The “Knaw”


By The Coach, Contributing Editor

         I carry a small pocket survival kit that I put together, in a “Tobacco” tin, when I go into the woods for any reason. I always carry a quality sheath knife with me in addition to my pocket survival kit. However, knives have been known to become lost or misplaced while in the woods. I wanted to add some type of cutting edge that was very flat and did not take up much room in the pocket survival kit as a small knife would. I carry my pocket survival kit in my shirt pocket.

I thought maybe I could expand the use of the tool that I wanted.  I thought the same tool could be used as a cutting tool and a saw to cut metal, wood and plastic. This would save me a lot of space in my pocket survival kit because I would not have to store a small knife and a flexible saw in my pocket survival kit. I would be able to add other needed items to my pocket kit.

One day I was at my local hardware store purchasing items for another project I was working on. I was walking down one of the aisles that displayed reciprocating saws (saws all). Next to the reciprocating saws were many replaceable saw blades for the reciprocating saws.

Then I had an idea.

Could I take a small reciprocating saw blade that cut metal and put a knife edge on the back side of the saw blade?

There are many types of blades that are made for the reciprocating saw. Each blade is designed to cut through specific materials and there are numerous saw blade lengths.

I purchased several of the smaller metal cutting saw blades and headed home to my work shop. The saw blades cost me approximately $2.00 each.

The reciprocating saw blades that I purchased would be flat enough to fit into my pocket survival kit and I would not need to shorten the smaller blades to fit into the “Tobacco” tin pocket survival kit.

I tried to cut metal, wood and plastic, including plastic wire (zip) ties, with the saw blade. It cut all of these materials. Maintaining a grip on the blade was a little difficult but possible. However, this tool would be used in a survival situation, not for normal cutting chores. Then I attempted to cut through nylon rope, the saw blade did not work. So I got out my “Lansky” knife sharpening kit and put an edge on the back of the saw blade.

The steel that the saw blade is made of is very hard and was tough to sharpen.

When I finished putting an edge on the back of the saw blade, I tried to cut the nylon rope with the newly sharpened knife edge. It worked as well as I thought it might. However, when I tried to use the saw edge to cut metal, wood and plastic, it was obvious that I would cut my finger on the sharpened edge of the saw blade. I had to place one of my fingers on the top of the saw blade that I had sharpened, in order to put enough downward pressure on the saw blade to cut.


Then I tried sharpening the front edge of the reciprocating saw blade and curved the sharpened edge around the top of the saw blade approximately ½ of an inch. When I tried cutting metal again it worked. I could put enough pressure on the top of the blade to cut metal, plastic and wood yet had enough sharpened cutting edge to cut through nylon rope. I just had to be very careful not to let my finger slip forward on the top edge of the blade. If I did, I would cut my finger. You can sharpen it anywhere you find it works for you.

NOTE: The reciprocating saw blade cuts on a backward, rear, stroke. If you cannot tell where I sharpened the blade, I sharpened it between the two marks on the front of the blade.

No, this is NOT an ideal knife or metal/plastic/wood saw but in a survival situation it should work well enough. Also, it is better than nothing.

The tool was flat enough to be placed in my small “Tobacco” tin pocket survival kit so it would not take up much space.

Then I started to realize some of the blades additional uses.

You could extend the tools reach by securing the saw blade to a pole. By obtaining a tree limb or small sapling approximately one (1) inch wide, you could use the saw edge to saw a notch in the center of one end of a tree limb. The reciprocating saws blade has one (1) predrilled hole in the back end of the blade. This is normally where the blade of the reciprocating saw secures to the motorized reciprocating saw unit. This hole is ideal to place pieces of stripped out para-cord (550 cord) through the hole to secure the blade into the cut out notch of the tree limb. This gives the user additional reach. By having additional reach, you can obtain fruit and nuts, etc. that are out of normal reach. You probably could use a hiking staff as an extension pole also.

Then I thought that maybe the military or militia personal might find my tool useful in an escape and evasion capacity. A soldier could conceal one of the cutting tools easily in their uniform or somewhere on their person.

By having the capacity of cutting metal, plastic, wood and rope, if a soldier was taken captive, they would have a chance of cutting off their bonds and escaping.

No, this is NOT an ideal knife or saw. But it is better than attempting to fashion one out of stone in the field or not having anything to cut with.

To a soldier, having one of these concealed on one’s person could mean the difference of a successful escape from an enemy or being held a prisoner for an extended period of time. A soldier could also use the cutting blade in a survival situation.

My wife asked me, what I called my little cutting tool. I thought about it and told her that I called it a “Knaw”. The name “Knaw” is a combination of the words knife and saw. The “Kn” is from knife and the “aw” is from the word saw. Thus “Knaw”.

I pronounce “Knaw”, (naw). The “K” is silent.

Before placing a “Knaw” in your survival kit or on your person, use one drop (no more) of quality gun oil and wipe the blade down with a very light coat of the gun oil. This will help protect the blade from rusting.

I do NOT plan on making any “Knaws” to sell. If someone is interested in the “Knaw”, they are simple enough to make. So, make your own.

I plan on making some “Knaws” and giving them to friends for Christmas presents and using them for stocking stuffers.

I am sure there are many other uses that I have not even thought of for the “Knaw”.

  • Be very careful when using the “Knaw”! It is easy to cut yourself if you are not very careful! If you make a “Knaw”, you do so at your own risk! You take full responsibility for your own safety and the safety of anyone you give one to or let use your “Knaw”.

NOTE:        I DO NOT receive ANY compensation, of ANY kind, from ANY company, for mentioning ANY product, named in ANY of my articles. I write about products that work for me.



Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)




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2 thoughts on “The “Knaw””

  1. I agree it is certainly better than nothing. Very creative! Someone recently gave me a Gerber “Shard” that is very small and has many uses but doesn’t have a blade. I would imagine it began as an idea like yours.

  2. I also have a shard, staderd as yours, but during one of my searches on Amazon i seen they do have one with a small fold out blade built into it for around 12 bucks


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