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KNIFE SAFETY

Knife safety starts with choosing the right knife for the job.

A folding knife can be handy in the outdoors but has an inherent weakness at the hinge.

With a fixed blade there is no chance of it folding on your fingers.

In choosing a fixed-blade knife, select one with a sturdy sheath. This protects both you and your knife.

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Taking a knife out of its sheath


Please be careful, you can cut yourself by just removing a knife from the sheath as the knife would be very sharp. The thing to remember is to keep your fingers away from the cutting edge of a knife when unsheathing it.

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Drawing a Knife from the sheath


This is the wrong way to take your knife from the sheath. As you see, the hand is close to the blade, when you draw the knife, it can cut you. this is where not to put your fingers when unsheathing a knife.
Keep your fingers well out of the way.

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Hold your knife securely


The grip used most of the time is the forehand grip. It allows for powerful, safe cuts.
Always cut away from your body and cut away from your limbs.
Always pay attention to the position of the hand that is not holding the knife.

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Cutting


Cutting away from the body and away from the supporting hand.
An example of dangerous knifework by cutting towards the hand in the second image.
Do not cut towards the supporting hand, no matter where your items are being cut.

When you are not using your knife, put it back in the sheath.
The safest place for your knife is in its sheath. Don’t stick it in a log or a tree stump or just leave leave it lying around, I know you will think to yourself "it's ok" but it only needs one time for an accident to happen.

With plenty of potential trip hazards outdoors, put your knife back in its sheath before walking even a short distance. You could cause yourself or others serious injury if you fall with a knife in your hand.​


The only exception to this is if you have been using your knife to prepare raw meat or fish. You don't want to contaminate the sheath, when you are done preparing, clean your knife before returning it to its sheath. Make sure you have the necessary cleaning items near.

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Don’t try to do too much, take your time


Even with a sharp knife, shave off modest amounts of material with each cut of the knife. Trying to remove too much material with each cut will require excessive force, causing tired hand muscles and reduced control of the knife.
Slicing off modest amount of wood
Remove modest amounts of material with control. 

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More power

 

Work on the outside of your body and generate power by dropping your shoulder. Safely create extra power by holding the piece like this and dropping your shoulder, If you need more stability, work onto a log, tree stump or chopping block.

Give yourself and others room
Don’t try to use your knife in awkward or confined spaces. Give yourself enough room to use it properly.
When using your knife, leave enough room around you so that you don’t endanger other people. If someone is within an arm’s reach, they are too close.

Be aware
If you are using a knife, be aware of the movement of other people around you. They may not have noticed you are using a knife.
Be aware of others using knives. If someone is using a knife nearby, stay at a safe distance.
Concentrate on what you are doing
Many cuts are due to a lack of concentration, either due to distractions or tiredness. If you aren’t able to concentrate, put your knife away until you can.

 

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 Cutting between the legs

 

This is an example of how NOT to do it.

Don’t allow yourself to work with the knife close to your inner thigh.  
Cutting close to inner thigh. A slip with the knife here is lethal. Cutting the major artery on the inside of your leg is potentially fatal. Take special care not to use a knife in a way that risks this.

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The right way to do it

 

Working with elbows on knees forces your hands away from your thighs.
If you slip, where will the knife go?
For every cut you make with your knife, consider where it will go next, not only if things go to plan but also if you slip or if you cut straight through what you are working on. Make sure the knife is not going to endanger you.

Here's a word of advice. 
If you think that you are using your knife in a dangerous way, that you know it could harm you. STOP! You know you have feelings that something could go wrong. Then change what you are doing so that it is safe. If you can’t do the task safely, ask for help, if you are on your own, don't do it. You'll be thankful for the advice.

How to pass a knife safely
If you need to pass a knife to someone, pass it in a way that does not put you or them at risk. 
Take a look below, this is how to do it

 

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Start with the forehand grip

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Pivot the knife in your hand.

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Offer the handle to the person receiving the knife.

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Note the point and sharp edge of the knife is away from both hands. Keep your fingers out of the way of the blade as you pass the knife.
 

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Even if the receiver snatches the knife from your hand, there is no risk of the knife cutting you.

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Now the knife has been safely passed. Do keep eye contact during the pass as well.

Please make sure you have a first aid kit next to you at all times when using cutting tools.
If you use a knife often you will likely incur a few minor nicks. Having a small first aid kit on your person will help patch up and cuts and prevent infection.

Keep your knife sharp
A sharp knife is a safe knife. You don’t need to apply excessive force when making a cut.

If the knife is sharp, it will cut the way you want it to.