Am I Too Careful With My Knives?

Joined
May 29, 2013
Messages
35
I am a good sharpener and whenever I use my knives I first, don't want to mess up my edge, and second, don't want to mess up the knife itself. I know a knife is robust and strong but the problem is, it doesn't matter how cheap the knife is, I never want to use it too hard. I have a question for folks on here: What would you say is 1.) Light Use 2.) Normal Use and 3.) Abuse? Just so I have something to reference or a rule of thumb. Thanks guys.
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2013
Messages
386
I've said this before, but it seems fitting. Own your tools, don't let your tools own you.
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2012
Messages
2,163
I sometimes have that problem with expensive knives or knives that I'm not really sure I'm going to keep and so I don't want to use them too much and lose their value on the exchange.

For me, light use is cutting tape, paper, some cardboard here and there, food - stuff that will likely not cause any damage to the knife whatsoever.
Normal use would include the light use stuff in higher quantities (ie. Lots of cardboard, heavy duty cardboard) as well as things like carving a pumpkin, cutting corrugated plastic drain pipe, assorted light & heavy plastic product packaging, rubber, carving wood, cutting tiny branches, etc.
Abuse for me is batoning wood, cutting anything in general that has a heavy duty tool designed to cut it (ie. concrete, steel, thick wood) and also throwing the knife. Now sometimes things happen when you're using a knife hard that I wouldn't call 'abuse' however it's hard on the knife like getting it very dirty - especially sand - and obviously dropping it on accident on a hard surface.
 

Silvanus

Gold Member
Joined
May 17, 2012
Messages
1,575
Light use - opening mail, cutting thin cord/thread, slicing paper and cardboard.

Normal use - food prep, cutting thick plastic, cutting zip ties, skinning game/cleaning fish, stripping wire, carving wood

Abuse - it differs more than the other two from person to person. Opening cans, batoning, throwing, prying, scraping on a hard surface.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
513
You know the answer to this.
If it seems like what you are doing is abuse, it probably is.
If it seems like something a knife is meant for, then you're probably good.
Use your knife, don't be dumb, and I'm sure you will be fine.
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2002
Messages
4,483
What constitutes "light use", "normal use", "heavy use", or "abuse" is entirely subjective. One persons opinion of such things might be very different from the next persons, and they might be very different from yours.

It sounds like you are suffering from a case of over-protectiveness. A lot of people suffer from this, whether it's knives, guns, cars, motorcycles, watches, fishing gear, etc, etc. I'm not talking about people who buy stuff and DON'T want to use it, I'm talking about people who WANT to use their stuff but are afraid to for fear of damaging it.

This is not an affliction that other people can cure for you. It is something that you have to overcome for yourself. The cure has to come from inside of you. You just have to use your knives the way you need to use them. If they get dull, you just resharpen them (you already indicated that you are a good sharpener, so that shouldn't be a concern). And if they get damaged, and the damage is minor, then you live with the damage. Or, if it's major damage, you replace the knife and learn from the experience.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2013
Messages
386
You're definitely not alone. I think it's completely logical to want to be careful with how we use and treat our knives. After all, we spend so much time talking about, researching, and spending hard earned money on knives that of course we want them to last forever or not lose value in some cases.

For me, these days I try to only buy knives I know I'm going to use. I only have one safe queen that is a limited edition, but I bought it for that reason, as a collectible. Other than that, I stay away from knives that I know I won't use because of their rarity or price tag.

At the end of the day tho, these are tools that are meant to be used and are built to last. So try to remember why you bought them and enjoy them. I always get way more pleasure out of using my knives than watching them collect dust. I think I'll appreciate my well used knives a lot more than the ones I was too afraid to use.

And hey if you did somehow manage to break one, it gives you an excuse to search for and purchase a brand new one.
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
328
Use it hard. The more I use a knife the more I like it, and the more it likes me :D. Obviously I don't use a folder to baton but I will stick my BK 9 in just about anything. Moving logs and coals around the fire, batoning heavy, wet or knotted wood, digging, sensible prying... We have fun and it is my favorite knife (Busse TGLB on the way may give it a run). If I break it I will buy another one.

I do have knives that I only use for medium and light duty. I can be a little, to very, protective of some of them but... The more I carry and the harder I use them the more I like them.
 

uxo2

Gold Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Messages
4,350
Use it for what it was designed for..

When it is butter knife dull re-sharpen it. :D
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2012
Messages
1,792
You know the answer to this.
If it seems like what you are doing is abuse, it probably is.
If it seems like something a knife is meant for, then you're probably good.
Use your knife, don't be dumb, and I'm sure you will be fine.

This I think is the perfect answer to your question. A knife is meant to be cutting tool. Use said tool for that purpose and you'll be good.

The same goes for $1 to $500 + knives.
 

EChoil

BANNED
Joined
May 22, 2014
Messages
3,314
It's called "Sebenza Freezup."

You know you have it if:
You own knives primarily to look at and fondle them. You keep them in nice tidy rows in a storage container(s), each having its position in the formation, wiped down and oiled, in a manner that makes you feel warm. You're attracted more by the look of a knife, as well as specious published technical numbers and vapid, alchemic names of a steel, than by what it will really do, how well it really cuts and wading through the YouTube and web B.S. to find out how strong that lock/spring/torsion bar really is (even with all those moving parts to eventually break).

You mostly pocket-carry them attached with a clip--because it's there--looking down often to see that the clip is still in place and you feel your pants a lot. You practice your wave or quick draw daily. You shop a lot for ways to customize the knife and you might attach a pretty lanyard to it. You can talk about knives and their technical specs for hours with anyone who will listen and you take a Q-tip to the blade slot at least once a week.

You make your non-knife friends hold it over a table when they ask to see it and if you're asked by your best friend on earth to borrow it briefly you give it begrudgingly and find something to grumble about regarding the way he used it. You always open and re-close it as soon as you can after it is borrowed. Your Sebenzas may see a lot of pocket time but are never used except as a last resort or when a beater can't be found. You don't want to ruin the re-sale. You sure like to hold it though.

But when confronted with something thicker than a zip-tie to cut, your first impulse is to find another knife to do it with because it might mark yours and take away that perfect sharp you've had on it since you bought it. Sometimes you just decide not to even cut it. You see someone in a bind who needs to cut through a bean can and you keep walking--"...not going to stress MY knife!"

~Echoil 8/14~
*************** *************** *****************
Anyone have that?? :dejection:

I use my knives. If random rotation says a Sebenza cuts through the sheet metal that day, so be it. Problem is, my remaining Sebenza isn't even in my rotation anymore. I don't like carrying around a $600 block of titanium all day and night that I know if used on anything with a Rockwell much higher than angel food cake it loses a couple hundred in value. I don't like to just hold it either.

Light use is cutting string and opening envelopes and fertilizer bags.

Normal use is cutting boxes, some wood whittling, food prep.

Abuse is seeing if Nutfancy was right.


EDIT: I better point out here that most of my usage of "Sebenza" in the main text can denote any higher-end knife. This is NOT a Sebenza bash.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 18, 2007
Messages
161
I use my knives. If they cant handle it, I don't want them. Quality knives should be used. I hate it when I see someone with a $200+ knife that they have had for years yet it looks pristine. Why own/carry it at all? I get it if its a unique/rare/collector/custom but not if its just a standard production knife. On the same note, I hate seeing knives used as hammers and screwdrivers.
 
Last edited:

Drew Riley

Riley Knife and Tool
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
3,962
I'm not sure I really understand the question.

If you have a job to do, and your knife is capable of doing it, then do the job with your knife.

Prime examples of jobs suitable for a knife: cutting stuff that's softer than the knife

Let's not try to overcomplicate things here. Use common sense first, your knife second... ;)
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2008
Messages
2,000
I agree with all of the above with one exception, battoning wood with about any fixed blade is not abuse in my book. I would not do it with a folder, but there is no fixed blade made that I would say this is abuse. It may vary with the thickness of the wood and knife, but that's all.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2013
Messages
3,216
light batoning is normal use even for folders in my book. things like planks are fair game.
 
Joined
Nov 20, 2005
Messages
19,385
Light use and normal use are essentially the same thing but perhaps the normal use goes beyond opening envelopes or office type tasks. Light use would be mostly stuff that you could do with a sharpened letter opener.

Abuse.... with a folder, excessive prying, batonning, throwing, cutting something like a tire (try it, it's tough), cutting card board all day long that causes you to have to sharpen nearly every day, turning screws, cutting metal, or having to apply such force that you would be better off using a different tool.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2014
Messages
326
I used to be scared to use my knives for anything more than cardboard. Now I enjoy using them (well the ones suited for it) for heavy duty work. Even the nicest knife I own (Brand new KW Exclusive BM Contego M390) is getting hard use at the scrapyard. Once I got confident in my sharpening skills (and got a Sharpmaker :)), I stopped being so afraid and realized I bought them to use, not to be safe queens. I don't "abuse" any of them as my definition of "abuse" is doing something with your knife that you should be using a different tool for. If I was in an emergency and needed to pry something or baton with a folder, sure, but I haven't been yet so I get the right tool for the job. Of course there is accidental "abuse" like fetzer mentioned earlier but shit happens during hard use. Usually nothing that can't be fixed.
 

Sonnydaze

Gold Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2009
Messages
11,460
I attempted to fix some kitchen-sink plumbing, and blew the top off. Water everywhere at 35 psi...splashing off of our high ceilings and landing on my lazyboy in the living room 20 ft away. Not finding any shut-off inside, I ran out to the front of the house and started digging down into the dirt and sand to where my Main shutoff valve is located inside of a large vertical iron pipe, with a cast iron lid on it to keep out the dirt and sand. Of course I dug with what I had...my Umnumzaan. And when I got down far enough and struck the pipe, I had to jam the blade into the finger-hole in the six-inch-diameter cast-iron lid in order to lift it off of the pipe. Once that was done, I reached down into the pipe, scraped away excess sand and dirt and turned off the water MAIN. Yes, I fixed the sink later.

The S30V blade on my Umnumzaan suffered a few minute chips in the cutting edge, which I should be able to polish out quite readily. The knife performed admirably; well beyond the requirements of "casual carry." In this case, it served as an entrenching tool, a pry-bar and a metal scraper. The rather "soft" heat-treat of 58-59 BRH allowed the blade to be stressed, torqued, pried and twisted, without any serious damage. I never did cut with it that day...
So that, sir, is "abuse" of an expensive folder built with extreme precision by Chris Reeve. Hopefully, that is the one time that it will have to go through abuse of that sort. OTOH, a good product should be able to perform, when needed, beyond ordinary expectations, at least for a short period of time before suffering unrecoverable failure, and this Umnumzaan certainly "proved that it's worth every penny.
It is still my EDC; I expect no rapid changes of "the Guard."
 
Top