Those of you who read my earlier blog about my survival kit might have noticed that I keep a folding razor blade with it to act as an emergency knife. Although it fits well in the kit, I have always been a bit uneasy about including a razor instead of an actual knife. Razors are extremely sharp (which is good), but lack the durability and backbone of a knife (which is bad). A razor will split a fish open quite efficiently, but trying to carve wood with it can snap the blade if you are not careful.

In my usual web-wanderings I happened to come across this site by M40, where he shows how to grind a knife out of a carbon steel hacksaw blade. It is pretty simple, but like most simple things, brilliant. Here is mine I made in about an hour and a half (including sharpening):

My knife is not the work of art that M40’s is, but it works. The whole knife is only 3.5″ long so that it will fit in my survival kit container. It is also much thinner than the folding razor (which has a plastic handle), so it will fit even better in my small kit and give me more room for other stuff. I used a carbon steel hacksaw blade with 14 teeth per inch (which should cut wood better than a finer blade) which now adds a saw to my kit as well! As it is carbon steel it also could theoretically spark off of a quartzite or flinty rock, but it is pretty light for that so I will stick with my other methods for now.

The grip is too short to hold securely in the hand, so I followed M40’s example and attached a cord loop to the end of it for my ring and little finger to make the blade more comfortable to use.

The cord loop also makes it easier to use as a saw:

I used the end of the hacksaw that had the teeth angled so they would cut on the draw, which is way easier that if you had to cut on the push, especially without a proper handle.

As the tip of the knife comes to a sharpened point, it could be lashed to a stick as a spear of some sort (as M40 does) and could probably be tied into the split end of a bow drill to serve as a drill bit. I might even drill a hole in the blade to serve as a second anchoring point.

The knife is not going to win any contests on efficiency or style, but it will do its job which is to serve as a practical backup to whatever knife I am currently carrying.

I am sure that there are a lot of other similar projects that could be done with hacksaw blades. I don’t know anything about spear fishing, but you could probably make a pretty fair harpoon point.

If you like the concept of this knife, be sure to look at M40’s page; his knife is definitely better looking than mine.