Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Weekly Survival Skills Challenge: Knife Selection, Maintenance and Use

This is the first installment of my weekly survival skills challenge that goes along with my weekly radios show on APN Radio: Prepper Broadcasting Radio. You can listen to last nights live show here: and be sure to tune in each Tuesday night at 9pm Eastern for the live show (simply follow the above link to listen to the live show and join our chat room).  So here is this weeks challenge in video form and I will provide a few more details below, I look forward you your pictures, videos and comments.

Knife Selection: This is the simplest portion of the challenge. Find a knife that you would like to use as your personal survival knife. If you have one all the better get out there and practice with your selection. If you're planning on making a new purchase to fill the void of a one tool option on your hip then I highly recommend you buy a knife that meets the ten attributes found in this article (Link Here)
Need A Survival Knife? Try One Of These:
Knife Maintenance: Having a knife on your hip may be your first step to a more prepared life style but a sharp knife will make your life infinitely easier in the woods. This portion of the challenge is to sharpen your knife to the point it easily slices paper cleanly.  You can do this in any manner you choose but I highly suggest you pick a few methods to hone your skills. Commercial sharpeners like the ones I will provide links to below are great and I use several but I will never carry a knife that I can't get a good edge with a wet river stone and my leather belt or my leather knife sheath. So this part of the challenge is simple, pick a method (or several) and get the knife you selected above hair popping sharp. If you want to hone your minimalist skills I highly recommend that you try sharpening with a river stone and then stropping your edge with your belt.
Want To Try A Commercial Sharpener?
Use Your Knife To Start A Fire: There are countless ways to do this task and I highly recommend you explore them all with your knife. If the knife meets all of my ten attributes (See a list of the 10 attributes HERE) then you should be able to pick up a piece of flit or quartz (usually found in river valleys) and use it to throw a shower of sparks off the spine of your knife. If you have a ferro rod you can use the 90 degree spine of your knife to remove material from the ferro rod to light your fire tinder simply by scraping the rod. Remember there are many way to use a ferro rod the two I use are holding above the tinder material and scrape into it or place the ferro rod at the base of the tinder and scrape into the tinder both work its just a matter of preference and the material you are lighting.  So aside from making a spark to light your tinder bundle you should be able to use your knife to make very thin scrapings (make about a baseball hat full of scrapings or feather sticks to get your fire off on the right foot). While the scrapings if thin enough will easily light with a ferro rod I like to hedge my bets by making tinder dust by scraping fat wood or other resinous woods with the 90 degree spine of my knife. If you are fortunate enough to have tulip poplar or birch accessible you can use the spine of your knife to scrap the bark making a very fine tinder bundle. So what is this part of the challenge? 1) make a baseball cap full of scrapings; 2) make finer tinder if possible with the 90 degree spine; and 3) light your bundle or scrapings with a ferro rod.
Need A Ferro Rod Or Fire Tinder?

Use Your Knife to Process Fire Wood:This is one of the most important skills to develop with your survival knife. If you can process down fire wood or make a bow drill set you should be able to make fire in nearly any environment. Remember safety first. Have a solid wood platform below the stick you're batoning to ensure you don't harm your blade. If this is your first time practicing this skill make sure someone is with you, pick a soft wood with no knots (pine or something to that effect), wear safety glasses, gloves, pants, long sleeves and boots and  also be sure that your blade is seated into the wood before you start hitting the knife hard. This skill can be used as I said before to make a bow drill set by simply splitting a piece of softwood on each side leaving a piece of wood roughly 1/2" thick and and as straight as possible. So What is this part of the challenge: 1) Find a piece of wood 4" thick or smaller; 2) split it via batoning as many times as possible (I highly recommend that you split the stick into pencil led, thumb and wrist sizes for your fire lay); 3) Build a fire using your fire prep above and the wood you just processed. I highly recommend you try out the log cabin fire lay (see how to make it here- LINK). 
So this week's challenge recap: 1) Pick a survival knife; 2) Sharpen it; 3) Make tinder by scraping with the 90 degree spine and making shavings; 4) light your tinder with a ferro rod; 5) split fire wood; 6) Make a fire. I know this is alot for a challenge but knife skills are the foundation of your outdoor skills and if you don't have a knife you can use to accomplish these skills your ability to effect woodland survival is close to 0%. I encourage you to share your results by replying to my YouTube video, commenting here, or commenting on our facebook page or radio show page.

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1 comment:

  1. Have you done a post on storing secret caches in the ground? Best boxes to pack them in? Totes? I have seen a lot on smaller, single person ones. Something for a family would be great!