Southern Tradition & Knife Etiquette


Growing up in the South I was taught at an early age about basic knife etiquette. Going thru my youth I joined the Boy Scouts of America and my education of proper knife handling was expanded. My first knife was given to me by one of my uncles who lived in Texas. My first knife was a Swiss Army Knife which was perfect at that time and one that I could take later in life when I joined Bo Scouts. I still have this knife today. Later as a youth I was given another knife by another uncle in South Alabama and is was an “Old Timer” pocket knife. After graduating High School I went to work for a construction company and my boss at that time also shared one of his knifes with me and actually gave me one for work as my Swiss Arm was not the right knife for daily carry in a construction business. Today, knife carry is not as popular as it used to be and adults do not share that old family tradition with their kids. With absurd new laws popping up all the time, you never know if it is legal to carry a knife in certain town or municipality and this is horrific. Just like conceal carry, some places frown on people having a knife, but the legality of it is simply it is legal to carry a knife in all Southern States baring a few exceptions of automatics in Louisiana at the time of this article. Most recently I learned it is illegal to carry any type gravity feed, spring assist knife anywhere in New York. I even read where one chef was arrested for carrying a folding knife in his back pack beside his chef knifes. He was arrested for the folding knives, not the 6-8-10” Chef knifes which it very apparent would have caused more damaged it used for offense / defense. Needless to say, more and more people are not taught proper knife etiquette anymore and this alone causes a danger to others.

Who is to blame for the lack of education of our youth and young adults today? You have kids today that are also not even taught how to change a tire much less how to add air to a tire but yet they demand a drivers license. Same goes for knives. Every kid wants to carry a knife but those responsible for the kids do not teach them proper safety and etiquette on handling a knife. While it may not be your fault, the blame lie somewhere and it is a very important life lesson everyone should be taught. It takes mere moments to learn the basics to make everyone around you safer and make yourself handling a knife even more safe.

Here are some of the basics when it comes to knife etiquette. It takes mere moments to learn and you will keep this knowledge for a life time and one that you can & should teach down to your family. All members should now these basic things when it comes to knife safety and knife etiquette. If you feel I have missed any, please add them in the comments, but please don’t criticize me for the way I was taught. I have much respect for my elders and just as much respect for my scout leaders.

Here are some of my top 15 basics.

  1. When you hand someone a knife for their inspection, hand them the knife blade anyway from them; never hand then the knife blade facing them. I was actually taught to open the knife so the other person can see there is nothing on the blade and it is safe to handle. In some states like Texas you are taught to always hand someone a closed knife and only receive it back closed. I personally want them, the other person to see the blade and how dangerous it is and there is nothing on the blade surface and I expect it back that way too.

  2. Grab the knife by the handle with the blade facing you and hand the other person the handle. This allows them to grab a safe surface. While there is come controversy about touching the blade surface. I was also taught to grab the blade by the spin and hand the other person the handle only with the blade facing you. NEVER point the knife or hand anyone the knife with the blade facing them. This is one, not respectful and two, it is not safe!

  3. Do not let go of the knife until they say the words OK. This acknowledges they have possession of the knife.

  4. When you handle someone else’s knife DO NOT shave the hair on our arm or slice the blade on your finger nails as this too is incredibly disrespectful and shows you don’t know how to handle a knife. No one wants your dead skin on their knives. This also applies to when you are looking at knifes at a store or trade show. Do you want to purchase a knife at a store or trade show where it is full of other peoples dead skin? Probably Not.

  5. Don’t handle someone else’s blade either without asking. This means if you see a knife at a trade show or store, do not go up to it and immediately pick it up. This is also a trait you should teach your own kids. Grab the handle and inspect but pay close attention to keeping your oily fingers off the blade and once again, DO NOT shave your arm hair or any hair much less your finger nails with a knife you do not own!

  6. Don’t lend you knife to anyone you feel does not know proper knife etiquette or that will not respect your knife and what it is intended for. They will undoubtable handle it wrong, cut something inappropriately and damage your knife.

  7. Ask the person if they have ever handled an Automatic, Line Lock / Frame lock and if they have that puzzled look on their face, show them how to close & open the blade so they don’t hurt themselves before giving it to them. Most of the time you can read someone and tell immediately.

  8. ALWAYS hand the knife back in the way you received it. If it was closed, give it back closed. If it is open hand it back open; with the blade away from that person you are handing it too. Same thing applies to picking a knife up off the table. If it is open return it the same way.

  9. If you are at a Trade Show/ Knife Show, ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION before picking up or handling anyone’s knifes! I don’t care how old you are or what you think you know about knifes. You obviously don’t know anything about the knife you are about to pick up as it intrigued you and you wanted to look at it closer. ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION!

  10. Don’t point or aim the knife at anyone and please don’t open it in an unusual manner; flinging it! DON’T PLAY GAMES WITH IT! A knife is not a play toy. It is a tool for use.

  11. NEVER Run your finger over the edge unless you are just STUPID! Like all guns are considered loaded, all knifes are considered sharp. Don’t forget the dull knife can cut too.

  12. When handling a knife where you are cutting something with your own knife, always cut away from your body but not in the direction of someone else. The reason for this is simple: the blade could slips and then knife cuts into you or someone else.

  13. Never ask why someone carry’s a knife! This is rude!

  14. Always keep your knife sharp, you never know when you will need to use it. There are still a few good places around the country and I am sure there is one in your town that will sharpen your knife. If now, do your own research, watch YouTube and learn for yourself. Proper knife sharpening is an art form but it is not that hard. It is all about the proper angle of the blade against the sharpening surface.

  15. I cannot express how important it is to one ask permission, pick it up & return it the way you found it, never shave your skin or nails with it until you own it and always remember to handle it with proper safety in mind.

If you have any things you would like to add that I may have missed, please list them in the comments below.

Always looking to expand our knowledge base and remember to always be safe. Thanks from EveryDay Preppers

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