Plastic knifes

I'm wondering the same thing. Specifically, the CIA Letter Opener, the Cold Steel Tanto, and the Lansky plastic knife. Would these make good last resort weapons?

Fiberglass knives are servicable. They resist bending enough to thrust, and can make a really nasty slice. I make my own, you can buy fiberglass cloth and resin in kits from autobody repair shops for ten bucks or so.

What you do is nail some wax paper to a length of 2x4, lay up a 1/4 inch thick laminate on it, then cover another length of 2x4 with wax paper and clamp it down on top of the other board. That means you should have your fiberglass sandwiched between the two boards. That way you squeeze out the extra resin and make you laminate stronger.

Then shape it with a hacksaw, files, and/or beslt sander. This can get itchy, but you can make something as good, or often better, than anything else out there.

As far as the regular plastic stuff goes, they don't cut real well, but you could stick someone with them.
Ive got the cold steel tanto. Not to bad as far as doing what it is claimed to do. extremly tough, good penetration(as long as the tip hasnt already been blunted), but dont expect to be able to get a decent edge like in the ads. It could cut sofer materials like flesh, but anything else would be a longshot. If you absolutely positively had to get a knife past a metal detector, they are ideal. Otherwise i think of them as gimmicks.

Unless of course you are an Stealth death ninja....
The ultimate is probably the Mad Dog Frequent Flyer, made out of Kevin's proprietary "gripstuff" related to G10 fiberglas but better.

There's one custom maker who came up with a REAL slick idea: use a G10 core blade and tip but attach ceramic cutting edge inserts about 3" long on the main cutting edge.

The idea was to combine the strength of G10 with the slicing ability of ceramic. Damned if I can remember the maker...I wanna say Boye but I don't think that's right.


Timmy, I know what you're up go to concerts a lot. Somebody explained that your handle is a GWAR reference? Assuming you're the type who does NOT jump into fights at random or get wacky on chemicals, I actually *approve* of packing along a "little friend". My brother was at the last rap concert the Oakland, CA arena ever had, the one where the 72nd street Bloods went on a complete apesh|t riot. Him, his buddy and a couple of security guards fought a pitched battle up along one of the upper corridors at a chokepoint, trying to hold 'em off while the section they were in cleared out, then fought a classic "retreat in order" down two staircases.

Ambulances were lined up around the block.

Besides fiberglas/plastic types, you should also think about obsidian "Flinstones replica" stuff, such as what AG Rusell sells ( - at the moment, the only ones they've got have "extra fancy" grips but I've seen many with plain antler grips for around $100 or less. These suckers cut like nothing you've ever seen, they're like serrated scalpels. Some fool might laugh at you until you carve him some new plumbing with it.

The other main commercial option is ceramic. The ultimate in combat-grade ceramics is Mad Dog, end of story. Everybody else's is too brittle.

You can also carve up your own NASTY stuff with plexiglas and a dremel tool...use cordwrap for the grip. That'll be mostly a stab-only type of thing but...yuck. It'll work.

Jim March

[This message has been edited by Jim March (edited 01 June 1999).]
I've got a G-10 knife supposedly made by Emmerson. Ordered it from a police specialty catolog a couple years ago.
Just speculating, but I'd bet with its aligned glass fiber weave G-10 might develop a sorta serrated edge, while Zytel, where the glass is just loose, wouldn't.
Jim, I think you are referring to Mark Boyer, of Boyer Blades. He discontinued his g10/ceramic/glass knife(body of g10, tip of glass and cutting edge of ceramic) because the supplier stopped the supply of the ceramic.
ps I know there is a company who makes specilized industrial blades out or ceramic composites. You might be able to order blade parts from them and assemble yourself a weapon.

I like my women like I like my knives: strong, sharp, well-formed and pattern-welded!
The $5 zytel daggers will not cut nylon cord or seat belts; in fact they won't cut much of anything -- they are pure thrusting weapons. They'll cut meat to some extent after they are thrust into it, but forget about slashing. IMHO the best of them is the Cold Steel Delta Dart -- it's a triangular cross-section stiletto, a pure thrusting weapon, and zytel serves about as well as steel for that design. You could easily make a similar thrusting weapon out of various kinds of plastic.

The G-10 knives do cut nylon; I understand you can cut two or three seat belts before it gets so dull it won't cut another one. I am impatiently awaiting some back-ordered G-10 stock; when it finally arrives I'll make a knife out of it and post test results....

I've tried making a knife out of Miracle Weld kevlar-filled epoxy putty. It tests out similar to the zytel daggers; not much of a cutter.

I think I'll try Snickersnee's fiberglass idea. Have you tried cutting nylon cord or seat belt webbing, Snickernee?

-Cougar Allen :{)
Obsidian (and man-made glass) is easier to knap than flint. That means it's easier to break, too. A glass or flint blade could be strong enough if made short and thick, I guess.... Even the Kyocera ceramic is supposed to be much stronger than flint.

The strongest natural stone is jade. Jade is too tough to knap; you have to grind it to shape. I used to do lapidary work as a hobby and I've sometimes thought of getting back into it long enough to make a jade knife.... Grinding and polishing stone was one of the important advances of the Neolithic Revolution; jade tools are much stronger than flint. It would look cool, too.... Brazilian agate is also very tough stone and cheaper than good jade. You can buy slabs of either big enough to make a blade out of. Most forms of agate are tougher than flint but Brazilian agate is notoriously tough. By the way, some agate can be knapped, usually requiring heat-treatment to make it brittle enough to chip, but if it's knapped it can't be much tougher than flint.

-Cougar Allen :{)
If you need a plastic knife your probably want a sheath to carry it as well. I ordered a Delta Dart with a Kydex neck sheath from Close Quarters Solutions for $ 14.95. I think Delta Dart is long enough in an emergency, and the sheath really works. You can see it in

Cougar, fiberglass cuts flesh readily, to some extent cloth and nylon rope(only other materials I tested it on), but it's no match for steel. Beats Zytel and ABS any day if you ask me. It kinda has the "serrated" effect Corduroy speculated about. A coarse roving seems to work best.

I hit upon this idea while making a spear out of, actualy I don't know what it was, some piece of long, narrow fiberglass I found in my Grandma's garage as a kid. Maybe it was a tent pole? Anyway, I was shaped it on the concrete driveway and while playing with it managed to give myself a NASTY cut. Later, I made a skinner-type knife and cleaned a boar with it. It worked, again I'd rather have steel, but it wasn't too bad.

The trick is to grind the knife from thick stock, I like 3/8ths an inch or so, and keep it thick up to the point. You'll need an acute angle of grind for a good cutting edge.

Fiberglass, in my opinion, is the best cutter of any of the plastic knives, though I haven't tried G-10. It's certainly the cheapest and gives one the satisfaction of making the thing yourself.

Thanks, Snickersnee, I'll give that a try.

When I saw a kydex neck sheath made for the Delta Dart for sale I laughed.
There is no need. Tie your neck cord around the blade; it can't cut the cord and it can't cut you either. Tie a slipknot and it'll hold the Dart upside-down securely and it'll pull out when you draw with no problem at all. I'm not putting down the Dart; it's an effective thrusting weapon, but it doesn't need a sheath. If you carry it in your pocket put a little wad of tissue paper at the bottom of the pocket or wrap the point in a handkerchief; otherwise the point might eventually wear a hole in the bottom of your pocket.

Steel stilettos made to the same design have similar characteristics -- the angle of the edges is too obtuse to cut anything. I tried to cut nylon paracord with a steel one and couldn't.

-Cougar Allen :{)
I have the AG Russel CIA Letter Opener and it is great. Can slash paper real nice, maybe flesh too, but lots beter technique than mine. I also have the Newt Livesay NRG and that little girl; puched a nasty hole in lots of things. Apparently it will break if you snap handle to side leaving the blade embedded in soft tissue. Yuck!

The delta darts make a nasty hole that will not close up like a normal flat hole. You need a finger to plug that up. The tanto plastic basically sucks. Nice training rig I guess, but you can do better.

Jim, nice plug (inadvertent I am sure) for the guy (Boye?) who is making those ceramic cutters. I know you just sold at least ten more for him here...that was a nice piece in TK regarding the Mad Dog ceramics, but I am not looking to spend that much on ceramic...yet.

I have never seen the emerson up close and personal and the Frequent Flyer is a nice rig, but again pricey. You do get what you pay for.

I also like the Choate Machine and Tool Ice scraper. It fits on your keychain and will not set off any alarm bells until the BG gets it on the inside of the wrist or across the neck.

One other recommendation... the AG Russell Oss Toothpick. It is one of the little OSS lapel daggers made for stick and run away type escapes or cyanide assisted activity, but the little minx is made of some polycarbon and the sheath (2 supplied) is lexan complete with holes for sewing into clothing and a flat back so you can glue it to your walkman while you run. Nice buy at $8.00 when I got it. I do not know if they are still sold by AG Russell or not.

ok now I have one of the LS Lanskey "The Knife" (oohh scarey) (hell, you need 2 of them and a tube of epoxy!)

and I gotten a delta dart
but I had gotten the tanto (why hollo grind a piece of plastic?)
I have owned the CIA letter opener for years and sometimes carried it in my pocket. Something must be put around the tip of it if it is to be carried for a longer time, otherwise it will make a hole in the pocket. It is also good for what it is called for, opening letters and cutting paper, but in self defence I think it is most useful just as a stabbing instrument.

I received a Delta Dart a few days ago. With the sheath and paracord it is convenient for neck carry under a loose shirt. I cannot compare the strength of the plastics in the Delta Dart and the CIA Letter Opener, but the Dart is longer and feels sturdier in hand.
Contrary to what Cougar Allen suggests I would not carry any reasonable sized stabbing weapon under my shirt without a sheath. A part of personal security is to make sure that the weapons you carry cannot harm you if you fall, get into an accident etc. I don't want to take any chances of getting accidentally stabbed by my own weapon. I know it is possible to carry a Delta Dart without a sheath, but it is not 100 percent safe in all occasions so I prefer carrying in a sheath.

I have also considered to purchase a NRG but when I read that it is design to break easily I dropped the idea. I want to be able to use a plastic knife more than just once, just in case. That's my opinion, for someone else with a different view NRG might be a good solution.

The whole idea of deliberately making a knife so weak it could break off inside the attacker strikes me as incredibly stupid. Even if there's only one attacker what if you need to stab him more than once? I suspect it wasn't deliberately made that weak; I suspect it just turned out that way and the advertiser is trying to make a deficiency sound like a feature.

I was seriously considering buying one until I saw that "feature." No, thanks....

I don't really think the sheath for the Delta Dart is a ridiculous idea ... just debatable. Anyway it only costs $10....

-Cougar Allen :{)