I suppose anyone that’s been around the martial arts game for long enough eventually starts to develop specialties. Sure, you try to focus on developing a well rounded skill set, but the combination of your level of interest and natural inclinations eventually conspire to make you better (or at least more practiced) with certain aspects of fighting than others. For me, those aspects are ground and knife fighting.
I’m a ground fighting guy, first and foremost, but over the years, knives have continued to peak my interest. Early in my Marine Corps career, I saw knives as field tools, but not particularly as offensive weapons – until I had the opportunity to participate in some joint training with the LAPD Swat team. The Corps and LAPD brought in a cadre of combatives experts, each tasked with introducing us to some new techniques that might make us better, more capable war fighters or law enforcement officers… each of them with a long list of credentials and the physique and posture one might expect from a dude that makes his living teaching Marines to fight.
Except the knife guy. He was overweight, had poor communication skills, and generally seemed more like the guy you’d peg for stolen valor than the law enforcement and special operations veteran he claimed to be. I already thought knives were unnecessary when I would be carrying two firearms, and from the looks of the guy they’d brought in to teach me how to knife fight – the Marine Corps didn’t seem all that concerned either, I thought.
Then I saw him in action. With demonstrator training blades (I’ve always called them “shark teeth” because of the carved holes in them) covered in red lipstick, he took on multiple opponents, and in a flash of swaying belly fat and black plastic, all three of them were covered in red lipstick, and I was a changed man.
Since then, I’ve become pretty good with a blade, and have some pretty strong preferences for what I’ll carry for defense purposes versus what I’ll use for utility – but for years now, I’ve had this hankering to try to make my own knife. I know I won’t make one as good as the Kershaw Launch 7 I carry each day, or as comfortable in my hand as the Gerber Prodigy in my day pack, but there’s something to be said about making something with your own two hands. It might not be as good as my store-bought gear, but it would be unique – and in making it myself, I could hopefully develop a skill set that might benefit me in the future (ya know, once Fallout is a way of life, rather than a video game).
Of course, I don’t have a machine shop at my disposal, and although I’ve worked as a mechanic in the past, those of you that have spent time as fabricators likely know that there’s a massive skill gap between guys like me (that can bolt stuff together someone else made) and the folks that legitimately make things. So I did what any self-respecting guy of the internet age would do: I googled, “how to make a knife.”
Seemed simple enough.
I’m disappointed to report that this article won’t be about my successes in making my own knife (though I’m working my way toward a workable plan for just such a write up) – instead, this is about the ways I know for sure I won’t be making one. Now, I’m not arguing that these methods aren’t pretty cool, nor am I suggesting that the knives they produce would be sub-par (I honestly have no idea, maybe they’re rad) – all I’m really saying is that these methods, however neato, just don’t seem particularly feasible in my little garage.
The first of these “bad” ideas? Making a knife out of a bunch of batteries, which, according to this video, doesn’t seem to involve wearing any gloves. Writer’s note: if you try this, please wear gloves.
The use of the flashlight as a handle makes the finished product both concealable and pretty cool, if you ask me, but this whole process seems a bit unnecessary… even from the standpoint of a guy that has 40 knives and still wants to start making his own.
Next up is a method that hits a little closer to home for me: converting one of your beat up old wrenches into a brand new knife. This video was produced by Trollskyy Knife Making, and they have a few other great videos out there on the subject, but this one caught my attention primarily because of all the wrenches I’ve got piled up in my garage already. Honestly, I love this idea, but it’s not quite what I’m looking to do for my first knife project. Nonetheless, I can’t help but be mesmerized by this video:
Finally, we have the fast food knife. This blade isn’t made from anything particularly exotic, but the knife maker (Green Beetle) used some pretty ingenious methods in the knife making process, including carburizing the iron into steel using Tums (antacids), quenching the blade in beer, and finally, making a handle out of everyone’s favorite breakfast meat, bacon, encased in a layer of resin.
Everything about this build is a little beyond my current level of skill, but I had to include it because it’s a god damn bacon and beer knife, guys, come on.
None of these methods may be the right one for me, but who knows, maybe they are for you. In the mean time, I’m going to get back to looking into more basic methods of knife making… at least for now.
Image courtesy of YouTube