The myth is not true — it’s not only dull knives that cut you

I know they say it’s the dull knives that’ll cut you, but in my experience, you need to watch out for the sharp ones, too.

Back before I was asked to not come back to Boy Scouts, I remember a Scout Master telling us it’s the dull knives that end up cutting people. My reaction was probably one of the first strikes against me.

In my typical fashion, I shifted my mouth into drive before engaging my brain. I think I said something to the effect of, “Yeah, a dull knife’ll cut your finger, but it takes a really sharp one to lop that sucker clean off.”

It has since been explained to me that a dull blade will slip more easily, making it more likely to hop off whatever you’re trying to cut and lodge itself in your flesh. I’ve also demonstrated that phenomenon a few times.

But I’ve also had an extremely sharp knife slice right through a loop of canvas or a piece of baling twine with a whole lot less resistance than I thought it was going to meet, and the next thing I know, I have a blade buried all the way to the hilt in my upper thigh.

I’ll give my old Scout Master credit for trying to encourage us to keep our blades sharp, because after years of trial and error, I’ll tell you I’d much rather cut myself with a sharp blade than a dull one. The sharp ones sting a little, but the dull ones cause an aching throb, and the wounds don’t heal nearly as quickly.

I had my most recent mishap with a blade while I was cooking dinner. I was trying to slice a tomato, but the knife was just mushing it instead of cutting. So I broke out two diamond stones and put a fresh edge on that knife.

After running it along the medium hone, then taking several passes with the extra fine one, I had a nice, sharp knife in my hand. Unfortunately, I didn’t adjust my approach to the tomato accordingly. The first cut I made went right through the tomato and deep into the tip of my left thumb. I could actually feel the blade catch when it hit the bone.

The first thing that came to mind was my old Scout Master telling us it’s the dull knives that cut you. Heck, that knife couldn’t even cut a tomato until I put a new edge on it, then it darn near took my thumb off.

No, it’s not the dull ones that’ll cut you. It’s the carelessly wielded ones.