Bone Knives

Recently I found an intact alligator skeleton at Lake MArtin, a nature preserve close to my home.

Anyway, I am going to try to make some knives,awls, and mabye a super wicked mace and I have some questions.

First, are there proper bones for different things? I was thinking about using the “hip” bones to make punch daggers or fist- hooks**. And maybe a fishing spear head out of the femurs.

Second, is it smarter to try to make the blade size .75 of the original, or smaller? I guess the questions is give me a rough estimate ratio between starting and finished bone sizes.

Last, how the hell do you make a rounded shape? I’ve only been able to sand flats on the throwaway pieces I have been messing with.

I am also planning on using the Jaw for some kind of trap. Maybe make a deadfall where the bottom half goes on the ground, and the top half is the wieghted part that falls down. Kinda like a beartrap.

** I don’t know the proper name, but it is a knife that you hold the same as a punch dagger, but instead of the knife protruding out of the top of your fist, it comes out the side as a hook. Say this a fist ^^, the blade curves out like this :^^u. Kinda shitty description but i tried.

an alligator skeleton! I’m so jealous. That would look awesome in my skull collection. If you find another I’ll trade you for a bear skull.

To get a rounded shape have you tried scraping the bone against an abrasive stone? I’ve done this to get sharp arrowhead type points and would imagine that if I change the technique I could get it rounded. I haven’t tried this though.

I’m thinking bone knives might be the way to go if you want a long, sharp blade.

Do y’all think that a filet knife would be best made from bone? I think it would be the most workable material to shape from and easy to maintain.

I don’t think an edge on a bone knife would be durable enough to do much filleting without a lot of maintainance.
I think an obsidian or flint flake would do much better at cutting through fish skin and scales.
Bone scrapers work really well but a slicing edge is a different thing.

If memory serves, the only stone knives I’ve seen have had really short blades. I can’t really imagine filleting a large fish with a blade that shape. (Well, I can, but it’s not pretty.)

Is it possible to make a long, razor-sharp blade from stone? Maybe if you start with a wedge…

You would have to modify your filleting technique a bit from what you do with a standard fillet knife.
If you imagine a large obsidian flake with a smooth sharp edge, not a knapped one, being somewhat like an ulu (Inuit womans knife) the filleting might go something like in this instructional site.

Here’s a great page full of photos of women in Alaska processing salmon with ulus.


I’m going to copy those webpages to the Fishing board, too.

Bones make ok knives. The bone cells are setup like a brick wall.

Get it?

So if you make a knife long ways across the bone it will shear away relatively quickly.

If you make it across the bone you have a fairly short, but much stronger, knife.

You can make very effective gorges though.

Big stone knives? Check out Solutrean laurel leafs. This baby is six inches long, I’ve seen bigger. The problem is they are relatively susceptible to shearing damage. They’re knives not hammers, but most modern people are too used to their high-carbon steel knives.

  • Benjamin Shender