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ban of fixed blade knives?


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#21 desertrat77

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 11:02 PM

When camping in the back country, I carry the BSA camp knife, a sheath knife/belt axe combo. I can create, quicker, more firewood/kindling/tinder with the belt axe than with either the pocket knife or sheath knife. This is because the belt axe is honed to a knife-blade edge instead of the regular axe edge. The belt axe is far more effective for heavy cutting than chopping with a Bowie knife which is too lightweight. For food preparation, it's the sheath knife. Cleans up far better than crud stuck inside the workings of the pocket knife. I have carbon steel blade knives and require oils to prevent rust. Soap/water cleanup removes those oils and rust can begin in as little as 6-8 hours. Those oils don't mix well with food either. I use the camp knife for rope work, whittling for entertainment and other small jobs around the camp. I have both the BSA knife/axe combo which works the best, and a modern light-weight knife/axe combo for backpacking. For backpacking I switch to the BSA whittler for a pocket knife. Don't have use for the weight nor the can opener.

Like any utensil, it can be used as a tool, weapon or toy. If people are worried about which is being applied, they had better ban walking sticks as well. I have seen boys abuse that distinction with walking sticks more than I have with sheath knives... which are allowed, and after proper training, encouraged in my troop.

Stosh

Well said.
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#22 qwazse

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 06:17 AM

I'm trying to imagine what a boy would do with any of the knives pictured here, on a camp out.
.... except for maybe a special survival training outing. In all my years of camping I've never needed more than a small pocket knife to cut some small twine or rope..... or whittle a point on a stick for roasting hot dogs.....

exceptions I can think of would be a filet knife if fishing.
a hunting knife if hunting dear..... oh wait, scouts don't hunt.... but if they did they wouldn't need anything over 3-4 inches.
ah, maybe a kitchen knife if car camping and cutting veggies or something.....

I'm not at all opposed to having big knives available for training.... but I just can't imagine a need otherwise.

Not trying to argue, but trying to help you see the some of the logic that you are likely up against in trying to sell others on a rules change.

My sheath knife has a compass in the hilt! (And, I recently discovered, it screws off to expose a chamber with matches.) It's part of one of my smaller tackle boxes. A younger relative gave it to me.
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#23 Oldscout448

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 11:06 AM

Quemadmodum gladius nemunem occidit: occidentis telum est. A sword never killed anybody: it is a tool in the killers hand. Seneca the Younger I echo what jblake said, I've been using a Western make Boyscout sheath knife, alongside a swiss army tinker for over 40 years now and I find it very useful for splitting out fire boards, flipping small pancakes, once had to cut a splint with it. BUT there are some scouts who have ( how do I say this?) anger issues?, emo problems? fear of being disrespected? who I would not trust with a dull stick. A SM's first worry is the safety of the boys in his charge, it is much simpler to place a blanket ban on things that can be used as weapons, than to decide, on a case by case basis, who is safe and who is not. How would you instantly evaluate the new crop of cubs that bridge every spring? Perhaps you might propose allowing the older scouts to carry fixed blades say 14 years old and up? Just patrol leaders? OA members? (with a beaded sheath) with SM approval of course. All it takes is one scout doing one stupid thing and the call goes up to do something, do anything to prevent it from happening again. One troop in my area refuses to allow scouts to chop wood anymore, because someone had an accident years ago. In fact I attended one IOLS where they would not teach the adults anything that had to do with axes, too dangerous they said. Sad but true.
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#24 frankpalazzi

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 07:29 PM

Our CO has prohibited fixed blade/sheath knives since 1970. The first troop committee was made up of WW1 and WW2 veterans, too--I'm sure they had their reasons. We've lived just fine under that restriction, and no one seems to want to revisit it.
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#25 SSScout

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 08:25 PM

Interesting discussion. Does one NEED a blade of a certain size? When I teach IOLS (and I have been told "gee, I wish you had taught the IOLS course I went to."). I show lots of sharp stuff and talk about the "fable" of the sheath knife ban. Then I show folding knives, lock backs of various types, the new Opinel twist lock knife, big kitchen knife, a K-bar, and I invite a discussion of what kind of a knive a Scout NEEDS. I talk about safety, passing knives, sharpening and care, use ( yes, a folder can collapse on you), closing a folder not with a fist but with open palm. all that stuff. For some adults, it keeps coming back to why not a small sheath knife? How small? In my small experience, the boy can learn to respect the blade with a 4" folder, make fuzz sticks, whittle , and even cook. The sheath knife often is more a matter of machismo and bragodaccio to the boy. (Crocadile Dundee not withstanding). Each Troop culture is unique. I knew a Troop that limited younger boys to knives under 4" blade (?5"? I forget). Boys older than 14 AND First Class could carry a 6" blade sheathed knife, after a VERY strict Totin Chip class. And that was taught by the older boys. The Troop culture insured that the rule was respected, and the reasons were explained. Younger boys make mistakes without the experience and example and tutilege of the "elder" boys. When we KNOW you've had the benefit of all that, we'll be glad to let you "carry". What type of knife does a Scout need? And for what? I speak about how a Patrol on the AT MIGHT need one hatchet among them, (a felling axe on a weeklong trek?) and maybe a couple or three pocket knives. But the boys need to be a team and share. This way, extra weight is avoided. Does every Scout need his own tent or cooking set or stove? We learn teamwork and responsibility to the group by such decisions . Long, big knives have a use and purpose. Do your Scouts have such need? Or would they lead to more problems further on?
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#26 EmberMike

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 09:41 PM

The key word here to me has always been "carry". There are a lot of things kids can't/shouldn't carry, and yet we still let them use them. Axes and hatchets for example. Should the BSA ban axes and hatchets because kids could hurt themselves with them? I personally think a hatchet is more dangerous than a fixed blade knife, but even still I wouldn't advocate banning hatchets. I'm all for learning how to use tools safely, including fixed blade knives, hatchets, etc. Here's how I'd approach it. Start with introducing fixed blades as a camp tool, not as a carry item. If you jump in hoping to put a sheath on every kid's belt, you'll get a lot more resistance. Suggest putting a couple of fixed blade knives in the troop tool kit with axes and hatchets, and teach kids how to baton kindling with a knife. Which, you can explain to the kids and other adults, is FAR safer than chopping up kindling with a hatchet. You can't cut wood down to kindling with a hatchet without putting your hands at risk. Well, you can, but it's a little tricky. Far more tricky than batoning. But no one can argue with batoning being safer than hatchet chopping kindling. It's safer, much safer I think, than having to hold the wood with your hand and tapping a hatchet into it. Even worse when you have a kid try taking a swing at a piece of wood while they're holding it up with their hand.
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#27 bullet08

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 02:31 AM

pocket knives are broken before it comes out of its brand new package. folders that is. SAK does serve its purpose, but you can't really baton with it. why is BSA scared of fixed blade? it just looks homicidal? we teach our boys how to build fires using woods. most of us do not carry saw or ax. but if someone had becker BK-2 or BK-9... who would ever need an axe or a saw? they are tools. we teach our boys to use them as tools, not as an weapon. less chance of cutting their fingers and getting their job done. face the reality. stop feeling intimidated. let liberals go camp at LA and go to 5 start restaurant for their evening snack.
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#28 DuctTape

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 06:50 AM

The key word here to me has always been "carry". There are a lot of things kids can't/shouldn't carry, and yet we still let them use them. Axes and hatchets for example. Should the BSA ban axes and hatchets because kids could hurt themselves with them? I personally think a hatchet is more dangerous than a fixed blade knife, but even still I wouldn't advocate banning hatchets. I'm all for learning how to use tools safely, including fixed blade knives, hatchets, etc.

Here's how I'd approach it. Start with introducing fixed blades as a camp tool, not as a carry item. If you jump in hoping to put a sheath on every kid's belt, you'll get a lot more resistance. Suggest putting a couple of fixed blade knives in the troop tool kit with axes and hatchets, and teach kids how to baton kindling with a knife. Which, you can explain to the kids and other adults, is FAR safer than chopping up kindling with a hatchet. You can't cut wood down to kindling with a hatchet without putting your hands at risk. Well, you can, but it's a little tricky. Far more tricky than batoning.

But no one can argue with batoning being safer than hatchet chopping kindling. It's safer, much safer I think, than having to hold the wood with your hand and tapping a hatchet into it. Even worse when you have a kid try taking a swing at a piece of wood while they're holding it up with their hand.

While I agree with your general sentiment, I myself carry and use a small birch handle mora sheath knife. However, I disagree with your analysis regarding the safety of using a hatchet to split wood to kindling size. Done properly, the hatchet blade is never out of contact with the wood. There are a few methods which can be employed to accomplish this. The most obvious is to use the hachet in the same way some use their knife to "baton". There are other methods as well. But regardless of which method is used, by maintaining contact between the blade and wood, safety is not compromised any more than with a sheath knife. It is also useful to know how to split wood without either a knife or axe/hatchet using a small saw. Even more useful is learning how to find and collect wood which needs little/no prep to begin with so no tools are necessary. The latter of all these skills is often the most difficult to attain albeit the most useful IMO.
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#29 DuctTape

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 04:39 PM

pocket knives are broken before it comes out of its brand new package. folders that is. SAK does serve its purpose, but you can't really baton with it.

why is BSA scared of fixed blade? it just looks homicidal?

we teach our boys how to build fires using woods. most of us do not carry saw or ax. but if someone had becker BK-2 or BK-9... who would ever need an axe or a saw?

they are tools. we teach our boys to use them as tools, not as an weapon. less chance of cutting their fingers and getting their job done. face the reality. stop feeling intimidated. let liberals go camp at LA and go to 5 start restaurant for their evening snack.

The ban on sheath knives or other decisions which potentially take away the outdoor adventure are not liberal nor conservative in nature. Both sides of the spectrum have been complicit in these decisions and scouters on both sides lament them as well.
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#30 Eagle92

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 08:15 PM

Again, BSA has no ban on sheath knives. But some jurisdictions do ban them.
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#31 Oldscout448

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 09:47 AM

Interesting discussion. Does one NEED a blade of a certain size? When I teach IOLS (and I have been told "gee, I wish you had taught the IOLS course I went to."). I show lots of sharp stuff and talk about the "fable" of the sheath knife ban. Then I show folding knives, lock backs of various types, the new Opinel twist lock knife, big kitchen knife, a K-bar, and I invite a discussion of what kind of a knive a Scout NEEDS. I talk about safety, passing knives, sharpening and care, use ( yes, a folder can collapse on you), closing a folder not with a fist but with open palm. all that stuff.
For some adults, it keeps coming back to why not a small sheath knife? How small? In my small experience, the boy can learn to respect the blade with a 4" folder, make fuzz sticks, whittle , and even cook. The sheath knife often is more a matter of machismo and bragodaccio to the boy. (Crocadile Dundee not withstanding).
Each Troop culture is unique. I knew a Troop that limited younger boys to knives under 4" blade (?5"? I forget). Boys older than 14 AND First Class could carry a 6" blade sheathed knife, after a VERY strict Totin Chip class. And that was taught by the older boys. The Troop culture insured that the rule was respected, and the reasons were explained. Younger boys make mistakes without the experience and example and tutilege of the "elder" boys. When we KNOW you've had the benefit of all that, we'll be glad to let you "carry".
What type of knife does a Scout need? And for what? I speak about how a Patrol on the AT MIGHT need one hatchet among them, (a felling axe on a weeklong trek?) and maybe a couple or three pocket knives. But the boys need to be a team and share. This way, extra weight is avoided. Does every Scout need his own tent or cooking set or stove? We learn teamwork and responsibility to the group by such decisions .

Long, big knives have a use and purpose. Do your Scouts have such need? Or would they lead to more problems further on?

Sounds very much like the Troop I was in back in the 60s, in Maryland. Hmm
Your classes sound very much like the ones I used to teach.
I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion that a patrol on a AT hike perhaps needs one hand ax ( I prefer my old estwing) but just cannot imagine going into the woods without my knife. If I somehow got lost and stuck for the night, I can make cordage, a debris shelter, even a fire drill, but I need a knife to do these things. I guess the Indians could do it with a sharp rock, but that's well past my skill level.
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#32 DuctTape

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 10:24 AM

Again, BSA has no ban on sheath knives. But some jurisdictions do ban them.

And some troops ban them.
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#33 j2huggies

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 01:26 PM

I carry my Smith and Wesson Emergency Services Knife (window punch tool, spring-assist blade activation), and it folds into a pocketknife
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#34 EmberMike

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:08 PM

Again, BSA has no ban on sheath knives. But some jurisdictions do ban them.

You mean they ban carrying them, right? Surely possessing a sheath knife isn't banned anywhere in the US, is it?

Like I mentioned above, there is a difference between carrying a knife and just having one in your tool kit. I don't think there is any law or BSA policy that would forbid a troop from having some fixed blade knives in the troop tool kit alongside axes, hatchets, saws, etc.
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#35 TAHAWK

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 01:04 AM

>Since we have recognized our obligation to teach the youth the proper use of all legally owned knives as of 2011, how do meet our obligation if fixed-blade knives - found in almost all homes - are the subject of "zero tolerance" policies?

>The B.S.A. announced in Boy's Life in June, 2008, that:

"The best type of knife for camping trips — and most any other outdoor activity, for that matter — is a short, fixed-blade knife with a beefy handle.

Folding pocketknives can fold up on your hand while cutting. Not fixed blades. And remember: When it comes to blades, bigger isn’t always better. Avoid blades longer than four inches. A small, sharp blade can cut just as well as a long one, but it’s safer to handle and easier to maneuver in tight spots. With a good fixed blade you’ll be set for most anything the outdoors can throw at you — whittling, cutting, notching, butchering, filleting, even spreading peanut butter."

>The basis of all our moral training is trust.

>I understand irrational fear. I am irrationally afraid of heights. I do not expect others to conform to my phobias.

> My Council briefly banned fixed-blade knives at our camps. The responsible "professional" has been fired and the rule (and many, many others he decreed) is gone, replaced by the Oath and Law.

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#36 desertrat77

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 07:53 AM

>Since we have recognized our obligation to teach the youth the proper use of all legally owned knives as of 2011, how do meet our obligation if fixed-blade knives - found in almost all homes - are the subject of "zero tolerance" policies?

>The B.S.A. announced in Boy's Life in June, 2008, that:

"The best type of knife for camping trips — and most any other outdoor activity, for that matter — is a short, fixed-blade knife with a beefy handle.

Folding pocketknives can fold up on your hand while cutting. Not fixed blades. And remember: When it comes to blades, bigger isn’t always better. Avoid blades longer than four inches. A small, sharp blade can cut just as well as a long one, but it’s safer to handle and easier to maneuver in tight spots. With a good fixed blade you’ll be set for most anything the outdoors can throw at you — whittling, cutting, notching, butchering, filleting, even spreading peanut butter."

>The basis of all our moral training is trust.

>I understand irrational fear. I am irrationally afraid of heights. I do not expect others to conform to my phobias.

> My Council briefly banned fixed-blade knives at our camps. The responsible "professional" has been fired and the rule (and many, many others he decreed) is gone, replaced by the Oath and Law.

Excellent!

"...replaced by the Oath and Law."

Spot on. We teach scouts to live by the Oath and Law, train them to properly use and respect wood tools of all kinds, and expect them to act like adults. This not only prevents safety issues, but instills character.

The leaders that come up with 1 million rules to attempt to prevent every accident or contingency are rarely effective. Because they fundamentally don't trust or respect people. And the people know it.

I was on camp staff as a scout for 3 summers, and the camp director followed the Oath/Law model outlined by Tahawk. At the opening campfire, he'd say "We only have 12 rules in this camp--the Scout Law. Follow the Oath and Law, and we'll have a successful week."

That's all he said about conduct. It worked like a charm.

Bonus memory: I carried a fixed blade Buck 102 every summer. Other scouts and staffers carried sheath knifes too. No one gave it a second thought.
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#37 Thesnakeman

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 05:47 PM

i recently asked some a adult leader that would support the lifting of a ban on the matter and he said that it probably not going to be possible to get the ban amended. im going to ask around a bit more but this is kinda disheartening to say the least but if it gets into a discussion i will use the oath and law thanks for all the reply Thomas
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#38 SSScout

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 08:18 PM

The key word here to me has always been "carry". There are a lot of things kids can't/shouldn't carry, and yet we still let them use them. Axes and hatchets for example. Should the BSA ban axes and hatchets because kids could hurt themselves with them? I personally think a hatchet is more dangerous than a fixed blade knife, but even still I wouldn't advocate banning hatchets. I'm all for learning how to use tools safely, including fixed blade knives, hatchets, etc.

Here's how I'd approach it. Start with introducing fixed blades as a camp tool, not as a carry item. If you jump in hoping to put a sheath on every kid's belt, you'll get a lot more resistance. Suggest putting a couple of fixed blade knives in the troop tool kit with axes and hatchets, and teach kids how to baton kindling with a knife. Which, you can explain to the kids and other adults, is FAR safer than chopping up kindling with a hatchet. You can't cut wood down to kindling with a hatchet without putting your hands at risk. Well, you can, but it's a little tricky. Far more tricky than batoning.

But no one can argue with batoning being safer than hatchet chopping kindling. It's safer, much safer I think, than having to hold the wood with your hand and tapping a hatchet into it. Even worse when you have a kid try taking a swing at a piece of wood while they're holding it up with their hand.

What is "Baton"? Is that like hitting your axe/hatchet with a "sheleighlee" to split wood? If so, I do not recommend the sheleighlee, as it tends to open the eye of the axe head on wood handle axes. Use a real maul or handled wedge and sledge.
Two axe/hatchet methods: "contact" and "impact".
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#39 EmberMike

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 02:29 PM

For some reason I can't add another comment to one of my replies above, so...

@SSScout Batoning wood involves using a fixed-blade knife and a "baton" (usually another piece of wood) to drive the knife blade into a log or stock and split it. You can see a demo here:

It's preferable to hatchet splitting because at no point do you need to put your fingers in harms way. Done right, you're never swinging anything towards yourself, never putting your fingers in front of the cutting edge of a blade, and you move the blade by hitting it with another object, so all of the motion is done in a far safer manner.

For kids especially, I think this is the ideal method to teach. Other non-BSA groups, especially overseas, have taught this method for a long time to kids who are cub scout age. It's that much safer than using hatchets/axes that it can be safely taught to and used by younger kids.
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#40 TAHAWK

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 09:54 PM

We enter the realm of legend.

The official pronouncement regarding not encouraging "large" sheath knives has been noted above.

Also noted is that many councils - and units - have a zero tolerance policy for sheath knives, with all that zero tolerance implies.

As pointed out, the National Council has recognized its "duty to instill in our members, youth and adult, the knowledge of how to use, handle, and store legally owned knives with the highest concern for safety and responsibility" A zero tolerance policy frustrates the performance of that duty as to sheath knives where they are legally owned (That would be in fifty states.).

Again, in Boys' Life, June, 2008:

The best type of knife for camping trips — and most any other outdoor activity, for that matter — is a short, fixed-blade knife with a beefy handle. Folding pocketknives can fold up on your hand while cutting. Not fixed blades. And remember: When it comes to blades, bigger isn’t always better. Avoid blades longer than four inches. A small, sharp blade can cut just as well as a long one, but it’s safer to handle and easier to maneuver in tight spots. With a good fixed blade you’ll be set for most anything the outdoors can throw at you — whittling, cutting, notching, butchering, filleting, even spreading peanut butter.











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