PVC Survival Gear: How to Make It – Part 3, by J.H.

PROJECT 3: The PVC Quiver

As with the PVC bow, there are several different types of PVC quivers that can be made. A really simple, no heat version is as easy as taking 2” diameter Schedule 40 PVC pipe that is 18” in length and filling the bottom 1/4 of the pipe with Great Stuff or another spray foam. This easy quiver can be fashioned to receive a belt, can be set on the ground for target shooting, or modified however you would like to attach it to yourself or your gear. Poke your arrows into the foam or drill holes in the foam to receive the arrows. You may also want to drill small drainage holes through the foam.

The quiver project I am giving the instructions for is slightly more complicated, uses heat, and has a bit more to it in design and structure. It will be more of a modern hunter’s quiver with a touch of old world design. It may be worn sling style, back pack style, on a belt, sideways on a belt, attached to a pack, or set on the ground. It is stylish, light weight, and effective, and it keeps arrows from making noise by securing each arrow individually. I hope you enjoy this design, which came about from a number of trials until I found what I liked the best and what worked the most efficiently.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS:

  • 2” Diameter Schedule 40 PVC pipe cut to 18” length
  • 2” Diameter Schedule 40 PVC pipe flat bottomed cap (glue on)
  • PVC cement
  • Heat source
  • Marker
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • 1” x 6” or 2” x 6” board at least 14” length (for heat flattening)
  • Drill or tool for making 1/16” and 1/4” holes in PVC
  • An opened end hand saw (tile, ceramic, hack saw or other like variety)
  • A rasp or file
  • Soft foam rubber (solid circle shape, 2” diameter, at least 1/2” thick)
  • Velcro Strip (soft/loop side, at least 1”w x 8” long)
  • Glue (I prefer hot glue)
  • Sand paper
  • Paint of your choice (optional)

STEPS:

  1. Choose which end of the pipe will be the bottom. Test fit the cap, and draw a line with a marker on the pipe where the edge of the cap meets the pipe. Remove the cap. Use PVC cement around the (outside) bottom end of the pipe, from the edge to the line you marked. Now, use the PVC cement on the cap (inside), covering it completely but not thick. Make sure to apply the cement fairly quickly, as it is fast drying. Place the cap on the pipe, and push the two pieces together so that there is a nice, snug fit. Let it dry a few minutes.
  2. Heat the pipe from the top to about 2/3 of the way down and around the entire diameter until the pipe is soft and malleable. Be sure not to overheat the pipe, as it may burn and weaken the PVC. When the pipe is thoroughly heated, lay it on a flat, hard surface and use the board to apply even pressure to the pipe. (Apply less pressure on the bottom (cap) end and more pressure towards the top/open end. The idea is to give it a tapered effect.) You don’t want to close off the top end completely. Rather, leave enough of an opening to receive several arrows. (How big you make the opening is up to you.) Hold the pressure on the heated pipe for a couple of minutes while the pipe cools and hardens.
  3. Now, you should have a tapered, “flat-ish” surface of the pipe, which will serve well for this part. Draw a teardrop shape (approximately 3”- 3.5” at its widest portion) with the rounded end at least 4” from the top (open) end of the pipe, and the pointed end at least 3” from the cap edge at the bottom of the pipe. Do this on only ONE of the tapered “flat-ish” sides. Drill a 1/4” hole on the inside of the line somewhere on your teardrop drawing. Using a saw, cut out the teardrop shape. You should now be left with a hole in the pipe which is in the shape of a tear drop. This will be the front of your quiver. The tear drop opening allows arrows to be pulled from the front side of the quiver as well as being able to draw from the top opening.
  4. Using a file, round over the top (open) edge of the pipe (inside and out) slightly. Do the same for the teardrop opening. You don’t want any sharp or flat edges.
  5. Drill 1/16” drainage holes in the bottom of the cap. (Approximately eight is a good number of holes.) Do the same with the foam rubber piece, which will be the “nest” for the tips of your arrows.
  6. Using the glue (hot glue), fasten the Velcro to the inside of the pipe at the top (open) end. Be sure not to let the edge of the Velcro protrude past the edge of the pipe opening. (I like leaving an 1/8” of pipe at the end.) You want to make a ring that runs the entire diameter of the pipe. This Velcro ring helps quiet any rattling when arrows are in the quiver and ensures you don’t damage arrows when you draw them from the quiver. You may want to do the same on the inside of the pipe around the teardrop opening, however, it is not necessary.
  7. Drill two 1/4” holes approximately 2” from the top (open) end on the back (NOT teardrop) side of the quiver, about 3” apart from each other. Again, on the back side, 2” above the edge of the cap, drill two holes (1/4”) about 3” apart. These quarter-inch holes will allow you to use cordage to carry the quiver in a variety of positions. You can make individual loops for each hole to accept a belt or use lengths of cordage to wear the quiver as a sling, backpack style or on the hip.
  8. Push the foam rubber piece down inside the quiver until it is completely pressed against the inside of the cap. Make sure it is securely snug in its place and evenly pressed around the inside of the pipe diameter.
  9. (Optional) Sand and paint the quiver.

I hope you enjoy this lightweight, efficient, and eye-pleasing quiver as well as the pride that comes with having made it yourself!

PROJECT 4: Knife Sheath or Ax/Hatchet Mask

PVC has been called the poor man’s Kydex. This is because you can make a very nice friction-retention sheath or tool mask very simply and inexpensively. The results are an amazingly handsome, durable, and reliable piece that won’t break your piggy bank. This project is more specification oriented than the others because the PVC material size you will need is dependent on what tool you are making the sheath or mask for.

The example I will be using is a sheath for a traditional KA-Bar Fighting/Utility knife. The process works similarly for any sheath or tool mask. There are several youtube tutorials for making PVC sheaths, masks, et cetera.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS:

  • 3/4” Diameter Schedule 40 PVC pipe, 12” length
  • Heat source
  • Marker
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Pot holder or hand towel
  • Hand saw (coping, hacksaw, et cetera)
  • Flat file or rasp

STEPS:

  1. Measure the length of your blade, from hilt to point. Add 1/2” to that measurement. (In this example, the total then is 7 1/2”.) From one end of the PVC pipe, measure the 7 1/2” and mark the pipe. With a saw, make a slight (approximately 1/3 of the way through) cut into the pipe.
  2. From the opposite end of where you measured from, use the saw to cut the pipe’s diameter at the same depth as your initial cut, down the length of the pipe until your initial cut is met with the cut you are making. If you have done this correctly, you will have a scrap of PVC that is about a third of the overall diameter of the pipe and is 4 1/2” in length. Set the scrap aside. Now, you should have a piece of pipe that has a 7 1/2” length, full diameter, with the other 4 1/2 inches being about 2/3rds of the pipe’s diameter. This 2/3rds portion will be heat formed into a “belt loop”.
  3. Using your heat source, heat the entirety of the full diameter portion of the pipe, which is the part that will accept and retain the blade, until it is soft and flexible, making sure not to overheat it. Once it is properly heated, slide the blade of your knife into the opening, and with your pot holder or towel firmly press the soft PVC to both sides of your blade (NOT the edge or spine of the blade; focus on the “flat sides” only). This will take some close attention, as you want to be sure that there are no gaps between the inside of the pipe and the sides of the blade. You want a nice, tight fit so the friction will hold the blade in place. Keep pressing the PVC into the metal of the blade until it is completely cool. At first, you may notice that the portion that will become your “belt loop” seems to be in the way of the hilt or handle. Don’t mind this, it will adjust as you shape the sheath to the blade.

    Another way to do this is with two 2x4s and clamps. If you choose this method, I recommend watching a video or otherwise getting instruction on how to do it.

  4. First, use the file or rasp to round over and smooth out any rough or jagged edges on the “belt loop” portion of the pipe. Next, using your heat source, heat the very end of the “belt loop” (approximately 1” from the end to the tip of the end) and using the diameter of the marker or a pencil to curl this end over (use a pot holder to keep your hand from getting burned) shape into a small loop. Hold it until it’s cool and stiff. Then heat the rest of the portion of the “Belt Loop” until it is soft and flexible. This will not take long, and be sure to not over heat the PVC. Once this portion is sufficiently heated, using a pot holder or hand towel, bend the heated portion to where the end of the small loop meets the full diameter portion of the PVC pipe, resulting in a completed, large “belt loop”. Again, hold until it’s cooled. Using the diameter of a marker to shape the bent over part of the top of the large loop helps to keep a consistent shape for the entirety of the loop. This “upper” bend in the loop should be where you made your initial cut. If you have done this correctly, you should have an opening to receive the blade of your knife, and at that opening is where the “belt loop” will start, of course bending away from the opening, with another small loop at the bottom of the belt loop. If these instructions seem confusing in any way, there is a tutorial on youtube by CrypticCRICKET called “Knife sheath – made from PVC”. He uses a similar method to mine, and I’m sure he’d appreciate the views.
  5. At this point, you should have a basic, usable knife sheath. From here, it’s all about the details of fine shaping, smoothing, sanding, and painting. The options are nearly infinite and all up to your creative capacity.

As I stated earlier, other sheaths and or tool masks can be made similarly, using this basic method. You may choose to forego a “belt loop” altogether or come up with your own unique design. There is a plethora of information on the web about making sheaths and such from PVC. Have fun with this, and see what you can come up with.

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