How to Make a Bone Knife

••• Photo by Marion Tran Van Huu.

You’re lost in the wilderness. It’s been two days since you could say for certain where you were. Thankfully, you’ve been able to find a fresh water source and erect a makeshift shelter. You’ve also been able to start a fire. The basics taken care of, you now realize that the most handy tool in a survival situation is most certainly a knife—and you want one. A good knife can be made from a variety of materials, including metal, wood, and bone. Here’s how to make the latter.

Locate a suitable bone. An ideal bone for knife-making is the leg bone of any large mammal, like a deer.

Find a sizable, preferably flat rock. This will act as your table for smashing. Find another rock—one that you can hold in your hand, preferably somewhat round in shape. This will act as your smasher.

Place the bone on the table (the flat rock). Bring the smasher (the round rock) down hard directly onto the bone so that it shatters.

Look over the fragments. Choose one with a sharp end (a result of the shattering) about the same size as your desired blade. Remember that you need at least six extra inches of non-blade bone to act as your knife’s handle.

Rub the blade section rapidly against your shattering table (the flat rock). Continue rubbing until your blade is correctly shaped and, more importantly, nice and sharp.


  • When shattering the bone, use one hand to shield your face somewhat while you bring the rock down with the other.

About the Author

William Jackson has written, reported and edited professionally for more than 10 years. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, high-level government reports, books and online. He holds a master's degree in humanities from Pennsylvania State University.

Photo Credits

  • Photo by Marion Tran Van Huu.