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To finish, dry the blade and strop it on a leather belt. Strop the edge away from the leather, not toward it as when using a sharpening stone. Strop your knife between uses and it will stay sharp for some time. Note: A sharpening (butcher’s)


steel is simply a coarse version of a leather strop. It will not take the place of a whetstone.


Check Sharpness There are many ways to check blade sharpness. Here are a few: Preferred method: Shine a bright light on the sharpened edge. A dull edge will reflect light.


A razor-sharp knife will cleanly slice paper.


Drag the edge lightly across your thumbnail. The blade should scrape the nail cleanly, without chattering.


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Quick Cuts Use the right knife for the job at hand. For instance, if you’re backpacking, a sharp pocketknife will save space and weight compared with a sheath knife. Rumor has it fixed-blade knives are


prohibited in Scouting. False! But be safe when using them—just as you’d act with any knife. Check local regulations on when


and where you can carry a knife. State policies differ. And, remember, knives aren’t allowed on school premises or commercial airplanes.


Be sure a Boy Scout earns his


Totin’ Chip (read more at bit. ly/totinchip or in the Boy Scout Handbook) before he carries or uses any wood tool, including knives. The Cub Scout version is called the Whittling Chip (it is Achievement 19 in the Cub Scout Bear Handbook), which promotes responsible pocket- knife use. ¿


CLIFF JACOBSON, a Distinguished Eagle Scout, is the author of more than a dozen top-selling outdoors books.


322 W. Main Street Wakefield, VA 23888


(800) 642-6887 (757) 899-2281 (fax)


sales@nutsforscouting.com www.nutsforscouting.com


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