“What in the world do you want that for?” Perhaps a well-meaning friend or slightly nosy relation has asked you that question about the brand-new folding pocket knife you just purchased. Perhaps they don’t understand the mystique of Damascus steel or the ease of use of a textured Zytel handle or the robustness of a blade forged from M390. That’s no surprise given that those who haven’t delved into the technicalities don’t understand the various advantages of a well-crafted blade and instead see, well, just a knife. One thing they can comprehend, though, is practicality, and a folding knife provides that in spades. In this article, we will discuss various things that you can use a folding knife for in, around, and outside of your house.
The Folding Pocket Knife and it's Uses
Folding Knife Uses in Your Home
Other than kitchen knives and table knives, most bladed implements end up being used outside the house. Think of survival knives employed on camping expeditions, penknives used to while away the time by slicing at a stick, or fixed-blade combat knives drawn in self-defense. However, just because many kinds of knives are best used away from hearth and home, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find lots of reasons to carry a folding knife in the comfort of your own abode. Following are a number of the best uses for a folding knife inside your home …
Opening or Preparing Packages. With the increases in popularity of Amazon and other companies offering fast shipping, it’s no doubt that packages are part of your day-to-day existence. Plenty of people find themselves opening a whole lot of brown-cardboard boxes, and trying to find a pair of scissors when one shows up can prove frustrating. (And if you’ve ever resorted to using your keys to claw one open, you know what a mess you can make of it.) Similarly, those who sell on eBay or Amazon will likely find that having a knife handy helps them get their goods ready for shipping in short order. Finally, think about how annoying those clamshell packages can be to open — and then imagine that you have a sharp knife that will part their plastic like butter.
Preparing and Consuming Meals. Cooking and eating food usually involves cutlery specifically designed for the task and for nothing more. It doesn’t need to be that way, though. We all know that a folding knife can help you quickly quarter and core an apple or peel a thick-skinned orange, and that’s not all it’s good for. In fact, a number of friction-folding knives that are primarily intended for food use have reached the market. Note the use of the word “primarily.” One of the great things about folding knives is their versatility. You can use them to slice steak or cut chicken, as well as to … well, we’ll get to the rest of those uses shortly!
Adjusting a Key Ring. Speaking of non-intended uses for folding knives, you can also use them to take key off of or put keys on your key ring. Most key rings employ a curling loop of springy steel that circles back onto itself, requiring you to dig a nail into it and lift in order to make any changes. Does it work? Yes. Is it always pleasant to use? Not so much. Accidentally gouging the flesh beneath your nails seriously hurts, and pushing the tip of a knife in instead often works better. Just do so cautiously so that you don’t
Sharpening Pencils. You may not think much about pencils, but they’re truly wonderful little inventions. Economist Leonard E. Read’s famous essay “I, Pencil” highlights the ingenuity required to create them, and poet Naomi Shihab Nye’s poignant “Always Bring a Pencil” talks about how “there will be certain things — / the quiet flush of waves, / ripe scent of fish, / smooth ripple of the wind’s second name — / that prefer to be written about / in pencil.” No matter your reason for carrying one, it never hurts to have an old No. 2 around, and your folding knife can help you keep it sharp.
Cutting Twine or Rope. Making kids’ crafts. Tying up a rope. Repairing upholstery. Crafting some DIY shelving. Creating a simple leash for your dog. Rope and twine have quite a few household uses — almost as many as folding knives! Of course, all types of braided cording need to be cut in order to be useful. Some people dedicate a single pair of scissors for rope work, but we think that carrying a folding knife proves much more practical.
Altering Clothing. Like it or not, clothing tends to wear out and bodies change over time. The belt that once fit suddenly won’t cinch around your waist no matter how much you suck your gut it and hold your breath. Perhaps a child’s shirt has started to fray along one edge, but there’s plenty of wear remaining in it to function as play clothes. You could have on hand dedicated tailoring equipment, or you could simply use a sharp folding knife to get the job done.
Cutting or Marking Drywall. One of the more frustrating parts of home repair involves almost ensuring that your tools are at hand when you’re in the middle of a job. Sometimes you find yourself ready to perform a task, but your screwdriver has absconded, or your measuring tape has disappeared or the Sharpie you stuck in your pocket has vanished. A folding knife can’t replace every tool, but when you’re working with drywall, it can aid with cutting or marking it.
Managing Mail. Despite the rise of the internet, email, online shopping, and the 24/7 news cycle, print mail still maintains a regular presence in our lives. Opening it by hand is always an option, but if you’ve ever sliced a lengthy papercut along an index finger or accidentally jabbed a staple beneath a nail while attempting to remove it, you’ll understand the appeal of turning to a tool to tackle such simple tasks — and a folding knife is perfect for both.
Preparing Flowers. Similarly, cut flowers require the use of a tool if you don’t want them to have a shortened lifespan. Left to their own devices, a nice bouquet of roses or tulips will wither in the pitcher, but if you trim the ends of their stems, they’ll drink up more water and last a little longer. It’s an easy bit of work, one perfectly suited for a folding knife.
Improvised Money Clip. This suggestion is one that will depend entirely on your type of folding knife. If you’re using an Old Timer or some such similar type of classic slipjoint, you’re out of luck. However, many newer kinds of folding knife are constructed with utility in mind, and these types often come with a belt clip, one that’s big enough to safely hold a few bills, an ID card, and a credit card or two.
Improvised Can Opener. Few things frustrate as thoroughly as wanting to open a can when you lack the necessary implements to do so. Forget resorting to hammers or rocks. You can open a can with a folding knife almost as easily as you’d do so with a can opener. Simply press down with the knife’s tip near the edge of the can and work it around its circumference. This isn’t great for your knife’s edge and contains a good deal more risk than a kitchen implement, but it’s better than going hungry!
Folding Knife Uses Outside of Your Home
You’ll find numerous ways in which to use your folding knife both inside your house and in your property around it. This section will detail some of them, a few of which focus more on enjoyment than on practicality …
Pruning Plants. Unless you live in a desert environment, you likely have to struggle against the perpetual encroachment of vegetation. Trees spread their limbs, bushes soon lose their shape, and gardens require constant weeding, watering, and pruning. Those who specialize in landscaping and garden care have a whole host of tools that they use on a daily basis. However, if you’re ambling around outside and happen to see a plant that needs a little pruning, there’s no need to unlock the back shed. Simply take care of it with your folding knife.
Creating Kindling. Many homes throughout the United States have fireplaces, either for enjoyment’s sake or to provide house-wide heating when the mercury drops. Some prefer gas fireplaces or use prefab starters to get a fire going, but if you happen to like the old-fashioned appeal of using kindling, take your folding knife outside, find dry branches, and make some. Shaving over tiny, flammable slivers can prove surprisingly meditative.
Whittling. Our final outdoor use for a folding knife should be no surprise: It’s whittling. Doubtlessly a pastime as old as blades themselves, whittling can involve some sort of dedicated project or just peeling away little bits of wood from a stick for its own sake. Tired of staring at a smartphone? Pop outside, open your knife, and enjoy a more tactile diversion.
Technical and Mechanical Uses
Our final category of uses for folding knives in and around the home involves employing them in technical contexts for which they aren’t really intended. Make no mistake, you’ll always do better using specialized tools for specialized tasks. Still, folding knives will do in a pinch in these situations …
Opening a Bottle of Wine. The internet in general and social media in particular are filled with people attempting (and spectacularly failing) to open bottles of champagne. Getting bubbly ready to poor does require a bit of finesse, and preparing a bottle of red or white can prove just as challenging — if you don’t have the right equipment. Suggestions for removing a cork when you can’t find a corkscrew run the gamut, ranging from the practical (twist in a screw and lever the cork out with a fork) to the foolhardy (pad the bottom of the bottle with a shoe and pound it perpendicularly against a doorframe) to the downright dangerous (using an acetylene torch to heat the encapsulated air so that it expands, pressing the cork out). Something simpler should suffice: Simply work the blade of your folding knife all around the cork until it starts to work its way up, and then pull it out manually.
Opening a Beer Bottle. Stuck without a bottle opener and desperately want to open that craft beer you’ve been dying to try? Don’t try to use a dollar bill as hand protection, a ring for leverage, or a door plate as a wedge. By wedging your knife under the bottle cap and slowly twisting upward while gripping the bottle with your other hand, you can open your beer. Just don’t try this with a blade made out of carbon steel; it runs the risk of breaking.
Removing a Screw. When you’re stuck without the right sort of screwdriver, you can feel as though finishing a simple chore has simply become impossible. A knife, though, can get you started with the task by wedging the tip into the screw’s head and slowly turning. Don’t attempt to completely remove the screw with the knife, which increases the chance of damage or injury. Just remove it enough to see if you can grasp it with another tool.
Cutting and Stripping Wire. The only real difference between a wire stripper and a knife is that the former features a guard to keep the user from cutting away too much (or all!) of the wire. That’s a pretty important feature, but not one that’s absolutely necessary. If you need to strip some wire and only have a folding knife, a steady hand and slow going can get the job done.
Basic First Aid and EMS-Type Tasks. Let’s be blunt with this final point: Folding knives are absolutely not the ideal tools for medical tasks. Yes, they’ll work well enough if you need to cut gauze or medical tape. Would you want to use one to cauterize a wound, perform an emergency tracheotomy, or cut the seatbelt off of someone after a crash? Probably not, but the option is there if you carry a folding knife.
As you can see, folding knives provide all kinds of value in and around the home. Browse our selection and see if there’s something you like!