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The Making of an Ishi Style Glass Bottle Knife


Shawn Woods takes a discarded green glass bottle and fashions an Ishi-style glass bottle knife. This is an effective and useful survival tool.

Ishi was the last stone age man to inhabit North America. He left the wilderness more than 100 years ago, in 1911, and through his story entered the public consciousness. His life is a tale of tragedy and heartache, but he left behind a legacy of primitive living skills that people like Shawn Woods have kept alive.

Watch as Woods reclaims an old green glass bottle, breaks it and then knaps a blade from it in the style of knife that Ishi himself would have made.

Take a glass bottle and remove the bottom. Woods does this with a large nail placed in the bottle, which he shakes up and down until the bottom of the bottle falls off. Then, taking a stone, he hits the bottle near the neck to shatter it. He gets several usable shards of curved glass from the bottle with which to knap his small knife.

Using a pressure flaker made from a piece of wood with a nail driven into it, he shapes the piece of glass into a horseshoe shaped form. Then, using the flaker tool, he removes small flakes of glass from one side the outside of the knife, creating a beveled edge.

That's it, really. It's a super simple process, and in no time he has a small knife that can be used in much the same manner as an Ulu knife.

Now get ready to use this knife in the next video, where Woods cleans a large rat he caught in one of his Paiute deadfalls.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.


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NEXT: SPLAT 2! How to Make a Paiute Deadfall for Catching Small Game

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The Making of an Ishi Style Glass Bottle Knife