- Ensure that your knife is sharp.
- Make sure that both the handle of the knife and your hands are dry.
- Make sure that you have a firm grip on the knife, using a fist grip.
- Always cut away from you.
- Keep the fingers of your other hand behind the blade.
- Ensure that your knife has full clearance from other people throughout its full range of motion; you might want to consider 2 arms lengths as the minimum distance, sometimes referred to as the blood bubble.
- Never cut with the knife close to your femoral artery (it runs down the inside of the upper leg), so for example, if you are sat down carving, rest your elbows on your knees or cut off to one side.
- Don’t wipe clean a knife across your leg.
- Always put your knife back in its sheath immediately after use (also ensuring that you don’t lose your knife).
- Closely related to the point above, don’t walk around with your knife in your hand.
- Don’t stick a knife into a piece of wood after use; your hand might slip down the blade.
- If you drop your knife, don’t try to catch it; step back and wait for the knife to stop moving.
- If you need to pass a knife to someone, do so handle first with the blade up.
- Don’t use the knife for prying things open.
- Don’t use the knife after dark unless absolutely essential.
Knife safety – passing a knife
Also, bear in mind that you want to have full control of your knife when you are using it. By that I mean that you should know where the knife will end up when you have finished whatever you are doing. Often when you are using ‘power strokes’ the knife ends up carrying on moving after it’s left the wood.
If at any time you feel that you are having to use a lot of force, then think whether you are using the right knife stroke or technique, or indeed the right tool.
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