{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Vote -1 Vote +1Lorenzo Poe
September 14, 2010 at 9:04 am

Oh, hell yeah. Gonna fix up the old sheath knife this weekend.
Good stuff.
Lorenzo

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1desertrat
September 14, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Re: the Protractors, do you have the line drawings of he increments used? I can’t make out the values from the pictures.

Also how did you make the markings- get them to go through the Parkerizing?

THX,
dr

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Shawn M
September 15, 2010 at 3:54 am

Hi Dr!

The markings are at 10 degree’s each. It LOOKS wrong because of the way I did the “180”, if you count it looks like it should be 170. 180 is really the top of the blade, Again it is slanted to be able to use the eye loop. If you count down from the 0 – 360 you’ll see each mark is 10 degree’s down to the 90.

I just used one of the small round cutters on my dremel tool. I always thought that if I was going to do it again, or if/when I need to redo it, I’d get one of those electric “etchers” from the hardware store. The ones used to put your name or a number on metal plates.

I first took a piece of string off the tip of the blade, aligned it with the back tip of the upper blade, back to the guard. Marked this and drilled my hole. Then I ran a piece of string through the hole to the tip, and taped that in place, and just placed a protractor on the blade that was aligned with the string. I used a pencil to free hand the curve, and mark the 10 degree marks. Then just went over it with the dremel.

Good Luck!!
Shawn M.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1desertrat
September 17, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Hello again Shawn,

Thanks for the explanations, they were a great help in back figuring what was done.

One other mod I have found handy and makes handling the knife more comfortable and safer, is to use a belt sander or Dremel tool to take the leather washers form a ‘O’ shape to an Oval shape, it’s quite an improvement. With the nylon cord wrapping the way you did would add a bit more grip surface while keeping comfort factor up there.

A Katana wrap or weave wouldn’t add much more thickness and triple the cord yardage. Just a though.

Thanks again,
desertrat

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Shawn M
September 21, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Hey Dr!

I’d thought about that, but the reason I didn’t is, in an emergency if I DO have to use the cord….I still want a knife that I can function with. That would make the handle too small for my hand, Unless I had a point of, Unwrap to here, and no farther!! Not a bad idea to add more line, I’ve thought about making a loop the size of the back of the sheath and then hot glueing it in place. Should remain solid, until you wanted to pry it off.

Good Luck!! And send your Mod’s to Dave too when you’re done!!

Shawn M.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1cey
September 14, 2010 at 11:57 pm

old news former green beret don paul writer everybodys knife bible

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Shawn M
September 15, 2010 at 9:23 am

Hi Cey,
Yup, a lot of the idea’s are from him, and others……I’m just showing how I got them to work on a Ka-Bar. I never said these were all my ideas. Actually, I said they weren’t, but that got edited. Just good information that I think everybody should have.

Shawn M.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Veracity
September 21, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Shawn, thanks for the information…and I wouldn’t even bother with that dude, his pointless comment spoke for itself. I just recently ordered the Ka-Bar knife my husband has been wanting and I sent him this link so he could get some ideas on what to do with this particular type of knife. He’s done some para-cord wraps on some of his other knives so I’m sure he’ll be interested in checking out these modifications. Thanks for spreading the knowledge for those of us that haven’t gotten to read the “old news” yet. 😉

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Shawn M
September 21, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Thanks Veracity!!

I’m not too worried about him 🙂 Just wanted to make sure he didn’t think I was trying to copy someone else. Being in the Marines, some of these idea’s I picked up there, others from books I’ve read, like he mentioned.

Good idea’s always get around, especially in the military!!

Thanks again!!
I know you’re hubby will LOVE his Ka-Bar!!!

Shawn M.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Shawn M
September 15, 2010 at 3:59 am

Oh, and Dr,

The inside half curve, the sundial, is marked SS for sunset, which is set to a flat horizon, or which should be equal to 90 degree’s on the protractor below it.
Then every 15 degree’s I put a mark, and made them 1 thru 5, for 1 hour up to 5 hours.

Shawn M.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Dale
September 17, 2010 at 7:57 am

What about the finger method for estimating sundown? Is it a bunch of BS or just good for the last hour before sunset?

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Shawn M
September 17, 2010 at 9:54 am

Dale,

Once you get used to your own hand, yes it will work, but not everyone’s hands are the same size, So saw at 2 hours before sunset, might be 2 fingers to you, 3 to someone else, and maybe 1 or 1.5 to someone else.

This will work for anyone that picks up the knife.

Shawn M.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
September 17, 2010 at 10:07 am

Hey Dale,

I’ve been using my fingers for estimating sundown since my dad taught it to me when we were hunting as a child. I happen to have the right arm/finger perportions to make it work…and it has worked for me since I was in grade school. Keep in mind that you can play with this technique to make it work.

What I mean is this…if your torso is perpindicular to where the sun will set and you put your hand up and the sun is 2 fingers above the horizon but the sun sets 3 hours later, then it means that your fingers are too big in relation to your arm length for this technique. You can fix this by “blading” your torso to the horizon, or even holding your arm straight out to the side as you look to where the sun will set. This will get your fingers further from your eyes and make them smaller in relation to the horizon.

By experimenting with this, you will find the angle for you that provides the best WAG. (wild assed guess) Remember, this isn’t scientific…but it will help you know when you need to get busy with fire, shelter, water, & food most ricky tick.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Shawn M
September 17, 2010 at 10:05 am

Something I thought I should add.

When making the modifications, cut the notch first, once you’ve determined where you have the room to do it. Once you’ve determined your angle off of the “eye line” (eye loop to blade tip), To make sure your measurements are accurate, move the protractor down so that the bottom of the notch is the center point on the protractor!!
Otherwise you’re measurements will be off.

Good Luck!
Shawn M.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Mittens
September 17, 2010 at 10:37 am

Now this is quite the knife. I like all the extras with it. I never knew all that stuff. I just guess what time it is and when the sun sets and check my watch for accuracy. I’ve been doing this all my life and pretty close. The only problem is when they switch the time or different time zones. My internal clock has to reset. I have never been trained in the USMC or other branches for this living outdoors and surviving. So, all this is very helpful. Thanks

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Lonnie Williams
September 17, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Loved Shawn’s modifications. There’s nothing wrong with making a tool more versatile. He’s done some thinking outside the box for sure. However, be forewarned that filing a right-angle notch, especially in the spine area, will create what is known as a “stress riser,” not what you want in a knife that will be subjected to impacts such as batoning. Worse yet, prying, (another emergency scenario), will focus stress in the notch area, inviting a catastrophic failure (breaking). I’m a custom knife maker (16 yrs) and maintained band saws in saw mills for 25 years & this condition, actually called the “notch effect,” is the number one cause of cracks & breakage in hardened steel. May I suggest annealing (softening) the spine to guard against this. Sorry for the negative slant but seems like a a big trade-off for having a sun dial and inclinometer on a knife.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Shawn M
September 18, 2010 at 3:18 am

Hey Lonnie!
I’ve often wondered about that. Although after over 20 yrs, I’ve kind of stopped worrying about it.
As you’re more knowledgeable about that area than I am, what effect would “slow” drilling a small hole through the back of the spine be? I say slow drilling, so as not to heat up the metal as much to avoid changing the temper as much as possible.

The other alternate I’d suggest is if you can find a good one, buy a knife that already has the “saw back” on top of the blade, and just mark one of the teeth to be the marker.

Shawn M.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Glenn
February 11, 2012 at 10:54 am

Hi Shawn:
You can cause the same effect as slow drilling by dribbling water, or annointing the drilled area with “Cutting oil” and making sure it stays wet. The theory is that the heat causes the water or oil to evaporate at a lower temp than is critical for the steel, thus using up or carrying the heat away.

If allowed to say so, I wnce made a knife which included “Saw” teeth along the back of the forward taper. The tip of the knife promptly broke off at the first tooth. I then decided that saw teeth on a knife were fine for Rambo movies, but not very effective on a knife that might be used to pry kindling from a log, chop a bone from a boar or deer, or pry a door open. But your small notch is further back on the stronger part of the knife. Just keep it small.

Oh, and if seeking one of those electric pencils that mark names on tools, find one that has a carbide tip. They do exist, I bought mine at Sears thirty years ago.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Lonnie Williams
September 20, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Shawn & David, glad I didn’t offend with my comments. You’re both on track with the drilled hole idea. Radiused shapes don’t concentrate stresses like “V” bottomed cuts do. The problem is that once steel is hardened, it doesn’t like being drilled at any speed. Again, annealing the spine would help, plus give the knife more abuse resistance, (called differential tempering). Because you need a notch for the plumb line, how about just having it on the corner of the spine above the scale since its only function is to snag the line to form a pivot point. You could also use a small, round jeweler’s file instead & probably effect the integrity of the knife even less. Shawn, you’re right about finding a GOOD saw-back knife. Very few of them actually “saw” anything. Keep up the good work guys, we’re all indepted to you for your efforts & shared knowledge, Lonnie.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Shawn M
September 21, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Hey Lonnie,
Well, the only problem with having the pivot point at the corner, is you wouldn’t be able to use the whole protractor, just 1/2 of it.

I like the rounded jewels file idea, I’d go with the smallest I could find, so it didn’t have too much “sag” tipping up or down.

Like I said with this one, it was my first one, but as its been over 20 years I’m not too concerned with it breaking. Although I could see where that could happen if it was hit at a 90 degree angle.

Although its hardened steel, I used to work in a machine shop years ago, and with the right drill bits, if they can drill through stainless steel, I’d bet they could get through this. Haven’t tried it though. The good thing with it being on the spine, and not the blade is it is cooled slower so its not as brittle, but its softer too.

As for getting upset, lol, no, I don’t get upset. We don’t learn if we don’t share what we know. And no one can know everything. The one thing I learned long ago is the best way to grow idea’s are to share them!!!

Shawn M.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1david fitch
September 27, 2010 at 11:33 am

http://www.m4040.com/Survival/10_Cent_Survival_Knife/10_Cent_Survival_Knife.htm

this is a knife and survival site I have followed for a number of years.
Twitter Battledoc

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Chris M
October 27, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I’m curious, what is the point of the full protractor? With the separate marks for the sunset thing, you only mention a use for the 45 degree mark.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Shawn M
May 10, 2011 at 12:06 am

Hi Chris!

Been awhilie since I visited here, so didn’t see your question until now.

Another use for the full protractor is use the “tree” idea sideways. If you can see a tree across a stream or river, mark your area, then move until that same tree is at 45 degree’s “roughly” either direction. Then count your steps back to your starting position, and you’ll have how far across it is.
I found this to be more accurate if I stick it in the side of a tree parallel with the river/stream.

This will help you decide the best way to get across, floating your gear on a raft for example, or inflating your pant legs (tied off of course) to make a temporary buoy.

Nice to have if/when you ever need it. And doesn’t take that much more time to do the whole protractor rather than just half of it.

Good Luck!

Shawn M.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Glenn
February 11, 2012 at 11:09 am

I want to thank all you guys for your fine knife comments.
I love the idea of a clock on my knife.
Another way to consider it is that the sun moves it’s own diameter every eight minutes.

Reply

Vote -1 Vote +1Rich
June 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Shawn,
One more thought – maybe offer to collaborate with Ka-Bar to design and manufacture a “factory” knife with all of your modifications? Just a thought…

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: