Knives are used in the kitchen in every home and campsite, they are used for many other purposes as well. But the most important thing is that it should be sharp and not rusted.
A blunt knife is dangerous to handle. Though with a sharp one you have a risk of getting your hand-cut, it is better than stabbing a fruit or vegetable and juicing it rather than cutting it.
So how sharp should a knife be?
When you place a knife on a vegetable or fruit it should cut through without any extra effort. This is the best way to cut fruits and vegetables. When we use a blunt knife we tend to use pressure to cut it.
This in turn is going to put pressure on the fruit or vegetable. Thus the shape and texture of the fruit or vegetable are damaged. It can excrete the juice of the fruit and deform it. Especially when dealing with soft fruits like banana, kiwi, tomato, grapes, etc.
How do I know the knife is sharp?
You do not need to cut your hand or finger to know that the knife is sharp. There are many tried and tested ways around the house. Our main aim is that fruits and vegetables should be cut effortlessly for example a tomato. You can try cutting a paper and see if it is clear cut or torn. The paper should not get caught on the knife. If there are rough edges or parts of the knife then the paper will get caught and you will see that some of it is nicely cut while some of it is not cut properly. For a better review, you can fold the paper and then try cutting it. It will make sure the corner tip is also sharp, perfect for a survival kit.
How do I sharpen the knife at home?
Not all homes have a knife sharpener, but there are loads of tools around the house you can use for this purpose. Here are a few suggestions:
- Ceramic mug: you can turn a ceramic mug upside down and see a rim. Rub your knife along the rough edge of the cup. Use the knife in a sleeping position and not standing else instead of sharpening it you will make it blunt. You might see some discoloration on the mug, which is ok. This means the knife is getting sharp. Keep rubbing until you get the desired results.
- Sandpaper or nail file: every house may not have sandpaper but you are sure to find a nail file around the house. Rub the cutting edge along the rough side of the sandpaper or file and slowly you will see a shine on the edge of the knife. Test the knife and repeat till you get the desired sharpness.
- Nylon belt or cardboard: these are generally found lying around the house easily. Repeated cutting the nylon belt or cardboard will make the knife sharp. Though it is not a very fast and effective method still works for a very blunt knife.
- Smooth stone: rub your knife on the stone and make it sharp. Do not use rough stone, that will only spoil your knife.
There are many different types of knives around the house. All do not have to be of the same sharpness. Like a butter knife does not have to be sharp at all. While a bread knife and a butcher’s knife have to be very smooth and sharp. Else you will tear off the bread or the chicken. Though a knife is a kitchen tool, it is also used for other purposes. Such as camping, so if you are away from home and still need to sharpen it, you can use a stone or sticks to sharpen it.
A knife is a must-have at home. But keep it sharp so that it is faster to work with. Also when the knife is sharp you will not be wasting energy by pressure cutting. In turn, your arm muscles and fingers will not hurt even after long kitchen hours. Try out the above methods to sharpen it if you feel that it is not sufficiently sharp. Regular sharpening of a knife will make your kitchen experience happy and satisfying.
9 Things you must know about pocket knives
Startling facts about folding knives that we are certain you must not have known.
Oftentimes, the functionalities of the pocket knives are constricted and reduced to only two things. It either has something to do with cutting through objects or treated as a piece of self-defense equipment that one would carry when traveling alone. However, there’s a lot more than this that pocket knives can do; starting from whittling and carving to opening a padlock and cleaning corrosion from a battery terminal.
- A little about the naming of pen knives
Synonymous with folding knives in Great Britain, the penknife derives its name from the kind of knife that was employed in sharping a quill so that it could pick up more ink and write better. Naturally, this was a custom popular centuries back and the knives couldn’t be folded but, had short blades.
- There can be unending varieties of handles
Needless to say, the blade and the handle of the pocket knives are its most important parts and if you happen to fancy them, you will be really picky about both these elements. Depending on the price you are willing to pay, the grips can come in countless varieties including aluminum, wood, plastic, polymer, resin-coated glass fiber, and titanium. Even though knife collectors are fascinated by expensive and rare metal handles, for a regular user, it is the grip that matters. The crux of the matter is, when you are using it, the handle should not slip out from your hand or cut deeper than required.
- The art of choosing the right pocket knife
According to experts, if you are planning to use the pocket knife as a safety tool, you must ensure that it feels like an extension of your hands and fits into it perfectly. Therefore, if you have a wide range of options to choose from, the thumb rule of selecting the right one would be by holding the handle with your eyes open and then closing them to sense the experience of using it even in the worst-case scenario. Remember that you might have to pull out this knife in case an emergency strikes so, it must feel nothing less than a part of your body. If you want to carry the knife while you are on duty, it would be wise to test its hand feel by putting on your gloves.
- Decide which blade point would be more suitable: the tanto or the drop point?
Like all the other aspects that you must carefully consider before adding a pocket knife to your collection, the blade point is a vital aspect that you cannot afford to miss out on. Commonly, you would come across two types of blade tips and they are tanto and drop point. As you might have already guessed, the tanto knife traditionally hails from Japan and has derived its name from the broken sword from which it was originally made. What distinguishes this from the rest of the blades is its feature of maintaining a certain level of thickness throughout the body and rounding off to a sharper and stronger tip. It is principally this design that has convinced people that the tanto knives can be capitalized on as incredibly powerful hewing and puncturing tool.
The drop point blades, on the other hand, come with a tip that you would easily find in a kitchen knife or the one used in skinning trees. As the blades tend to thin out towards their tips, it is a favorable choice for those of you who are intending to get something for making neat, one-stroke cuts.
- Knowing exactly which blade to go for
- Pen blade– Some pocket blades have the pen blade coupled with a sharper blade(s) and the former is meant to be turned to for delicate work.
- Clip point– As evident from the denomination itself, the final third of the back of the blade is clipped and it could be concave or straight. Though the tip of the blade is not quite sturdy, it is sharper and more controllable.
- Sheepsfoot blade– True to its name, the sheepsfoot blade was fabricated to make the task of trimming the hooves of the sheep smoother. Interestingly, it has a straight, dull back but, it curves towards the tip. This is why the cutting surface of the blade is pretty large and straight.
- Wharncliffe blade– While your chances of stumbling upon a pocket knife with a Wharncliffe blade is extremely narrow but, we still want to familiarize you with it. The structure of this blade is close to the sheepsfoot but, the edge of the blade and its spine convenes at a very sharp point.
- Spey blade– The Spey blades were mainly created to “spay” herd animals and with time, the term changed from spay to spey. Today, these blades are used for trapper or stockman folding knives and come with single sharp edges that curve upwards and end at a dull, short point.
- The teeth of the blades can make a lot of difference
When you are choosing the blade of the folding knives, you will have to be careful about their design; meaning, it can have a straight edge or be serrated. Although both of these styles come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, the serrated pocket knives (one with the teeth) can provide better flexibility when you are attempting to rip through something. Additionally, with these knives, you might even get away without sharpening the edges regularly. Nonetheless, unlike the straight-edge knives, if you at all are looking for a device to sharpen the serrated ones, you must get your hands on nothing but, a round file.
- Carbon content
The quality of the blade steel of the knives majorly depends on two factors which are namely its hardness and chemical composition. To help you understand better, we will be elaborating on them.
The blade steel of the knives is clearly made out of a handful of different materials such as cobalt, sulfur, nickel, nitrogen, carbon, magnesium, silicon, tungsten, etc. When you come across a blade that has high carbon content, it means, the component will have a better grip but, at the same time, it will be more susceptible to corrosion. Marine officers who carry pocket knives with them prefer blades with low carbon content so that they can last longer and keep away the rust.
Coming to the hardness of the blades, this again is influenced by their carbon content alongside the heat treatment. For the uninitiated, the hardness of the blades range from Rockwell 55 to 60 (Rockwell is the hardness code for metal blades) and signifies that they are hard enough to chop through sharp objects and soft enough to be molded into the desired shape.
- Opening of the blades
As far as the opening techniques of a pocketknife are concerned, there are primarily three actions that are popular – automatic, manual, and assisted opening. Automatic switchblades are not something anyone and everyone can own. There are some countries where the law says you can have an automatic pocketknife only if you belong to law enforcement. Manual pocketknives will require you to open them physically by pressing the blades through a cut-out, thumb stud, or any such systems. As for the assisted opening, you will have to first do your bit in opening the blade, and then they will come out from the socket of their handles automatically. Bear in mind, your aim shouldn’t revolve around finding the blade that opens the smoothest but, the one that is permitted by the law in your state and would satisfy the purpose of its use in a perfect way.
- Sharpening the blade of the knife at the right time
Accept it or not, knowing how and when it is the right time to sharpen the blade of your knife will play a major role in determining its quality of life. Given there are so many distinct categories of pocketknives, there cannot be one fixed way of sharpening their blades. The only point that must be taken care of here is that while you are sharping the blade, it shouldn’t fray too much steel or do anything to the inherent shape.
A sharp knife may even save your life as is very versatile.
So why should you carry a camping knife?
The camping knife can be used for various tasks such as cutting woods or twigs, tearing up for campfire, food preparation, opening cans, cutting rope, opening or even tightening any screw if needed, cutting up packets or boxes, or even save your life from a wild animal. One knife will be used in multiple ways. You can also make wooden figurines for fun or even try fishing in shallow water by aiming directly at the fish.
Which knife should be used as a camping knife?
The knife should have superior quality material that does not rust easily. The edge of the knife must remain sharp for a long time. It should be easy to sharpen camping knife. Though steel is good for a firm edge, it may rust, so try using a stainless steel knife instead.
A softer material is easier to sharpen but may rust easily. There are options of alloys with metals like chromium, nickel, titanium, aluminum, and carbon mixed to decrease the chances of corrosion. High carbon steel will be hard and retain its edge as well, but there are chances of rusting. So the best option would be a stainless steel blade.
What should I look for in a knife for camping purposes?
A camping knife has to be sharp and of good quality. You never know that it may save your life in case of a wild animal attack. Make sure to buy a good quality knife. Here are a few features you should look for in the knife:
- Length: the blade of the knife should not be more than 5 inches. Bigger the better does not fit here in the case of the knife blade. You will mostly be using the knife for fine work. Hence, a big blade will create a hassle. The knife should be easy to work around with and maneuver into smaller places as well.
- Weight: do not go for a very lightweight knife for camping. Weight shall help make the knife stable. Around 4 ounces should be good enough. Also do not buy something very heavy, as that will make using it cumbersome.
- Metal: you must choose a stainless steel knife blade. It will be long-lasting and will not rust easily. Also, it is easy to sharpen when required.
- Style: look for a grip style knife so that you can hold it properly even if your hands are dirty or sweaty. This will not slip even in gushing water.
- Choil: look for a blade with choils so that it remains sharp for long.
How to store and care for the knife?
You must keep the knife in a proper cover and place. Once you invest in a knife it is going to be used for many years. If kept properly it can be passed down generations and it works as good as new.
Make sure you clean it and dry it properly before storing it. Sharp blade section should be covered and it should be sharpened regularly. When you are not going to use the knife for a long time then you can lubricate it and store it away. For a folding knife keep the moving parts clean and oiled.
A sharp knife is nice to have with you at home as well as camping. In camping, you are going to carry a single knife for many different purposes.
So check all the details and think wisely before you invest. It should suffice most of your needs. It should be a handy and perfect weight. Good quality camping knife will be a friend for all your life. You can happily hand it down to your kids when you grow old. Camping knife can save your life one day, so care for it properly.
Bring one or a couple on your next trip and be prepared.