August 24, 2018 is National Knife Day, which is observed on the same day each year. It is on this day we collectively show our appreciation for this essential tool, whether we use knives for hunting, defense, cooking, farming or other utilitarian jobs that no other tool can perform.
Get your knives ready for Knife Day with these tips:
Clean, oil, and sharpen your knives in the days leading up to the glorious holiday. Celebrate each knife in your collection, no matter its condition. Knives require routine maintenance to properly function. Knife internals are exposed to things like pocket lint, dirt, sand and even liquid substances that will eventually accumulate inside the knife.
The internal components of a knife are fitted together to ensure a smooth and flawless action. When substances like sand or tape residue are introduced, the opening action will slow down or even malfunction. Eventually this can cause parts to break on folders or OTF automatic knives.
Regular care of your knife will ensure proper function throughout its lifetime. In most cases, regular cleaning is all that is needed: Blow out any lint and debris by aiming compressed or canned air into the opening of the knife. If you’ve used your knife for cutting boxes with tape, try to remove any tape residue from the blade as soon as possible using rubbing alcohol.
Spray light gun oil into the opening of the knife. You can oil the blade and let the oil run down inside. Work the blade in and out a few times to make sure all internal parts are lubricated. CLP and RemOil are good choices for knife maintenance. They are available most places that have custom knives for sale.
After oiling, lightly blow the knife out with the compressed or canned air again to remove any excess oil. It is important to keep your knife lubricated, but too much lubrication can attract and retain lint and other debris.
With all steels, rust is a concern. Despite having improved edge retention, higher-grade steel is more susceptible to rust. To prevent rust from showing up on your blade, be sure to keep it oiled and free of debris. Rust is accelerated by a number of environmental factors, such as sweat and humidity, and by cutting acidic foods like tomatoes. Blood will also destroy a knife blade if it’s not properly cleaned, as many hunters and bayonet collectors can attest. Any exposure to salt water requires a full and immediate cleaning, so don’t put that off after your next fishing trip.
Leave the EDC at home today and carry the pride of your collection — or all of your collection.
National Knife Day calls for celebration, so check for local events to attend where you can show off your blades. If there aren’t any events near you, get on social media and start one yourself. If cooking knives are your thing, August is a perfect time to host an outdoor grilling event. And to be honest, grilling also works if you like throwing knives or any other kind of knives — just get out there and share your passion with like-minded people.
Many knife retailers will have a special event on this day and may offer special discounts and incentives, so check the schedule to see what might be out there. It could be a great opportunity to add those custom knives you’ve been eyeballing to your collection.
Test your blade’s sharpness on paper, pictures or food — in short, cut anything you deem unnecessary in your life. Here are some popular demonstration ideas to get you started:
Slicing paper is a popular test of a blade’s sharpness. Pick up a ream of copier paper and impress your coworkers or give those TPS reports the justice they deserve.
To demonstrate this safely, hold a single page of paper at shoulder height and set the blade on the top edge of the paper at a shallow angle. Students of the blade know to always slice away from yourself, — because you should end National Knife Day with all the blood you started it with. A sharp blade will immediately bite into the paper and start to cut. A dull blade will skate along the edge or tear the page.
As you draw the blade back through the paper, it should glide without sticking. Hold a new page vertically and pull the entire length of the blade through the paper; any hitches indicate a nick or burr on the blade at that point. The sound it makes while cutting also tells a story: The higher the pitch, the sharper the blade.
The Fillet Demo can be quite impressive. Holding the knife horizontally, press the paper firmly against the tabletop with your support-side hand, and guide the spine of the blade with that thumb. Try to slice a tiny layer from the surface of the page without cutting through, like filleting the skin from a fish. If you can manage that, you have an extremely sharp knife.
Cutting a tomato can test the chef’s blade collection. See if you can slice it thin enough to see through.
Place a beefsteak tomato on a cutting board with the stem facing up and balance your knife on the top of the tomato without applying any pressure.
Pull the knife back towards you without pressing down. If your blade penetrates the skin of the tomato, you have a sharp knife. Don’t worry if your knife fails to make anything but a dent in your tomato — a honing steel is a great way to give second life to your favorite knife.
The finger nail trick requires extra caution but can truly impress. Stick out your index finger, the carefully and gently lay the edge of your knife blade on your fingernail so the knife is perpendicular to your finger. If your knife bites into your fingernail WITHOUT ANY PRESSURE and doesn’t slide around, then your knife is pretty sharp.
No matter how you choose to celebrate National Knife Day, make sure you do so in a safe and responsible manner. Alcohol and knife tricks are not a good mix, so just get out there and have some good, clean fun.