EDGE OF SURVIVAL
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.
“USING A FAULTY HANDLE ON ANY BLADE CAN MAKE FOR VERY TOUGH WORK, AS WELL AS DEGRADING PERFORMANCE …”
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.