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Episode 403 S15-8

Knives!! Metals, Designs, Maintenance and Carry Laws


Special Guest:

Virgis Ch 8

Ellen Kerr

In the novel, Virgis, Virgis meets with the delegates and winds down his day helping Johnny care for his whittling knife. Knives come in all different shapes, sizes, and metal contents. Some you can carry, and some you legally are not allowed to.

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Choosing a knife depends on what you want to do with it. Everything matters when it comes to a quality knife you can rely on. There are different metals that blades are made out of. The design of the knife is critical. Once you make your purchase, you must know how to properly maintain the blade. Depending upon the knife you choose, you may not be able to legally carry it everywhere you go.

An unlimited amount of metal combinations compose the blade of the knife. Carbon is the primary ingredient in any knife, but too much can make the knife brittle. A knife is labeled “stainless steel” is at least 10.5% chromium. The chromium helps prevent corrosion. Other chemicals like Copper and Phosphorus also help prevent corrosion. Cobalt is added to increase rigidity, and Manganese helps make the blade stronger. Other chemicals, like silicon, help to bind the material. Sulfur can make the steel easier to work with and helps increase the blade’s toughness. No matter the combination of chemicals, the end product can vary drastically based on the heat treatment.

These factors are used to give steel types their complicated names. Learning the types of metal is like learning a new language. The most complete article I’ve read on the subject was written by Corporal Wabo on, Best Knife Steel Guide With Charts. If you want to dive deep, this is where you should go.

The shape of the knife is based upon its use as well. Knives are made for the kitchen, self-defense, bush-craft, skinning, or marine work. The list is endless. Corporal Wabo wrote another great article on MarineApproved.comthat goes through 26 points. Although not as comprehensive as his metal guide, the corporal’s list covers the basics. The drop point, a basic flat-backed blade with a sloping point, is the most common and versatile. Commonly used as an everyday carry knife, it is user-friendly and scores reasonably well in the self-defense, tactical, and bush-craft categories.

When it comes to maintaining your knife, it pays to have hands-on practice with someone already competent at the skill. You can learn from videos and whatnot, but it helps to have someone direct you to the correct angles you should sharpen at to achieve the type of edge you want. A broader, blunt edge is usually used for choppers and knives that will be abused. A fine edge is put on knives that need to slice and dice in a precise cut. To sharpen your knife, invest in quality sharpening stones. Like sandpaper, they vary in their coarseness. The rougher stones are used for taking out chips and reworking the edge. The finer stone perfects the edge and gets that sharp cut. Mineral oil is your friend. Both the sharpening stones and your blade should get treated with it. The oil will help prevent corrosion for susceptible blades in high-corrosion areas.

There are carry laws for knives. You need to know what you can carry to use the knife for self-defense. has a comprehensive guide to what is legal in each state.

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Virgis Ch 8

Ellen Kerr

Born in 1980 in Australia, Ellen Louis Kerr, has been married for 16 years to her wonderful spouse, Brian. They have two daughters Miriam and Emma. Plus, 2 spoiled cats, 2 ducks, 1 budgie and two lizards. (What is a budgie you ask? A budgie is a native Australian Bird short for budgerigar. They are a popular pet in Australia.)

Ellen joined the Royal Australian Navy in 2003 and served for fourteen years. She has earned the rank of Leading Seaman and is an Electronic Warfare Director at sea. When she's on the shore she works in the field of electronic intelligence. Ellen was deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2005 as part of the allied task force on board HMAS Darwin for which she is now recognized as a veteran. She has also deployed to and took part in numerous exercises in New Zealand, Hawaii and South East Asia.

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