Appalachia Celebrating Appalachia Videos Folklore

Knife Stories and Folklore

Matt holding a knife

In my latest video The Deer Hunter and I talk about knives.

Pap always had a knife in his pocket, The Deer Hunter does too. I carry one in my pocket book. A knife is a handy tool to have.

I hope you enjoyed the video! Do you have a favorite knife?

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  • Reply
    February 13, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    I did enjoy this “visit” very much, thank you Tipper and Matt. I’m a woman who never walks out the door without a knife in my pocket, and use one every day – for cutting baling twine, if nothing else, but usually other tasks in the garden or the barn, too. Sorry to say I’ve always been bad for losing a knife though – even now I’ve got two in rotation because I keep misplacing one. The knife I feel awfully bad about losing was the one my brother gave me for Christmas many years ago – it was a small Kershaw knife and he chose it specially because I had mentioned a lot of pocketknives were two big to fit comfortably in my dungarees pocket.
    Now I have arthritis in my hands, so my knife has to have a little bit of easy-opening in the design – I can’t grab the little edge and pull a knife open anymore. I’ve always sharpened my knives myself, but I never learned a “proper” way to do it. Like Matt said, I just started doing it. And I guess I figured out what works, because my knives cut fine until I lose them!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    My dad always carried a couple of knives. We bought our grandkids (boys) knives for Christmas. I know their still young but we all laid the laws down to them. I also carried a pocket knife in my pocket book. Just the other day, my husband said, ” do you have a knife? I said said , yes cause about anything he ask me if I got, i usually have it. Knives are great.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    January 29, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    I have the pocketknife my dad gave me for HS graduation in 1960.

  • Reply
    Carol Roy
    January 29, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    This video was very enjoyable as my husband always carried a knife he had a favorite that was always always in his pocket much they same as The Deer Hunter. And I am curious like Miss Cindy ….do you suppose The Deer Hunter carried his knife in his pocket on your wedding day? Probably so. Tks for your taking the time to do up these videos and your blog …always enjoy them.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2021 at 3:12 pm

    I am always glad to see anything on the blog that teaches me. I know very little about knives. I keep a tool in my pocketbook that can be used for many tasks, including a knife, and it folds up into a piece of metal that makes it unrecognizable. I also carry a small knife on my keychain that belonged to my Dad. I need to sharpen some dull scissors, so possibly your blog along with the posts of your informed readers may lead me in the right direction.
    I certainly can relate to your story of getting cut on knives. I inherited a big butcher knife which I recall being gifted to my Mom around 1950 from an Uncle who worked in a meat packing house. Through the years with all the years of wear and tear my Dad had sharpened that old knife so much the blade was probably about half as wide. I never used it because it was too awkward, and I had other great knives. It remained as sharp as the last time Dad sharpened it many years ago. It ended up in my dishwater somehow, and I managed to cut a good slice out of my middle finger. Always into something wet or messy, I have been forced to wear a latex glove on that hand. Accidents happen so fast. Loved the reminder of all the men in our family who carried a pocketknife, and through the years I watched them do everything from trim off a new limb to cutting a hunk of cheese. I never want to see this tradition jeopardized.

  • Reply
    Ron Bass
    January 29, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    When I was 12 years old, now 68, my grand daddy told me, ” a man without a pocket knife with him is about as prepared as a dog without teeth.

  • Reply
    Leon Pantenburg
    January 29, 2021 at 9:58 am

    I have many knives, and carry a Swiss Army Knife Tinker everyday. The only time I didn’t have a knife was when I flew into Hawaii and couldn’t take one along. The first thing I did was buy a Swiss Army Classic. I used it for 10 days, and presented it to the baggage handler as we were getting ready to leave.

  • Reply
    Steve in Tn
    January 29, 2021 at 9:45 am

    I relate. Closely to this post. Knives have always been part of my daily routine. I have several, including those that were used by closed relatives. I prefer case because of history, but use a rotation of 4 or 5 based on what I am doing that day. cheaper for the garden, nicer for a trip to town. I enjoyed this video.

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    January 29, 2021 at 9:37 am

    I, too, love knives, especially pocket knives. In over 70 years of collecting them, I’ve piled up over 200. Each one has a special memory with it. The only time I carry one is when I have my britches on. You all live in a wonderful area for knife lovers to take up woodcarving with the local carvers at the Folk School. I suspect it was intentional of you to strategically place a handful of the excellent local carvings in the background behind you in the video about knives. I enjoyed Matthew’s part also. Well done.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 29, 2021 at 9:32 am

    Amen Deer Hunter. I can’t remember a time when I did not have a pocketknife. I am not easy in my mind to be out and about without a knife. It vexes me no end that we as a society have reached a pass where carrying a pocketknife is odd or worse, scary. I have posted this before but I was never more astonished in my life as when I could not go in the courthouse in my home county until I took my pocketknife back out and left it in the car. There is something bad wrong in a country where that is necessary or -much worse – is not really necessary but is thought to be by “officialdom”.

    You touched on another topic that is a bit of a hot button with me to and that is “temper”. You can’t seem to find 2 people in 10 that know what that is, much less why it is important. It is so very frustrating to get ahold of a supposed cutting tool that won’t take an edge or one that will take an edge that immediately crumbles. I don’t know the formula but a pocketknife especially needs both to take an edge without an act of Congress and to keep it a reasonable time under normal use; that is, cutting wood, meat, vegetables, etc not steel cable or tin cans. Oddly enough, a related furstration of mine is how hard it is to find a truly medium grit stone. Coarse, fine and superfine are not hard to find. But for a pocket stone, give me a medium grit to quickly get the edge back. I can finish off on my belt or boot or something.

    Your sharpening method is interesting, alternate strokes of to and away of the cutting edge. I began sharpening as you said, just doing it on my own. For years I alternately pushed the blade away then flipped the blade over and drew it back towards me. That way the cutting edge was never coming toward me. It was a safety thing. Later when I got increasingly frustrated about the temper or the grit or both I starting “cutting the stone” that is acting as if I was trying to take a very thin slice of the stone. I have never really gotten used to thinking at is a good idea, always seems to me the edge will be too thin.

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention the mechanical sharpers, the very hard angled wheels such as in a knife block in the kitchen. They will put a quick edge on sure enough. But it is like using a grindstone. They take the metal off to.

    I expect you know this, but if you can get your hands on any a sawmill band saw blade is excellent steel.for knives. So is a crosscut sawblade but it has a special feature that has to be considered. It is thicker at the teeth than at the back so the tooth side needs to be the blade back.

    Sorry for the book. You got me going.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Daddy always carried a pocket knife and traded them too. I have seen Mom sharpen a kitchen knife on any handy rock that was close by. Some of Dad’s old friends used to test the sharpness of their knife by shaving the hair on their arm like the Deer Hunter did in the video. I thought it was the most disgusting thing to see them turn right around and peel an apple without washing the knife.

  • Reply
    John Hart
    January 29, 2021 at 9:09 am

    Twice in the past years, I found I did not have a knife in my pocket. Both times I went to a store and bought one! The first time was in Virginia Beach. The second time was in Holly Hill, SC.
    I feel naked without a knife in my pocket!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2021 at 8:36 am

    I have some knives made by Buck, Case, Rapala and Old Timer. My daddy liked Boker knives. I think with Boker you could buy them made with German steel of some other less expensive steel. He kept his knife razor sharp, I have got some scares to prove it!

    • Reply
      January 29, 2021 at 10:35 am

      Rooney, I’m like you, if I have my pants on I have a knife with me. This could have got me in trouble at SS office. The security guard asked if I had a knife and in joking kind of way I told him I had my pants on before I realized that I could not have one in the office. I told him I was sorry and he said he knew what I meant, most all of the older men carried knives. I carried a knife all the way through school along with a lot of other boys and you could not have paid us to have cut someone with them even if we were fighting.

      My daddy sharpened his knives on the whetstone like the Deer Hunter and then would hone them on a piece of leather belt he had tacked to a block of wood.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2021 at 7:30 am

    A knife was a rite of passage for a young boy growing up. I grew up marveling outside the country store or livestock auction watching the men trade knifes. Shaving one’s arm was always a display of the life’s edge. Another tradition that’s gone due to school policies, TSA rules and other changes in today’s society. Smokey Mtn’s knife catalog lays beside the seed catalogs on my coffee table that helps pass the time on these gray winter days.

  • Reply
    John T
    January 29, 2021 at 7:21 am

    Great video! I have an Old Timer pocket knife that’s really old that is one of my favorites. I also have a couple of Case knives as well. My Mora and Rapala knives are good ones too. Lately Ive been carrying a Benchmade pocket knife that really holds an edge well but that one was a little spendy to buy.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 29, 2021 at 6:59 am

    The Deer Hunter has always loved knives and he has always been meticulous in the selection of the knives he bought and with the ones he made. He has also always taken very good care of his knives. He handles them and they know he loves them.
    He always has a knife on him! Always! I’ve never asked him ….but I bet he had a knife on him when he and Tipper got married!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2021 at 6:55 am

    Tipper, the handles on Pap’s knife appear to be celluloid, a synthetic material that has an appearance similar to tortoise shell. Your guitar picks are probably made from it as well.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      January 29, 2021 at 10:19 am

      Did you know that celluloid is made of nitrocellulose and camphor? Nitrocellulose is also known as guncotton. It is used to make modern smokeless gunpowder. As celluloid gets older the camphor tends to escape and with the right amount of heat it goes whoosh. A whoosh that is contained becomes a explosion. I just though I’d throw you that little tidbit to mull over.

      • Reply
        January 29, 2021 at 10:34 am

        For a guitar player that might add a new layer of meaning to the phrase ‘hot licks’.

        • Reply
          Ed Ammons
          January 29, 2021 at 10:25 pm

          Pick guards were made out of celluloid too. I watched a guy repairing a 100 year old guitar on youtube. He was trying to get the pick guard off with a heat gun. I yelled at him to stop but I guess he didn’t hear me. Luckily it didn’t catch fire.

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