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Making Tools from Natural Materials

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 3 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Tools Survival Crafting Knife Sharp

If you are thrust into an unexpected survival situation in which you haven’t brought tools with you, it’s very useful to learn the skills to be able to craft your own tools from materials that you can use from the natural environment you find yourself in.

Sharp Tools

A knife is going to be the most valuable tool you can have in a survival situation as it can be put to multiple uses. It can be used to help cut other materials for when you’re constructing a shelter, for example and can also be used for skinning and boning any animals or fish you’ve been able to catch.

Furthermore, a knife will have a positive psychological affect on you in that it will help you to feel more secure against animals which might approach if they see you as potential prey or even where you might encounter a human enemy if you find yourself in a war zone.

Stone, bone or shell (if there’s no metal around) are likely to be your best bet when fashioning a primitive knife as these materials are going to produce the sharpest edge. You’ll normally use another stone to break off pieces of the material you’re using to craft a piece that will be similar in terms of sharpness to the blade of a knife. The important thing to bear in mind when crafting your knife is to do so in a way that will allow it to puncture, cut, slash and chop.

Whilst your makeshift knife doesn’t need to have a handle, you can modify the procedure above to make other sharp implements such as an axe or spear. Simply attach the tool you’ve crafted into an appropriate instrument by lashing it to a handle by using vine or some other kind of cordage attached to a piece of wood. You can even craft an arrow which you could use for hunting and fishing in much the same way.

Weighted Club Or Hammer

Apart from sharp implements, another piece of equipment you’ll find extremely useful is some kind of weighted club or hammer. This is going to help you to kill any animals you might have trapped or fish you have caught. It can also help with building a shelter where you may want to hammer one piece of wood into another or if you need to secure a tarp to the ground, for example.

Stone, or more specifically, a suitably sized rock is probably going to be the best material for crafting such a clubbed instrument. Once again, depending on what you intend using it for, you can use an appropriate length of wooden shaft to craft a handle and lash it to the tool.

Fire Tool

All survival experts will tell you that one of the most important skills you should learn is how to make an instrument which will enable you to create fire. Learning how to make a fire plow involves finding and cutting a piece of soft, dry wood, about a foot long, into which you’d cut a groove at one end.

You then need to find some harder wood and cut it into a roughly cylindrical shape where its base will fit into the groove you have cut out. By placing the harder wood vertically between your hands with its base in the groove of your fire plow, you then rub the stick between your hands back and forth using downward pressure to deepen the groove in your fire plow. This skill takes a lot of practice but you should eventually create a charcoal powder in the groove which can then be tapped off onto some tinder and blown on to create a flame.

Making tools which could help you to stay alive requires you to use your imagination and to utilise any materials within your environment that can serve a useful purpose.

A glass bottle washed up on a shore, for example, can be broken and crafted into a makeshift knife for example. Even a simple bin bag can be used for a multitude of purposes such as being adapted into a raincoat, a door for a makeshift shelter, an emergency sleeping bag, to collect water or to make a solar still.

Ultimately, it’s about utilising whatever natural resources you have available and determining how they might be used in less conventional ways to help you to survive.

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