Lessons of a Knife - making the ultimate bush blade

Picture of Lessons of a Knife - making the ultimate bush blade

"Which knife is best?"

Every adventurer, trekker, hunter, survivalist or geek gets sooner or later faced with that one, simple, haunting question: "Which knife is best?"

Believe it or not, but those four words chased me for many, many years. In the beginning, when I was a kid, I suffered in silence, trying to find answers and discovering that behind every answer at least two more questions were hidden. 'Kids have a carefree life', they may say. Really?

Then came the internet. But instead of better, I got worse. More questions, more worries. And even I didn't find any satisfaction or relief, at least there was one thing that eased my pain, a bit. Thousands Were Sailing on the same ocean as mine, apparently. I felt some comfort in the widespread discomfort. Websites, forums, groups, opinions, statements, words, total chaos.

The inability to decide which knife is best makes us, who are suffering, weak and helpless. And thus susceptible for evil forces, luring us with beautiful sweet blade porn. Page by page. Brands. Hundreds of brands. Thousands of designs. Many thousands of knives. Designers, makers, sellers, they all want our money. Always the same tantric keywords: survival, wilderness, outdoor, bushcraft, heavy duty, yak-proof.

I got lured like all of you. I bought, payed too much, broke, got heartbroken, and bought again trying to forget my previous disaster. Time & time again. Buying blades is a metaphor for marriage, somehow.

Whatever. I sailed through a lot of waters, worshiped a whole list of gods and experimented with quite a few designs, to end up here.

I'm quite down to earth, so I thought this experience might be useful. Somewhere, for someone.

In fact, my search ended in a place I didn't expect. Not in a showroom, not on a website, not at an exhibition, but at my local gear-store. Unexpected, but yet so logic.

So this is it. I'll show you how to make the best homemade price-quality knife you can get. No kidding.

Not even 10$, not even one hour of work, and a lifetime of pleasure. The world starts at your front door.

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Jake_Makes29 days ago

I must say, you are right, and you are wrong. (In my own opinion, which may not be fully correct) There are mainly two different kinds of good survival knives, which are made to accomplish different jobs. There is the giant hatchet/knife/machete thing, and then there is your bushcraft blade. Both are extremely necessary in a survival situation, the difficulty is combining brute strength and hacking power with the precision of a small knife. And in a survival situation, i think that the most important is the hacking. You will need to chop down trees and branches to make a fire, shelter, and other stuff. This guy says it best:

While he says it a bit strongly, I definitely agree with him. The knife that we need is a combination of both: big and heavy enough chop through anything, yet able to do those skinning, gutting, and precise cuts perfectly. The answer? I have no clue. Very depressing. However, until then I will carry two knives, my Morakniv heavy duty and my awesome Cold Steel kukri machete. And yes, you NEED that kukri machete. it is a beast.

By the way, this is one of those few, perfect instructables that we all love and want to make! Great job!

Alums88829 days ago

In my experience, the best knife is always the one you have on you when you need it.

GraphixS61 month ago

I have also been tormented with the eternal question of what blade is best. Your's looks great for survival/bushcraft, but I'm looking for the ultimate craftsman knife. What grinding? Chisel grind is sharper, but harder to sharpen the other side. Hollow grind is sharp, but doesn't slide through lots of material. Gah! All the different possiblities!

Darthorso1 month ago

This is a great one Brico, thanks for posting!

I'm a trekking maniac, if I have some free weekends, I love to go to Sestola (a mountain location near my city) for some long walks. The best thing about Italy is that you only have to drive for less than 2 hours to reach mountain from the seaside! :D

I have a little folding knife and I was thinking about a fixed blade. Obviously my eyes were on a super-expansive, military like knife xD (Extrema Ratio, an Italian high-end military brand).

But after your complete and beautiful guide, I'm more than considering this option!

Thanks again, I shared your project on my twitter, too! :)

bricobart (author)  Darthorso1 month ago

Thanx my friend, I'm really looking forward to see your - Italian twisted - build! ;)

Just back from the mountains, btw, always heartbreaking... :(

Yeah, I know... :( Thanks again brico, stay great! ^_^

ZaneEricB2 months ago

What is the base knife? Model #? Place i can get one?

I definitely love the design and simplicity...if i were more awake i would have more and better things to

AWESOME! sum it up :)

bricobart (author)  ZaneEricB2 months ago

Thanx Eric! You can get them here

(I didn't find a US site yet).

Goodnight, btw ;)

that's my problem too. can't find one in the usa
Yayy, you did it!
bricobart (author)  steampunkpotato2 months ago

Thanx to you, in fact. You asked for it!

indeed I did. lol
ardnon1 month ago

very nice

willybham2 months ago
very long intro for such a little project XD haha but i like it. Great instructable.

I made a small survival knife once for a DIY kit using a medium sized butcher knife. It functioned as a can opener, spear, saw, shovel, small axe, and was very shiny so a signaling mirror. the handle was acctually another smaller blade with a hole and it inserted into a well fashoned bolted removable stainless steel pipe with a storage compartment (survival kit). That held flint, arrow heads, mini compass, hooks and other survival gear. The handle was wrapped in one braided layer of camo paracord 550. Then using a heating gun, pvc pipe, and a tutorial for the case (found on youtube) I made a sturdy, snug case that the knife locked into. i completed the best invention for any survival situation which i delivered to a friend (a survivor junkie) for his birthday. Still using it to this day.

Great read tho btw. And hopefully everyones "tool" isnt reading this hahaha. XD
bricobart (author)  willybham2 months ago

Thanx willy, I even liked the covered sarcasm ;)

Do you have pictures of that build? Wanna see! Still into blade porn, in fact... ;)

This is a very informational instructable! I like it a lot! Very clear pictures and you obviously know a thing or two about knives=P
bricobart (author)  loompiggytutorials2 months ago

Thanx, glad you like it!

kbc22 months ago
nice ible! cool knife! i agree with function vs price, though i do have pride in my daily carry SOG folders. i have some 304L stainless 1" x 1/4" flat bar, do you think i could form out of it?
bricobart (author)  kbc22 months ago

Stainless steel is not really a good source to make a knife, it's better to upgrade an old blade. Old butchers axes, for example, are good stuff. Easily available on every flee-market!

tetra282 months ago

It is usually best to have multiple knives for different jobs, (skinning, carving, survival, defense, etc) but i find that a simple clip point folding knife and a large, robust bush knife should suit many needs. Also, i would suggest a full tang because (and i know from experience) than they are a LOT easier to replace a handle on, should the handle split.

bricobart (author)  tetra282 months ago

Agreed! On my most recent bush trips I'm also carrying two blades: this one above and that small hatchet you see on the half of my pictures.

Jobar0072 months ago

Once again, you put out an excellent instructable that is well thought out.

"Beauty is just a sidenote."

I completely disagree. Beauty is found in function. Utilitarian objects are beautiful because they are practical.

I was wondering when you would post about this knife. I saw it in your stump-vise instructable and I scanned back through your other instructables for it, but it wasn't there. I'm glad to see you posted it.

bricobart (author)  Jobar0072 months ago

Thanx Jobar, once again! ;)

I agree with your disagreement, of course. It's a bitsy the problem with 'beauty' - difficult to define but you know it when you see it, or when you got the idea behind it.

Thanx for the compliment on my last creation. Creating & making this felt like a kind of relief, no more blade porn! ;)