/ Should children have penknives?
Of course, his words have been taken out of context - I don't think he genuinely believes kids should have knives as playthings, merely that owning a penknife as a child (even if it results in a cut finger of two) can be an important learning process.
He seems to have been torn apart for these comments but in my opinion he speaks sense. For example, the Scouts in our troop don't own their own penknives, and when it comes to using knives at a troop meeting it's quite obvious they both fear them and see them as forbidden and dangerous objects. This lack of experience and knowledge leads to a reduced safety margin. Quite frankly I think the ability to use a knife as a tool safely is an important life skill.
At the risk of sounding like an old fart (before I'm thirty, no less ;-) ), when I was young a knife was just a tool that I used to perform certain tasks: building dens, sharpening sticks, the kind of things that kids did in the outdoors. Nowadays it seems that young people are increasingly separated from this kind of thing and I think it's a great shame.
What are your views? Do you think a child should have a penknife, to be used responsibly and under supervision where appropriate?
Only if they need one for a specific activity otherwise what's the point?
I think it has many benefits. It builds trust between parent and child, teaches important lessons about using potentially dangerous tools safely, and gives the child the opportunity to learn from mistakes.
Worth mentioning that it does, of course, depend on the maturity of the young person in question, and there's always going to be a lower age limit below which giving them a knife is probably a bad idea. I had my first penknife at the age of 12 and for me I think that was a good age.
" For example, the Scouts in our troop don't own their own penknives, and when it comes to using knives at a troop meeting it's quite obvious they both fear them and see them as forbidden and dangerous objects. 2
Some of our Scouts do have their own, and I don't find that most of them fear them nor see them as forbidden objects. I think there is definitely a link there. We permit them at camps provided they are not misused. Interestingly, I have never had to ban any of them from having one.
What they do seem to fear, though, is bigger knives like when I give them a go (supervised) at using my (not excessively big) sheath knife.
My default position is that anything that anything advocated by Grylls is likely to be facile, banal, ill considered and probably wrong.
Nope, I think that boys (9- to 13-ish) should have penknives to be used irresponsibly and not under supervision.
We got my younger son (8) his own knife this Christmas, his brother had his the year before at the same age. Both have Finnish "puukko" which are sheaf knives - 8cm blades but as they are designed for kids the tip isn't a point, the blade is sharp though! http://www.marttiini.fi/epages/MarttiiniShop.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/MarttiiniShop/Products/1860... They have a puukko on their kit lists for cub camp so I suppose its quite normal for kids from about that age to have a knife if they are in scouts. Of course accidents happen though, one kid got taken to the health centre from my old son's first cub camp for some stitches after some overly enthusiastic whittling. Personally watching my 10 year old try to split logs with an axe is more worrying!
More pertinently, I'm not sure Bear Grylls understands the problem. It isn't a problem for kids who do outdoorsy things and who are likely to be fans of his to have access to knives, I think. It's more a problem that kids in inner cities (or similar) who are fans of violent video games and surrounded by wannabe gangsters have access to knives. And in truth, I don't really think you can stop them beyond responsible selling rules of the kind already in place.
All that's a gut reaction rather than a considered view, though I'm not sure that would lead me to change my reaction markedly.
I don't think that would be legal in the UK for anyone. It looks like a legal knife is - 'a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, eg a Swiss Army knife. Lock knives (knives with blades that can be locked when unfolded) are not folding knives, and are illegal to carry in public.'
I'm about to buy my 13 year old daughter and 10 year old son some sort of penknife. I'm a bit nervous about this, but I think at some point if you want kids to act responsibly, you have to give them responsibility.
But isn't that the law for what you can carry around on the street in your pocket? Quite obviously my kids don't take their knives to school with them on the bus or when they walk up to the shops to buy sweets!
My Grandpa bought me my first penknife when I was 10. It was never something that I had to use under supervision, it was mine to do what I would with. No fuss was made about it, so it never crossed my mind that it was anything other than a tool. I used to make things out of leather scraps with it, I used to carve sticks and sharpen them for marshmallow toasting etc. This wasn't in the dim and distant past, I'm now in my early 30s.
If the kid is sensible, then of course they should have a knife and no fuss should be made of it
How is a boy supposed to make himself a bow and arrow, complete with sharpened point and feathers on the shaft, without a decent penknife?
That's where flint knives come in handy ;) Used to play with knapping flint a fair bit as a kid as well - probably far more dangerous than having a penknife!
unequivocally yes. Both mine have had various knives from about 8 and so far nobodies been stabbed and all digits are present and correct
I don't know exactly. You can't carry any larger knife 'without good reason'. I think a bigger knife could be easy to explain camping in a forest in Mid Wales but not sure how readily accepted it would be in a public park or anywhere in a city for example.
Made several knives when I was a kid, starting with flattened copper pipe filed to an edge and graduating in stages to a genuine wrought object in steel using a barbeque and a leaf blower at about age 14. I also had access to shotguns and fire arms and had air rifles and pistols.
I have never hurt anyone
I think I got mine about 11. used to sit and carve sticks while sat with my dad having a bonfire on a sunday.
I remember making my dad a pipe holder for his car out of balsa wood that he still used 20 years later
Yes, of course kids should have penknives. As soon as they are sensible enough - which varies from very, very young to never.
I agree with him on this.
"Should children have pen knives?"
Why would they need them - to kill and skin rabbits? Probably not something they should really be doing unless you're raising a serial killer.
Or how about to whittle sticks into even more dangerous pointy objects - for what? spearing animals - again, no, it's probably inhumane and we're back onto the serial killer argument.
I just can't think of any reason why a CHILD needs a knife, pen or otherwise. What does an adult even need a knife for - cutting rope I guess? How about secateurs...
First they came for the secateurs but I wasn't one, ....
The puukko looks spot on for a kid. My only observation is that it needs to be sharp. I've noticed kids tend to show a blunt knife a lot of respect at first, but then subconsciously classify it not dangerous when it won't cut. They get frustrated, put a lot of weight behind it and then don't have the strength to control it when it inevitably slips. Sharp knives are safe knives.
Well my knives are very useful tools - food prep, making things, repairing stuff - heck even cutting string. I've never killed anything with a pen knife - nog all that practical.
Penknives are tools, certainly not weapons.
I don't think the issue is should they have knives per se, but should they have the opportunities for wild ( I hate that epithet) play. And by that,I don't mean some sort of sanitised Center Parks experience.
It's the 'arena' that children play in that shapes how knives are put to use. Britain's becoming a crowded and increasingly controlled place. Choices have to be made, land use is increasingly zoned.
Although 'the outdoors' hasn't suddenly disappeared, for some the opportunities are much sparser than 'when I were a lad'. In Merseyside where I grew up, there's less derelict land than in the 60's and 70's. If it is there it's probably CCTV'd. Urban woodlands are likely Nature reserves where knives, along with lighting fires and searching for birds nests are inimical to the taught purpose of the place.
If that ability for mucking about with knives isn't there, the issue of knife ownership becomes just another heritage activity, controlled and defined by adults. Like so much of what formerly passed for common sense, it's the sort of thing you'd attend some sort of skills course nowadays.
Fair enough - i'll get my daughter a set of nice kitchen knives for when she's helping out in the kitchen
You must have had a fun childhood ;-)
Do you not have knives already for that or do you stick to secateurs?
How can you say a knife is not a tool? If you want to shape a bit of wood then a knife is often the ideal tool , craft knives, pruning knives, Stanley knives etc all exist for a reason - they are useful.
I'll concede stanley knives are a valid tool - good point.
Still not something that needs giving to a child though.
"Grylls, who is Chief Scout of The Scout Association, markets his range of knives"
As soon as I saw your thread title I immediately thought "hang on, he [BEAR! Not Only A Hill :-) ] has a vested interest"...
It's a western dilemma! A few years ago, I watched a Nepali girl of about 5 or 6 peel potatoes with a kukuri, while her baby brother was strapped to her back.
My 7 yr old uses a safety knife, (I teach bushcraft and safe knife work) Hultafors make a reasonable safety knife, with a blunt point, stainless blade and hard plastic sheath. All for the bargain price of £5. A penknife is a liability, easily causing quite a nasty injury as they fold on the users fingers, Opinel knives aren't much better in this respect.
It may seem counter intuitive to some, but the sharper a knife is the safer it is, as you need to apply less force, so any cutting action is more controlled. This said I would never let my 7 yr old use his knife unsupervised, that would be asking for trouble as he is just not mature enough not to injure himself through a lack of concentration.
A knife is a tool, ok the American gun butters use the same argument, but a knife really is an essential tool used in its various forms by every human being on the planet, for at least the last hundred thousand years. To suggest otherwise is just idiotic.
So yes, kids should be able to have penknives (although a sheath knife is safer), after a little tuition on their safe use.
Why not, a useful and adaptable tool that has been adapted to perform many tasks, and still excels at many. I'm starting to miss my rather lovely hoof knives now.....
If you load your Stanley with two blades, it makes any a slash a real mess to stitch! :)
Err, knives are tools and the whole idea of a pen knive is that it's compact and should be used when it's not practical to carry a plethora of definitive tools.
As for the stabbing..no ifact, you're just talking utter keeck!
I was a nervous, bookish, risk-averse little girl. My mother had the tendency to wrap me in cotton wool. However, my grandfather had a collection of letter openers, and gave me a wicked looking paper knife at a young age. It was a fantastic gift as I learned not to be scared of knives, but to experiment carefully and craft objects, in my own terribly sensible manner. My parents even warned me off bottles of bleach by yelling "STAY AWAY FROM THAT" all my life and interrupting adverts for Domestos by saying "Kills all known germs - they should be forced to say that it kills babies too!" Do we want students, first time away fromhome, to have a fit of the vapours the first time they are required to use a knife or clean the toilet?
Old enough to freely use or access a kitchen knife, old enough to have a knife if you ask me.
Freedom and responsibility I favour over fear. Of course it depends on the kid. Sometimes they can be exclusively experiential learners, or just prone to engaging in bad ideas.
And your local laws, of course.
Being a serial killer and killing and skinning rabbits are two different topics. Many kids will start hunting with parents early on in their lives, dealing with game is a natural part of that.
From roughly aged 8 I owned pen knives. My favourite book when a young boy was my dad's copy of the SAS survival handbook and I would always be disappearing into the local woods to build a bivvy and brew up nettles etc.
I was in scouts and also spent much of my free time out in the woods camping. I learned how to catch, prepare and cook rabbit and fish. I learned basic forestry skills and have owned and used knives and axes throughout this time. I have 2 young boys of my own now and although I have my doubts about the scout movement of today as compared to 25 years ago, I certainly want them to have the option of playing and learning in this way. I will certainly be buying them knives and teaching them how to use them and showing them the great fun to be had out in the "wild".
I got a machete for Christmas when I was 16. Sounds quite funny to say this now though in today's culture.
I can remember helping my uncle skin a calf when I was even younger, it had died and we tied its skin onto another calf so it would be adopted by the dead calves mother. Not sure if this would be standard procedure today but I would not have been able to do it without the lambsfoot penknife he let me use.
Someone mentioned the legal situation, I certainly do not think that public parks are appropriate places to wield sheath knives. This will get you arrested by armed police. Private or suitably out of the way woodland is where you need to be, legal or otherwise.
We just returned from a great holiday in Sicily. While we were there we met a very nice German family. Their 2 children (8-10) had brightly coloured Ophinel knives that they were happily whittling with and had obviously been taught to use sensibly.
I myself had a knife from the age of 8, it was my dad's old scouting knife which he passed on to me.
It is important that children learn how to handle knives safely, even if they are only allowed to use them while you are around
Due to constraints of this modern world a boy has no need of a knife but if parents would like to direct them to my new app - 'virtual bowie knife' - 0.99 GBP download now for iphone & android
What about if you call it a pencil knife, would you understand then?
Also how is a youngster to survive without the tool for getting boy scouts out of horse's hooves?
I had a penknife at the age of about 8, and I don't see that anything has fundamentally changed on this planet since then.
Still have my opinel knife, its in the camping box and must be 20+ years old. Got my boy a Victorinox on the way home from the Alps, camping in the lakes that year we went collecting fire wood and he learned a valuble lesson of penknife theory - don't attempt to cut stuff with the foldy blade the wrong way around. He had a nasty cut across the back of 2 or 3 fingers but he's never done it since and presently he is on a 48 hour carp fishing session on his own (17 YO now) and yea he'll prob have a knife with him.
Knives, fire and an unattended under 18 near water - I await social servies ;-)
In answer to the OP I think it all depends on the parent and the child, can be a good thing if both have the aptitude and common sense.
My kids had penknives at around 8. They were also allowed to light and tend fires (in the hearth or outside in a pit) from around the same age.
But it's just so hard to make a wooden spoon out of a stick with a pair of scissors... :-(
i had one from about age 10 i think, didnt kill anyone
I had my first penknife at 9, for camp in the US. My older son got one last summer, at 7, and spent hours on the campsite at Font creating bows and arrows (as all the Dutch boys seemed to be doing). Of course, that meant the little one chose one for his 5th birthday (along with a pair of rock boots).
There's been no blood so far, though the big one is a bit more cautious having stabbed himself nearly enough to draw blood. I wouldn't let the little one use it unsupervised, as he hasn't quite got the idea of cutting away from himself.
At the moment they've only got small, cheap penknives - I'm tempted to get them better knives that stay sharp and so don't slip. But whenever I take them to the Scandinavian outdoor shop in Keswick, they get distracted by massive axes.......
Yup. Similarly, I had to explain to my kids that they couldn't use ice axes to hack up a frozen puddle on the Main Street, but if I took them down the valley to a quiet spot, that was fine!
Off and on I've always had a penknife since I was a kid. I've never had any inclination to inflict injury with them; Indeed, the only time I've probably drawn blood was a few years back in the Pyrenees. I took out my Swiss Army knife to remove some gaffer tape that had become firmly attached to my ice axe. Somehow or other - maybe I was applying it from the wrong angle - the blade decided to close - right across the top of my thumb. A bit like one of those cigar chopping things :(
They come and help me on the annual trying-to-find-the-drain-under-the-ice we do most springs! You often get great pools of water developing when it starts thawing but there is often 20 cms of ice between you and the tarmac (and drains). Ice tools work quite well for chopping bits away! It's so satisfying when you finally dig out the drain; it's like pulling the plug out of the bath and the pools of water just disappear.
sounds like a perfect placement for a 'scrube' <as they have no useful purpose on a route>
I had a penknife from eight and camp fires were a regular feature from the same age (I was a country boy)
My kids get the penknife from the camp box when we are camping and have started using the kitchen knifes when helping out with cooking (under Quite supervision) its all part of the process of learning.
Much of what my freinds and I got upto as a country boy would have been sheer holiganism and possibly terrorism in my home made rocket bomb phase :-) if I was living in a city but was indulged by adults in the community but with a stern talking too if I crossed bounderies.
On hols we saw 4 German kids aged about 4-6, each with a colour coded penknife, all busy whittling sticks, very seriously, making sure that they whittled away from themselves into a clear space not filled with another person. They were also very careful about how they shut their knives. There were adults around, but not actually directly supervising them.
I had a knife from about 9 years old. We used to use them to throw into the ground between another child's feet, gradually moving our feet inwards! That, and stabbing as fast as possible between each finger of an outstretched hand, like my dad showed us they used to do in the navy...
I whittled a wooden spoon, which my mum still uses. It has become a family story, my wooden spoon, so much so that my niece tried to make one at scout camp, but what with not having played with knives enough, she ended up trying to gouge out the bowl of the spoon towards herself, and sliced between her finger and thumb and ended up with stitches and a big scar. I, of course got the blame, which I though was a bit unfair as she was in Germany and I was in the UK!!!
Surely a necessary requirement for the traditional childhood fun/terror of playing Split-the-kipper?
There's a vast range of things that a child doesn't "need", but part of growing up and learning is using a wide range of things. Surely kids should be able to make things out of wood, handling a hammer and nails, a drill, screws and screwdriver, a saw, a knife, tape measure, an axe, et cetera, round about age 10 or so.
Or do we prefer kids growing up knowing about nothing except iPads and mobile phone apps?
Having een in the scouts since i was 6, i've always had either access to penknives or my ow. Don't think It's ever harmed me and I'm pretty sure I'm not a pyscho because of it
Yes. When I was young we all had penknives (ideally, a swiss army knife, or similar) as the norm. Can't remember any problems or nasty 'incidents'.
Absolutely they should have access to knives, be taught to use them properly and see them as a tool for a job.
Both my kids have knives and know how to use them, my daughter has a Victorinox lockknife and a bushcrafter I made for her and my son has a bushcrafter, also made by me. They don't carry them around with them daily but take them on camp and use them for everything from preparing firewood and food, to whittling animals and faces out of sticks.
Yup, they'd love that - they were very disappointed at the lack of low level freezing in the Lakes this year.
I think the comments on here are probably far from representative of the general attitude in the UK which isn't as outdoorsy as the ukc populace.
When I worked in a shop that sold slug guns and knives parents often went to great lengths to explain to me how the knife they were getting for their 14 year old wasn't going to be used unless they were there and they were going to supervise it, as if they were trying to convince me not to call the police. Same with the air rifles, have things really changed that much in the 10-15 years since I was a kid? I'd happily go off popping rabbits and fishing when I was 12 or so, now people are worried they'll get locked up if they go shooting tinnies with their 16 year old son/daughter. Seems like a big change in attitude where people go to buy an air gun for their kid and they feel like they have to hide who it's for in case they go to jail. I think this is more a media issue than a legal one, the police have got better things to worry about than a kid whittling sticks in the woods.
I had one customer sending her 13 year old daughter off on DoE who was having kittens because we didn't have a stove with an electric ignition and she wasn't old enough to use matches! Her daughter seemed pretty sensible, eventually the mother backed down but absolutely insisted that they were safety matches! Almost got in trouble 'cause I thought she was joking and laughed but she was serious. It's just fear, her Mum had obviously been brought up in a "don't touch that" household and taught to fear the world and that was all she knew, hence she was able to get to middle age without knowing the concept behind safety matches.
Felt sorry for the kid to be honest, like a lot of people on here I enjoyed the freedom to go out building dens and knocking about the beach at night lighting fires and dive bombing off the pier. I still have the first knife I got from my mum when I was 6, wee bone handled two blade pen knife. The first thing I did with it was cut myself and go crying for a plaster! Thankfully I just got a telling off and told to be more careful, which I was.
At what age should anyone learn to use a knife?
Adults need knives for trimming carpets, for cutting food, for taking cuttings, for carving wood... they are one of the most basic tools. Don't you use knives?
I was about 9 when I was out walking the dog and it hanged itself by it's collar on a branch, no way in hell a 9 year old could lift a big struggling dog off a tangled branch and couldn't get the buckle undone under tension so I cut it off. Dog just bounded off and didn't give a f*ck but I was in tears and would have been a lot more if I hadn't had a knife on me...if only I'd had my secateurs.
could have done with you whittling me a tin opener the other week in Wales. I 'opened' the tin but it wasn't a demonstation of safe knife use by any means.
You haven't got a TIN OPENER on your knife??!!
Next thing, you will be telling me that you don't have a corkscrew!!
In fact, you saying that reminds me that as kids, we had rubbish tin openers - I don't know why my parents never just bought a good one. They would open most of the tin, but would always leave about 3 small connected bits, which we would then saw through with a GREAT BIG knife!!
It was very exciting growing up in my family.
My mum once used a knife to stab my dad during an argument, but only a little bit. It makes a good family story though. My dad told my sister's in-laws to be all about it on the first occasion he ever met them....
Nice little delivery in the post for me this morning. A Victorinox Pioneer Alu. Perfect pocket knife.
I've been knifeless for a few months, no idea where I left it but I feel complete again now. I'd had the other one for 23 years :(
That's a shame, I think the Scout movement probably had it's day about 20 years ago. I remember briefly joining the cub scouts when I was younger, I left after about 3 sessions because to me the choice was (a) sit around in a school hall raising flags, reading rules and playing football with the vague chance in the distance to go on a highly organised and regulated "expedition" to a campsite or (b) go out with my mates, burn sausages over a camp fire and attempt to sleep in a leaky shelter for the night. Pretty easy choice for a 9 year old!
EXACTLY! Cheapo tin opener in the camp box and the toothed wheel sheared off. 21.00, 5 miles to nearest shop anyway, raining, hungry, tin of corned beef with no key.
Went to asda upon return and bought 2 new ones (A spare so this dredful predicament is never repeated. If I'd had accidently chopped off a finger I'd have prob ate that too)
But I have always found that I only have to look at those really sharp Swiss penknives and I cut myself. Same thing often happens with sharp modelling knives - but then it is out with the super glue (CA)!
I got given a penknife in a christimas stocking aged 10 . By boxing day I had cut my fingers several times . But I never injured myself again with a knife after that , despite now owning bigger a bigger and nastier swiss army knife .
Start young , learn to respect knives as tools and not toys . The novelty factor then disappears and young people are less inclined to injure themselves or others .
Of course children should learn how to use knives responsibly. There is nothing more satisfying than to see kids making the most out of the great outdoors, and whittling, making (responsible) fires, building shelters etc etc are skills which, whilst not as relevant to the modern lifestyle, are useful and most importantly enjoyable. Making feathersticks for the fire, simple spoons or even just marshmallow skewers are all things kids should be able to try.
On a recent trip with 3 families, the 6 and 7 years olds were being allowed to use knives for whittling, under supervision, and with a little simple instruction. They will have their own in due course I'm sure.
Teach them respect for the knife, and an understanding of its uses as a tool, and they will never think of it as a weapon. Leave them just to hear about knife crime through the media and it will be something they fear or, far more scarily, think they might need to defend themselves.
As with all my friends, I had a penknife from about the age of 9 I would guess. My godsons all have one.
I'm also another who believes a fixed blade is a safer blade than a non-locking folding penknife. I'm careful when carrying my modest Mora knife in public - it will be packed out of the way except when I'm actually on a wild camp.
Some great replies here - clearly the bulk of UKCers are in agreement with me. I do agree with the poster who said that this probably isn't a representative cross section of UK opinion, though. If only all parents thought along the same lines there wouldn't be a problem in the first place.
If I'd turned up to my old school with a name like 'Huckleberry' or 'Marmaduke' I'd pretty soon learn how to handle a knife too.
My brothers and me all had pen knives as children (there was also a big axe in the wood store) and my dad was a butcher. Sadly he never thought us any knife skills! Stick sharpening was a common use.
I also had a butterfly knife as a teenager. Never intended it as a weapon and never carried it for that purpose.Liked the action of it.
I suppose it depends on context. I grew up in middle of the countryside in the 70s - all kids (well, boys) had penknives - used legitimately for cutting bailer-twine, making bows, or around the farms. Also illegitimately mind you, for throwing at barn doors and trying to skim each other's wellies!
I remember a primary school assembly one day where our headmaster declared 'Look. I don't mind you bringing pen knives into school, but I'm fed up of daggers, locking knives and stilettos'!
Times have clearly changed though, so when I gave my kids penknives, it was on the understanding that they could use them when we went camping or waking, but not for general play with friends.
I had a penknife from about the age of 8 and in those days we really did use them for making bows and arrows, building dens in the wood, we even made a raft to use on the river. I know kids these days spend most of their life playing video games or on mobile phones but i can't help thinking they're missing out.
Further thought on the penknife. At school it was a kind of essential adjunct to one's being, as important as one's bible/prayer book, fountain pen, dictionary. and bicycle. And later, one's 'house tie'. And a little later still, one's first very simple, cheap camera. And then, one's first climbing rope.
I'm amazed by this thread. I've never had or wanted a penknife and I can't imagine what I'd use it for. It wouldn't occur to me to give my children one either, not for fear of them stabbing people or cutting themselves but just because I can't see what they'd want one for.
One suspects that one's school experience was a tad different from yours! ;-)
I think if you spent some time throwing a knife at tree or whittling John, you'd have less anger issues over the editing of advertorial climbing vids! It's very calming you know.
'when I was young a knife was just a tool that I used to perform certain tasks: building dens, sharpening sticks, the kind of things that kids did in the outdoors.'
Us too. Living in the countryside we (about nine year olds) would always have pocket knives,( not pen knives, biros had been invented by then), and sheath knives. We would use them as you mentioned above. Also to dig pignuts from the fields to eat. We were also taught to fashion penny whistles from hazel twigs, which needed a sharp knife. Instructions on request.
Yes, and I hope you didn't miss the whiff of irony in the way I expressed myself. I was also trying to create in a few brush strokes a broad picture of a completely different age (when I was young the 50s and early 60s)
For the record, the prep school I was sent to between the ages of nine and thirteen was the most horrendous environment I have ever lived in - though I suppose it was good training for some of the madder and tougher situations I encountered later in life.
It was still the same in the 70s & 80s Gordon.
Those days are pretty much gone, except for a privileged/ lucky minority
personally I think children should own knives, have airguns, play out etc etc
Couple of people I worked with was horrified when I mentioned I was looking to buy my nephew a penknife for his birthday now he was old enough to start being trusted with one.
I know that, blurty; please. See my post at 14:37
Right, missed that, understood.
FEWER anger issues......
Quite right, but please say clasp or pocket knife, not penknife. Sorry for being so nit picking.
No it's too Battle Royale for me this. What's next? Flame throwers? Disgraceful.
I don't think that you come from a rural background.
"Why would they need them - to kill and skin rabbits?" Yes, and to do the things that the OP and mockerkin mentioned. Coel also mentioned making bows and arrows. We did that as youngsters, then we used them to shoot rabbits, missed most but the ones we killed were skinned and roast over a fire. Penny whistles from twigs. That's country life. Where do serial killers come into it?
I had a pen knife from a pretty young age, though I remember being very jealous of the Scouts who were allowed a sheath knife, Rambo-style with the compass in the handle end, and 'survival kit' screwed away inside it. Didn't seem outrageous that they had them, they were just a lot cooler than me. I remember one kid brought a small kitchen knife to Scouts and had the pee taken out of him. It seemed a bit daft.
Anyway, as a grown-up I always have a pen knife in my bag. Used for opening packages, screwing in loose screws where necessary, opening bottles of wine, occasionally opening tins, cutting the labels off new clothes, pulling out splinters, plucking my eyebrows etc :) Why on earth that should be controversial is beyond me. Also, as I don't live in an urban war-zone I'm not concerned about the legality of a grown up carrying, effectively, a small multi-tool, albeit with Victorinox written on it.
Anyone on this thread thats been to Zurich recenlty will know of the vast array of these beautiful tools on display. Crusty climbers looking at knives and everyone else looking at chocolate and watches lol
I forget who it was who remarked that public school had been good preparation for being sent to prison.
I'll give you that one.
In my defence I probably started writing that you'd "be less angry" then halfway through decided "anger issues" as phrase had more chance of getting a rise from you, but then forgot to change the quantifier to the correct form.
FWIW, I passed the literacy "professional skills" test to enter teacher training last week. Make of that what you will. ;-)
Didn't you read books like Swallows and Amazons, Swiss Family Robinson or things about survival? We just wanted them as part of what you should have about your person in case of emergency, along with a bit of string and a safety pin. We wanted them for the same reasons that we dug massive big holes, or wrote secret messages in lemon juice, or had secret codes, or treasure maps....
It is the adventure that they represent...
> I'm amazed by this thread. I've never had or wanted a penknife and I can't imagine what I'd use it for.
I was given various various knives, I suppose as minor rites of passage, and I agree with the arguments about encouraging responsibility. My kids also have them. But I agree with you that could rarely think of anything very interesting to do with a knife and after the initial novelty didn't carry one except with my fishing tackle - even then a pair of scissors and a disgorger were infinitely more useful.
I know that there is a finite possibility of coming across a domestic pet about to expire from strangulation but I honestly think that's a pretty weak line of reasoning.
Obviously if you are out camping a knife is useful and I suppose that if you are out shooting and want to gut/skin something in the field you'll need one. But that basically means shooting something pretty substantial like a deer because it's easier and less icky to string a brace of pheasant or rabbits and carry them whole.
No, I think they mostly symbolic rather than practical but I'm still in favour of them as fetish objects (within reason).
Oh yes! I wanted one of them so badly. As it turns out I'm sure Ray Mears would far more approve of the little, bone handle sheaf knife I did have but I guess I was more a Lofty Wiseman acolyte when 12. At that age a survival knife seemed more connected to the possibility of knife fighting an Argentinian marine than to an appreciation of the beauty of our indigenous woodlands and deep respect for living skills of small native communities in wild parts of the world. But that's the 80s for you!
Anyone else throw knives at a tree, with your brother, judging the number of turns against distance to try to get them to hit point first and stick? Inspired of course by the cool guy in The Magnificent Seven, or Lone Ranger stories or similar? We weren't very good at it, but got an occasional success.
Yes, we also used to play a game we called stretch which involved standing facing each other and throwing your knife into the ground and your opponent had to stretch his legs out to touch it and then pick the knife up for his go. The knife had to stick in the ground point first and you often ended up almost doing the splits to reach the knife.
Ha! Totally forgot that. We used to play it as well. Don't recall it having a name though.
Given my first knife by my Dad when I was in Cubs, followed by a sheath knife when I moved up to Scouts - and those were the days when you could openly carry one on your belt.
So far, I've nicked a couple of fingers, but nothing worse.
I don't see any reason why children can't be taught to use tools responsibly.
Having said that, I did once relieve one of my Cubs of the enormous penkife his Dad sent him to camp with - he really didn't need it on that trip and he was the only one that had one.
We did too. Nice memory.
I have an opinel knife from my childhood, that is has a fair chunk missing from the end due to being successfully lodged in and recovered from a tree. I lives in my rucksack, and always brings back a smile when I use it to cut up an apple, slice a bit of cheese, or other such crucial task when out and about.
Seriously though, I had and carried a pen knife (sorry but that is what I always called it) from a young age. Was always responsible with it, and found many a use.
I'm not sure I can ever remember needing a knife as a kid. When clearing brash to make a den we used fire, which while slightly uncontrollable was far more efficient.
Also, I used to babysit for someone who had an absolute arsenal of weapons for me to piss around with in the woods at the back of their house, so knives were pretty much superfluous. I never once saw or heard the baby I was supposed to be looking after, which was lucky because I wouldn't have known what to do with it, but I did manage to shoot the lad who was a few years younger than me with a .177 air rifle. At least it wasn't the Luger I slotted him with.
Petrol bombs were also a source of great amusement and gave us plenty of innocent entertainment to keep us out of trouble. WD40 flame-throwers were good fun, and essential really for pest control purposes.
Anyway, I digress. In answer to your question, no, kids shouldn't have pen-knives; they are dangerous and it would be irresponsible. A good smartphone should provide all the functionality they need anyway.
Your joking? Never needed a knife?
I have one on my key ring, which I use practically daily, and a larger one I use for work plus my swiss army knife for camping.
I use it for cutting string, cutting wrapping, cutting plastic ties, removing splinters, sharpening pencils, preparing food (if the BIG ophinel isn't around), making holes for threading, as screwdriver on my glasses when the screw works loose, whittling, stripping wire, cutting paper, trimming thread and umpteen other things. I would feel naked without it, like not having a watch
We used to do that, but we used to make my sister stand against the tree. It was a knife throwing act.... She used to shut her eyes...
Where is your apostrophe and e?
*Takes Duncan's knife off him*
*admires him with a lewd eye*
I think you are only looking at the negative side of this. Having a knife and using it properly teaches a child responsibility and provides a multi-purpose tool. For me a penknife is an essential tool of childhood for reasons already covered.
it fell down the back of the sofa. Hang on I'll just firk it out with my knife
Yes, if adults can have guns
I was given a basic Victorinox swiss army penknife when I was 7, by my parents. I think they considered me a very responsible child!
They said they were giving me that present (which I wouldn't have thought to ask for) because they trusted me and thought I was sensible enough to own one, which made me feel very grown up and determined not to let them down. I didn't actually have many uses for it, I think I mostly whittled bits of wood! Anyway, I never once cut myself or anyone else, so my parents' trust wasn't misplaced.
I always carry a little pocket knife on my key chain and had assumed it was illegal in the UK due to all the fuss about knives. Whenever I am back visiting Blighty I leave it at home - especially as I don't want to forget and have it put in the bin at the airport!
This discussion about kids and blades inspired me to check the UK knife laws and it seems mine is OK.
(It is a little open framed folding Gerber knife which locks when open and the blade is about two inches long. Very handy for all kinds of daily jobs - from getting dog crap out of boot grips to spreading jam on sarnies. Hmmm!)
Wouldnt be so sure about it being legal. If it can lock than the chances are it isnt counted as a folding knife.
afraid not, locking knives are verboten!
I don't wear a watch either!
To be fair I do have a little Swiss Army knife keyring, and a proper one in my rucksack but in both cases I use the scissors, the tweezers, the bottle opener and the corkscrew much more often than the blade.
I quite often use a hoof pick, but despite the popular perception I've never seen anything on a Swiss Army knife that looks anything like one!
I'm going to grass you up to mumsnet and the WI and womens' lib people.
A new rope will keep me quiet.
*eyes up Jontyg's physique, trying to work out how much rope it would take*
Not so Ophinels are perfectly legal. I think you mean flick knives or butterfly knives (which it is illegal to sell)
Obviously if you are carrying any knife in some situations (ie night clubs, pubs) then the authorities may take a dim view of it but in general you would be alright.
I am never without my key ring knife unless I go abroad then I leave it and take my slightly larger Swiss army in my hold luggage
during the day I carry a knife all the time for work (ophinel no7)
> Not so Ophinels are perfectly legal.
Some are but most arent.
If they have the lock ring (or are over the 3 inches) then they are illegal if you carry one without good reason.
Cutting an artery in my thumb on a D of E expedition when I was 16 was really valuable lesson I would not change if I could. I now keep all of my knives at a razor edge and I have not cut myself badly since then (I did shave a tiny bit off the back of a finger nail last year though).
Did however get a little cut off a mandolin last week though after thinking "I'll wash that up myself as they are pretty dangerous" Doh!
I think the key there is without good reason.
They are not illegal to buy and you can carry them if you have a valid reason for doing so. For instance I wear mine on my belt and use it frequently in the course of my work, which coincidently involves working around a police station and I have never had any problems.
Obviously I wouldn't carry it on a night out or to a demo or something
yup but the problem is the good reason is as vague as how they defined folding knife. So you could end up having to go to court about it and then may or may not win.
Tis a crap badly written law.
Probably, cant see it properly but I know my Leatherman wave counts. Think its, sort of, defined as if you cant simply fold the blade direct but have to move something else first then its a lock and hence bad person (well possibly depending on if you can claim good reason).
To be honest they would n't bother unless they particularly had it in for you
Very true. Perhaps not of a public school, but the prep school I went too was probably a lot harsher and less comfortable than the average open prison.
Similarly, I don't carry my Wave because of that locking mechanism. However when being "outdoorsy" (camping, climbing, etc.) I do because I consider myself to have "good reason" but I don't carry it on the street.
FWIW I have flown into/out of the UK with it in checked baggage with no problems - I think what people care about is having it in your pocket in a public place where you could use it to attack someone, not in a locked suitcase etc.
I was referring to situations where you don't have a "good reason" defence, and then knives with locking blades are not legal in a public place.
yes definitely, and supervised until they have earned trust. And a soldering iron too!
As a lawyer, I would have thought you'd find one essential for sharpening your quills. Or do you have a flunky to do that for you?
A knife is a tool. Kids need to learn respect for tools, fire and machines, and that they are useful, rather than things to be feared.
I think it basically boils down to if you are likely to get searched or stopped by the police don't carry a knife
If I am climbing, I carry a (locking) rope knife - the Edelrid rope tooth knife. If I am camping/walking, I usually carry another small locking knife. If I was stopped and searched by the police, I hope that they would recognise:
a) I had a legitimate reason to be carrying a locking knife, rendering its carrying legal.
b) It would not be in the public interest to pursue the matter, given the above and given that I was quietly and legally going about my business.
(notice I only say 'I hope', but still feel people should be allowed to do things that are both legal and not immoral...)
"Sharp knives are safe knives."
I disagree with this bit. Sharp knives can cut deep and cause real harm that blunter knives cant. Young lads mucking about sharpening sticks etc will slip with the blade all the time - sharp or blunt. We all did it and most of us learnt the hard way. Luckily most of the blades we had were pretty wrecked so we didn't sever any blood vessels.
And the prize for the most middle class condescending reply goes to....
Jonathon Aitken, it turned out his sword of truth was a bit blunt and he got done for perjury after taking the Guardian to court.
I perceived it as underprivileged.
I had my first penknife when I was 7 or 8, only a wee thing mind, and I never cut myself with a knife until I was earlier this year, when I was 18, mainly through rushing and tiredness! I also split kindling from about 10 and bigger logs with a splitting axe at about 12, and I never had a major problem with either. My dad started off watching me and only using it when he was with me; until he knew I could do things safely, if not very precisely. I now I have a few different knives and feel confident in using them all safely and efficiently. I grew up in scouts however, so there was always plenty reason to use knives at camps and the like (my dad was/is a leader) and always did so in a safe and supervised manner, and I now teach knife, axe and saw bases at camps and have yet to have any problems. I do however see a lot of injuries with scouts who don't know how to use a knife safely or are using blunt knives and can't control the blade when it slips off the piece they are working on.
So to wrap up, yes, I think children should be given knives if they can be taught/trusted to use it safely, and there is call for them to have one.
Just my 2 pence worth!
I haven't read through all the posts so sorry if this repeats anything.
In my view one of the most important things we can teach our children in preparation for life is to do dangerous things safely so they learn to appreciate the risks in a situation and make their own judgment on them. Some non fatal experiential learning when it goes wrong is no bad thing. Shying away from risk as parents / educators will no serve them well in their futures.
In this context, penknives - I've got a five stitches scare just above my knee that I put there with a swiss army knife when I was a kid. We got my eldest a swiss army knife for his 9th birthday which, at the moment, he uses freely under supervision and knowing how to use it safely.
He reckons it sure increased their enthusiasm, so next he intends giving them a retired rope to practice with.
And a knife.
Me too, I also made my first effective bow and arrow at about ten, I chose the wood carefully, and as I recall I used really heavy fishing line. I made bamboo cane arrows and glued metal spikes into the ends. On first trials it flew up and stuck fast into the branch of a tree, and I had the common sense to realise that this was not a toy, and never used it when others were around. I then moved on to making catapults and crossbows.
My father picked up on my 'interests' and got me enrolled in a shooting club a couple of years later, to teach me some discipline around weapons , and got me opportunities to shoot shotguns as well. I had an air rifle that was used for target practice, and once a year for organised vermin control . I lost interest in my 20's and tried martial arts ( Weapons are all very well but better to learn how to protect yourself against them too . )
I still have access to shotguns air rifles, and rather more sophisticated archery equipment when I visit my sister out of town. And there is a local archery club that teaches youngsters safety around the sport.
Never made a knife though............
I too have never hurt anyone...
Too right it is.
I normally have an opinel knife on me, it has about a 3 inch blade and a round tip like a butter knife.
I use it for everything from opening boxes to cable stripping to scraping surfaces clean and after sterilising it (wiping the blade on my jeans) I use it to cut and butter a baguette to make a sandwich.
Technically I am in breach of the law because the blade will lock but it's far from a stabbing weapon.
Swiss army Pen knife at 6
Sheath knife, throwing knife, bow and arrow at 7
Machete and throwing ax at 8
We thought this was reasonable
For my kids,
Swiss Army knife at 9
No machete etc etc
A generation makes a difference but a 9 year old boy or girl should still have a Swiss Army knife.
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