Everyone has a pocket knife. They’re one of the most useful household items to have (apart from the Wi-Fi), however, most people don’t utilise them to their full extent. There are many ways one can conquer their boredom by just using a pocket knife. Here are some creative ways in which you can use your pocket knife
Opening a package
One of the most common uses of the modern era is to slice your knife down the packing tape of a box from the mail. Using your pocket knife is better than using a kitchen knife as you don’t want any tape residue on your kitchen knife, while your pocket knife can be easily cleaned. Also, you can carry your pocket knife around with you for quick accessibility. You’re not going to put your butcher’s knife in your pocket! With your pocket knife you can also easily slice cardboard and other types of packages. You can open letters without having to tear apart the whole thing (opening letters is one of the most frustrating things with no pocket knife – especially if it’s your electricity bill).
Carving is the act of cutting a hard material and removing layers from it in order to produce an object. Wood is the most common material to use as it is easy to find and is less resistant to the sharp blade of the knife. If you were ever in a survival situation, you could carve the top of a stick into a point to create a spear or an arrow for long range weaponry – great for catching fish or small animals. Wood carving is also an amazing way to kill your boredom and fill up your free time. You can’t just watch YouTube videos all day. Go outside and train yourself to carve stuff out of solid wood, with your pocket knife. I promise you, it’s less frustrating that some other time-killing activities, once you get the hang of it. It’s usually much easier to carve softwood (cedar, pine, fir, redwood, yew…) than hardwood (walnut, oak, maple), but you should be able to make something out of both.
Make sure you don’t force too much with your pocket knife. You don’t want the blade to break! Just for safety precautions… I was camping in the Alps in my young days, and I was carving pine wood with my Opinel knife (pine wood is in the softwood category, but it’s actually quite hard to carve), and the stupid child that I was found it easier to carve with the blade facing towards me than the other way around! I now have a large scar between my left thumb and my index. Don’t do that mistake, I learnt the hard way…
However impractical it sounds, using a knife to sharpen a pencil is a pretty good way of getting a perfect point. It is a technique used by some artists to get a certain tip that standard sharpeners can’t for different artistic thicknesses. If you’re not an artist, it’s still a cool way of impressing your friends at work. I remember one time, I had a music exam in my final year of high school, and we needed to use a sharp HB pencil to write down some notes. However, I didn’t have my sharpener with me. I had to use the blade of my scissors (I don’t know why I had scissors though) and sharpen my pencil with that. I can tell you that invigilators were staring at me with a very surprised look on their faces!
Cutting yourself free
I admit, this one stands out a bit from the others. It is more if a survival method than a spare-time activity. However, it is still useful to know that if your car is on fire or drowning in a river, your pocket knife can save your life! We have all encountered these moments when we take hours to find our seat belt buckle to free ourselves from the seat of our car. Now imagine doing that in a burning car! You pocket knife can allow you to cut your seatbelt immediately, which will be a real time-relief when it comes to such extreme situations.
A similar case would be applicable to divers. Thousands of divers get trapped in underwater monofilament lines every year. Your pocket knife can let you free yourself rather than drown and die like a trapped tortoise.
Extreme first aid situations
This one follows from the previous ones. Pocket knives agree truly one of the best assets to survive. Although these might seem a bit extreme, you can never be too prepared when it comes to leaving your house. Having a pocket knife on you can be a life-or-death decision.
-stop/sterilize large wound
-puncturing amniotic sac for roadside birth
Removing a splinter
Splinters are one of the most annoying things to get when working with wood, and they can be incredibly hard to get out. So what better way to remove them than using a pocket knife? The knife has a sharp enough point to slip under the splinter and drag it out without pushing it deeper. Make sure you sterilize the knife with some sort of alcohol to prevent any harmful bacteria from getting in.
Cutting zip ties
Scissors are probably the easiest way of removing zip ties but not everyone has scissors lying around. A pocket knife will work just the same when trying to cut the plastic loose. Just make sure, when you cut the zip tie, that the blade faces away from you, and that you push away from you rather than pull towards you. You don’t really want this to be the end of you, don’t you?
Opening a bottle
The shape and strength of a pocket knife makes it perfect for popping a bottle top at a party. Not only is it better than carrying around a bottle opener, but it makes you look super cool in front of your friends. Just be careful you don’t scrape the knife against the metal cap as it could damage the knife. Here’s a short video explaining how to do it: [Insert video]
Some pocket knives also have a built-in bottle opener. An example of this is the swiss army knife. Basically all Victorinox knives have a bottle opener. Nothing better than an ice-cold beer in the woods!
Building your bushcraft camp
When you’re in the wilderness, you’re probably going to want a place to camp for the night. There is nothing more rewarding than making your own campsite using material provide by nature and the one essential tool to have when building this is a pocket knife.
You’re going to need a lot of rope if you intend on making structures and since you don’t have any polyester strands spare, you’re going to have to find something else. The best source of rope fibre is dead plants and you can use your knife to strip down thin strands from the plants. Once you have these strands, you can weave them into a very strong rope to use for building a shelter. But first you’ll need some wood…
One may think that large, heavy duty poles are necessary for building structures, however, ½ inch 2m poles will suffice. Wood is pretty easy to find in the wild and you’ll need a knife to cut down some poles to the correct length. Apart from wood, you’ll need to find some insulation material such as long grass, dry leaves, soil or bark to keep you warm during the night.
Lighting a fire
There’s no activity that I look forward to more than lighting a fire, when I go bushcrafting and a knife is a must have in this situation. One of the most effective ways of lighting a fire is by using a flint to create a spark, but you’ll have a hard time finding a ferro rod in the wild (if you don’t already own one). The next best method is by using a friction rod to generate enough heat to create a flame. Here is a video explaining how you would do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyGhP9t5V5g
It’s easy to forget the peeler at home when on a camp, but your pocket knife will work just fine. You can also peel apples and carrots using your knife.
Carrying heavy groceries
Grocery bags can get very heavy and when they only give you 2 thin handles, your hands are going to suffer. If you put a pocket knife in between the handles, you can grip the knife and decrease the pressure acting on your hands. There are some knives that have a “parcel-carrying” extension but a regular old Leatherman’s will work just as well.
Separating LEGO pieces
LEGO is a lot of fun to play with, but some pieces can be very hard to pry apart with your fingers and the thin blade of the knife is perfect for doing this. Be careful about cutting yourself as you’re applying a lot of force into a small space that is very close to your fingers.
Breaking a window in an emergency
Most knives have a metal butt on the handle and this can be used to break windows in an emergency without having to use your fist of feet.
Why buy a fidget spinner when you can use your pocket knife for fidget control? Those who have a hard time focusing on a task can get their knives out and spin them between their thumb and middle finger. As long as your knife is closed, it can make a perfectly silent, harmless gadget to help you concentrate on something else. Here’s a short video explaining how to do this: [Insert video]
Opening a can
Another common tool that is left at home is a can opener, and it can be very frustrating having a can but no way of getting the contents. Using your knife to open the can is hard at first, but with some practise can be very efficient and rewarding. Here is a video explaining how to do it:
Throwing knives is one of the fastest growing hobbies around and although a pocket knife may not be the perfect option, it can still be used to great effect. Knife-throwing is an art and I have written an article covering everything you need to know about knife throwing: <Insert link>
Separating a keyring
Keyrings are one of the most underrated inventions of our time. They hold all of our keys in one place without taking up more space than the keys themselves as a box would do. However, if you want to add more keys to the collection, they can be a real pain to open. Trying to slide your nail between the rings can be very sore but using the thin edge of your knife to pull them apart is a much easier alternative.
Cutting a fruit
You’ve probably once seen your outdoor-savvy grandpa spear a piece of apple with a knife and bite it off. Now you can also impress your friends by using a pocket knife to (safely) cut up your favourite fruit and try not to cut your tongue whilst eating it.
Unscrewing a cork
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