The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Category: How To (page 2 of 2)

How to swallow a sword (and not die)

There are many useful things you can do with a blade. For example you can cut tomatoes with a knife, use an axe to chop wood, skin a deer with a blade or put a sword down your throat. OK, so maybe the last example isn’t that useful, but it’s definitely cool.

After researching the story I posted earlier this week about renowned sword swallower Chayne Hultgren getting arrested, I became curious about how someone actually discovers this skill.Do they one day trip and fall head first, mouth open onto a sword and voila?

That didn’t seem too likely, so I took to the Internet and found that like juggling knives or throwing knives, it just takes a little practice.

Before continuing, I strongly advise you not to try this at home, especially with a real sword. This is not necessarily a how-to article, but rather a how-it’s-done article. Do not try this at home.

There’s nothing really magical about swallowing a sword, but it does take a lot of physical discipline and patience. For some, it takes years and hours of practicing before finally being able to swallow a sword. The Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI) says it takes anywhere from three to seven years to learn.

The first and most basic thing you have to learn is to control your gag reflex. If you’re new and try to put a sword down your throat, you will gag and cut yourself for sure. That’s why you have to take it slow and practice with smaller objects. You have to invoke your gag reflex over and over until you become inured to the act. When you do active your gag reflex, be prepared for a world of discomfort and vomit.

Then, a performer must learn how to relax the muscles that are involuntary for everyone else. These muscles control the opening of the esophagus, which is where the sword enters your throat. You have to tilt your head all the back, relax your esophageal sphincter and guide the sword (or if you’re still just learning, another object) down your larynx.

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Five wacky ways to use a throwing knife and a chance to win a set and $100

The knifeslinger is back in another wacky video.  Here he demonstrates five unusual ways to use a throwing knife, such as shaving, in addition to giving you another shot at winning a free set of throwing knives and $100.  If you’re too busy to watch, here are the instructions on how to win.  Good luck!

  1. Go to our Facebook page. If you haven’t already, click, “Like” at the top of the page next to our name.
  2. Post a picture of your favorite hat on our wall.
  3. Wait until July 3 to find out if you are a winner

You heard it right, all you have to do to win a dazzling pair of throwing knives and $100 is go to our Facebook page and post a picture of your favorite hat on our wall. Your picture must be posted prior to 10 p.m. Central Time on July 1 to enter. The winner will be announced on July 3 and you must be 18 to win.

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Profile of knife-throwing legend Bobby Branton

Since the day he discovered a pair of throwing knives in his mother’s kitchen, Bobby Branton has had a passion for knife throwing.

Branton’s love for the sport motivated him to become the president of the American Knife Throwers Alliance, in addition to creating his own custom knives and spreading knowledge about throwing knives through seminars and consulting.

It’s been a very interesting road for Branton.

He first became involved with throwing knives as a young man and spoke about his experience during a recent interview with The Cutting Edge.

“I was really interested in throwing knives at a young age, but unlike others, I was really interested in the competitive aspect of throwing knives,” Branton said.

He devoured books and information about throwing knives and eventually met some of the legends of knife throwing, such as Paul LaCross and Kenneth Pierce.

It was then that he set out to revitalize the stagnant American Knife Throwers Alliance in order to make knife throwing accessible to more people. The new purpose of the AKTA was to train people who were interested in forming and hosting their own knife-throwing competitions.

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Chef makes it past TSA checkpoint with four huge chef knives

A few months ago, I wrote a post about how to prevent getting your pocket knife confiscated by TSA: it appears not everyone read it.

Chef Paul Kahan, an award-winning chef and partner in Chicago restaurants Avec, Blackbird, Big Star and the Publican, admitted via Twitter that he accidentally carried four “huge” chef knives past security at Chicago-O’Hare airport and onto a plane.  It appears TSA agents were preoccupied with his wallet:

Chef Paul Kahn Knife Tweet

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should try a similar stunt, as not everyone is as fortunate as Mr. Kahan.  Last year, an Indian priest was arrested when he boarded a plane with a 4-inch knife and attempted to cut fruit with. it  The bottom line:  Keep your knives in your checked bag when you’re flying.

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How to sharpen a knife with a whetstone

A picture of a whetstone sharpener and a knifeGot a dull knife, sharpen it with a whetstone

A dull knife is not only ineffective, but it can also be dangerous. If your knife is dull, you’ll have to use more pressure to cut, increasing the risk of slippage and injury.

There are numerous ways to sharpen a knife, including fancy, high-tech sharpeners, but one of the most reliable–and affordable–is the whetstone.

What is a whetstone

Whetstone is a term for a number of natural or artificial stones that have properties making them ideal for sharpening. Artificial whetstones are composed of components such as ceramic, silicon carbide or aluminium oxide. These stones are usually double-sided with coarse grit on one side and a fine grit on the opposite side.

Natural whetstones, which typically have finer grades and are best used with oil, are often made from the material Novaculite, which is a variety of quartz.

Preparing to sharpen a whetstone.

The first step in knife sharpening is to lubricate your whetstone. You’ll want to either use oil or water for this process, depending on what type of whetstone you have.

Start by placing your whetstone on a paper towel that sits on top of a cutting board. then soak your whetstone in the lubricant of your choice for approximately twenty minutes. If your whetstone has both a fine and coarse side, you’ll want to start sharpening on the coarse side.

Finding the correct angle for sharpening a whetstone

Most knife experts agree that the ideal angle for knife sharpening for a whetstone is 20 degrees. You’ll want to sharpen your knife using smooth motions. Make sure you perform equal strokes on each side. A good rule of thumb is to perform five strokes on each side of your knife and then touch it; you should be able to feel the difference. The motion should be slow and smooth–never jerky–and should resemble the way you would slice a thin piece of meat.

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Teaching Children How To Use Knives

In Nevada, lawmakers recently introduced a new proposal that would ban knives, swords, axes, machetes and hatchets from being taken on the grounds of schools, college campuses and daycare centers.

While this may seem like an attempt to prevent students from being stabbed at school, it takes away the right of a student to learn about and carry multipurpose pocket knives, which are popular among Boy Scouts.

Instead of outright banning knives and making them taboo, lawmakers should stress the importance of teaching young kids knife safety.

As we’ve seen over the years, knives save lives, so students should not be afraid of them. They should learn how to use them in a variety of situations, whether out in the wilderness or at home in the kitchen.

For any parent looking to teach their young child how to skillfully and safely use a knife, here are a few tips.

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Sharpening Your Knife in Survival Situations

Recently, we’ve been hearing a lot about knives being used in extraordinary circumstances, like the case of Aron Ralston or my recent post about doctors using a Swiss Army knife to amputate a man’s legs.

These are just two examples of survival situations where a dull knife simply won’t cut it, literally and figuratively. In many survival situations, knives become dull from overuse, and there are no sharpening tools available.

If you ever find yourself stranded in the wilderness, here are some things you can do to sharpen and hone your knife.

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How To Get Skilled In The Art of Knife Throwing

There are very few sports in which knives are the primary tool, which is why knife throwing is such an alluring sport for knife enthusiasts.

For anyone unfamiliar with the sport of knife throwing, it’s fairly straightforward. The goal is throw a knife at a wooden bullseye at various distances and try to make it stick as accurately as possible. While it sounds easy, it can be extremely difficult.

Those who practice consistently can do some pretty cool things, like the video here demonstrates.

If you’re interested in learning how to throw knives, here are some steps to guide you along in the process of becoming a great knife thrower.

1. Research knife throwing prior to doing anything

Before committing to buy a throwing knife, you should research the sport and be aware of the potential dangers that come with it. Reading up on safety instructions, looking at the different types of knife throwing styles and viewing videos at places like the Knife Throwing site will prepare you for the next steps.

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How To Start A Successful Knife Collection

knife collectionWhether you’re a knife enthusiast or looking for a hobby that will make you money, knife collecting can be a rewarding activity. Knife collections fetch thousands of dollars on sites like Ebay, Craigslist and Knife Auction, but if you don’t know where to begin, things can quickly get complicated. Here are a few tips for beginners who plan on venturing into the fascinating world of knife collections.

Tip #1: Pick what type of knife you want to collect

While many knife admirers may have the urge to buy and collect all types of knives, it’s important, at least to begin with, to focus on one type. Fortunately, there is a large range of knife types you can pick from, including pocket knives, daggers, swords, Bowie knives and antiques. Selecting just one variety gives you a clear focus, so you are not overwhelmed by the numerous choices.

Tip #2: Set a budget

This might seem like an ancillary point, but it’s extremely important to consider before embarking on a collection. Knife prices range anywhere from a couple dollars to well over a thousand bucks. If you’re not absolutely serious or sure about collecting knives, set a smaller budget and work your way up.

Tip #3: Get knife guides and educate yourself on your specific type

Once you’ve selected the type and picked a budget, the next step is to begin purchasing knives. People take different approaches on how to buy knives. Some get one at a time while others buy sets. Knowing the prices and models of the type of knife you’re planning on collecting will prevent you from overpaying and give you authority on the subject. The Official Price Guide to Collector Knives is a great place to get started.

Tip #4: Search for knives at a variety of places

There is no wrong place to look for knives, but looking at a range of sources ensures that you have more options. Look up local antique shops, visit the Knife Auction site, attend a knife show or join knife collection forums. Doing these things will help point you to reputable knife dealers who may have hidden gems.

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How to pick out the right camp knife

There are a bunch of camp knives out there, often making it daunting to make a purchase.  The video below, in which an old-time knife connoisseur is explaining the differences in camping knives to a knife newcomer, is a great example of the diversity of the camping knife market.

The man has stretched approximately a dozen blades across the backside of a canoe and proceeds to explain the values of each one.

He talks about the convenience of folding or pocket knives.  He calls the fixed blade knife a “failsafe” because of its lack of moving parts.  He describes the importance of hunting or survival knives, which can be used to gut animals, cut wood and erect shelter.  And, lastly, he shows off a few boning knives and a couple of fillet knives.

Check out the video below:

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How to Hold a Throwing Knife

So you’re interested in knife throwing?  Well, before you go pro, the first thing you need to do is learn how to hold a knife.  There are two primary grips used by knife throwers, both of which we’ll explain below.

Hammer Grip

The hammer grip is the easiest method of holding a throwing knife and the appropriate method for beginners. As you might expect, in the hammer grip hold the knife just like you would hold a hammer. Remember to keep your wrist stiff and only grasp the knife by the handle, in order to avoid cutting yourself. The hammer grip is primarily used for heavy knives.

The Pinch Grip

The pinch grip is best for rapid and forceful throwing. With the pinch grip, the knife is pinched between the thumb and index finger. You should usually only use your thumb or index finger. However, for a heavier knife, you can use your middle finger as well.

Knife throwing grip images shown courtesy of

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How to teach kids to use kitchen knives

Few instincts are stronger than a parent’s desire to protect their child from danger, which is why it’s important to teach your children the correct way to use kitchen knives.  The most important thing to stress to young ones about kitchen knives is that they are tools, not toys.

Here’s an example of something you should never do with young children and kitchen knives:


Of course, the best way to encourage your children to safely use kitchen knives is to lead by example. Here are a few tips

(1) Make sure you always point knives away from yourself while carrying them.

(2) Always use cutting boards that are sturdy and reliable.

(3) Make sure you never leave knives unattended.

(4) Be conscious of your body language and posture when you are using kitchen knives around young children, as they will learn from example. Be mindful to show caution, for their sake and yours.

(5) When you are ready to allow your children to begin using kitchen knives, first start them with a plastic knife and have them cut foods like cheese and butter.  Show them how to hold the handle correctly and how to keep their fingers out of the way.  Once they progress, you can move them onto a butter knife, and then, once that is mastered, allow them to progress to a kitchen knife.

(6) Always supervise children when they are using kitchen knives.

Want a few more tips? Check out this cool video from FitforFeast, which has 10 kitchen knife safety tips for kids.

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How to Skin a Rabbit

So you’ve shot a rabbit.  Congrats on the kill, but what are you going to do now?  Skinning and gutting a rabbit, just like any other game, can be a tough task.  First and foremost, you need to have the right hunting knife for the operation.

A skinning knife is ideal for removing the rabbit’s fur.  Whether you’re dressing it in the field (recommended) or afterward, a high-quality skinner, whether it’s a gut-hook or a fixed-blade, is necessary.

But you’ll need a meat cleaver as well, for chopping off the rabbit’s head, legs and tail.

Lastly, and most importantly, you’ll need to know where and how to make your cuts.

Check out the video below from chef Mark Gilchrist, it’s one of the best tutorials on rabbit skinning, gutting and preparation on the web.  Gilchrist is the head chef of the British catering company Game for Anything.

In this video, he skins, guts and prepares a rabbit, showing you a quick and easy may to bring your hunt to a tasty conclusion.

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