- Which knife is legal?
Large (fixed) / small / lock / dodgy looking *bring in examples
Depends on situation but some knives are always prohibited e.g. butterfly
- Maximum penalty for carrying illegal knife?
4 years in prison and a fine of £5,000
- Valid reasons to carry a knife?
To or from work / taking to an exhibition / used for film
- When is steel prone to staining?
Too much usage / damp / sunlight / cold
- What is a full tang?
Double edged / blade metal through handle / sound of blade, over 3”
- Where should knives be put when transporting?
Middle of a bag/rucksack
- How old do you have to be to buy a knife?
14 / 16 / 18 / 21
The following points must be considered for carrying knives in the UK:
- Illegal to sell a knife to anyone under age of 18
- Only legal knife to carry in public is a folding blade under 3 inches e.g. Swiss Army Knife
- Can carry a fixed blade knife with a valid reason (lock knife is classed as fixed blade), length is irrelevant
- Some knives are completely banned e.g. flick, butterfly, swords, daggers, hand/foot claws
- Scout Policy:
- Knives should be carried by an adult between sites
- Knives should be stowed in the middle of a bag or rucksack when transporting
- A campsite can be considered public property due to usage (UK law applies)
- Knives should not be carried unless they are going to be used and stored away when not in use.
- Knives may not be worn with uniform, unless for religious reasons.
I recommend the Mora 840 Bushcraft Training Knife:
- Low Cost: can be purchased for £10.95 at greenmanbushcraft.co.uk
- Right-angled spine for striking sparks
- High-carbon steel blade for sparks and easier sharpening
- Good plastic sheath that clips knife into place
- 5” blade with Scandanavian grind
- Keep knife in sheath at all times it is not in use
- Ensure nobody is within ‘blood circle’ i.e. 180 degrees around you
- Avoid ‘triangle of death’ femoral artery: carve in front or off to the side
- Thumbs are prone to being cut so keep them clear: Fist-grip for knife
- A sharp knife is a safe knife (less pressure required – less chance of slipping)
- Typically push blade away from you
- Use a baton that is forearm length and easy to manage
- Can reverse direction for chest lever grip
- Can also use knee-lever technique by drawing stick toward you on the static blade
- Can place thumb on spine (although inefficient) for fine carving work
Using a Knife
“The purpose behind the try stick is to demonstrate the skilful use of the knife as a wood carving tool, as well as to learn some of the practical operations that may be used in wilderness living.”Mors Kochanski ‘Bush Craft’ (1998) pp.34-41
The ‘Try Stick’ is the perfect way to start using a knife and picture below is adapted for Mors’ book, which I recommend buying (ISBN-13: 978-1551051222).
Knife Care & Maintenance
- Knives rust (even stainless steel) so keep dry and out of leather sheaths, which can attract moisture
- Keep any moving parts well lubricated
- Clean regularly – especially carbon steel. Discoloration is a sign of oxidation, which precedes rust.
- Avoid using for any purpose other than cutting (e.g. can opening) to prevent damage to blade
Maintaining a sharp edge depends on the blade’s grind i.e. shape as illustrated below:
There’s a really superb resource at Wiki How on how sharpen a knife: https://www.wikihow.com/Sharpen-a-Knife