BarryHalls Original Survival Blade

Discussion in 'Survival Gear' started by BarryHalls, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    SO, the zombie blades made me re-evaluate my own blade design. I had originally thought that a wakizashi would be the 'perfect blade'. While it is probably the best defensive blade in the world, and excellent as a machete for light brush, it is too fragile for chopping wood. What's just as important is that the overall design isn't conducive to my idea of carbide or tungsten plating the blade to make it 'forever sharp. SO, I started from scratch to create a blade that I could forge at home (yes, I'm going to build a forge), that would maximize the benefit from the harder plating, be sturdy enough to chop wood, weildy enough to cut vines or quarter game, and long enough to defend me from snakes (both the 2 legged and 0 legged variety!).

    This is the result: (click to enlarge)

    I knew that if it was not a katana style then I wanted a blade heavily weighted toward the end to give me powerful chops. The lines are such that all points should be strong enough for chopping, but smooth enough for slicing, and strong enough to take abuse without chipping, and still the point should be good enough for stabbing. I went with a totally straight back to make the bulky blade easier to draw and allow for functional saw.

    This blade will be all one piece of steel, about 3/16" thick, handle and all, no additional grip will be necessary, but one may be added by bradding to the holes shown, or wrapping with leather or tape. The two holes in the handle are 1/4" which is perfect for making a para-cord tether, loop, or knuckle guard, or lashing the blade to a pole to be used like a spear or staff-blade. The underside of the belly (towards the handle) is actually barely concave, making it easer to use the knife to carve or whittle, and also easier to chop small branches and such.

    I know I can hammer out the basic shape of this blade and use a grinder to smooth out the lines, and shape the handle. After forming the blade I will have it plated with a harder steel or tungsten, then chrome plated. This will ensure that the blade long outlives me.

    I haven't built my forge yet, and may not be able to (finances) this year, but I WILL have a forge, and I'm pretty sure that this will be my first blade. It's too perfect for the tasks I want a utilitarian blade to perform. I hope to make several of these blade for my like-minded friends. I know my best friends won't let me rest until they have one. Later blades will be katana styled of various length, fighting knives, gladius styles, and a full length Lamentation:


    Poor picture, but I've always loved that blades form, and the consequent function.


    The large belly should be almost the ideal weight and curve to function identically to woodsman's ax, supported by other cutting surfaces.

    My very first iteration may be cut from plate steel, to save time and effort, before I construct a forge.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  2. How do you plan on building your forge, this is something I have really been toying with (the idea of making a forge and try my hand at knife making) and im curios to see how your planning your forge. Also what d oyou use for an anvil?

  3. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    Well, there are some 'professional' forge items out there, such as a ceramic tube that comes with a propane burner inside. Those things are amazing, but even the smaller ones are pricey. They are portable though, and heat up quickly to extreme temperatures. I need to look at those prices again, come to think of it.

    Anyway, as I'm not going to be in my current house for more than another couple of years I'm not springing for 'fireplace bricks' I'm just going 2 hole concrete blocks an a propane grill element. I'd have to use rebar or concrete to support the element, and air flow is important, but the overall construction doesn't have to be complicated.

    There is a store down the road from here called 'bents n dents' that has all sorts of odd items, among them are 'damaged' anvils. LOL! Who cares if an anvil has a nick in it? haha! Tractor Supply Co. and Harbor Freight have them from time to time as well. I have heard of them being at lowes. For my purposed I could us a large piece of "I" beam from the scrap yard.
  4. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  5. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    OH, I almost forgot, what should I call this blade? I may end up just embossing 'Pig Sticker' on the belly, but I think a more formal name should be given to the design. Any suggestions?
  6. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    I can't stop.

    I have to create this one as well. I did this rough sketch at work. It's pretty well finished in design and 'life sized'. I Think I'll add a 'zipper hook' behind the belly for gutting game (or opponents).


    Look familiar? For one it's a shorter version of the blade above, (which will now have a lowered-double-edged point like this smaller one) meant to be a replacement for it as a companion to a wakizashi or machete. For two it's very similar to the knife from "The Hunted".

    In any event, it performs all of the functions of the larger blade on a smaller scale, with a more reversible grip to be better with the saw blade. and the concave section behind the belly makes it easier to strike the blade with a log or stone to generate greater chopping force, and make it useful as a draw blade.

    This might be the first of the blades, as one I would use more often, and smaller and easier to forge.

    I'm going to ad the rounded striking surface to the larger blade, and add tether holes to the smaller one.

    The horizontal line is a blood groove. I may make it a slot all the way through the blade. I haven't decided yet.

    I still need names!
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  7. TACAV

    TACAV G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    lol Why not just call it "The Survivor"

    If you ever get some into production how much do you think they would cost after production and your profit margin?
  8. Spooky.45

    Spooky.45 G&G Newbie

    hey i have or should i say my grandfather has a forge behind his shop, the actual firebed is 5 feet across and 3 1/2 high made of firebrick and we use homeade coal for fuel. as far as the anvil goes he has a 15 inch piece of railroad track that we put on to a small table i made that goes about waist high. as far as knife makeing goes i can only say its 100% addictive and fun esp in the winter when its snowing or cold out.
    as far as names go what about something like the s blade lol im not good with names
  9. Spooky.45

    Spooky.45 G&G Newbie

    o btw i really like your knife designs
  10. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    Absolutely know idea. Even just figuring $10/hour + materials, these won't be cheap, or numerous, but they will be perfect.

    For now production isn't even on my mind, but I'd happily make some for trade with friends.
  11. That's alot of length for the saw teeth and my hat is off to you if you can make em and it looks like you've included enough grip stop to keep your hand from sliding onto the business part of things if it suddenly comes to a stop.

    That said unless the handle has a loooot of girth then its not going to feel very good in your hand, and doubly so when levering and chopping anything solid. Some good grips should at least be looked into unless you are comfortable with the feel of wrapped metal. If you really get the itch to make a forge there are recipes out there for DIY firebricks that will at least allow for mild tinkering and testing.

    Looking forward to what you do with this idea, it looks like a rugged, well thought out, awesome concept!
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  12. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    Thank you.

    I like your idea of a charcoal forge. It could be done on the 'super cheap'.

    My early forging was done by bon-fire. :)

    yes, railroad rails are nearly perfect for knives.

    I want something with a totally flat surface though, for making these flat blades.
  13. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    Thank you, thank you.

    I'm going to shorten the saw section on the long blade. I may even make the grip more reversible like on the short one. I'm sure that I want to drop the point on the longer blade like the shorter one. and i really like the gut hook on the short one, now that I'm drawing it.

    The grip will be sort of beefy to aid in the comfort, but I could make it a 'stick tang' and wrap it or slide on a drilled grip and tap the end to keep it secure with a nut, or just wrap the metal grip.

    Yeah, DIY fire bricks will work for now. Cinder blocks treated with mud will work well enough for me to make the few blades I 'need'. I'l build something big and permanent at my next house. Something that I can convert to a BBQ pit when I go to sell the house :)

    The saw teeth will be the most tedious part, but not that challenging. I think I can cut them pretty quickly with a hand held grinder with a fine cutting wheel, after hand drawing them to precise measurements. Perhaps a miter box will help me maintain the angle I want.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  14. Rex_Lee

    Rex_Lee G&G Regular

    First of all, I think it is awesome that you are working to get set up to build your own blades. Something I'd like to do someday.

    However, I've never understood the need/desire to have a knife that has to chop wood. And I am speaking generally here, not just your post. Why is everyone against carrying a top notch belt knife and a belt or pack hatchet? Compromising between the two makes a relatively crappy knife and a darn sure crappy wood chopper.

    Here is an awesome belt hatchet. Problem solved! ;). Now just make a great knife.
    [ame=""] Wildlife Hatchet: Patio, Lawn & Garden[/ame]
  15. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    Ah, but the idea is an 'all inclusive wilderness survival blade'.

    Generally, I keep a skinning knife, a fillet knife, a quartering knife, and a tomahawk in my hunting/camping kit or in my car.

    BUT, part of the objective is to lighten that load, reduce my kit, so I can carry just the single blade that can do all of those functions as well as one blade can. Besides reducing kit, in the long run it may prove more prudent to spend the extra money and time on a single blade that will never dull rather than two that will.

    The thing is that the same edge that is good for skinning can be good for wood cutting (of course given that it sufficiently hard and recently sharpened, or of my plated design), and the gut hook is an easy add on. The rest of the knife sort of complements that pot bellied feature, and adds any function that I can fit on the blade without taking away from those two. This knife will suit all of my needs as a knife, quite well, and still serve for wood cutting.

    Of course, there will be other blades designed to be more of a companion to a machete, sword, or ax, but these first iterations are a long and short (heavy and light) of my idea of an all inclusive survival blade.

    You'd probably be more interested in my K-Bar styled designs, similar to (but more practical) the Rambo knife or air force survival knives, which I will unveil later.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  16. Thanks for those links. Roughly how much does Firebrick go for? I really like that design using the brick. It looks like it would be easy to take down and store or move if needed. And another thing I was wondering what kind of hammers do you have or plan on using?
  17. Another thing I was going to ask was will an old truck leaf spring work well for making a heavy duty knife? If I do get the stuff (will take a while most likely) Would a truck leaf spring be strong enuph to with stand some abuse? I would like to eventually get to where I can make some kukri style knives and maby some short swords. I have an old junk yard close to where I live and they have lots of trucks and suvs there so there should lots of them.
  18. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    I haven't looked at fire bricks in a while, but I will look this week end.

    I have a couple of long handled 2-3lb sledge/shop hammers that will work wonders. I also have a ball-pin hammer, and a wedge ended sledge.

    Any old hammer will work, but the heavier, flatter, one handed hammers make life easier.
  19. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    :) I plan to make my longer knives out of leaf springs. In short, the spring steel will bend and flex to an ENORMOUS degree, under extreme stresses, and then bounce right back, making the springs practically indestructible.

    The are soft, and therefore don't hold an edge too well, but that plays well with my carbon-steel plated design or the 'wrapped' katana design.

    Katana style tempering could potentially make the spring steel much much harder, and therefore hold an edge, and if tempered correctly, still be flexible.
  20. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    Thanks for all of the comments, gents.

    I have designed a few more iterations, as well as modified the first. Of course, they aren't digitized and made to scale yet. I'll post them as soon as I iron that out.

    I think I may have indeed perfected the long term survival knife. Of course, tinkering with the design in the real world to get the weight and handle position and such perfect will occur


    Currently I have sketched out 11", and 16" overall length knives. The sketches include a gut hook and a blood groove. The blood groove could be modified to be a 3-6 hole slotted grove and the gut hook will be dropped on some of real world blades in the interest of strength and safety.

    I'm beginning to think the 11" model will the the only blade I ever carry hunting again. The longest design may replace my trusty machete, and the middle size would make a nice 'in between'.

    I should have all variants digitized, to scale, by the end of the week.

    I love this stuff. Once I get a bug to have something I HAVE to find it. I don't have to possess it, but it has to be out there and I have to know where it is when I finally need it. Blades, of many designs that I want, simply aren't out there, not in my idea of perfection, so I have to create them, at least on paper, in order to sleep at night. The more I think about it, the more I want to gut a deer, this winter, with one of my knives. My best friend has always wanted to forge blades as much as I do, and we will be building a forge this winter, almost without doubt.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010