3 Ways to Make a Survival Knife in a Pinch

A knife in the survival world is akin to a lifeboat on a ship that is sinking. A knife is everything. It can be what makes the difference between surviving in the wild and succumbing to the elements. Without a knife, life will be extremely difficult when you need to cut wood, clean an animal or cut lengths of cordage.

Knives are easily lost or broken when you are in the wild. Ideally, you would want to make it a priority to keep your knife safe and in good condition, but things happen. If something does happen and you find yourself without a knife, you could make one from things you loot from a store or in your own garage. As far as the tools you need to make your knife, electric grinders are always going to be ideal, but a file and sharpening stone will work.


You will need a few things to make your knife. Now, in today’s world, you could run to the hardware store and pick up what you need to make a knife. The list of supplies is more of a way to get your brain working and thinking outside of the box a bit.

What could you use in the wild to substitute for any of the items on this list? In a true survival situation, you will be doing a lot of improvising. The items on this list are the ideal way, but if you had to substitute clothesline for paracord or a sharpening stone for a grinder, you could do it.

  • Blade from a hack saw—could use a circular saw blade or other saw blade
  • Paracord
  • Grinder/file
  • Permanent marker
  • Safety glasses if using grinder
  • Locking pliers if using grinder
  • Sharpening stone

Making the Survival Knife

  1. Use a grinder or a stone to grind down the serrated edge on the knife. In a true survival situation, you probably wouldn’t have electricity to use a grinder. A file would also work. There will be metal shavings flying off the blade so it would be wise to wear goggles or sunglasses at the very least.
  2. Once the serrated edge is removed, use a sharpening stone to make the edge nice and sharp.
  3. Use the paracord to make a handle. Wrap the cord around the bottom half of the blade to create the tang. You can tuck the end of the cord inside to keep it from unraveling.

There you have a quick and easy survival knife. It can be used to cut small branches, cordage, open cans and in self-defense if needed.

Survival Knife #2

If you find yourself in a survival situation and don’t have access to a saw blade, you can go the old fashioned route and use rocks.

  1. Look for rocks that will make nice blades. The ideal rock will sound like glass when you bang it together with another rock. It should have a bit of a ringing sound rather than a solid thud. You will want a large rock to make sure you have enough for a blade when you basically peel back all of the outer layers.
  2. While you are looking for rocks, grab a solid rock that is round and heavy. This is going to serve as your hammer.
  3. Place the rock that will ultimately become your blade on your thigh with part of the edge hanging over. Use the heavy rock to hit the hanging edge. It should chip off shards of the rock that is sitting on your thigh. You will probably get several shards of rock in varying sizes. The larger the rock, the larger your shards will be.
  4. You can use the shards as they are. These sharp bits can be used to cut rope, open a can of food or even slice open a small animal for cooking.
  5. Take your rock shard and use duct tape if you have it to attach it to a handle. This gives you a little more flexibility to use the shard as a knife.

Survival Knife #3

Visit a junkyard, old garage or go after your own lawnmower after SHTF to collect old lawnmower blades. The blades can be used to make a survival knife that just may save your life.

  1. You will need to remove the blades from the lawnmower. A wrench should do the trick. If the blades are rusty, you may need a hammer as well.
  2. Use a marker or draw a sketch on a piece of paper of the blade shape. Use a grinder to cut the blade from the mower blade if possible. If that isn’t possible, you will need a hammer or heavy rock to pound the mower blade flat. You will also want to break the blade in half in most cases to make it a little easier to wield.
  3. Use a file or sharpening stone to make one edge flat and sharp. This will take some work, especially if you are making a long blade. Only sharpen 4 to 5 inches of the lawnmower blade. You will be making a full tang knife—meaning, the steel will be all one piece.
  4. Use paracord to wrap the bottom half of the blade to form a handle. Make sure it is tight and will not slip up and down the blade.

These are obviously some pretty crude knives. However, in a pinch, you could make one of these knives work. It doesn’t have to be pretty or fancy to open a can of food. While it would obviously be much more handy to have a quality surviving knife at your disposal, you must be prepared for anything.

Being able to make your own from materials you can find will give you an edge in a true survival situation. Hopefully you will never have to make your own knife, but if you do, you will have an idea of where to start.

Dave Steen

About The Author: Dave is a 58 year old survivalist; father of three; with over 40 years of survival experience. He started young, learning survival the hard way, in the school of hard knocks. Now, after years of study, he's gray-haired and slightly overweight. That hasn't dimmed his interest in survival though. If anything, Dave has a greater commitment to survival than ever, so that he can protect his family. Click Here To Read More About Dave

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment - As always, please let me know your opinion in the comments section below. It's your opportunity to share some tricks with the community!

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Added to cart!