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Knife Safety Tips & Tricks for Beginners

We all have knives around the house. I'm sure we can all say we have kitchen knives, filet knives, or grandpa's old hand-me-down laying around somewhere! My questions to you is: Have you prepared your kids to respect knives? My personal philosophy is that instead of hiding potential dangerous things from children, I would rather show them and teach them the safety of the tools. This teaches respect at an earlier age so there are less accidents. I teach hundreds of children a year how to use knives with minimal accidents. It may surprise you that the crazy and wild children parents warn me about before class tend to be the most focused when they are carving wood during class! There is something addicting and meditative about using knives to make wooden tools. Knife skills offer an amazing creative outlet for our children as well.

What do we need to get started:

I recommend getting a cheap, but quality knife. These are the ones students use in class.

I have all my students wear cut gloves. The hand that holds the wood needs to wear one.

Maybe I am being too careful. But I also like to put a leather glove over my cut glove.

Always keep your knife sharp. This is almost more important than knowing how to carve!

I recommend that parents have their children sit down while they show them their new knife. Parents should hold on to the knife and allow their kids to use it only while they are supervised and in a focused mindset. I often play games with the kids before and after we use knives to burn some energy. I have a zero tolerance for disrespect policy when using knives. I hold onto the knife until they are ready. I explain that this isn't a punishment, but rather that I don't personally feel safe allowing them to use a knife if they are not showing respect for the tool.

I recently posted a YouTube video on knife skills. Go take a peek (show your kids) and refer back to this post for the written rules!


1. The knife should be in your hand or in the sheath.

Never hand a knife to someone unless its in the sheath. Avoid resting it down on the ground or stabbing it into a log while you go do something else.

2. Always check your "Blood Circle" before carving.

Take the wood that you are carving and make a circle around you. Do you touch anyone with it? They are in your blood circle. Move somewhere else.

3. Always cut AWAY from yourself and others.

After I check my blood circle, I sit on my butt, cross-legged, with my elbows on my knees.

Be aware of where your hands and fingers are while you carve.

4. Always watch what you are doing.

It's okay to talk to a friend, but look at your knife as you use it. If you need to get up and look at something or some one else's work, put your knife back in the sheath.


Do not use a knife if you are Hungry, Angry, Lazy, or Tired. If you are upset in any way, or using threatening language (even if its a joke), you should not be using a knife.

6. A sharp knife is a safe knife.

"Be careful its sharp", I often hear people say when they hand a knife to someone. They should be saying "Be careful its dull" because when we use a dull knife, we need to push harder and if we do get cut, it will be way worse than with a sharp knife. Sharp knives do more of the work for us and we usually never have accidents.

7. Keep your knife in a safe place and know where you left it!

When we are done using our knives, we are going to put them away SECURE, CLEAN and DRY. Your backpack is a nice place during class so it doesn't get lost. Make sure its properly in the sheath.

If you would like your children to learn from an experienced survivalist. Consider booking a class with Owl Eyes Wilderness Survival. We have beautiful land use permission through various land parcels in Townsend, Pepperell, and Groton, Massachusetts. We can also travel to your location to offer a custom class! Contact us to book a class today!

*The recommended product links are affiliate links. Meaning that at no additional cost to you, I receive a small percentage of credit back for every product purchased through these links. I greatly appreciate your support!

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