Knife Safety

Well, we learn from our mistakes, don’t we?  I am the owner of a number of well-honed quality blades, including chisels, planes, draw-knives, a hand adze, some random spoke-shave articles, x-acto knives, a couple of axes, and four or five purposed pocket knives.  I spend my life around sharp.  I also spend a lot of time near circulating and reciprocating high speed mandibles of death.  But I’ve not once wounded myself on one of these machines.  Twice now, I’ve incurred wounds from knives which required sutures, and both were the result of a careless familiarity with our most basic tool.

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The irony is that I cringe when I see a knife mishandled.  I’m close to tears watching children use knives.  I am a veteran knife user, and employ techniques to maximize the potential use of the tool while keeping risk at a minimum.  But the life walked on the knife’s edge is destined for a wound or two.  

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This one was the result of a half-rack of Budweiser in the heart of the Upper Peninsula, Michigan, and poor lighting for fireside antics.  The offender was second from the left in the first picture, a folding Buck knife with rosewood handle and brass hilt, butt, and rivets.  It’s a lovely knife, my camping knife.  It’s sturdy, and I keep it very sharp.  It weighs in at about 8 oz. Which is pretty damn heavy, for a knife.  Ninety percent of that weight is in the handle, which makes it easy to do this (I do not recommend trying this): While still folded grasp it by the blade between thumb and first two fingers. so that if opened the point would be facing you and the blade facing away from your dominant hand; Swing hand in tight clockwise motion (counter clockwise if left-handed) so that inertia of handle causes it to keep moving when hand stops, so that handle swings open; With small flick of the wrist, toss knife into the air for 180 degree overhand rotation and catch knife by handle.  Doing all three steps in one slick-ass motion will impress nobody but yourself, but you yourself will be seriously impressed.

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DO NOT do this while drinking.  DO NOT do this while the only light by which to do this is firelight.  If you fail to follow these instructions, DO NOT forget to remove NOT ONLY your hand from general vicinity as you lose the flashing rotating blade of certain harm in the ambient and soothing but very scant light of a fire, BUT ALSO all appendages which might remain BENEATH said rotating and now falling very sharp, very heavy blade.  And, failing all these instructions, it would have been wise that you’d been wearing something other than sandals.  So. 

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This one was pure rushed carelessness.  Nothing fancy.  Nothing funny.  It was  the first knife on the left of the first picture, a CRKT given to me by a very dear friend, who apparently is trying to kill me by death of a thousand cuts.  I was using this knife for carpentry type work, for which it is not intended.  It lacks a suitable grip for some less-than-finesse type actions performed in such work.  Failing that grip, my gripping hand slipped forward and all the pressure of the blade ended upon my index finger.  The knife was sharp enough that I didn’t really notice until I saw the blood.  And there was lots.  

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2 Responses to Knife Safety

  1. rasoff777 says:

    Been there and done that. Mostly because of what you said, “careless familiarity” and I handle knives all the time and have beeb since I was six.

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