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  • #16
    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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    • #17
      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?
      Last edited by SSScout; 02-21-2014, 07:28 PM.

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      • Oldscout448
        Oldscout448 commented
        Editing a comment
        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.

    • #18
      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.
      Last edited by EmberMike; 02-21-2014, 10:10 PM.

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      • DuctTape
        DuctTape commented
        Editing a comment
        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.

      • SSScout
        SSScout commented
        Editing a comment
        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".

    • #19
      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.

      Comment


      • DuctTape
        DuctTape commented
        Editing a comment
        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.

    • #20
      Again, BSA has no ban on sheath knives. But some jurisdictions do ban them.

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      • DuctTape
        DuctTape commented
        Editing a comment
        And some troops ban them.

      • EmberMike
        EmberMike commented
        Editing a comment
        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.

    • #21
      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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      • #22
        >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.

        Comment


        • desertrat77
          desertrat77 commented
          Editing a comment
          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.

      • #23
        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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        • #24
          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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaOhHkdESnU

          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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          • #25
            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.








            Last edited by TAHAWK; 05-10-2014, 04:14 PM.

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            • #26
              What do councils with fixed blade knife bans do about the kitchen tool which looks remarkably similar to a fixed blade knife? Oh, no sheath for it? Well it should have one if one wishes to be safe. But as long as all kitchen tools that look remarkably similar to fixed blade knives are okay, it's just a ruling of semantics, and has nothing to do with reality. I'm sure it helps a lot of people sleep better at night and as long as they don't watch the boys in the kitchen, they should be okay.

              Stosh

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              • #27
                Originally posted by EmberMike View Post
                For some reason I can't add another comment to one of my replies above, so...
                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.
                Ouch! We must kindly ask you to turn in your Totin' Chip. At no time do your ever swing a hatchet down while holding a billet of wood upright. No, you use a hatchet as a wedge in this case: insert the bit into whatever crack you find in the end of the wood, press in in hard. Then, with both hands on the handle, lift up the joined wood-hatchet about 4 - 6 inches and hammer back with the billet vertical. Do repeatedly and the wood will split.

                Your baton method is more easily done with a froe rather than a knife blade -- keeps the hand away from the baton/mallet

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                • #28
                  A slightly different take on using a hatchet is "Swing Your Axe but Safely" by Green Bar Bill in the August 1953 issue of Boys Life

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                  • #29
                    [QUOTE=jblake47;n410001]What do councils with fixed blade knife bans do about the kitchen tool which looks remarkably similar to a fixed blade knife? Oh, no sheath for it? Well it should have one if one wishes to be safe. But as long as all kitchen tools that look remarkably similar to fixed blade knives are okay, it's just a ruling of semantics, and has nothing to do with reality. I'm sure it helps a lot of people sleep better at night and as long as they don't watch the boys in the kitchen, they should be okay.

                    Stosh[/QUO
                    Some zero tolerance councils specifically except knives used in cooking OR knives not "carried."
                    Some zero tolerance councils ban all "fixed-blade" knives, use them in Fishing MB and handicrafts areas and sell them in their camp Trading Post. and see no inconsistency.
                    One zero tolerance council confessed that there was no known rationale for the rule (Think how long it's been since "Rambo- First Blood." ) and that sheath knives were "OK if not huge."
                    Last edited by TAHAWK; 05-10-2014, 04:23 PM.

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                    • #30
                      Okay, isn't it an oxymoronism to have an exception to a zero tolerance policy? Or maybe it's just a moronism.

                      As far as the hatchet is concerned. I find that tool to be a bit useless. Either go with a full axe or 3/4 axe for the major splitting. File sharpened should be sufficient, relying on head weight to do the job. Then on the other end of the spectrum is the BELT axe. Very short handle, stone honed sharp. With 100% certainty one can split kindling the size of a #2 pencil safely and faster than anyone can fuzz a stick with a folding knife, lock blade, and/or Crocodile Dundee Bowie knife.

                      As with any tool, if not properly taught, it can be a danger to the wielder. When belt axes are mentioned, 99% of the people I meet usually suck a large amount of air just before grasping at their chest. The other 1% just nod and smile knowingly.

                      I carry a BSA sheath knife whenever I camp. On extended camping and or wilderness camping the belt axe/sheath knife combo is the tool of choice. I have been questioned at certain activities on the "legality" of such weaponry in certain councils. My only answer is, with the BSA written on various snaps and blades, it is pretty difficult to outlaw BSA equipment at BSA functions. When the canoe rolls in the rapids and the lashed on gear tangles the boys, the belt axe is the go to tool every time. I've never had to cut into a canoe bottom for rescuing anyone, but given a belt ax or folding knife, I'll take the belt axe.

                      Stosh

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