What age is "old enough"?


Oct 3, 1998
I have a 5 month old son....yes I'm being premature, but I have been wondering at what age to start him off on his life long love affair with edged tools?

Granted maturity is a factor, so let's assume its there. I want to know:

1) at what age you would allow your child to have a knife and feel no self-raised eyebrows

2) what about "socially acceptable" age as perceived by outside your immediate family?
I speculate about such things myself. I'm pretty sure my daughter, now 2 years old, will be the proud owner of a small pocketknife before her sixth birthday. Of course she is above average in intelligence, wisdom, integrity, good looks, etc., etc., just like her dad. I got my first knife when I was in kindergarten. I was so excited I could hardly shave without cutting myself.

Young children (toddlers) appreciate knives, and especially multi-tools. My two-year-old knows the names of all of the implements on a Victorinox SwissTool. She knows which ones are "very sharp" and which ones she can touch. She also likes to look at knife magazines, and is partial to the Spyderco Moran Featherweight fixed blade.

Regards to all,
David Rock
I started my 13 yr old daughter off very young also, she would come out and "work" with me in the shop when I was making knives full time, I set her up a space that was hers and she was my designer and book keeper, these are some of my fondest memories. She was very knife and gun savvy by the time she was 5 or so, and she could use a knife with supervision befroe that. She has carried around a couple knives from time to time and I coulda cared less who raised an eyebrow! Now she is into other things, hope she comes back to the shop someday! I think if you are going to have knives and guns around kids should be taught the respect and saftey aspects of things as soon as they are old enough to understand. 5 months aint too soon! My 2 cents worth!
David , your post has started my day off with a good laugh (it's 6.30 a.m. and I'm reading the forums while I have my first cup of tea for the day, yes I'm a knifeaholic). I, too, am always amazed how my children have inherited all my good points and their character flaws must have come from their mother
. I will have to be very careful not to unwrap my Moran in front of my daughters

My eldest girl is 7 and well overdue for her first knife. I think she will get one for Christmas this year, probably a SAK with scissors as she uses them a lot. My 4 year old has been asking for a special kid's knife which has lots of gadgets but won't cut you
. Spyderco, Benchmade, anybody listening?

1) A fourteen year old I know just axed himself in the leg with a dull machette. 7 stitches on the shin bone.
2) My 1.5 Yr old picks up knives and siccors and says "sharpy" as he flawlessly hands them to me by the handle.

My wife freaks out on both counts. I, on the other hand see a lesson to be learned from both.

I think the real key is "self-raised" eye-brow. At most junctures it is really when "we" are ready not them. They are always ready to do those things we have learned to be cautious of, and we learned from our mistakes. As far as socially acceptable, it is never socially acceptable anymore. Your children are doomed to be socially "exceptable"

The NC child labor laws won't let a 17yr old and below use machinery "to include lawn mowers". The only place a child can work is the office doing fileing.
The earlier you can start them, the better. I don't have kids, however I do have a younger sister. To make things even more interesting my parents are very anti-weapons No guns, No knives, nothing...although I have been working on them.
I started my sister at 5 yrs with a small Buck lock-back. I don't know the name, but they're the ones with about a 1 1/2" drop point blade, steel or aluminum sides with a animal deplicted on the side. I took her to the knife store and let her pick the one she wanted. She took the one with the Bass. It was lost within 2 months! That's one of the things you've gotta expect with kids, whatever you get it's probably going to get lost sometime
. She too left the knifey scene, but somewhere around 11 she decided she needed a knife and wisely she came to big brother and I got her a Spyderco Cricket....and there was much rejoicing.....

If I had my way no one would get knives until they are 16 years old :p. just kidding. I got my first knife when I was 4 and by that time I was mature enough to handle it. Just a word of advise, when you buy your kid a knife don't make it a SAK, I must have cut myslef 10 time since then from the blade collasping on my fingers. buy them a lockback with a good strong lock. better yet, a FB.

I feel that it would be best to start nurturing a respect for tools of any kind (knives, firearms, hammers) as early as possible. Then it will be easier to tell when they are ready to own one. (At least that is what my dad said he did with us. His and my .02.)

Hi Tom -
Country boy making a livin' in the big city, but has not forgotten his roots.

[This message has been edited by Gus Kalanzis (edited 11-02-98).]
Are you city folk or country folk?
It does make a difference. Shouldn't but it does.
My 5 year old just got his first lock back about a month ago.

I started him on hand tools at about 18 months. He'd spend time under my bench, taking an old power supply apart. I'd occasionally put an old hard drive down there for him.

He's understood the concept of "righty tighty, lefty loosy" from day one.

And we ARE country folk.

I got my 1st knife at about 3yrs. old. It was a tiny penknife with the point broken off the blade. I was only allowed to use it with supervision to whittle sticks and such. At age 6 I got a Cub Scout pocket knife and hand axe from my Grandfather. My Mom ajust bout flipped!
I was taught how to use them properly and never had any mishaps that I recall. Both are still around and used from time to time. So I agree,start em young. How young depends on the child IMO. Marcus
My daughter and son in law are teaching the grandchildren tool usage and cause and effect and responsibility and such. They were age 5-6-7 when I gave them identical Victorinox Explorers last year. I'll have to consult parents about small lockbacks. The boy has had his safety lessons reinforced with a few stiches.


As I have stated on some of the Gun forums, maturity is the key. My twins will be 7 at the end of the year. We are begining to introduce air guns to them this week. We shall see how it goes. We are doing it one at a time and as a reward for good behavior in school. I am controlling when they have access to the air gun. The knife scares me a bit more for them right now. They just get so excited they have a hard time controlling themselves. They understand how sharp the knives are and that they are not toys. Butin the excitement of the moment, they could forget.

I'm gonna have to think about this one for a while.

Gee, I will never forget one of my twin boys running up to me in camp at the age of seven with his hand bleeding swearing that he didn't cut himself with his new folder! Of course it brought back memories of the trip to the emergency room for stitches when I was about the same age and tried to peel a golf ball with my boy scout knife! My other son working in the kitchen dropped a butcher knife on his big barefoot toe at the age of eleven requiring stitches. The same son shot himself in the calf with a SAA .45 last year at the age of twelve requiring a 1 hour high speed drive through the desert to the nearest emergency room. Luckily no bones or arteries. Just a hole from upper calf through his heel. Of course this happened two days before a trip to France to visit his grand parents. Boy was my wife miffed for awhile. My penance was having to carry him up and down stairs all over France and Spain for a month! Good work out with about 140lbs of him on my back. The bottom line is that you will never avoid all risk when humans are put together with things that can injure them. No matter how careful you are, or think you are. We had drilled on gun safety for years we had worked on knife safety since birth. The family has always had guns and knives around without too much trauma. Sometimes things just happen the way you don't want them to. That's why they call them accidents. You could try to eliminate all risk from your life and maybe avoid all danger and strengthen the roof against the chance meteor. On the other hand you, why would you want to lead such a bland life?

[This message has been edited by Ruppe (edited 11-03-98).]

You know what the real problem is? I'm more scared of my wife's reaction than I am of one of the boys cutting himself. Or cutting his brother.
I can deal with the blood and the stitches. Lord knows I've had my share. (And given my younger brother most of his.) But man, when Mrs. Bubba goes on a tear about some of these things, well, let's just say life ain't too much fun around the Bubba house.

If the boys show good control with the air guns for the next few weeks, then we will see about a special something under the christmas tree.

Bubba of the "I'm the boss at MY house... when she lets me." club.
I'm not too concerned about my wife's reation to knives. Even though I don't have children yet, I figure a good time to start teaching them about knife safety and use will be when I can get my wife to understand and obey the ideas. I'd be more scared of here walkin' around with a knife than I would be a 4-5 year old munchkin.

Spencer Stewart