Knives 101

So many styles of knives! Fixed, folding with lock back, serrated, thick blade, lightweight, large, small and in-between – everything imaginable and every one better than the rest.

Well, I have a saying that – and you can quote me – the knife you are truly lost with in a real survival situation is the best knife in the world.

Now before we go too far, let me clarify this statement. I believe that some knives out there are better than others. I also believe that many people abuse their knives and don’t take care of them properly. A knife is an extremely useful and important tool in a survival situation and outdoor setting. If you take care of your knife, your knife will take care of you.

In this post, I will cover the highlights of how to care for your knife. These “dos and don’ts” may seem pretty simple, but over my years of teaching, I have observed that these mistakes are the most common. In a later post, I’ll discuss what makes a good outdoor knife.


  • Keep it sharp.
  • Keep it lightly oiled.
  • If storing the knife for longer than a week, keep it out of its sheath to avoid rust.
  • Be aware while carving, both of your surroundings and other carvers.
  • Be patient while carving – don’t be in a hurry.
  • Carve safely.
  • Carve thin slices, like peeling a carrot.
  • Keep the knife in the sheath on your belt or on a cord.
  • Make sure it fits your hand comfortably.


  • Don’t abuse it.
  • Don’t stab it in the ground – the very least you’ll do is dull the edge.
  • Don’t throw it at a target – it’s not a toy and you can break it.
  • Don’t chop large wood with it.
  • Don’t lay it on the ground and walk away.
  • Don’t use it as a pry bar.
  • Don’t let it rust.
  • Don’t beat on it with a log or a rock.

– Frank Sherwood

Knives 101

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