What's a PSK knife?
I've pondered this a bit, and I think first and foremost, a PSK knife needs to be a knife you can survive with- that you have with you. Meaning you can do what you need to do with a knife if it ends up being the only one you have.
You can do a lot with a small blade.
I've had knives in the past that were designed to do multiple duties- my favorite in terms of utility being the type that can be made into a javelin or fishing spear. Problem is, I never found one that was worth a damn. So I started making and testing them myself.
There's two roads to take with the spear blades- and honestly, the large Cold Steel bush knives do the job quite well for the larger machete-like socketed ones. I could probably make something with custom performance, but right now it's not worth the shop time.
So I've addressed the small road- which is both more important for a PSK, and harder to do. I've started making a PSK knife that is compact, really will work for a javelin or fishing spear head, and works well as a bushcraft or survival knife.
Any of these knives could be your one knife in the wild, but all, especially the medium and small sizes, are designed to additionally serve functions that make it worth having a lightweight secondary blade.
There are three basic sizes:
- A smaller necker size
- A medium length narrow bushcraft size
- And a more or less full utility knife size.
All are made with exactly the same stock and heat treatment I prefer in my full size bushcrafter and field knives- 3/32 spined 15N20 steel with a scandi style convex zero grind bevel or a traditional shallow angle scandi grind.
The smaller size makes a good compact necker, with an overall length of around 5.25 inches and an average blade length of 2.25 inches. This is an excellent size to fit into a small PSK and will handle cutting chores very well.
The medium size will stand up proud and perform right along side any smaller game or bird and trout knife. You could happily hunt with this and never notice that it's not a purpose built small game blade. For carving and campsite use, it's excellent, resilient, and strong with great edge holding.
Overall, these run to 6.5 to 7.5 inches, with blades in the 3 to 3.25 inch range. While less broad than the regular bushcrafter pattern I make (at 5/8 to 3/4 inch), it does any job you'd do with a smaller woodcraft or bush knife. This size makes the best all around javelin, for my tastes. The medium size will fit in all but small pocket style PSKs.
The larger size is a broader, more traditional bushcraft blade, the primary difference from my norm being a slight reduction in breadth, a wrapped handle, and a spearpoint. This one is going to be the biggest self defense choice if you are making a spear.
All the blades are hand filed for lashing, and have tang holes drilled at 1/4 inch diamter to fit standard chicago screws or 1/4 inch pins for attaching handles.
Blades have a buffed forge scale finish, which is a good coating for storage with oil, Available as bare blades, options include:
- materials for a rubber (ranger band strip) and cord wrap.
- Pre wrapped with rubber and cord. I prefer to use the medium strength cored braid (I think it's called 330) as it isn't quite at thick as 550 and coreless 550 seems pointless.
- a tempered steel stick that can be used as a flint striker, crossbar for a spear configuration, or scraper.
- A belt or neck sheath, with provision for carrying a crossbar if ordered.