Making a Hoko Knife

The first lesson at the Southern California 2005 Dirttime rendezvous was how to make a Hoko knife. This is a simple technique for mounting a small stone blade for use as a field expedient knife. For more information on the history of the Hoko knife do a Google search on "Hoko knife".

This lesson was presented by Dude McLean. We began with a demonstration of how to make cordage from a yucca leaf.

The most valuable part of this lesson for me was how to efficiently get to the fibers of a yucca leaf. I thought perhaps they had to be dried and pounded, but this is not the case. Just grasp the leaf with both hands near the center and push together and twist, as if grinding one side into the other. It will then appear as shown here. Then pull a strand from the center and it will separate from the sides as well. Fresh cut yucca leaves can be used and it is really very simple.

Yucca makes a very strong cord.

Split a twig so the stone chip can be inserted in the middle. Though not required, I carved the inside of the twig to better "fit" the stone.

A closeup of my finished cord. Very strong (even now, three months later.)

My finished Hoko knife.

The Hoko knives made by the attendees.

Thanks, Dude!

Copyright © 2005 by Bill Qualls.
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