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Celebrate National Knife Day on August 24th

Part of my Scout knife collection

Part of my Scout knife collection

The Spyderco Rescue 93 mm is one of my favorite everyday carry knives.

The Spyderco Rescue 93 mm is one of my favorite everyday carry knives.

A Holiday to Celebrate Knives

Whoa, did someone say there was a day dedicated to mankind’s oldest tool? Sweet, a day of knives – I hope some mythical figure delivers presents tonight. Yes, folks August 24th is “National Knife Day.”

I started collecting knives in grade school by picking up “tourist” knives on family vacations. These inexpensive knives were often better bottle openers thanks to cheap steel blades, but I obsessed about picking one up at every gift shop. From Williamsburg to the White Mountains I stored these brightly colored knives with glued-on plastic shields in an old cigar box.

As I entered the Boy Scouts, I became more involved with knives. Here, knife use was a skill and built into the requirements for advancement. In my troop, it was part of the uniform. All leaders know that boys join Scouting to start fires and play with knives and axes anyway. On campouts we learned that dull knives are more dangerous than sharp knives, that only throwing knives should be thrown, and that a speeding butterfly knife will easily penetrate your sneaker and stick into your foot.

Now, I have outgrown that cigar box and I have a collection of a few hundred knives. Most of my collection consists of collector pieces, but I have several every day carry knives too. These knives are my daily tools, from opening boxes and letters, to providing a sense of security; I don’t leave the house without one. Sometimes I even forget I have one and make the airport parking shuttle turn around so I can store my favorite Spyderco back in my car.

The Esse Izula neck knife is one of my favorites.

The Esse Izula neck knife is one of my favorites.

Why I Always Carry a Knife

Perhaps my greatest fear is to be knifeless. On a recent backpacking trip to Allen Mountain in the Adirondack High Peaks, I reached down for my Cold Steel neck knife to notice it was missing. I thought back to the previous hour when I used it to cut open a bag of jerky and how I laid it down on the ground. Being a lightweight backpacker, it was the only knife with me and I contemplated turning around; however, I was only a tenth of mile from the summit. I felt naked climbing the rest of the way, eyeing shards of rock I could knap into a cutting tool. Luckily, no boulders rolled on to me forcing me to amputate any appendages, but it was a long descent till I saw that glimmer of steel poking through the forest duff. I seriously think if I didn’t find that knife, I would have cut my backpacking trip short.

Some say I have become too dependent on carrying a knife, that it is fallacy of reasoning to need to be prepared. I notice how people glare at the portentous clip hanging from my front pocket and how they quickly look away. Even my wife looks surprised at family gatherings when a box needs to be opened and everyone volunteers their knife. Yes, thanks to ninja movies and local hooligans, our society it less knife friendly than ever. However, when you need something cut and I am nearby, you can depend on me and my knife. Happy National Knife Day!

Ideas to Celebrate National Knife Day

So it's National Knife Day, what are your plans? What do you mean you don't have any? Here are a few ideas.

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  1. You know that knife you've been drooling over for the last year? Today is the perfect day to buy it. Many companies have special sales on this day.
  2. Perfect a knife skill today, or teach one to someone else. Whether carving feather sticks, batoning, sharpening or even throwing - there are many knife skills to master.
  3. Go outside and take beautiful pictures of your knives and post them to social media. Many fan sites like to see people using their blades.
  4. If you have a few knives, get them all together to clean and sharpen them. This tends to be a winter activity for most of us.
  5. Get together with your friends for a knife swap - just don't bring your favorite little pocket companion.
  6. Arrange your knives like a mosaic. I made a map of the United States with part of my collection.
A map of the United States I made with two-hundred knives from my collection.

A map of the United States I made with two-hundred knives from my collection.

National Knife Day Poll

What is the best outdoor knife?

As a backpacker and hiker, one essential that always travels with me is a knife. Of course, with so many models to choose from, which one is the best blade for me to carry while in the backcountry?

Check out my article, "The Best Knives for Backpacking: Choosing the Right Outdoor Knife" for more information on which knives are the best for your outdoor needs.


ketage from Croatia on May 30, 2013:

I never knew there was a National knife day anywhere in the world :O

As for having misplaced your knife, I sympathize, I too would feel weird without my knife, I have been carrying a knife on me since I was 5 years old. I really hate it when I travel and have to store my knife in my check in luggage. But I do understand the airports need for security. sigh.

Dan Human (author) from Niagara Falls, NY on August 25, 2011:

Exactly Karl - you never know, All I know is that there would be far less loose threads in this world if everyone carried a knife.

Dan Human (author) from Niagara Falls, NY on August 25, 2011:

Josh, the most important part of any regalia is the knife. I think it was one of the first parts I made.

Karl Snyder on August 25, 2011:

I don't leave the house without three (3) Scout knives of various sizes...Kristian asked me why the other day...and the response never know when I may find time to whittle on something...

Josh Kirby on August 24, 2011:

That's a nice Scout knife display. I remember when Arrowman Dan had knife stashing devices throughout his custom Seneca ceremonial regalia. We could be preparing for, or taking down, a ceremonial layout and knives could be produced without fail.

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