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msnowman

Fixed blade knives

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There is a raging...well really battle in Nephew's troop between CC and one Scout over a knife. I've heard the story from both people involved and pretty much there is only one version (may be a first for a youth vs adult tale of woe).

 

Facts as presented by both people -

1 - CC was chaperone on this outing.

2 - CC dislikes fixed blade knives and considers them unsafe.

3 - Scout was not playing w/ said knife, it came to CC's attention when it fell (sheathed) out of Scouts pocket.

4 - CC confiscated said knife for the remainder of the outing (1 more night) and returned it to Scout upon returning home.

5 - CC doesn't believe fixed blades knives are allowed.

 

I have read the G2SS and can only find a reference saying to "avoid large sheath knives", nothing to say they are banned or what is considered "large". Is there a BSA policy banning fixed blade knives? If so, where can it be found? I personally have no dogs in this fight, but since both people came to me to vent I would like to be properly educated.

 

Thanks

YiS

Michelle

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Camp Shenandoah here bans sheath knives altogether (and fireworks, personal firearms, and so forth). Several, but not all district and council events have a rules list that ban sheath knives.

 

Our troop PLC discussed this and decided that "personal knives are to be of the folding type with a blade no longer than 3 1/2 inches, preferably of the locking type"; and "non-folding knives are only for cooking purposes and should be stowed in a protective sheath or case" (we use duct tape and cardboard sheaths for larger knives, plastic pencil boxes for the smaller).

 

This rule came up after one of our older Scouts had a sheath knife on a campout at Camp Shenandoah about 12 years ago. I simply told him to put it in his gear and don't take it out (he complied with no further issues). It cam up later and we asked the PLC to rule on it.

 

So: What are the unit rules? Are there and district or council specific rules? This should be up to the PLC with the guidance of the Scoutmaster and the approval of the committee.

 

Ed

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for the benefit of others, here is the passage from the Guide to Safe Scouting:

 

"A sharp pocketknife with a can opener on it is an invaluable backcountry tool. Keep it clean, sharp, and handy. Avoid large sheath knives. They are heavy and awkward to carry, and unnecessary for most camp chores except for cleaning fish. Since its inception, Boy Scouting has relied heavily on an outdoor program to achieve its objectives. This program meets more of the purposes of Scouting than any other single feature. We believe we have a 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.

 

Rememberknives are not allowed on school premises, nor can they be taken aboard commercial aircraft.

 

References: Boy Scout Handbook, Fieldbook, Bear Cub Scout Book, and Wolf Cub Scout Book"

 

http://www.scouting.org/pubs/gss/gss09.html#g

 

 

So, there is no prohibition against sheath knives, only a caution that they are unsafe. Just the fact the knife fell out of a scouts pocket tells me a few things. First off I have to make a few assumptions (and we all know about what happends when we assume, but then again, we do that here all the time collectively so I take I am amoung friends).

 

The scout had a sheath knife in his pocket, now to me that is dangerous, I dont know how long it was, but even at a 3 inch blade with a 3 inch handle, I am not sure how the scout could even sit down, let alone walk with any comfort with an object of six inches in his pocket.. The sheath knife is designed to be worn on a belt where it is readily available and doesnt encumber body movement. If youth members are going to have sheath knives, wouldnt it be a good idea to at least have them worn correctly? The next part is why did the scout have the knie along? As the Guide states, a large sheath knife is of no practical use in a camp except to clean fish and even then a the fillet knife from your kitchen is a better bet. The overall idea would be to have your youth make the correct selection of tool up front taking into account what jobs are needed to be preformed and what is the necessary tool rather then banning something outright

 

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In my conversation w/ the youth, he said he took this knife because he couldn't find his regular pocketknife. I asked him if he understood why CC had safety concerns and he did, but still wasn't happy about being singled out as breaking, in his view, a non-existant rule.

 

I'm not sure why I'm involved in the first place, except that both people seem to find me easy to talk to and a knowledgable listener. To that end, I have checked Nephew's Troop Handbook - (he actually keeps it w/ his Scout book, go figure). There is no mentioned Troop wide ban on fixed blade knives, whether in a sheath or not. AFAIK there are no specific Council or District rules in regards to knives, but I will ask.

 

Thanks for the insight

YiS

Michelle

 

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On occasion I have been "chastised" for wearing a sheath knife and a belt axe, both of which are quite useful for fire-building, emergencies where a small knife won't do, and camp cooking. I can amass kindling about 3-5 times faster than anyone with a jackknife and using a folding knife for food prep only encourages bacterial transfer. With that being said, the discussion is usually over in a matter of seconds once people realize that both the sheath knife and belt axe are BSA issued/stamped/approved.

 

It's not the knife/axe that is the problem, it's the person using them. Are they trained? Are they responsible? Are they mature?

 

If one fails any of the above tests, then even a folding knife in the hands of that person is a mistake.

 

Stosh

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"Avoid large sheath knives. They are heavy and awkward to carry, and unnecessary for most camp chores except for cleaning fish."

 

This seems to me to be pretty far from a declaration that these knives are unsafe--it really seems to suggest that they are inconvenient to carry around, at least if they are "large." I think, however, that misbehavior is more likely with a sheath knife than a modest pocketknife (although I've seen that, too).

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I agree with OGE. Carrying a fixed blade knife sheathed in one's pocket just isn't safe.

 

While the G2SS doesn't ban fixed blade knives, some councils do. Mine is one.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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I carry a sheath knife when ever I go High Adventure. Mine has a 4 3/4 inch blade a 4 1/2 inch handle and the blade is 1 1/2 inches at it's widest point. I find it to far more useful that carring a pocket knife, and hand axe. Along with a cable saw it has served me for over 40 years. Along with my "vittle" kit (knife, spoon, fork) and a 2qt. metal canteen it is all that has survived from my Boy Scout days. With proper training it is no more dangerous that a lock blade or hand axe. The problem I find most adults have is that it is worn on the belt and seen as a weapon instead of a tool.

As I see it the situation related in the original post showes a need for the PLC to make a ruling concerning sheath knives and I recommend, as epalmer84's troop has done,include rules for folding blade knives as well. If the CC wishes to consult the COR and have the troop committee and the CO reach a decision on what the CO's guidelines on this may be that is also an avenue of resolution. For now the knife should stay home until a ruling is reached.

LongHaul

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MsSnowman,

 

Greetings!

 

Most of our fellow Scouters have quoted the G2SS. So you've seen the BSA policy statement. Inside the G2SS, you will usually see normal print and bold print. The bold print should strictly be followed, while the normal print are safety guidelines. Essentially to have a safe program, and ensure no accidental injuries occur during any event.

 

Similarly, when the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters invite the Committee (and sometimes other parents) on trips, this is to ensure there is enough adult leadership. The Scoutmaster and Committee, usually entrust those adults to make their best decision. Sometimes extremely too safe, and sometimes just within the safe guidelines.

 

Myself as an Assistant Scoutmaster, Venturing Advisor, and parent, I cannot attend every event that my boys do. I would much more prefer to receive my boys back with all ten fingers and ten toes, and no piercing; and I always thank the leaders for taking care of my boys. That being said, I would side with your Committee Chair for this tale of woe.

 

 

It was also stated, that you can usually find council policies, and/or the individual troop bylaws and rules.

 

Depending if your Troop was camping on Council property (or state, or community campsite), almost always on Council property, you will find agreement rules, which include a more strict "no sheath knife" policy. Ask your District or Council camping chair for a copy of the campsite agreement (and policies).

 

On another slant. Your CC thinks fixed blade "sheath" knives are unsafe. Well, so are an ax yard, bow saws, propane stoves, archery equipment, the rifle range, BMX bikes, even a camp swimming pool; it all depends on if they are used maturely and properly.

 

Now just a few more questions I would ponder...

 

How old (or young) is this Scout? 10 1/2 or is he 17? He surely cannot be as experienced in the outdoors as some of our posters. Is this sheath knife larger than what he should be carrying? Or is it the appropriate size for the patrol kitchen, or whittling?

 

If this Scout is not responsible enough to maintain his own equipment and can not find his pocketknife (which he misplaced) is he then responsible enough for a sheath knife? Will he continue to misplace his pocketknife before every campout?

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

 

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>>If this Scout is not responsible enough to maintain his own equipment and can not find his pocketknife (which he misplaced) is he then responsible enough for a sheath knife? Will he continue to misplace his pocketknife before every campout?

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>> There is a raging...well really battle ...>I personally have no dogs in this fight, but since both people came to me to vent I would like to be properly educated

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Knives, I still remember as a boy that a bigger knife was a status symble, seemed that the 4 to 5 inch bladed ones got just as much work done though. My two accidents both were from using a bow saw, some boys might have gone home but I just bandaged up my finger tip and kept camping. Now adays I use a small lockblade and a Vaughn shingle hammer. It would prolly help if adults and other leaders avoid wearing large knives, ie: lead by example. The conceled carry of larger knives of any sort would be my concern.

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I always smile at this topic. Luckily my son's troop (I'm an ASM) allows use of fixed blade knives, recognizing their inherent value in camping, but still enforces the bans on them on some council-owned properties - a Scout is obedient.

 

I find it interesting that the descriptive quality of "unsafe" is used in this discussion about fixed blade knives.

 

What is it about a fixed blade knife that might make it more unsafe than a folding knife?

 

Is a folder with a locking blade more unsafe than a folder without a locking blade?

 

Concern was voiced about carrying a sheathed fixed blade knife in a pocket. Why is that considered unsafe?

 

Is there a concern that the knife will somehow cut through the sheath and hurt someone even while stored in the sheath (and not folded within its own handle)? That would be a failure of the sheath's design, not the knife. There are sheaths designed for such issues - even ones certified as "jump safe" for military skydivers.

 

Is a stick carried in a pocket considered unsafe? What about a flashlight or keys?

 

Is a fixed blade knife harder to control than a folding knife? Is a folding knife with a locking blade harder to control than a folding knife without a locked blade?

 

Should someone invent a folding axe or hatchet? Would that be safer?

 

Are fixed blade knives perceived to be larger than folding knives and therefore unsafe? How small should a knife be to be safe?

 

I agree that large blades are heavy (steel weighs a lot). I agree that large fixed blade knifes can be more awkward to carry (I tend to carry my 4.5" bladed knife in my daypack). I don't agree with the GTSS's use of the word "necessary" since many thinks are not necessary, but are indeed useful. I agree that large blades are not well suited to some tasks, but I also know that small blades are not well suited to other tasks. I agree that quality fixed blade knives are stronger than quality folding knives (the hinge is always a weakpoint). I firmly believe that fixed blade knives are much easier to clean than folding blades (expecially after gutting a big ol' pumpkin)!

 

One last thing I know ... that it is much easier to get peanut butter out of a jar with a knife than with an axe ... unless you don't feel the need to reuse the jar ... chop!!

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This has become an interesting thread. Yet when it all boils down to the basic core of the discussion as to whether or not a sheath knife is too big, if a locking buck is too small, whether the axe should be worn on the belt, etc. etc. it is all irrelevant.

 

If a boy is taught to respect a big/small/light/heavy knife and to use it correctly, what's the problem? If a boy is taught to respect a hand/three quarter/full axe and to use it correctly, what's the problem?

 

What the tool is is a mere extension of what works for the person. How they use it determines it's importance. If I wish to carry a sheath knife with belt axe, I have to worry about the weight, not someone else. If I carry a small jackknife as well, then so be it. If I use any of them incorrectly I am a bad example to the boys and need to try a different avocation. On the other hand, does it make any difference what tool I use to teach responsibility and maturity when using sharp bladed tools of any sort?

 

Stosh

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This has become an interesting thread. Yet when it all boils down to the basic core of the discussion as to whether or not a sheath knife is too big, if a locking buck is too small, whether the axe should be worn on the belt, etc. etc. it is all irrelevant.

 

If a boy is taught to respect a big/small/light/heavy knife and to use it correctly, what's the problem? If a boy is taught to respect a hand/three quarter/full axe and to use it correctly, what's the problem?

 

What the tool is is a mere extension of what works for the person. How they use it determines it's importance. If I wish to carry a sheath knife with belt axe, I have to worry about the weight, not someone else. If I carry a small jackknife as well, then so be it. If I use any of them incorrectly I am a bad example to the boys and need to try a different avocation. On the other hand, does it make any difference what tool I use to teach responsibility and maturity when using sharp bladed tools of any sort?

 

Stosh

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