Introduction: The WASP

Picture of The WASP

WASP - Wild Appealing Survival Point ;)

A few years ago a friend gave me a couple of so called 'glaziers knives' (don't know if that's really the right name) - forged knives you'll find in every DIY store, used to remove the putty junction from windows. They are cheap, made from thick carbon steel & have a nice hole in the handle.
Somehow I felt I could do something survivalistic with it. They were there in my workplace and a few times I made some designs but these never went into production.

Untill now, so. 'Why not make a kind of arrowhead from it?' I thought.
A design went into real life and this 'key' came out.

Some will call it a key, others a skinner, kunai, key ring, piercing, pendant, spearhead, wood drill bit or selfdefence tool.
I'm sure that some will call it just a waste of time LOL

Well, it can be all of this and maybe a lot more. One thing is sure: this can be the smallest hottest tool you've ever had, the kind of tiny tool you'd be happy to find in your survival or emergency kit - or to wear around your neck - when the need is there. It's small, sturdy, lightweight & very easy to make.
And it's cool, but that's my geeky opininion...

The 'key' has been long time without a 'real' name, until my wife saw 'an insect' in it. 'Why not call it 'the wasp' she asked. Big head, small thorax, pointed abdomen, it's got it all!'.
And so she gave birth to the WASP...

Feasible for everyone with a grinder or grinding wheel - this is brutal basic metalworking like you've never seen.

Making time: one hour round.


Step 1: Design

Picture of Design

Go get that knife, tape the top & draw your design on it.

Step 2: Cut, Grind & Sand

Picture of Cut, Grind & Sand

I made the first two with a grinder, the third with a grinding wheel (I was forgotten I got one) - definitely the best & safest tool to use.
Take care not to overheat, this will disturb temper - spraying lubricant of soaking in motor oil are good ways to keep it cool.

Step 3: Heat Threatment (optional)

Picture of Heat Threatment (optional)

Grinding & sanding may affect steels hardness, so if you want to be sure to have a tool that's really rockhard you'll have to harden it (again).
Boost the forge (YES FINALLY I GOT A FORGE, YESSSS!!!) & heat the key to nice red. A good trick, is to put salt on the blade. Once it melts you're about at the right temperature and quench it in (clean motor) oil.
To temper it, let it cool down & throw it in the oven at 425°C (220°C) for 30 minutes (thanx member Deathcapt, your advice in the DARC has been a great help!).

Step 4: Done!

Picture of Done!

Sharp it if you want, and finish with a length of polyester rope - unbreakable & perfect to attach the point to a pole to use it as a spearhead.
Use a fishermans knot.

You can wear it around your neck (don't do this with a sharpened key - common sense), tape it to your cell phone or just add it in your survival kit.

Hope you enjoyed it, take care & good luck guys!

Step 5: Bonus: Making a Spear

Picture of Bonus: Making a Spear

This is the 'controlled environment' setup - outdoors it will be the same, but different.
Just kidding! I used a saw & a drill to have a perfect cut, out there you'll probably only have a knife.

So, cut a pole - choose straith growing species like hazelnut.
Exit bark - it will dry faster.
Cut a groove in the thickest (and most heavy) side.
Harden this side in the fire.
Make two grooves around the tip.
Put the key in the groove.
Prepare a few 'nuts' & put them on each side of the key.
Fix the whole with rope.
Wax the tip.


Wolf bro 109 (author)2015-10-30

really screams out"Scorpion Spear".

Woodworker_17 (author)2015-07-13

I love it

AluminumFoilMaster (author)2014-10-02

This doesn't look like a white anglo Saxon protestant

Blaise_Gauba (author)2013-11-21

Very cool...and great idea! I don't really have a shop since I live in an apartment in the Los Angeles area. But I DO have a lot of tools and hand held grinders are some of a decent Dremel tool as well. Can I get that (putty) knife at any hardware store? I've never seen one of those before. And I have worked in a lot of shops that use a LOT of different type of tools. Anyway, I am going to look and/or ask for that tool and see if I can make one myself. Thanks for the idea. I might lengthen my a bit...more spear head length. But yours is cool.

bricobart (author)Blaise_Gauba2013-11-21

Actually I don't have any idea where you can get this knife in the states - I live in the ancient world you know ;) But like you said, any piece of decent carbon steel may do the job. Hope yours works out great also!

Blaise_Gauba (author)bricobart2013-11-22

Ancient World meaning Europe? Yeah, I do not recognize that tool at all. But I will look for something that I can make one out of, that's for sure. The spring steel from automobiles (older autos) works well from what I hear. I have a friend who designs and builds knives for Buck up in Idaho. I haven't spoken with him in decades...but I remember when we were teenagers, he built his own forge, and started making some really nice (big) knives from the flat springs from old salvaged Jeeps.

bricobart (author)Blaise_Gauba2013-11-22

Worse, Belgium! ;)
Spring steel is great, a lot of metalworkers use it. Another - maybe easier - way to get somer good carbon steel is going to flee markets and trying to find some old machetes, files or butchers axes - all great stuff to redesing to custom knives.

Blaise_Gauba (author)bricobart2013-11-23 Belgium worse than the rest of Europe? I didn't know. Of course, I have never been to any European countries. Mexico, Japan, Thailand, South Korea...but not Europe. Good idea about flea markets etc. for old files, machetes etc. Cool. I'm going to look around and see what I can find. Thanks for the ideas.

bricobart (author)Blaise_Gauba2013-11-24

The Truth About Belgium: I was kidding, no worries! There's good & there's bad, like everywhere. A lot depends on the people you'll meet: maybe a bit 'cold' at the start, but once that ice's broken those hearts will open. Add a few dozen of the best beers in the world - no more kidding - and you'll never wanna leave again ;)

deadpooltacos (author)bricobart2014-05-16

good and bad, they do make pretty good guns though (fn herstal)

bricobart (author)deadpooltacos2014-05-16

Beer & guns, for some people this IS heaven! ;)

Blaise_Gauba (author)bricobart2013-11-24

Ah...yes....Belgian could I be so ignorant? I've lived in Mexico where I was basically treated really, really well and even had considered living there permanently at one time (I was only eighteen at that time, no real-world experience), and I have lived in Japan where the Japanese are really nice people...but certainly there are still wounds there in much of the older generation from World War II. I have both been greeted very warmly as well as have been verbally attacked by WWII vets while living in Japan. It was a strange feeling, not having had anything to do with any wars, but having come from a country that perpetuates them, but Hirohito was certainly no saint. I've lived in Thailand and of all the places I have visited, I think Thailand would have been my first choice just for the hospitality, the weather, and the amazing people of that country. Their humor and outlook on life is very similar to Americans. The Thai's love to laugh and they have some of the best food I have ever had the pleasure to put in my gob hole. Then of course, I have never been to Europe, and I KNOW Europe is one of the most amazing places for food. My best friend lived in France for four and a half years building Euro Disneyland and he said that at first, the French are aloof, but if you show a serious effort to try and speak and learn their language, then they are no different than anyone or anywhere else on the planet. I have found this to be true in every country I have visited. I studied Thai for over a year before actually going there and I had a co-worker at Disney who was from Thailand so he helped me a lot with his language...and I can tell you, Thai isn't that easy to learn. I had a much easier time learning Japanese, but then I studied Japanese for almost two decades. I have always had a fascination with foreign languages. I've lost most of my Spanish though. I just don't hold conversations with anyone from any of these countries anymore. Well...I hope you are having the good life over their in the beer capitol of the world. Bike racing, beer, old world, real history...I don't know...I sometimes think I would rather live somewhere else on this planet than the U.S., especially during these strange and violent times...a police state, the most corrupt politicians in American history, banksters that get away with the most heinous crimes. Yeah, Belgium is sounding pretty good right now. Hey, at least we have our hobbies and get-a-ways like Instructables where we can see what REAL people are doing in the world. ~Peace

triumphman (author)Blaise_Gauba2013-12-01

Thanks for the nice story.

bricobart (author)Blaise_Gauba2013-11-25

I like that spirit mate! Living in other countries has all to do with respect for local habits, way of life & language. In a tiny country like Flanders aka that northern part of Belgium where people used to speak dutch & pin the heads of their enemies on their garden fences (hehe) we are - historically - so used being overruled that speaking other languages makes part of our culture. We're used to cameleonise verbally with the other countries and we appreciate it a lot if others do the same when they visit ours (that's why there's so much friction with that southern - french - part of the country). If you like the great outdoors I don't recommend moving to Belgium - it's getting a lot too crowdy & open space is getting scarcer than gold. We're lucky having found our tiny spot in the open lands but it's just a question of time before the surrounding fields are going to be transformed in concrete & lights...
Good luck with your project & let me know the result!

Blaise_Gauba (author)bricobart2013-11-25

I shall do so...referring to the project that is. Stay happy and healthy!

jchurch (author)2014-04-09

getting a real kunai feel here

triumphman (author)2013-12-01

Nice job mate! I'm off the dollar store to look for those putty knives. Thanks.

triumphman (author)triumphman2013-12-01

Chinese made these darts long long ago.FYI

bricobart (author)triumphman2013-12-02

I'm believing more & more that there's really nothing the Chinese didn't invent thousands of years ago ;)

gnevins (author)bricobart2014-02-26

Too bad the Chinese don't know how to make good steel. I would much prefer American, English, Spanish or German steel.

chase32615 (author)bricobart2013-12-03

So very true I was watching something the other day about the Vikings and how they made a certain "brand" so to speak of sword that was of higher quality and the metal was the purest metal at the time and it came from China.

bricobart (author)triumphman2013-12-02

Thanx friend, I can 't wait to see the first wasp made in the US!

the_names_levesque (author)2013-12-20

i live in canada do u have any idea at which store i could possibly get some? im really interested

Did you try ebay? Search in french, it's called 'couteau à demastiquer' - knife to take off the putty. You can make it out of an old machete or butchers axe as well, even a file will do the job. In the last case annealing (taking of temper) will be necessarly, it's way too hard to drill the hole...

Kona-chan (author)bricobart2014-02-21

that poor machete D:

wolf996 (author)2014-02-19

Awww yusss, a new prison shank.

Grunambulax (author)2013-11-29

bricobart (author)Grunambulax2013-12-02

Nice find! The only thing that worries me is the location of those brass rivets...

ferjanyen (author)2013-11-24

Good project!!!! an other source of good quality steel is out of old agricultural machinery, some times you see them rotting out there half burried in the fields. Good luck !!

triumphman (author)ferjanyen2013-12-01

Leave my plow alone!

bricobart (author)ferjanyen2013-11-25

Thanx, always good to have a wireless grinder in your truck!

ferjanyen (author)bricobart2013-11-29

Hi and yes, keep the grinder in your truck but get permision from the owners first, more likely that they will be gladd to get rid of the old machinery. By the way, I have seen something like your knife and it was carried on a secret pocket of a leather belt, something combined to the buckle. good luck!!! Keep me posted on this last one.

DarnellMoonda (author)2013-11-25

Love this! Will use paracord around the knife handle and also to wear around the neck as think it would look better than just a polyester rope and might just come in useful..

bricobart (author)DarnellMoonda2013-11-27

There's never too much paracord, rock it!

redbuda (author)2013-11-23

What brand of Glazier knifes are those? Where the sell them?

bricobart (author)redbuda2013-11-24

I bought them in France, where it's called 'couteau à demastiquer'. They are sold in every DIY-store (multiple brands, same design - I presume only one forgery is making them for all) & I even saw them on ebay.

jhorner6 (author)2013-11-23

Would you consider making a few and selling them? I was a boy scout and like to be prepared but I live in an apartment in a city and have no workshop.

bricobart (author)jhorner62013-11-24

Given the succes this might be a good idea. Since they have a poor weight shipping costs might not be that high so I'll see the weeks to come if it's worth the job.

pimschalk (author)2013-11-22

what are the dimensions of the knife,
and the thickness of the material

bricobart (author)pimschalk2013-11-22

I'll put a plan in the intro soon!

twdodd (author)2013-11-20

For a little bit harder of a blade you can quench the blade in used motor oil. All the extra carbon will "soak" into the steel, it'll just take a quick touch with the wire wheel to clean it up shiny again before tempering. This is called Case Hardening. Regular quench hardening can be done with water though it is a little fast at cooling it down.

rallen71366 (author)twdodd2013-11-21

One of the easiest ways to make sure you got it hot enough to harden properly, is to suspend a magnet near it. When you hit the proper temperature, the magnet will no longer be attracted to it. An automatic way to do this is to put the blank on the suspended magnet, over a bucket of quenching fluid (salt water, oil, etc..) and heat it up with a torch. Once it hits the right temp, it falls into the quench. No thinking, delay, or eye-hand coordination required. That's an old blacksmith trick. No, I'm not an old blacksmith. :)

ElZorro (author)rallen713662013-11-22

You'll be heating up your magnet as well. The magnet also responds negatively to heat. The magnet can (and will) lose the strength to hold the material before "proper" temp is reached. "Proper" temp being different for different materials. The magnet most definitely be permanently weakened by heating.

bricobart (author)ElZorro2013-11-22

I agree with you, that's why I prefer salt to do that temperature check - works great!

jarikcbol (author)twdodd2013-11-20

actually, case hardening is done completely differently. Generally, it involves packing the material to be hardened into a container that is filled with a high carbon content material, such as charcoal, then the container is sealed, and heated to a high heat for many hours. this causes the carbon to move from the charcoal into the steel, and produces a very hard outer layer that can be a full millimeter in thickness. quench hardening produces an extremely thin (abet hard) outer layer, and is mainly used on things like padlocks. In the long run, knives do not gain a lot from case hardening, as it can make them hard to re-sharpen. Case hardening is more used on things like chisels and pry bars that need a hard surface and a soft interior, so they do not break, but flex when torqued.

flamesami (author)jarikcbol2013-11-22

yup, I agree, although the thickness of the hard, carbon-rich layer depends on how long you "soak the steel" and the rate of diffusion is painfully slow. Also, there's no need for clean motor oil, used, old, gunky stuff works about as well, although there are so many different types of quenches (oil, water, brine "super quench", air...)

Plo Koon (author)2013-11-22

they are like Crazy Jay knives!

buskrat (author)2013-11-19

Ah Mansfield the oil is not used as lubricant is the process it is used for the tempering which hardens the steel the oil cools the metal at an evan rate after you heat it in the forge. The reason for having to do this is that when your cutting it creates hot spots in the metal which change the temper ( hardness) of the metal to get these out you must heat it completely then cool it at a controlled rate this is why you dip it in oil. Now yes there are better methods that would take at least ten times as long and most people like me would abandon them half way through and take this route. But ideally I would use a hack saw and a hand file to cut it to shape and hand sand it to a polish but I can't even think how many hours that would take. So all in all great job and very informative on the tempering process best instructions I've found on here yet!

padeutsche (author)buskrat2013-11-21

Once you get the hang of using files, you find you can do remarkable better job with files then a grinder. I heard of different people who have built using just hand tools.
There is no one size fit all with files, if you are serious you will need an extensive array of files, different sizes, profiles, and types, once you have them you will be amazed by what you can make using just files, drill press, tap and dies sets, and a hacksaw.

bricobart (author)padeutsche2013-11-22

I agree that with files you can do a great job, but
- our ancestors invented power tools
- that powered gear makes you work up to 5 times faster
- the process of learning goes a lot faster too because no-one does it right the first time, so it's no big deal to start it all over again & do it better
- this is a no-nonsense outdoor tool, no swiss watch
So, stuck on to that ol' grinder!

About This Instructable




Bio: I made a beer mug with only a knife & a hatchet. I think that says a lot about me.
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