Knife etiquette often overlaps with knife safety, and this is a prime example. The best way to hand someone a knife is also the politest, as nothing is quite as rude as unintentionally cutting open a person’s skin.
The Technique: Make It Muscle Memory
It’s simple: while holding the handle with your fingers, cradle the spine of the blade in the web of your hand between the thumb and index finger.
This allows the recipient to safely grasp the handle. If the blade slides across the giver’s hand, the skin will come in contact with the spine, not the edge. It also forces the recipient into choosing the safest method to release the knife from the giver’s hand, avoiding any meandering edges.
None other than Ray Mears demonstrates what a successful hand off looks like using this technique here:
The dance of two people using any other technique is as awkward as it is unsafe. Committing this technique to muscle memory so it’s second nature will save time and stitches. Plus, you’ll look like a pro.
The Second Best Technique: Setting the Knife Down
The only other technique that’s as safe is setting the knife down for the recipient to then pick up. That’s not always possible, but it’s still better than someone unintentionally shaking hands with an edge.
Placing fingers on the blade to pass or grab a knife is not only not recommended, it’s not how the knife was designed in the first place. The handle is there for a reason.
The Only Exception: Securing the Blade Inside the Handle
If the knife design allows for the blade to be secured inside the handle (folders, autos, etc.), it’s obviously acceptable to secure the blade first before handing the knife off.
In the quick back-and-forths at knife shows, like the BLADE Show, that’s not always convenient. That’s why it’s worth committing the technique in the above picture to muscle memory.
Pass It On!
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BLADE wants you to be safe! Enjoy your knives. Treat them right, and they’ll treat you right, too.
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