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Half Baked

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by ArfinGreebly, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

    So, it's late, it's been a long week, and I've had way too little time here with my friends.

    Naturally, the remedy for this is that I should subject them to some kind of thought experiment.

    Thanks. I knew you'd agree.

    So, here's the thing. We pretty much all understand that a knife is hardly a good primary weapon, but makes a fine general-purpose cutting tool.

    Add to this the observation that it is from the most basic tools that all other tools -- and weapons -- derive.

    So, there you are, stuck somewhere without a serviceable weapon, but in possession of a fine knife.

    Let us assume that we will be needing some kind of weapon. Could be needed for hunting or defense or what have you, but something more than a knife is needed.

    Your scenario might involve being stranded by a car breakdown, ditched airplane, train wreck, or [your nightmare here].

    You have a knife, and there are materials of some sort around you that can be fashioned into a weapon or weapons. I would imagine that you don't have months to accomplish this task.

    So, what are some examples of creating weapons of some kind, using only a knife and "found materials" in the environment.

    You get to specify the knife, the circumstances, and the environment.

    I'll start.

    My first inclination, presuming I'm in some forested area in the North latitudes, would be to make a spear. Cut sapling or branch, plane as needed, sharpen one end, heat to harden. Not long after this, I'd be looking to make a stone axe, unless there were bits of sharp metal suitable for that. I imagine a fishing pole would soon follow.

    My materials would, for the most part, be wood and various plants to begin with. Maybe as I "got game" I'd have hides and stuff.

    The knife I'm most likely to have on my person, these days at least, is a Swedish folding knife by EKA, the Swede 92, having a blade of some 3½ inches in length.

    I haven't the first clue about making a bow, though it seems that would surely be a useful skill to have.

    Anyway, let's turn this over to the more creative minds.

    Whatcha got, guys? Feel free to liven it up with project pictures.
  2. Mongrel

    Mongrel Well-Known Member

    Well I *was* on my way to bed...hahah

    But let's see...

    You put the first couple up that I thought of but what about:

    A frog \fish gigging spear?

    Snares\traps using braided vine or shaved green bark.

    Defensive perimeter-punji stakes

    Any and all could be done with anything from an 18" Ontario machete to a 2" blade or any SAK with a spear point blade and a saw (SAKs have one of the best saws ever devised imho).

    Bow and arrows would be tricky-the bow that is-because you need a suitable string. A string could be made from animal gut, but that would take some time.

    I don't recommend lashing your only knife to a stick to make a spear like you see in the 'movies'. Imagine the horror of seeing your only real tool running through the woods stuck in the side of a wild pig!

    Cool topic....
  3. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator

    all of the above plus a fire staring rig if no lighter or matches, to keep warm and signal also fashion a trowel or shovel and dig a latrine -sanitation is important to prevent disease
    knife = my old schrade LB7
  4. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Well-Known Member

    If I were to do a spear, I'd likely sharpen a piece of white oak or locust (if I found a piece straight enough) depending on locale, of course. I'd use the fire to harden it and use that to try and hunt tasty vertebrates.

    A couple of squirrel or rabbit pelts would make a good food sack for nuts and greens.

    Depending on available materials, I might build a bow using sinew and wood or cane. But, a bow made from wildcrafted materials can be pretty materials intensive and hard to do if you haven't done it before.
    Arrows could be made from river cane or small hardwood limbs. And, lots of stone worth using for axe, arrow, or spear tips are available throughout the world.

    I contemplate this all the time when I'm camping. It's one of my favorite campfire conversations. Good Thread!
  5. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

    Well, the knife I would likely have on me is one of my edc's, like my Victorinox bantam, Opinel number 7. Sincce I'm a pipe smoker theres always a Bic lighter in my pocket as well. I guess I'd get a fire going, then use my bantam or Opinel to cut some saplings for spear making. Notch around the base and break then off, sharpen well and fire harden the points. That served our distant ansesters for a very long time. Make a long one or two for throwing and a short one for up close stabbing. If I still had some time left, I'd make a stone tomahwak if there was some decent flint around, if not make do with what I could find.

    Can I use stuff from the wreak?

    If so, a couple hide scrapers from sheet metal, and wire for snares and the making of a three pronged fish spear like Mongrel thought.
  6. Jason_G

    Jason_G Well-Known Member

    OK I'll play.

    Stranded in the woods:
    If I needed a weapon "right now", I'd make some good pointy sticks about 7 or 8 feet long. If not, I'd make some traps for food, and spend some time trying to make a bow. I'd probably try to use shoestrings as bowstring, but if it didn't work, I'd try to procure some sinew. A bow would be the most ideal primitive weapon for hunting IMO, so that's what I would try to ultimately build.

  7. seeker_two

    seeker_two Well-Known Member

    Even before you cold make a spear, you could make a functional staff or club as an improvised weapon. Use the knife to whittle off branches to make it easier to carry.

    If you have metal from the wreck, you can fashion sharpened spear heads and notch them in and secure them with paracord or vine.

    You DID remember to pack the paracord, didn't you?... ;)
  8. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Well-Known Member

    Don't need it. :neener:
  9. Exmasonite

    Exmasonite Well-Known Member

    well... 2 things came to mind, kinda related:

    1) more along the line of "weapon/self defense"... assuming i'm being pursued or something, making traps... some sort of pit w/ numerous of the above mentioned spikes. swinging log o' death from predator... somewhat impractical but possible

    2) in the same vein as the first, traps/deadfalls/pits for catching animals

    In the super short term, i could see said knife being lashed to a stick as the spear point but #1 priority would be making spear to avoid loss of blade.
  10. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Well-Known Member


    Most used weapon made with the knife: Fishing pole.

    Second place: Frog-gigging spear.

    -Tried to make a frog-shooting bow but none of the reeds and shoots had enough spine. The bow is the easy part.

    Luckily, I was stuck down near a river. Living off of the land in March and April when you're higher up is a bit tougher. When that happened to me and my family I had the advantage of four rifles and a canister of very old survival crackers.
  11. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

    Wreck Scenarios

    If you have a wreck scenario, or even a scenario where the car/truck has become so stuck it will never be of any service to you in your quest, then of course the vehicle parts are fair game.

    I have a cousin who's fairly accomplished with a two-foot leather sling. He can hurl a fair sized rock several hundred feet with better than fair accuracy. He tried to teach me that skill, and I was a lost cause.

    Car seats have lots of fabric, and a sling could be braided and tied in fairly short order.

    I'm sure there's all sorts of sharp bits on a car. Whether you'd be able to press them into service is another question though. Of course, if you've chosen "small plane wreck" for your outing, then you should have plenty of random metal bits available.

    Anyone ever made a sling from a bandanna or scarf?
  12. Mongrel

    Mongrel Well-Known Member


    Just thought of another one-

    IF you can gather up some type of cord, OR make it from cat-gut you can make a very effective bolo.

    The bolo is very effective for throwing into sitting flocks (like geese or ducks), or if your really good it could tangle up a mammal if you can get close enough...
  13. John G

    John G Well-Known Member

    With my modest flintknapping skills I can fabricate arrowheads, speartips, and even axe heads. Not to mention a simple hafted stone makes a good old-fashioned club/hammer. Braided or twined vegtable matter (long grass, grape vine, green bark, etc.) makes cordage for most of your primitive needs, including weapon building.

    But yeah, weapon number one is the spear. I like the "scarf key" type on primitiveways.com.
  14. falnovice

    falnovice Well-Known Member

    For me,

    Staff, then spear, then spear launcher. (Even a bit of rope would help)
    A Better spear. :D

    I am of the opinion that in a survival situation a bow is pretty useless unless you have some previous experience. I mean, the bow will be sub-par, the all-important arrows will be sub-par, and then if you have little experience with archery the whole package will be dramatically sub-par.
    Spears are a lot easier to make and use.
    A sling isn't that difficult to make or use....and hey, if your in a survival situation you need something to pass the time. :)
    Bolos would also be a good idea.
    As far as a defensive weapon, I would use the spear and prehaps a simple stone-head club for close in work. Maybe a short thrusting spear avaible for my other hand.

    Trapping may be a better skillset to move towards in this situation....most wildlife is smart enough to avoid the smelly man trying to spear them. :D
  15. Tom Krein

    Tom Krein Well-Known Member

    First I would disagree that a knife is not a good weapon. In close quarters (kissing distance) a knife is better than a firearm in my opinion!

    If I was building a weapon I would seriously consider an atlatl and 3-4 darts for it. Maybe a couple short throwing sticks (rabbit sticks).

  16. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Well-Known Member

    One of the most useful weapons in this kind of situation is a sling shot. That's why my GTH bag has a wrist rocket, some .35 lead balls and a bag of marbles, and some surgical rubber.

    You can make a "flip" with the rubber, a bit of lacing, and a forked stick. A piece of shoe tongue can be used as a ball pouch, if you want to get fancy.
  17. FourNineFoxtrot

    FourNineFoxtrot Well-Known Member

    I'll play.

    To keep it realistic, I'll say that my only knife is the knife that I carry any time I step outside my door: A Gerber Applegate-Fairbairn Mini-Covert. On the plus side, it's pretty solidly constructed for a cheap-ish folder, and has a half-serration on the blade. On the down side, there's only the one blade, and it's not as long as my index finger. And it could stand to be sharper...

    So. If I can find a decent stick to work with, I'm doing okay. Something of adequate staff-length and reasonable straightness will suffice. If I could whittle it into a spear-point, even better. If I can't get that, then I find whatever there is. Maybe a shorter, heavier branch, for a club. Maybe just a rock.

    [caveman voice] Foxtrot crush skull with rock! [/caveman voice]

    Or something like that. Pointy sticks are about the limit of my manufacturing skills. Atlatls? Bows? bolos? Even if I could make 'em, I doubt I could use 'em. No... it's pointy sticks for me. Or rocks. These things I understand.

    Pointy stick: "Pointy end toward enemy"

    Rock: "Grasp firmly in hand. Swing hard at enemy. Optional: Yell something fierce-sounding".

    Good thing I don't carry a fancy knife with a buncha gizmos on it. Then I'd feel even worse about failing miserably to accomplish anything with it.

    So, to conclude this scenario, Foxtrot is eaten by a grue.

  18. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    John likes sticks and spears. John has knife and light.
  19. hangtime

    hangtime Well-Known Member

    so there I was. . .

    in what appeared to be a very bad section of town with a broken down rental car. My cell phone battery was dying and the wrong directions I had been given were beginning to look as though they might have serious consequences. I grabbed my briefcase out of the car and pulled out my Leatherman Wave. A moment later it was on my belt and I began walking back the direction I had come. No phone booth in sight but a few dumpsters around so I begin to look around for a persuader. Second dumpster yields an industrial strength broom - worn out but with a serviceable handle. A few quick strokes of the saw blade and my Wave has given me a walking stick. I walk on for a few blocks and the only thing moving on the street is me and what appears to be a stray dog shadowing me about half a block behind. No problem yet but it is a reminder to be wary after dark. Two more blocks and nothing but a vandalized pay phone and my shadowy companion. I look at the phone booth again and decide a handset on the end of a cord might make a passable flail if needed so the wirecutter on the Wave is brought into play and now I have a second option should trouble arise. I suppose I could use the briefcase but half my life is in there and its awkward to swing.
    Could I have driven this far? I'm starting to get tired of walking when I come up to a construction yard - I wonder if there is anything in there that might help me? A phone maybe or just some water would be nice. The padlock looks strong but I have shimmed these before when I lost my keys to our storage unit so maybe if I can find a piece of sheet metal...there! an old can of some sort behind the telephone pole. The Wave comes to the rescue again cutting an appropriate sized piece of metal and tapping it into shape against the broom handle. Heck, this might actually work. A few minutes later I am able to open the lock and walk into the yard where to my amazement I find that someone has left the keys in a dump truck. The doors are locked but a piece of bent wire can cure that pretty quick on one of these older models. I use the pliers on the Wave to bend a piece of scrap wire into the right shape and I'm in. The old girl fires up right away and I drive out into the street, stopping long enough to relock the gate. Twenty minutes later I'm back at my hotel and in my room I call the construction company and leave a message for them regarding the whereabouts of their truck. I pull a cold bottle of beer from the mini-fridge and open it with the Wave and relax on the chair thinking " That guy Leatherman makes a pretty nice tool.".
  20. Todd A

    Todd A Well-Known Member

    Nope,but from a boot lace and the leather tounge of one boot. Was in one of my Cub Scout handbooks back when I was little. Got pretty good with it too.

    You don't need the tounge on your boot.And the laces are usually long enough that if the other one is cut in half it will keep both boots on your feet.

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