Over Thinking

A lot has been written about choosing equipment yet the top of the line gear, the ultimate high tech “must haves”, aren’t always the best way or even necessary. In this respect too many “ex-spurts” try to influence the unknowing to plan for the worst of extremes, usually with their expensive “must haves” in mind.

‘Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora’ or ‘It is pointless to do with more what can be done with fewer’. That from Aristotle‘s time. Regular readers know full well that I rely on and prefer the wisdom of the worlds elders to vague commercial considerations.

So with that in mind, lets talk knives, blades, the basic tool of survival and the hype behind it.

Everyone has their own preference (every ex-spurt an opinion) but one recommendation doesn’t fit all and in some countries (the UK for instance) mere possession of a knife, ANY KNIFE, in public without good reason is against their ROL.

Take me as a case in point.
Two or more “survival knives” are readily available
(Plus what’s in the galley.)
Heavy duty is covered by our Kukhri (and a little £3 hatchet).
Boat and General Work is covered by a little razor-sharp Mora 500 series (£7).
Finally a gutting hook, scalpel and hard backed razor blades, fill the 2% space left in the Altoid survival tins. (Change out of £5 the lot)

There again what are we talking about here.
Me in a boat or you ? ? ?

Those who survive by running off into the deepest of backwoods may need a heavy-duty knife. After all fighting a bear demands an 18 inch blade (and total stupidity on your part). Only how many of them who do will perish within the first few weeks if not days from hypothermia or bad water? 100’s of dollars worth of top notch steel and you forgot to put your matches in a simple plastic bag to light a fire, to boil water and keep warm. Whoops!

This head for the hills doctrine so many “ex-spurts” push yet without thought of just how hard field living actually is. Only one thing is obvious, they all have an answer to every problem provided you have enough money to buy their “must have” gear AND THAT ALWAYS INCLUDES A SUPER EXPENSIVE KNIFE!

Some will choose to or have to survive in place.
Do they need a heavy-duty RAMBO grade knife?
Surviving in an urban/ rural scenario may call for a bladed weapon only I’ve got a kitchen knife on the wall with a 12 inch blade that is sharper than my razor.

Will it chop wood?
Probably not but no way in hell would I use it to do so anyway. Why use a keen blade when I’ve got a hatchet and kukri for that sort of work.

Will it skin a deer?
Yep and fillet fish, with just a few passes of the kitchen steel after to restore its edge.

Yet there is that mantra isn’t there.
You must have a 72 hour bug out bag and that must contain a knife.

With all the “must have” gear the ex-spurts say you need, the expensive this and that, what’s wrong with a simple blade be it folding, lockable, or otherwise?

A word about combat and a super knife.
Who in their right mind wants to enter a knife fight super blade or not. Most blades get used as ambush weapons anyway so unless your blade is in your hand, you’ll have lost before you even clear the sheath or flick open the blade. Thus your evil looking knife will be useless. There again you could just brandish it couldn’t you. After all you don’t really want to cut someone.

rotglmanSometimes I think know those in the survivalist and prepper world “over-think” their requirements with ex-spurts readily overstating the common issues of survival. Which leaves you stocking up to deal with Godzilla level problems when actually Bambi grade problems is the worst you will probably ever encounter.

bambigodzillaThen there are those TEOTWAWKI level events.
(Funny how survival planning never seems to cover ELE levels.)
ELE? Extinction Level Events.

Only my banner covers my thinking about them and reads.
You wanna know the funny thing about the end of the world?
The world is still there afterwards.

My thoughts are you only need enough to sustain life until whatever ends because afterwards picking up the good stuff will get real easy.

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17 Responses to Over Thinking

  1. Brittius says:

    Excellent points made. Batoning, is something that I view as expending nervous energy. Use an axe or hatchet. Combat knives, in my experience should not exceed a blade of 7 inches length, 5.5 to 6.0 inches are about best, and balanced. Also, the common grip should hand index finger forward or the hilt for balance and control of the blade. If an opponent is also armed with an edged weapon, reverse grip, where the blade is facing upwards, and the back of the blade sticks the opponents weapon, then back-slashing with an undamaged and sharp blade. If a blade is not sharpened (I hone at 12,000 grit Welsh slate – I shave daily with a straight razor and knife owners must learn honing skills until they become second nature), it is of poor use. Blades designed with various ginds, flat, semi-hollow, etc., should be considered for intended working uses and not abused. One knife that I own, a Becker BK5, is a camp/chore knife. It is outstanding. Unabused, it will handle just about anything, and having said that, I do look for old chef knives, to cut and re-shape into working sheepsfoot blade pattern. High carbon steel in my opinionis best, though requires frequent oiling (mineral oil for food cutlery) and a lick or two, from almost any honing stone or, what I like to use, is collect shards from broken terracotta flower pots, soak them in water, and the clay makes a very nice hasty hone on the radius of the outside of the broken piece. All hands are different. All blades and overall weights vary as will balance. I have many knives and in my opinion, the traditional style knife, of high carbon steel, is best. Yes, they do surface blue. Corrosion can be stemmed by bluing in boiled vinegar 30 minutes in a beeker, then rub the surface film off with paper towel or wadded brown paper. Repeat. Then lightly apply mineral oil. Cannot boil or not certain? Then use a large zip-lock plastic bag, place the knife (open the pocket knife) into the bag pour vinegar (not boiled) and seal the bag. Place in strong direct sunlight for 14 days. Carbon steel will be blued. Under ice cold running water, rinse surface film and rub with paper towel, then apply light coat of mineral oil and oil any moving parts by using a pencil point as an oiler or a carpentry nail by dipping into oil and applying. Wood handles, I like to pour a drop of mineral oil, then rub and thin out with yellow/amber beeswax. Dry cloth will remove excess and burnish the wood nicely. Stay away from the crazy blade designs, they are almost worthless and many have inferior quality steel.

    • gamegetterII says:

      A combat knife needs to be at least 7″.
      Say you have to use your knife-and the guy is dressed in full “battle rattle”-in order to get heart/lungs-you need at least 7″ to go through the vest,chest rig,mag pouches,etc and hit the heart.
      Stab wounds to the lungs will also require a long blade,or you can’t stab deep enough to cause a fatal wound.
      If you end up fighting with a knife you f*cked up somewhere along the line anyhow.
      There’s a huge problem if you have no rifle/ammo,and handgun /ammo,and have to rely on a knife.
      Good points and info on carbon steel blades.
      Just keep ’em lightly oiled,and they’re no problem to take care of,carbon steel is easy to keep sharp/re-sharpen,
      Many of the “Rambo” type “survival knives” are junk,made out of steels that are hard to sharpen/resharpen..
      The steel from old 10″ and 12″ miter and table saw blades make excellent knives.
      I’ve made several knives from old sawblades,and a few from leaf springs from cars and trucks-the leaf springs require enough heat to turn the metal cherry red,and you have to do a bit of blacksmith work,pounding the steel into the rough shape of the blade you want to end up with.
      All these “survival knives” are junk-just people trying to make a few bucks,and directing their advertising $$$ towards the prepper community.

      • equippedcat says:

        If a knife is advertised as a “survival knife” there is a good chance it is a poor choice by its design. Some are good quality, some are not good quality just like with any type of knife. It is the determination that the knife is a “survival” knife where the potential for the real problem lies. Many of the aspects which make a theoretical “survival” knife are antithetical to actually using it for survival.

        As for the cost of knives, you can get a decent one cheap or a junk one cheap, or you can make one if you have the skills or you can get a really good one or a not so good one for a lot of money. Its a matter of knowing what you are doing, or at least having the ability to do meaningful research. Some people are out to make bucks at all cost, and some people are out to provide the best and expect it to be worth their while. .

      • I serious get all the debate about what makes the finest blades for “survival”.
        All fascinating stuff. Only here are two extremes.
        Two Knives

        £11 ($16) for the little Mora, £150 ($225) for some really good advertising hype and a “fierce name”.

        Now two Mora’s sit in our packs, mine and SWMBO’s.
        Are they as meaty as the all singing “Grizzly”? No
        Do they keep their edge as well? Dunno but a swift pass of a stone keeps them sharp.
        Do they chop through the toughest of wood or hack through a deers leg bone?
        Do they cut cord, gut rabbit, scale and fillet fish? Yes.
        Do we need more in a knife? No.
        As for brute force work we have the kukrhi and a small hatchet.

        The argument on what folk use (or the ex-spurts tell us to buy) is mute in our minds.
        Like buying a gun, everyone has an opinion, a favorite (a hate), but ultimately it is a simple tool.

      • equippedcat says:

        The Mora is a good little knife, and along with a Kukri, will pretty well cover your knife needs. Your picture is too small to see what the “high end” knife you list is, and $225 is more than I’d pay for any knife, but it is not the real “high end”. I was looking at Puma knives and could not believe they were asking from $400 to $1400 and even higher from the U.S. Puma site. The German Puma site seemed less unreasonable, in the 100 to 500 Euro range.

      • equippedcat says:

        Actually, that looks like it could be a great knife. More than I would pay, though, and I could not find one cheaper (no “street” price). There are indeed knives which are pure hype, with a high price which has no relation to the design or quality or even cost to produce, but this may not be one of them.

      • 6 mm thick, good steel (but not the best I’ve seen listed) and apparently does two things well, cuts things and smashes glass.

        Only I can buy 10 Mora’s for one of those and use a brick for breaking glass. As you rightly say, a Mora is a nice little blade.

        Money is for the important things in our life i.e. fuel, medicines, chocolate, thus I always look for “good performance for less”. Does this lead to having to make a compromise about things?

        Sure it does, only I’m not worried.

        Grizzly bears aren’t much of a hazard in the Gloucestershire countryside. (But them rabbits get everywhere!)

      • Brittius says:

        Never had one from a saw blade but was interested in those. Leaf spring blades, I had owned two, but the grind was not accute. Personally, when I re-profile a blade by hand, I like the flat grind. Knives larger than 7 inches in my opinion, for my own use, are not where it’s at, and, vital organs can be hit with 5.5 to 6.0 inches unless your opponent is a sumo wrestler. NVA were not in full-battle-rattle. Sweaty shirt, is more like it.

      • I’m curious ‘B’.
        What do you see as the bigger threat in coming times. CQB against a knife or you against a projectile weapon aka gun, bow, or whatever?

        Incidentally I’m forever sharpening up broken large frame hacksaw blades for sale to the masses. Good money spinner is that.

      • Brittius says:

        From my life experience, in the UK where you reside, unless projectile firing weapons are brought into the UK, whether lawfully or other, the larger threat will remain involving edged and blunt force, weaponry. The blade is “romantic” to some cultures. On the streets, I have seen many, claw hammers imbedded in skulls of the dead. The “shank”, or improvised primative knife. Screw drivers, a couple ground into awls, otherwise the majority of old chipped heads. CQB that I was engaged in, a .38 Special did very nicely with 158 grain lead semi-wad cutter in +P Winchester loads (Department regulation ammunition). I became unpopular because of shot placement (heads), but that was the target presented and my vision choked in the night lighting as the faces glowed. We were taught, things changed when on the west coast, either Washington State or Oregon, I do not remember, but remember the post incident review on training film. A warrant was being served at a residence. Two detectives. One about 17 years expeience, the other over 25 years experience. One stands directly squared in the doorway, knocking, announcing that he has an arrest warrant. Through the hollow veneer-type door used on that residence, out comes a sword blade, and went through the older cop’s heart. Damned shocking! Then a few other incidents on training film of martial arts people. We were then told, if anyone is at 21 feet or less, armed with any edged or blunt force instrument, only once, will the order be given while service weapon aimed, “Drop the weapon!”. If not immediately complied with, open fire. Inside of 21 feet, there is an advantage to persons armed with edged weaponry. Distant weapons, I have not encountered that I can immediately recall but have seen bodies with arrows in them. At the morgue, one arrow broadhead was only ground at the factory and never honed, it tore up enough to kill the person. Training did cover, if a person was holding a bow and failed to immediately drop it, open fire. Threat of serious physical injury or death are immediate and non-compliance with lawful order under those circumstances justifies the use of deadly physical force. I have seen gardening pitchfork used but despite numberous wounds, it was not driven deep enough to kill and served more as psychological injury in a crime of passion. Attempted murder was still charged, as criminal possession of deadly weapon (once tools are misused as weapons), and assault with deadly weapon. One intersting weapon that I admired, was a broken 12 ounce beer bottle, fashioned into a broken broom handle that was split and taped, to form a knife. Sharp as all hell, and did wicked damage to the robbery victim.
        CQB, the individual should be armed with at least one handgun if not two. Knives, should be carried in right and left side placement. I had a restriction of only being authorized to carry either camping knife or electrician’s two blade knife. I carried a Camilius camper, and, a Parker Brothers skeleton frame, thumb assist knife, with my identifying numbers scribed into the blade so nobody could accuse it of being a “throw down”, or “planted” knife. CQB when I was younger was very primal. Great strength, and pure violence. If engaged or locked in battle, remember the off-side or non-shooting side, may, be open and not grasped in the struggle, and the knife placed on that side will be of last resort.

      • Three things we were taught in the civilian security world.

        Never go on duty tooled up, never get out of the car, and for £6 an hour it just aint worth the effort.

        Yet the ex-forces guys all carried 8 cell aluminum torches, a dinky can of wd40 on our belts (because the torch switch was always sticking) and at night we ALWAYS found a pick axe handle just lying on the ground so carried it round with us in case someone tripped over it in the dark.

        After that the only problem was explaining how the idiot on the floor managed to hit himself with your torch, trip over the pick axe handle, and unblock your gummed up WD40 can by looking into the jet.

        I did however get a police commendation for disarming a druggie with a machete. They never did ask how I put 7 stitches into his head with my bare hands.

      • gamegetterII says:

        Just pointing out that if you face an opponent who’s got a vest,chest rig,mag pouches and all that stuff-without a long blade you can’t hit vitals-from Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq-opponents were not geared up-so that may not change any time soon.
        My “survival” knife has a 5.5″ blade.
        I have a knife made from a leaf spring,has a great grind on it,easy to resharpen,stays sharp as long as my Gerber that cost twice as much.

  2. I have been thinking about the whole, “The world is still there afterwards.” quote that you have on here. I think that is where my thinking has gone wrong – I guess in my mind I always imagined a nuclear event that takes out the whole planet. I know, stupid and overly dramatic, but I only know what I have seen in movies.

    I learn a lot from you, my friend. You make me think about things from different angles that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. You have made me challenge myself to come up with alternative solutions for food, meds, weapons, BOBs, and even things I teach in homeschool. So, if I have never said thank you for being a teacher to me – THANK YOU. (((hugs)))

  3. equippedcat says:

    Yes, “The world is still there afterwards” after most imaginable events. The question is, will “people” be there afterwards? Because if there are no people, then it does not matter if the world is there. There are not many events which will wipe out everybody but there are some.

    • IF no one is there, neither will we be.
      No problem for anyone.
      If others are there (after the much talked about mass die off) then there may be enough room for everyone left standing. After that I’d be looking forward to that brave new world.

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