Why must they touch it?


Oct 4, 1998
Could someone please explain to me why the first thing some one does when you hand the a knife is touch the blade? I have a few customs and when someone asks to see them, the first thing they do is grab the blade! Even after I tell them not to. I am not saying that the blade will rust upon contact, but it is a pain in the ass to inspect the blade for finger prints and it does promote surface rust. It is getting to the point where I will not let people touch my knives. People even do this to my swords! I do use Tuff Cloth but still. Is it just me being anal or does anyone else hate this?

RJ --
Could someone please explain to me why the first thing some one does when you hand the a knife is touch the blade?

Because, like a mountain, its there?

I guess its akin to holding the steering wheel when inside a car in a showroom? Or, racking the slide when holding a gun in a gunshow?

I dunno, because a knife is a knife because of the blade? And we want to use all our senses to sense the knife? See the blade, touch the blade, smell the micarta, hear the click? (Haven't read anyone taste the blade, though.)

Just my $0.02....

"It is better to understand a little than to misunderstand a lot." -- Anonymous

[This message has been edited by Titan (edited 09 May 1999).]
I just always assumed that they taste like oil!

(will test assumption later)
I know what you mean.
I think it's because they are stupid, ignorant, don't care,yak yak.
At shows I spend more time wiping finger prints off the knives than talking and these jerks are always the ones that bang the blades against each other and put them back on the table so they look like they where dumped from a box.
And they are the ones that don't buy or ask "can you make a knife like" another maker !
I seem to have the same problem too.. with my friends touching the blade even after I told them not to. They'll give me that weird look that seems to say "Chill out, man, it's not as if it's going to dull or anything!". It's just so hard to explain to them the pain of having to wipe the blade clean again after they handled it. Even after warning them about it, once the knife comes back, I see fingerprints all over the blade.. ughh...

I guess we can say that knives have this "magnetic personality" that people simply can't resist touching the blade.. hehe...

I recently sent one of my CS Tantos to a friend of mine for trade, which I've kept in pristine condition. I kinda figured the customs would have a grand time touching the blade as well, so that's the first thing I asked my buddy Shane when the knife arrived at his place. I was right, it was full of fingerprints. I wonder if any of them got bitten in the process though... happy thoughts... lol..

Titan, about tasting the blade, you just gotta go to the Himalayan Imports Forum and read the thread " A master kami discusses employment at shop #2 ". Last post was 4/21/99.
RJ - I know how ya feel
! It bugs me a bit that when I let one of my non-knife carrying friends see one of my folders, they always open the blade like it was a giant slip joint folder. As a result, fingerprints are left behind on the blade. But then if the knife has a black blade, I could care less!

Dexter Ewing
Knife Reviews Moderator

"The keystroke is mightier than the sword"

I have to admit, that even as a knife enthusiast, I touch the blade. The last thing I do after playing with one of my knives is wipe off my own fingerprints.

As an aside to this topic, how many people warn their friends about the sharpness of their blades when lending them out. Most people out there seem to be used to blades that are as blunt as butter knives. After having a couple of friends slice themselves pretty good on my knives, I now warn everyone if they are borrowing a knife. It would make a great lawsuit wouldn't it - "Honest, your honour, I didn't know that the knife was sharp".
When I have a table at a show, I put a few Band-aids along the front of the table to remind folks that it's an orderly universe.

And I keep most of the knives in glass-top cases, open to my side of the table, to keep handling under control and reduce the number of mysteriously empty boxes when I pack up at the end.

But I admit to touching a few blades myself!

Dexter mentioned the folks who want to open one-hand knives with two hands. How many of you have ever shown somebody an auto, shown them how you open it, and they insist on opening it two-handed, so that the back of the blade raps them on the knuckle?!

What's the point of looking at a knife if you can't inspect the edge? It's the edge that cuts. Especially with a knife I'm thinking about buying, I always check the edge with my thumb, and I always test the tightness of the lock-up by wiggling the blade carefully. If you are a dealer, and this bothers you, you should go into a different line of work.

If I go to a knife show, I will not touch anything without asking permission first. Most likely, I'd just lean forward a bit to look while keeping my hands behind my back, out of respect to the owner and in acknowledgemet that I have no intention of buying. I generally will not touch somehting I can't afford to pay for if I should break it.

If you show me a knife from your collection, the first thing I will do is touch the blade. Why would you hand me a knife if you didn't want me to touch it?

Top Ten Things I Will Not Do with Another Person's Knife without Asking:

1) High speed inertial openings
2) A.T. Barr spine rap liner lock test
3) Throw it
4) Open cans
5) Stir paint
6) Pick my teeth
7) Castrate livestock
8) Scrape dog crap off of my shoe
9) Tricky surgical procedures
10)Assassinate the Prime Minister

David Rock
Hahaha! I like your list, very good. I especially appreciate the implication that you might do some surgical procedures with it, just not "tricky" ones.

You have some good points; if it's a folder, touching the blade is essential to testing for play, feeling the lockup, etc. On a fixed-blade...well, I think it is in poor form. The blade is the business end, the hurty part, no need to touch that. You wouldn't go to a gun show and stick your finger down all the barrels, would you?

Hey, on the band-aid topic, I have a salesman friend who would give an automatic 5% off if you cut yourself handling a knife and then still decided to buy it. Anybody else do this?


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
I've just got to agree with some of you guys...you wouldn't go to a gun show and stick your finger down all of the barrels would you
? With a straight blade knife, touching the blade is a fopah(did I spell that right?) With folders, ESPECIALLY someone elses, I always wipe off my finger prints (usually one on each side of the blade) with a clean silicon cloth after I gently test the lockup. I do the same with the clip if there is one(because I sometimes check to see that the clip is anchored in securely). Just my $2
At shows, I always carry my own bit of chamois to wipe off any prints I leave (occupational habit -- leaving no prints), and I usually won't even pick up a knife without asking permission. I find that if you start out respectfully and politely, the exhibitors will usually end up allowing you a lot more latitude. "Oh, you like that one? Here, let me unlock this display case and let you handle this other one that just won best of show. Nice, eh?" Yes, very. If you're polite and respectful, makers will often engage you in a long, interresting, and educational conversation. Others, they chase off because they don't want 'em near the merchandise.

Oh, and with butterfly knives, absolutely no manipulations without specific permission.

In most things in life, a little courtesy often pays a big dividend.


(oh, and while we all understood the meaning, the correct spelling for future use is Faux pas (two words), it's French, so it doesn't spell like it sounds.)

[This message has been edited by Gollnick (edited 09 May 1999).]
I have to agree with David. I think it's absolutely necessary to check the blade out before I buy it. I would be besides myself if I didn't and I got home and the blade had some wobble or the lock up wasn't solid, especially after shelling out a significant amount of bucks. Sure I wouldn't do a AT Barr spine test or anything that would hurt the knife and I would ask permission to touch before doing so....but how hard is it to wipe a blade with Tuf-Cloth when someone is done?


I make and sell approx 200-300 throwers a year.They all are made from 1050 spring steel. All of my throwers are made to be used but
when I polish them to a mirror finish just about everyone that approaches my table looks at them and says "Stainless?" Just because they are shiny. Then while the knives are laying on the table they have to run their hands across all of the blades to complete some sort of ritual before they leave. I believe that education is the key , so I try to educate people who do this but most seem to get mad when you try explain to them why it is not a good idea to do this to someones knives. I do not mind someone handling my knives but when someone with sweaty hands picks up one of my $150.00 forged knives made from simple carbon steel while I are not looking
then you see a large fingerprint that has started to etch its way into your knife.
I figure it in as the cost of doing business.

I'm afraid it's a lost cause. You'll never be able to teach everybody in the world either to not touch blades or to wipe them off after touching; even if we all pull together and dedicate the rest of our lives to the task we'll never succeed.

Let's try to teach people not to murder and rape and rob and cheat each other instead. That's a lost cause, too, but when the Judge asks us what we did with our lives, "I wasted my life in a futile effort to teach people not to exploit each other," will sound better than "I spent my life trying to protect knives from fingerprints." Not that it isn't a worthy cause....

-Cougar Allen :{)
Guys: Forgive me for offering another opinion: I WANT people to touch the blade-feel it, test it, inspect it. As for fingerprints, get a Tuf Cloth! If you are selling knives, being annoyed with someone for putting a finger print on it is a no-go attitude, in my book.

RJ Martin
RJ, you said it. I handle a LOT of knives before I decide how to plunk my money down. And if someone doesn't want me to touch their blades, just say so - no possible problem. And I'm off the the next table without a bad feeling or a backward thought. I hope I'm saysing this right - I have no possible animosity towards how those folks conduct their business. It's their merchandise, and they have every possible right to control who does what to it. But thre is NO CHANCE that I'd ever stay there long enough to have any interest in buying from such a dealer.

I don't mind when my friends touch the blades, but like a few others here I spend a lot of time wiping off my own fingerprints. I'd say the biggest difference is you business types. In your situation, I would absolutely understand how you would hate to to wipe off 50-60 knives every 10 minutes for the duration of a show.

Also watch for stupid friends. A new friend (we met on the forums and he invited me to bring my girlfriend shooting) brought a MD Operator to the range and let me check it out. To be perfectly frank, I don't own any kydex sheaths and didn't realize the edge facing the cutting edge was open to let the knife out, so I held it with my palm over that opening and very nearly opened my palm instead! He probably regretted letting such a lunkheaded ape play with it . . .

[This message has been edited by Gwinnydapooh (edited 09 May 1999).]