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Time to Cause some trouble..sheath knives

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Many times the groups have talked about sheath and the legend that they are banned in scouting. I was thinking I would buy an official BSA sheath knife and wear it proudly drawing stares and harassment from fellow scouters. Never got around to buying one but low and behold a friend of my wife gave her some scout stuff. I mentioned all the angst sheath knives cause amoung leadership and my boys agree its just plain silly. Before the rise of lock blades both my sons cut their fingers either closing the knife or the knife closing on its own or the knive breaking at the joint. I must admit I don't have much use for carrying a pocket knife when on a scouting trip since all i have to say is "knife" and there are plenty to choose from. However since I like to camp cook a sheeth knife is totally practical for me since the troop chef knives wouldn't cut hot butter in July.


It will be interesting to see how this plays out

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We carry, and use, sheath knives all the time in our region. They are called cooking or fillet knives, and are in each and every one of our council camp's patrol boxes, our troop's patrol boxes, and in many of our personal tackle boxes. And that is where they should stay unless they are in use.


There is really very little use for a long knife outside of cooking or food preparation or hunting, which BSA does not allow. They are awkward to carry, bigger than is needed for most tasks, and in most cases are just a "bigger is better" philosophy (remember the "Crocodile Dundee" scene). As such, we do not allow Troop scouts or scouters to carry one directly on their bodies. Packed in as a tool (like a saw or axe) is fine.

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Many councils have bans on sheath knives. I know mine does, with the exception of fillet knives. It's irrational, but doesn't cause too much trouble. Pocketknives are adequate for most things we need knives for--even cooking purposes. Prior to being a scout leader, I would usually have a sheath knife in my daypack, but rarely used it. Don't anymore.


Also, hunting is allowed for Venturers, so BSA does allow hunting.

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Yep sheath knives are not banned by BSA nationally, just discouraged. But some local councils do have the ban in place. I know that sheath knives are banned at my local council's camps, but don't tell the OA ceremony teams ;) .


I know in several counties and cities in NC, sheath knives are illegal, except for food preparation, educational, and historical purposes. However some of the cities don't even have those exceptions, although don't ask me how resteraunts and cafeterias remain in business legally ;)


Me personally, I do not have a problem with them, and sometimes carry my Ft. Bent Scalper from CCTP, and yes I have allowed Boy Scouts and Venturers to use it. As long as folks remember it is a tool, and not a toy, I am good with it.


The entire situation with the BSA and sheath kives reminds me of an incident in JROTC back in the day. The battalion did an optional FX one weekend, and we had a company's worth of cadets attend, including the battalion CO and staff. However the FX conflicted with a performance that the drill team, color guard, and select members of the JROTC band had a committment to do. So we had to arrive late.


Since this was the first time the battalion had a FX, and I was a lowly cadet SGT or SSGT, I had no idea what was planned. So I brought my uniform utilities and GI surplus camping gear I use for scouting, plus a bayonet I had, for the weekend. Everything was hooked up to my pistol helt and H suspenders I had.


Well when we get to the FX started getting some crazy looks from folks. One of my friends said that we were no longer allowed knives of any kind b/c the battalion CO had cut his hand on one. I thought it was a joke b/c I saw the CO still had a knife in his possession. Long story short Co was playing with his knife and cut himself which required butterfly bandages for the weekend, and I think stitches in the long term. The Senior Marine Instructor, adult in charge, stated that only the cadet 1stSGTS, SGTMAJ, and officers could have knives as they were needed for some activities.


So guess who got to keep his knife.

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At one time in the UK Scouts were allowed to wear /carry a sheath knife as part of their uniform.

Due to some Scouts being stopped and robbed by other youth who mainly wanted their knives the knife was taken from the uniform.

Still most Scout camps were OK with Scouts being allowed to carry and use a knife at camp.

Most Troops had a unwritten rule that Scouts had to meet an pass the requirements for hand- ax and knife.

Other than catching the odd few Scouts playing "Splits, a game where two Scouts took turns throwing the knife in the ground and having to place their foot where the knife stuck in the ground. (I think here in the USA it is sometimes called chicken). Knives weren't really much of a problem.

Young Lads really bought into the romance of owning and carrying a knife.

As a Chef I use and have used knives a lot and I'm very skilled with using them for food preparation. If the knives in the patrol boxes are not any good or are dull? Fixing that ought not be a big problem. I sure as heck wouldn't use that as an argument for Scouts carrying a fixed blade knife.

I think it is important that we cover and teach Scouts all about sharp tools.

Teaching them that they are tools and not toys is a very big part of this.

While I don't have a problem with knives, I don't feel the need to carry one strapped to my side. I'm fine and dandy with my Swiss Army knife.

I'm guessing by the title of this thread that many people feel that allowing Scouts to carry a knife is just too big a temptation? That maybe we feel that Scouts just can't be trusted?

If we want the Scouts we serve to be trusted we need to trust them.

I have never made a big fuss about knives. Most times when the Scouts see that I don't carry a sheath knife their "Need" to carry one fades away.

Maybe having the guys who do carry sheath knives be the guys who get selected to peel potatoes plays into this?

Sometimes rather than looking for problems and trouble can be avoided by taking plenty of no notice.



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I know that when I was a Sea Scout (mid 80s), the members of the ship mostly carried sheath knives. To be honest, it was not very functional (using hunting knives for marlinspike seamanship...not the right tool for the job), but we did it because we wanted to look 'tough'.


It was a bad thing in my opinion...it led to a very dangerous attitude and culture amongst the members of the ship.

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Any real evidence that sheath knives are more dangerous than folders?


This issue has been rehashed for years, and usually it boils down to personal opinion.


I carried a sheath knife as a scout, and found it extremely useful and not the least bit dangerous.


Not till I was a scouter in the mid '80s did I hear rumblings of The Evils of Sheath Knives. This, frankly, was news to me. Still is.


Any tool is dangerous in the hands of an immature or untrained user.

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On a vessal, you really want a rigging knife because in addition to a knife for cutting, you have a marlinspike to help undo knots. I should have said that it is not as useful.


But I agee with ya, where is the evidence?

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A sheath knife in the sheath on one's belt is a lot safer than a butcher/steak/paring knife unsheathed in the bottom of the chuck box.


I also use in my fireman chit training a buck knife I used for years until the lock gave out on it one day.


Lizzie Borden may have used an axe on her parents, but they still aren't outlawed at camps.


"Any tool is dangerous in the hands of an immature or untrained user." I'm with desertrat77 on this one.


The only downside to sheath knife/belt axe combo is it gives a distinct advantage at the fire starting competitions at camporees.



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Eagle92, I'm tracking with you, and my apologies for not phrasing my opening sentence better...it was directed more to the discussion in general.


Though I never was a sea scout, I remember those splices from the small boat sailing MB very well, and you are spot on--I sure could have used a marlinspike!


Stosh, those BSA Kit Carson kits are sublime...good to know one is still in use! I used to drool over those in the scout catalog many moons ago.


Though not as cool, my sheath knife from my scout days was a Buck 102 that I got for my birthday after we moved to Alaska. Wore it backpacking, camping, day hikes, camp staff, you name it. The four inch blade seemed just right--it wasn't cumbersome for small projects, and not too small for tougher stuff.


So I was surprised to hear, when going thru scoutmaster fundamentals in '85, that sheath knives were dangerous, users were Not Good Scouters, and sheath knives definitely attracted Evil Spirits. And please take it off your belt immediately. (Pulled out of the group along with a Viet Nam vet, another Misguided Scouter and Sheath Knife Scofflaw, and lectured by a donkey on staff.)(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

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On a vessal, you really want a rigging knife because in addition to a knife for cutting, you have a marlinspike to help undo knots. I should have said that it is not as useful.


The problem with using a folding rigging knife is you need two hands to operate it. If one hand is holding onto the rigging to keep you from swinging circles around the mast while the vessel rocks in the swell, that could be a problem.

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My scouts asked about sheath knives. I told them they are not banned but are frowned upon. I told them I think the reason is that probably 50-100 scouts lose a knife every year at every scout camp. Losing a closed pocketknife is no big deal, but losing a sharp open blade could be a safety problem and cause a hazard.


That said, my son (SPL) and I regularly carry a Cold Steel K2 neck knife that is honed for food prep. (in addition to a normal pocketknife and sometimes a multitool)


I did draw the line this week at butterfly knives.

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