Build This posted by

Resource Rambo: How to make a shiv

Resource Rambo: How to make a shiv

It’s Wednesday, and I’m back to answer your toughest questions. I hope you came up with some good ones this week. So far, nobody can stump me.

Got a burning question? Do you need advice? Sound off in the comments!

Raggedy Annarchy asked:
What is the preferred and most reliable method of making a prison shiv?

From Wikipedia:

A shiv (from the Romani word chiv) is a slang term for any sharp or pointed implement used as a knife-like weapon, made from metal. However, the word in practical usage is frequently used when referring to an improvised bladed weapon. Shivs are commonly made by inmates in prisons across the world. A shiv can be anything from a glass shard with fabric wrapped around one end to form a handle, to a razor blade stuck in the end of a toothbrush. Some inmates have even sharpened the ends of pork chop bones to make them into weapons. Shiv, as well as its synonym shank, has entered video gaming lexicon as a synonym for “stab”

How to make a shiv

  1. Obtain a spoon, toothbrush, or some other sturdy, workable material.
  2. Decide which end to use. This is totally up to you. You may want to consider time as a factor.
  3. File a point. Use a relatively flat, rough object, such as a concrete floor, and scratch the end down to a point. Remember, you are making a stabbing weapon, not a slashing weapon. If you are working with plastic, you can also use a lighter to speed up your shaping.
  4. Apply grip. Use rubber cement, electrical tape, dental floss, or anything that will improve your hold on the shiv so it doesn’t slip when it’s time to do the do.
  5. Stash it. The true power of the shiv comes in its quick, surprising lethality.

Do you have a question that needs to be answered? Sound off!

Leave a comment and I will answer your questions and requests for How-to’s.

If you desire anonymity, email me directly at resourcerambo at loveandtrash dot com.


  • ah, good call on the grip. I wouldn’t have thought of that, and obviously it’s pretty crucial.

    Resource Rambo, a related question that I’m sure you know the answer to:

    what are a couple of basic self-defense techniques I should know and be able to use? If someone tries to mug me, is it a good idea to fight back or to just let it happen?

  • If someone is trying to mug you, what you do depends on the situation.

    If it looks like your assailant just wants your wallet, I advise you to give it up. If your assailant wants to hurt you, do everything within your power to dissuade them.

    Predators look for victims. Ergo, don’t be a victim. Be aware of your surroundings. Look around. Walk with good posture. If approached, look at the person in the eye. If you think you are going to be attacked, yell, “No” or “Fire!” Bystanders tend to avoid calls for “help!” However, everyone likes to see a good fire. Sad but true.

    I recommend carrying your keys in your hand with the keys sticking through your fingers. This makes for a great weapon. If you live in a scary area, invest in a kubotan. They are cheap and easy to use. Check out this page for a video and description. (I am not endorsing this DVD or any other commercial products) You can actually make a kubotan out of a stick.

    Think about all the places on your body that hurt to get hit. These will be your targets on your attacker. Shins, knees, hips, ribs, throat, cheeks, nose, eyes, and ears, are some of my favorites. Notice I didn’t say groin. I have been kicked in the groin in an attack and have had no problem putting my attacker down before succumbing to the pain.

    Your weapons can be anything. Claws, teeth, elbows, knees, fists, forehead, purse, laptop, keys, all work as weapons.

    Understanding the three A’s: Awareness, Assessment, and Action may be enough to to keep you from becoming a victim. Utilizing the three A’s may be enough to keep you from becoming harmed or robbed.

    Awareness – Be aware of your surroundings
    Assessment – Assess what is happening and what you can do about it
    Action – Take action based on your assessment

    • *Printing out and getting ready to wheatpaste all over the dockside*

    • Good! I am a fan of everyone knowing how to defend themselves.

    • Kubotan, I like it! That’s something I could definitely carry easily. I am going to make that happen for my next trip. Thank you!

      I tend to be good at the awareness and assessment parts, bit worried about the action. Preparedness is probably the best way to deal with that.

    • I would be happy to show you some simple, easy-to-remember techniques when I see you.

  • Once again, your genius is in the details. ALSO, all the lard you leave out.

    Yes, grip is important. And the surprise element is the real weapon.

    Those pictures make me giggle.

    • Thank you. I am a big fan of Occam’s Razor.

      I believe that the simplest solution is usually the correct one.

  • Oh, and the guy who asked me this is a Rom. You have ESPN.

    • I may have ESPN, but I do not watch ESPN. I’m just saying…

  • Totally girly and unrelated – how can I shorten my Melodia Pants without either a) making them into capris or, b), messing up the hemline?

  • So I had to call my friend Dusty Paik on this one. You may remember her from this interview by Father Mayhem.

    She recommended ruching as a technique to use to keep the flowing shape of the legs. Do the ruching at the knee, above the slit and then complete the hem with a folded straight stitch. I could be missquoting this. If any of you are a tailor, please correct me.

    Dusty also said that the material used in the Melodia Pants is unlikely to fray and you could likely cut the leg to the appropriate length and not worry about hemming.

    • Thank you, Dusty! BTW, I was just working on a future post about teaching yourself shirring. See? More esp…

      Which brings me to the question I REALLY wanted to ask- how do you explain the ‘chemistry’, ie, affinities and aversions, between people meeting soul-to-soul on the internet? Mind you, this is a former professional tarot reader and born-again Skeptic asking.

    • I am so glad you asked…

      It’s amazing how much “chemistry” is really how much “you like yourself”.

      Any good con man, interrogator, or mentalist will tell you that mirroring is one of the quickest ways to build rapport.

      Often we are attracted to qualities in other people that are similar to our own or qualities we like to think we have, as well. Adversely, if we see qualities in someone that reflect qualities we don’t accept in ourselves, huge warning flags will pop up.

      We may also be trained during our lives to avoid qualities that have caused us harm in the past. If you had a past partner who cheated on you, kicked your dog, and loved opera and you meet an amazing human who also loves opera, a flag could very well pop up warning of impending doom.

      Anyway, that’s how I would explain the “chemistry” between soul mates on the internet.

    • Uh-huh.

      Very tactfully put.

      Mirroring is different than The Forer Effect though. Mirroring is the essence of good improv, as in Megaphone Heckling. It’s creative listening.

      The Hun and I met on the internet. We were just what the other one needed. And I did rub her raw at first. Sooo glad you answered. :)

    • It would take a book to explain even the basics of social engineering. But, you are correct, mirroring is not the same things as the Forer Effect. I was attempting to answer the question in a way that was easy to digest. There are many facets to this gem.

    • So…Uh. Yeah. Marsha, you almost got it…Except for the straight stitch.
      What I would do is wear bigger shoes.
      What you can do is grab a little piece of elastic, hold it taut right over the seam, and do a good wide zig-zag stitch. Do not forget to reverse at the beginning or the end. let it go, and you have some interestingness right away.

    • Thank you, darlin’!

    • WOWOWOWOWOW. That is just what I stubbornly decided to try.

      Dusty, love your work.

    • I finally did this. It was on an overskirt though, not the pants, (yet).

      Interstingness and awesomeness.

  • Please forgive the improper formatting of my comments today. I seem to be having a case of the dumbs…

    • Fix’d!

    • Thanks! You’re the best.

  • New question-

    I am beyond the RTFM stage with my GPS and it still frustrates me. My hand-held one is even less intuitive. Any suggestions on how to make friends with a GPS that is a liar and a whore? I’m into forgiveness.

    • I’m glad to hear you are into forgiveness. Now, you need to forgive yourself. You have fallen for one of the greatest modern myths. Technology is NOT smarter than us. We tend to give more credit to our gadgets than to ourselves and we get frustrated. To make friends with a GPS that is a liar and a whore, I would suggest you treat it like a friend, who is also a liar and a whore. You tend to take what those friends say with a grain of salt. Who’s to say you can’t do that with your GPS, or your smart phone? I suggest you try to manage thwarted expectations. If you expect less from your gadget, it makes it hard to disappoint. If that fails, you can smash the $%!?$% thing into little tiny pieces. Works for my male ego, anyway.

      If you want me to be more specific, I would need to know the type of GPS you are using and what you are attempting to accomplish.

      ps – I feel your pain…

    • Maybe you and your GPS need couples counseling.

  • Dear Resource Rambo. Apparently I have relocated to Cougar central. I was on a nice hike with the kids today in the 10 acre woods surrounded on 2 sides by yet more forest & open spaces, when I started calmly wondering exactly how my clever fat ass planned to do anything at all if a Cougar darted across the hiking path taking my toddler along with it like a rag doll full of bacon.

    I’m familiar with all of the standard, usual advice, but there was a young cub sighted actively hunting in the area last year, and what I’d like to know is some pointers and perspective on doing some solo scouting & tracking to see if I can spot any signs of recent cougar activity. I have only the most basic tracking education from reading the Tom Brown books and having done a fair amount of hiking and a few back country week long camping trips. I can tell a running print from a walking print and once even found some fur on some scrub while following light deer tracks. But I’ve never done any hunting and and don’t know much about cougars and their habits. How can I get the skinny on what’s going on in them thar woods tooth and claw wise? Is it even worth it? It’s not like I have a lot of free time, but it sure does sound interesting, engaging, and yeah, bad-ass.

    As for the kids, I figure I’m going to stick to the city parks. The forest is beautiful and the trails are good, but it does not seem worth it, especially since the cub sighted last year hunting in the area was venturing into residential neighborhoods without much fear of people – they seem to be adapting to the encroaching civilization and their numbers are rising significantly driving them to expand their hunting grounds. Heck I’ve seen dear on the edge of the forest at least 6 times now. 3 additional times amongst the houses and where there’s prey, there’s predators.


    • Father M, I grew up in mountain lion country and my brother and I used to wander willy-nilly and unguarded throughout the woods and hills. We had drought years, lion scares, etc etc. but I’ll tell you one thing for sure: nobody I know ever got attacked by a lion, and nobody I knew knew anybody who got attacked by a lion. One time somebody was in the paper because they hit a lion with their car. That’s it.

      Here are the things the lions are looking for in residential areas:
      – goats
      – cats
      – dogs

      Big cats are very smart, and they know where you are even when you have no idea they’re around. They are not going to approach you, and they are not going to attack your toddler. They hunt mostly at night, and primarily track solitary quadripeds. There are enough deer and elk in Oregon to feed an army of cats, and you should definitely feel free to wander in the woods during the daylight.

      One thing I do recommend is that you make plenty of noise as you go, which if I know Lazlo will not be a problem. The only reason a cat (or any other wild animal) would be aggressive to you would be if it was surprised. So sing and talk as you walk, and everything will give you a wide berth. Same goes for snakes, bear and the elusive homeless folk.

      You will hear the occasional story about people getting attacked by cats. I know it sounds scary but the reality is that this really doesn’t happen. It’s just the retarded media trying to tell you it’s not safe to walk around outside in the daytime.

      “Encounters with cougars are rare and the risk of injury or death from an attack is infinitely small. In fact, your chances of being attacked or killed by a domestic dog are much, much greater. DFG statistics show that, in the last 20 years, hunting accidents killed more than 85 Californians and injured 700. In the last 100 years, only 14 fatal cougar attacks occurred on the entire North American continent. In that time, more than 15,000 people were killed by lightning; 4,000 by bees; 10,000 by deer; 1,300 by rattlesnakes. Yosemite National Park has cougars plus 3 million visitors a year. There has never been an attack in the park’s history. More visitors have died from rockslides. On the list of daily “dangers” faced by Californians, cougars are but a footnote.”

      As for tracking, there are some excellent and kid-friendly educational materials published under the name of Ranger Rick. They give you great guides to print shapes and sizes, details about scat, fur, etc. It is so worth it to be able to read signs. It will help you and your kids understand more about animals, and it’s a ton of fun.

      Rambo, sorry for hijacking your thread but this one is something my parents spent approximately 18 years teaching me about.

    • Well played, The Hun. Your parents did well. And the Ranger Rick call-back brought a tear to my eye.

    • Coolio, thanks for the low down. Yes, we make a LOT of noise. Both intentionally to notify the wildlife and also unintentionally because we’re uppity redheads.

      WAITAMINNUTE! Now I don’t want to go outside for fear of Lightning, angry bees, rabid deer, sneaky evil rattlesnakes, and Dick Cheney!!! GOODNESS! No wonder I haven’t seen anyone else hiking out there.

      Seriously though, thanks for the reality check. We do subscribe to Ranger Rick, it’s a good zine. We’ve also seen deer scat and some dog prints, but that is it so far.

  • I understand your concern. Cougars are no joke. I really don’t think you, personally, have anything to worry about. You are a little old and sizable for a Cougar to take down. Your son, however, may be Cougar bait in a couple of years. Most Cougars hang out in college bars, though. To find out more, look at singles websites and avoid those bars and clubs. I think the park may be a safe bet.

    Umm. Wait, Cougar or cougar? Did you mean pumas/mountain lions? That kind of cougar?

    • While it is true that I am no longer Cougar prey, I do recall the merciless hungry stare freezing me in my tracks back, oh about 10 years ago. shudder BOY that was terrifying! I still wake sometimes in the middle of the night shuddering and whimpering …

  • ResourceRambo:

    What happens to airplanes that are in the sky if an earthquake happens below it? Anything?

    • You haven’t answered yet… Does this mean you’re stumped?

    • (psst he is outta town this week)

    • No, I have not been stumped.

    • I scoured the web. I called a pilot friend. I spoke with an amateur seismologist. When the earth below an airplane, in flight, encounters seismic activity, the flight of the aircraft is unaffected. In other words, nothing happens. There are other ways airplanes may be effected by an earthquake. Loss of communication with ground control, inability to land on a damaged runway, or an accidental launch from a forgotten V-750 Dvina surface-to-air missile, all have a better chance of felling a Boeing 747 than the ionization of air caused by a quake.

      Welcome back, btw.

    • Yaaaaaay!!! Thank you!!!

      And welcome back to you too!

  • […] Resource Rambo: How to make a shiv […]

Facebook Comments

comments powered by Disqus