Knives Illustrated - - News - STORY AND PHOTOS BY EJ SNY­DER

Iwas on the plains of the Serengeti in Tan­za­nia, Africa, with my part­ner when a po­ten­tially haz­ardous sit­u­a­tion arose. was ba­ton­ing some much needed footwear off a tree, when the han­dle of the knife I was us­ing had the end disk break off—mak­ing the han­dle loose and un­sta­ble.

It was a rat-tail (hid­den tang) han­dle de­sign cov­ered in a thick leather hide, which held the now cracked rat-tail han­dle to­gether, but the leather grip kept try­ing to work its way off as I used the blade.

We were sur­viv­ing in a very tough en­vi­ron­ment and I didn’t want ei­ther of us to get hurt. I had no duct tape on this mis­sion, or any other sup­plies for that mat­ter, other than the nat­u­ral re­sources of my sur­round­ings.

We had found some pitch off a tree that was quite gummy, but once dried, be­came very hard­ened. I ap­plied some to the end of the han­dle and set it out on a rock in the 115-de­gree heat. A few hours later, it was good to go.


Field Re­pair

After this ex­pe­ri­ence, I have be­come a huge fan of fixed blade knives, be­cause they are much eas­ier to re­pair and main­tain in the field.

Us­ing a faulty han­dle on any blade can make for very tough work, as well as de­grad­ing per­for­mance—not to men­tion the po­ten­tial for in­jury, thus com­pli­cat­ing your sit­u­a­tion. The knife han­dle is the in­ter­face be­tween steel and flesh. When it fails in the field, a good plan for re­pair is im­per­a­tive.

You must al­ways be ready to make a re­pair in the field and use your wits and skills to do it, re­gard­less of the blade you have cho­sen to bring to the field—whether it is a fixed blade, folder, rat tailed, or an­other edged tool. You must al­ways be ready to put your wits and “Mac­gyver” skills to the test, if you want to make it out alive—or at least home in time for the wife’s home­cooked meal.

Adapt and Im­pro­vise

The tech­niques used to re­pair a knife han­dle in the field do take a bit of prac­tice to work. Once again, it goes back to the adage, “If there’s a will, there’s a way!” I have al­ways loved the chal­lenge of try­ing to come up with so­lu­tions to prob­lems. In sur­vival, all you need to do is use your wits, adapt and im­pro­vise, to find the so­lu­tions to your prob­lems and keep your grip, on the Edge of Sur­vival. KI

Above: This Kukri Ma­chete re­ceived a field ex­pe­di­ent cloth han­dle wrap for com­fort and ex­tended use.

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