considered to be a luxury by the native North American Indians, the fruits were often baked in ovens. The cooked fruit can be formed into cakes and then dried for later use. Large quantities of the fruit has caused diarrhea in people who are not used to it. 

The dried fruit can be dissolved in water to make a drink. Flower buds – cooked. A soapy taste. The older flowers are best, they are rich in sugar. The flowers, harvested before the summer rains (which turn them bitter), have been used as a vegetable. 

Flowering stems – cooked. Harvested before the flowers open then roasted. Seed – cooked. It can be roasted and then ground into a powder and boiled. The tender crowns of the plants have been roasted and eaten in times of food shortage. The young leaves have been cooked as a flavoring in soups.

Reproduced, in part, (as well as previous postings under this title) in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bear Corn Survival Food

Bear Corn (conopholis alpina var. mexicana)

Bear Corn (conopholis alpina) are root parasites lacking chlorophyll, which make its home on the roots of oak trees and sometimes junipers.  It is common enough and large enough to harvest.  

Many forest animals eat the bear corn, especially bears coming out of hibernation. If ever seen a pile of bear scat or wolf or coyote scat, you may see it filled with many seeds from the bear corn.

The Bear Corn is sometimes called squaw root, American cancer root and Indian corn, but the two are somewhat different as to what they are depending on what part of the U.S you are in.

Edible Uses: The spring roots of Conopholis have been roasted for food, but taste like a bland old turnip.

Medicinal Uses: The root is the strongest part, but the whole plant can be used.   It is strongly astringent, and there for makes an excellent poultice.  It is used internally as a mild laxative, sedative, and can be of great use for restoring muscular strength after a debilitating illness or a mild stroke.  An average dose is a slightly rounded teaspoon boiled in water and drinking up to two cups a day.

(source: Medicinal Plants Of the Mountain West  by Michael Moore, 1st Edition, page 42 , publisher:  Museum of New Mexico Press ; copy right 1979)

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Water Cress For Survival

Water Cress

Edible Uses

Leaves – can be eaten raw or cooked. Water cress is mainly used as a garnish or as an addition to salads. Water Cress has a radish flavor and slightly hot taste.  The leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron. The seed can be sprouted and eaten in salads. A hot radishy  flavor. The seed is ground into a powder and used as a mustard. The pungency of mustard develops when cold water is added to the ground-up seed Mixing with hot water or vinegar, or adding salt, inhibits the enzyme and produces a mild but bitter mustard.

Medicinal Uses : Watercress is very rich in vitamins and minerals, and has long been valued as a food and medicinal plant. Considered a cleansing herb, its high content of vitamin C makes it a remedy that is particularly valuable for chronic illnesses. The leaves are antiscorbutic, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, purgative, hypoglycaemic, odontalgic, stimulant and stomachic. The plant has been used as a specific in the treatment of TB. The freshly pressed juice has been used internally and externally in the treatment of chest and kidney complaints, chronic irritations and inflammations of the skin etc. A poultice of the leaves is said to be an effective treatment for healing glandular tumours or lymphatic swellings. Some caution is advised, excessive use of the plant can lead to stomach upsets. The leaves can be harvested almost throughout the year and are used fresh. (source: wikipedia)

A word of caution: Plants that are growing in water that drains from fields where animals graze should not be used raw. This is due to the risk of it being infested with the liver fluke parasite. Cooking the leaves will destroy any parasites and make the plant safe to eat. 

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Homemade Survival Knives

If you have some basic shop tools, or have access to them, you can teach yourself to make your own survival knives. YouTube has a vast amount of how-to videos that can teach you the easiest way to make a knife.
This post is to show what you can achieve with a little exploring and training. This post is not a step by step tutorial, but rather a little journey I took into the field of knife making.
Here is a list of tools and materials I used to build the knives that you see here in the video and the post.
Old circular saw blades that are beyond useable
Old worn out lawn mower blades
Deer or Elk antlers
Seasoned mesquite wood
13/16" brass brazing rod (at least a foot long to make several knives)
Gorilla glue or some other strong glue
Sand paper, coarse and fine grit
Permanent marker and wood pencil
Flat paint, type used for plastics (your choice of color)
Linseed oil or tongue oil
PVC pipe, schedule 40, 2 inch diameter, 6 ft length (for sheath making)
90 degree hand grinder with metal cutting wheels
Hacksaw with extra blades
Vise grip pliers
Large "C" clamp
Table mounted wheel grinder
Heat gun
Band saw/Table saw with thin wood blades
Table top belt sander
Ball peen hammer
Anvil or something similar
Hand metal files
Rivet gun with 1/8 inch rivets with washer backings.
To Start:
Basically, I start with the knife pattern I want to make. You can use Google images and search for survival knife blades and you can get many ideas on the shape of the knife that you want, or design or own.

Then choose the metal you want to use for the knife. I like to use circular saw blades and lawn mower blades. As long as you do not get the metal too hot while grinding, you will not need to heat treat the metal before putting on a cutting edge.

Above are blanks that were cut out of a circular saw blade and a lawn mower blade. I used the table mounted grinder to take down the rough and uneven surfaces and give the knife its shape. I also use the grinder to put on the rough angle of the cutting edge. I use a hand file to take the cutting edge down to the sharpness and then use a diamond or stone sharpener to finish the fine edge.

Above is a knife being cut from a lawn mower blade. I used a C-clamp and vise grips to hold it down to the table, since I do not have a table mounted vise. I use the 90 degree hand grinder with a metal cutting wheel to cut out the knife blanks.

In the above photo, I used a hand file to fine tune the cutting edge and angle and to smooth the edges of the rest of the knife.

In the above photo, I am ready to add the handle. On the blade, I am using mule deer antler. I cut two brass pins to attach the handle with. I use the ball peen hammer to expand the ends of the pins so that they are larger than the drilled holes. I add the glue to the back sides of the handles before adding the pins. This gives it a little extra holding grip.

Above is the almost finished mower blade knife. This is of my own design. I just need to fine tune the cutting edge with a diamond sharpener and make a sheath. I added some Linseed oil to the handle to help preserve it.

Next, I used schedule 40 PVC pipe to make my knife sheaths. It is much cheaper than Kydex. I used the band saw to cut the PVC, as well as the deer antlers and mesquite that I make the handles from. PVC pipe becomes rubbery and moldable when heated with a heat gun. I cut the pipe into two halves length wise and then heat and flatten them out to be measured for the knife.

Above I have already measured, shaped and added rivets to hold the two halves of my sheath together. Now all I have to do is draw the outline for the shape of the sheath and trim it on the band saw. I then used the table sander to even the edges. Before painting the PVC, you need to rough up the surface with sand paper so that the paint will stick better. I used the type of paint that is used for plastics.

Above is the completed sheath ready to be painted. I just need to drill two holes at the bottom to put para-chord for tying to the leg or for whatever.

Above are some completed knives that I have taught myself (with the help of a lot of talented YouTuber's) to make. Four of the knives are of my own design. I will be field testing them when I start my three day survival trek video. On the next sheath design, I plan on adding a place to hold a sharpener and a ferrous fire rod or maybe even a survival kit.

I did not think I had the ability to actually make my own knife, but when you put your mind to something and are determine to succeed, you can succeed. These knives are not show room quality, but I did not want them to be. I like the rustic hand-made look that they have and know that they are fully functional for what I intended for them to be.

Go ahead! Give it a try. Design the knife of your dream. Or just have fun trying. This skill could become very handy in the near future.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!