Everyone needs a good knife.
The knife is one of our oldest and most useful tools. The only tool older is the hammer, which originally became the knife when the rock being used as a hammer split into a sharp edge. With a knife and the right skills, you can rebuild society.
I’d be naked without my knife. It’s a very useful tool for daily life. However, there are some pretty strange ideas out there about knives. I’ve talked to people who seem to think I run a terrible risk of cutting myself because I have a knife. It reminds me of the mythical pistol that jumps out of the holster and shoots people on its own. However, this doesn’t happen. A good knife in a proper sheath is no danger when used properly.
As for those who fear knives instinctively, I think they are thinking symbolically. To them, knife = weapon and weapon = danger, with no thought of how a person might be using the knife, or what they might use it for. However, a good knife is a tool, and a very useful one at that! It’s a great feeling to be able to help someone or do something for yourself because you already have the proper tool for the job. There are even times when having something to cut with could save your life.
What kind of knife?
There are nearly as many kinds of knives as there are knife users. If you are a city dwelling person who likes to dress sharp, a bone or pearl handled penknife would be a classic choice. If you love the outdoors, a sturdy lockback or maybe a sheath knife with a staghorn grip could be good for you. If you’re of a more tactical mindset, there are many varieties of self defense knife out there, including ones that can be carried in wallets or as part of belt buckles. For people who are handy, the venerable Swiss Army knife or Leatherman l might be best. The possibilities are endless. I, myself, wear a neck knife. It hangs on a length of paracord and friction fits into a sheath. It’s unobtrusive but I can slip it inside my shirt if going to a place that doesn’t welcome knives. It’s my best friend when it comes to getting things done around the house, from opening packages to trimming an overgrown shrub.
When picking out a good knife, simplicity is supreme. When starting out, l look for simple designs. Don’t fall for the multi edged fantasy designs, for example – they may look cool but aren’t really good for much, and are often made with poor quality steel. Also, keep in mind that stainless steel can be a lot harder to resharpen. Carbon steel needs a bit more oiling and care, but it’s much better when you want to keep an edge on it. Keep your needs and goals in mind, and let that guide your decision on what kind of a knife to carry.
Below is a great article on choosing a pocket knife.
It’s easy to stay safe while using a knife, by following just a few simple rules. Because I’ve followed these rules, I’ve only cut myself once in thirty years! When I did, it was because I broke rule number four.
1. Maintain your Grip.
Make sure your hands and the knife are not slippery. Only use knives with good, solid grips. Don’t use a broken knife or one with a loose grip.
2. Watch your direction.
Cut away from your body. Keep your strokes careful and controlled.
3. Keep it sharp.
A sharp knife is a safe knife. It cuts better and doesn’t slip as much.
4. Use the right knife.
Different knives do different jobs. If you use a flimsy knife to chop wood, you might break yourself or the knife. The time I cut myself, I was trying to use a kitchen knife to carve a name into wood. If I’d used a jackknife or penknife with a strong, sharp point, I would have been fine.
5. Know your laws.
Knife carry laws vary widely state by state and country by country. Know the laws where you are, as well as where you travel to. If you are questioned about a knife you may happen to have, whether by police or private citizen, refer to it as a “tool” or “utility blade” to emphasize the useful qualities and reduce fear.
Once you have your knife, you want to keep it around for a long time. Like most quality things in life, a good knife needs care and maintenance. The following articles will help you keep your knife sharp and useful for many years.