Monday, 9 July 2012

Customised British MOD Survival Knife

This is the British Army MOD (Ministry of Defense) survival knife.  It is made by John Nowill and Sons of Shefield under contract to the army.  It is used for survival and utility mainly in jungle and arctic environments.

Bought from here: for just over £40 (about $110)

To call it a knife is doing it an injustice. Its more like a mini machete.  The blade is 7 inches long, and with a  quarter inch thick blade it is one heavy chopper. Its looks are very basic, and its sheath is terrible, but it is built strong and designed to be a tough workhorse of a knife. The scales are made of hardwood, and have 3 huge brass rivets holding the scales on to the full tang blade. These scales usually sit proud of the tang. There are a few theories as to why this is, but no one really seems to know for sure;

1) Some think the handles were like that to allow for customisation by the individual soldier.
2) Some think the handles sit proud to minimise contact with the steel tang in cold environments.
3) Some think its just because its built cheap to order.  ...I'm of this school of thought.

So I decided to give this knife a bit of a facelift, while still keeping within its traditional workhorse look. I also did'nt want to spend anything on it so all materials and tools were just what I had lying about.

Armed with nothing but an angle grinder and sander I set to work. I used the sander to remove the phosphate coating on the blade. I then used the angle grinder to give it a subtle clip point instead of the round top. A utility knife was used to slowly carve the edges off the scales to limit the amout of would I would need to sand off.  Once the handle was sanded I used the sanding disc on my angle to get in the places the flat sander couldnt reach. I noticed that the grinder sanding disc gave the handle a slightly 'burnt rattan' look- so I carried it on over the whole handle. This has given the handle a lovely smooth feel so I am glad I discovered it.

All I then needed to do was head on to youtube to learn how tie a lanyard knot.  Using some old para cord I decided to go with the 'snake knot' which is what Chris Reeve uses on his custom knives, and added a bolt 'washer' as shown in the video.

This is the finished result. It took me a total of 2 hours work so I am pleased with the result. It feels like a lot of knife for £43.  I plan on putting to work bushcrafting and shelter building very soon. 

Customised British Army MOD Survival knife

Snake knot and bolt washer lanyard with camo para cord.

This pic shows the quarter inch thick blade which gives it the weight.