Introduction: A "Ghetto" Retractable Utility Knife AKA "GRUK"

You may or many not know that I’m currently living/stuck in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Being here has its perks despite what you might think.  For one, living here forces you to be innovative, resourceful, and creative. 
One of the problems I was having was never having a utility knife where I wanted them.  Either they would get confiscated, or picked up by locals with sticky figures, or just lost.  I know that these are cheap items, but when the nearest Home Depot is 8000 miles away, you find other ways to get by. 

So enters my Ghetto Retractable Utility Knife or ‘GRUK.’  Its only requirements were that it needed to be made with found objects, I hand no real tools to make it with, and it needed to be ‘somewhat’ safe.  (To be honest, safety is never a real concern of mine.  I mean I live in a war zone.  Just yesterday 3 cars bombs exploded down the road.  Last Monday there was a massive attack on the city I’m in, so if I cut my finger on a knife, oh boy.  8>) (this is just me; feel free to be as safe as you want.)  Safety is only a measure of comfort.  Each individual needs to find their own. 

Step 1: What Do You Need?

OK, here is what I found, a piece of cardboard, a piece of wire and an old blade from another knife.  (Yes, I understand the irony of finding a knife while looking for parts to make one.  But there is an excellent ‘ible here from a guy that makes them from scratch.  Here is the link…
https://www.instructables.com/id/Knife-Making-Without-Tools/
That is what I was planning on doing before I found the knife blade.)

Step 2: Make/sharpen/clean the Blade.

Depending on what you are starting with for a blade, follow the aforementioned ‘ible to get it to resemble a blade. I just needed to clean and sharpen the blade I found on the sidewalk.  (Note, in Afghanistan, sidewalks are hard to find, but just about every building is made of masonry.  So I just needed to walk outside and rub the blade on the side of the house to get the desired results.  BTW, if your co-workers didn’t think you were strange BEFORE they saw you rubbing the building, they will after they see it.  Especially if you say “I just wanted to see if a Genie would come out.”  Like I did! 8>)

Step 3: Making the Handle

To make the handle, cut a piece of cardboard the width of your hand.  Now, just tightly fold the cardboard around the blade.  It’s pretty simple.
You want at *least* to cover the blade twice.  It will wear through the cardboard if you open/close it a lot.  So make sure that you replace the cardboard before it falls apart.  (note, the wire will provide a small measure of protection if it does cut through the cardboard.)

Step 4: Secure the Handle

I wrapped the wire around the handle to secure it firmly.  This worked out perfectly for my needs.  Note, the blade can move in and out of the cardboard, so you can retract it.  Just tighten or loosen the wire to increase or decrease the friction on the blade.

Step 5: Decorate

Not really required, but I figured I’d make the knife “mine” by just jazzing it up a little bit.  I’m no artist.

Have fun and don’t cut yourself!

 

Comments

author
abeimers (author)2015-06-21

How are u struck

author
geeklord (author)2010-02-03

I'm gonna make one, just so I can have it in my desk. Thanks for the 'ible!

author

 I keep a meat cleaver in my desk.. you know, for when the zombies attack

author

So I'm not the only one! Makes me feel a little bit less weird already

author
fancypenguin845 (author)and-reas2010-02-23

well, i guess i can tell you guys about the shovel and socket wrench i keep next to my bed. for self defense purposes :P

author

I just have a home made shocker (Tazer)

author
Fashim (author)killerbanjo2010-02-24

I have a piece of wood with Nails at the End

author
geeklord (author)Fashim2010-02-27

 Aaaaa..I only have a cheapy stainless steel knife stuck in my bed stand...

author
tledgerwood (author)geeklord2011-08-01

I have like 8 different pocket knifes, a homemade kodak tazer, 2 lock knives and a home made cross bow by my bed. Why so much? Incase some one annoys me.

funny thing is... im not joking

author
killerbanjo (author)geeklord2010-02-28

I would never use anything that could cut or damage somone, only blut objects or electrical.

author
doughnutguy1 (author)killerbanjo2010-07-15

if zombies invade and all you had was a lead pipe, simalar to the one i have next to my bed, how could you cut things? you have too consider utility purposes.

author
geeklord (author)killerbanjo2010-03-07

Um...I don't think I'm going to roll over on it in my sleep, or anything else like that.

author
Fashim (author)geeklord2010-03-08

I once fell asleep listening to music i managed to wrap it round my neck and make it so the when ever i sit up it tightens 0.o

author
geeklord (author)Fashim2010-03-08

Nice.

author
TheInventor1997 (author)geeklord2010-06-11

i have a machine gun under my pillow, an m4 i think, i got it for my b-day =P

author
geeklord (author)TheInventor19972010-06-15

Scary thing is, I actually know someone who has an M4. I've never really met the guy, I just know he has tons of $$$ and collects guns.

author
TheInventor1997 (author)geeklord2010-06-17

hmm, he lives in canada? i might know him

author
hobbitboy (author)Fashim2011-01-08

if have a pvc pipe by my bed. one time my sister was sneeking in my room and she tripped it woke me up and i beat her with it

author
keithsachs (author)and-reas2011-01-27

i keep a bayonett..

author
pogoman12345 (author)geeklord2011-01-30

i keep a nuke in my desk, just in case the military needs me to bomb Afghanistan

author
Hlavinka50 (author)2010-08-01

Hey if you add a piece of wire through the hole at the end of the blade you will be able to pull it in or push the blade just my $.02

author
TheInventor1997 (author)2010-06-11

hmm, oookayyy

author
TheInventor1997 (author)2010-06-11

oh ya is it hard living there

author
StuJones (author)2010-02-26

Very nice! By the way, what are you doing in Afganistan?

author
inchman (author)StuJones2010-02-26

21 years in the Army, and that’s why I’ve spent the better part of the past 4 years in the Middle East. (But I do have fun here.)

Feel free to read about what I’m doing here at my blog…
http://www.megageek.com/blog/Mob2009afg.nsf

It’s got lots of pictures and stories from my adventures here.

Or you can read about my deployment in Iraq last year here…

http://www.megageek.com/blog/Mob2008.nsf

Have a great day and thanks for the comment!

Thanks again, 1LT Eric Petrevich
 

author
assax (author)2010-02-13

 cool idea but if you cant get a knife where did you get the computer and camera to make this? :)

author
Arbitror (author)assax2010-02-26

Well, if you read his words closer, you would discover he said this:


One of the problems I was having was never having a utility knife where I wanted them.  Either they would get confiscated, or picked up by locals with sticky figures, or just lost.  I know that these are cheap items, but when the nearest Home Depot is 8000 miles away, you find other ways to get by. 

author
shiftrk (author)2010-02-20

Call it what you want., but that's a shank!!

author
Fashim (author)shiftrk2010-02-24

Indeed

author
dirtstarr (author)2010-02-03

Be safe man!

author
Conbamo (author)2010-02-03

lol it looks like an old box cutter i have, but also looks similar to somthing a prison inmate would use o.O no offence to you at all

author
patsougstad (author)2010-02-03

A+ for resourcefulness!! Thanks for your service.

author
leeski (author)2010-02-01

 A utility knife in kabul sounds useless.....what are you doing there...

author
Broom (author)leeski2010-02-02

Why useless? Do you suppose that everything in Kabul comes pre-opened a/o pre-cut?

author
Jonny Katana (author)Broom2010-02-02

 I think he was referring to using the knife defensively.

author
Mother Natures Son (author)2010-02-02

Goodness, why isn't this in the Valentine's Day contest? I bet my girlfriend would love a hideous, starkly utilitarian improvised tool.

Nice job.

author
milsorgen (author)2010-01-28

As long as the blade is sharp I'm sure it will be about safe as any other utility knife.

author

correction, Safe as any other sharp utility knife. I have found very little more dangerous than a dull blade. 

author

oh yea, i cut the entire length of my thumb open because i was trying to jam a dull blade into a bag of meat at work.  Keep it sharp!! 

author
Pumpkin$ (author)2010-01-30

Stuck? Let me guess, the government and military... Run for it.
 Do it
You
know
you
wanna XD

author
jtobako (author)2010-01-29

Pre-Duc-Tape tech!

author
stephenniall (author)2010-01-29

Id imagine this is as safe as any other knife .. I would wrap the handle in duct tape though ! would look cool and be more water resistant etc

author
MrMystery96 (author)2010-01-28

i think it looks nice. great job.

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