Basic Knife Safety
April 9, 2013
Using a knife is inherently dangerous. No matter what your experience or what type of knife your using, one simple fact remains: knives were meant to cut. Many adults handle knives casually and carelessly way too often. Even seasoned outdoorsmen can cut themselves if they start becoming lax with their blades. Basic blade safety is important; not only are you protecting yourself and others but you’re minimizing the chance of ruining your experience with knives. Basic knife safety boils down to awareness and some minor techniques.
- Cut away from yourself (in most cases). Crook knives and draw knives are often used with cuts angling towards your body. The lesson that needs to be taken away from this age-old rule is to be mindful of where your blade is moving and where the edge will end up if you slip.
- Keep your body out of the cutting line. Any body part in line with your cut has the potential of being injured.
- Always hand a blade handle first and edge facing up when passing a knife to someone.
- Never try to catch a falling knife! Let it drop and then pick it up.
- If a knife is not currently in use, it should be sheathed or folded. A fixed blade should not be stored in its sheath for long periods of time (1 month+) because this can cause corrosion.
- A dull knife is far more dangerous than a sharp knife. Dull knives won’t bite into material and are liable to slip when cutting. Also, dull knives need extra force to be used. Using extra force increases your odds of slipping and hurting yourself/others.
- A knife is a cutting tool. Do not use a knife for prying. (Unless the knife is modified for other purposes).
- Sharpen your knives regularly, but do not use power grinders to sharpen. Power grinders can ruin the edge and the temper. There is also a possibility that the grinder will grab and throw the knife out of your hands.
- Keep your knife clean and oiled. Especially folding blades. Corrosion can cause steel to weaken and can affect the knife’s cutting ability.
- When using a knife make sure there is proper lighting.
A lot of these safety tips seem obvious but just keeping a “safety first” mentality is important when handling knives. Those of us that are passionate about our blades often play with them or use them so often we become casual with handling knives. Remember, just because you know basic knife safety does not mean the people around you do. Make sure to set the example and educate people with proper techniques. It all boils down to the basics: Be Smart, Be Safe and Stay an Edge Above the Rest.
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