anon1 June 29, 2009 2:47 PM

I think it is a great idea. I’m not too adept and constantly poke my fingers in the kitchen.

richrumble June 29, 2009 2:54 PM

What about a slit throat… I assume it doesn’t have a warning light and sounds so one could still sneak up on someone, and or use a “real” good stabby knife, shiv, rock, arrowhead… Oh and make everyone drive inflatable car’s… in case all knives in the world are anti-stabby and I decide to push someone into traffic.

was June 29, 2009 3:10 PM

Sort of loses credibility with statements like He said: “It can never be a totally safe knife, but the idea is you can’t inflict a fatal wound. Nobody could just grab one out of the kitchen drawer and kill someone.” Obviously he has never been trained in knife fighting… or read a book… slashing wounds can kill. I like the idea, but don’t use words like ‘Nobody’.

Brett June 29, 2009 3:16 PM

That noise you hear is the sucking sound ouf all common sense evaporating to space.

But I need a stabbing knife how else will I cut throught he plastic packaging on everything I buy.

Not Anonymous June 29, 2009 3:16 PM

The problem is probably, any good kitchen knife must also cut meat well, except possibly for vegetarians. And a knife with a sharp tip can be helpful when cooking. Of course, meat is also what humans are made of, mostly, so it will always at least be a halfway decent weapon. Classical dual use problem.

Still, clever idea. I especially like that it works even if there are sharp-tipped knifes in the drawer, too: if the attacker has to pick a sharp-tipped knife among “safe” ones, this at least distracts, which already helps.

RandomGuy June 29, 2009 3:27 PM

Not a new idea – look at “rescue knives” used when sailing – an inflatable liferaft isn’t the place to use (or drop) a sharp-pointed knife.

Asmor June 29, 2009 3:28 PM

I could see it having a market as a safer knife for use when teaching kids to cook, or in general as an “anti-accident” knife. It might even work quite well in those respects.

But the idea that this knife could stop knife-related crime is absolutely laughable. The only way that would work is if the criminal didn’t have a knife of his own and was relying on grabbing a knife from your drawer, and you didn’t have any traditional knifes at all.

Student June 29, 2009 3:29 PM

Not a totally bad idea. While it’s impossible to make a knife totally safe you can make it harder to use as a weapon… And preventing people from stabbing with the knife goes a long way towards making it safer.

In low-medium security prisons here, where the prisoners still cook their own food they try to supply safe knifes. The solution is a combination of removing the tip and securing the knives to the wall with a wire.

Phillip June 29, 2009 3:31 PM

He said: “It can never be a totally safe knife, but the idea is you can’t inflict a fatal wound. Nobody could just grab one out of the kitchen drawer and kill someone.”

Go for the Jugular! Slice the Jugular!

come on…please.

Drew Thaler June 29, 2009 3:32 PM

I think the reason for pointy knives is fairly clear. Like most good hardware, knives are multi-purpose.

Kitchen knives are used for cooking, sure. But they also come in handy for a variety of random household tasks: opening a tough bag of frozen vegetables, poking holes in the film over a microwavable meal, puncturing a melon, picking something out of a narrow spot, etc. And yes, in a pinch, a pointy knife can even be used for self-defense. That’s just some of the utility that the point adds.

Removing it does what, exactly? Increases “safety”? It’s not as if it’s actually solving a real problem: Nobody accidentally pokes themselves with the point of a knife. So effectively it doesn’t provide any benefit, while decreasing the utility of the knife.

A product that does less, is not any simpler to use, and costs more? I don’t give it good odds to succeed in the marketplace. 🙂

peri June 29, 2009 3:37 PM

“will reduce the risk of accidental injuries.”

Not sure about other people’s injuries with a knife but I have only ever had slices end in cuts. Has anybody here ever had stabbing accident?

The only time I can imagine someone stabbing someone else with a knife is if it is of the prison shiv variety. I thought if people had a choice they would inflict slice wounds; isn’t the Katana famous precisely because its slicing was unmatched until the advent of razor blades?

Alpha Prime June 29, 2009 3:44 PM

Knives are about the only implement of defense I’ll use (I consider guns a sign of cowardice), so if a burglar is in my house and I’m in the kitchen, I’ve got a good source of defense right at hand. One way or another, he will not be leaving the house unharmed. If I do it properly, he’ll not be leaving at all under his own power.

Besides, lots of use for pointy knives in the normal work of making a meal, so this does not sound like a good idea to begin with.

yt June 29, 2009 3:49 PM

@Not Anonymous “The problem is probably, any good kitchen knife must also cut meat well, except possibly for vegetarians. ”

I do think the point of the knife is used for tasks such as de-boning meat and filleting fish (never done either of those myself – I’m a vegetarian), so it’s not just cutting meat that’s important.

I read the older post where Bruce says he doesn’t recall ever using the point of the knife in cooking. I use the tip of the knife when I do fine slicing/chopping, for example, onions and garlic, but I don’t know whether it actually requires the point to work. In my subjective experience, I find it easier to do with a knife that comes to a narrow point than with a broader-bladed knife. One kitchen task that I frequently use the point of the knife for is cutting up a whole watermelon. I usually stab the watermelon and then rotate the knife to cut it in half. Not that that’s necessarily a good idea, but that’s the way I find it easiest to do.

I’m sure there must be other kitchen uses for pointy knives, too.

Mark June 29, 2009 3:50 PM

And “what about pointed sticks”, or screwdrivers, nails, or glass? And let’s make sure all heavy items are chained up.

Who are you, and what have you done with Bruce Schneier?

Jonathan Rockway June 29, 2009 3:53 PM

This is an interesting idea. I am confused as to why people think this is the end of the world. If you buy these, and someone is in your home and feels like killing you, the task will be more difficult for them. Making bad things harder is usually not a bad idea.

It’s important to realize that the government is not mandating these, it’s something you can decide to buy for yourself if you want to.

Personally, I don’t think it’s worth it, but that’s for each individual that needs a set of knives to decide. (It’s like insurance. Your house will probably not burn down or be sucked up by a tornado — but people buy insurance “just in case”.)

yt June 29, 2009 3:56 PM

@peri “Not sure about other people’s injuries with a knife but I have only ever had slices end in cuts. Has anybody here ever had stabbing accident?”

Had a near miss – the pointy knife slipped out of my hand and fell to the floor close to where my foot was before I moved it out of the path of the falling knife. Generally though, most of my knife injuries have been knicks of about the same severity as a papercut.

Louie June 29, 2009 3:59 PM

A sharp edge on a knife is usually a more effective weapon than the point. Many knife-centric martial arts (examples: Kali, knife fighting seminars by Insights training) teach the attacker to slash and cut rather than to stab; stabs (while still potentially deadly) often miss vital organs and arteries, hit ribs, or get jarred out of hands. Slashing motions are more effective at severing tendons and arteries that will cause massive bleeding and end the fight sooner.

This knife can still be used to kill and injure. Even the lip on the end that is meant to “catch on clothing and skin” looks to me like it only catches if you attempt to stab, not to slice. This knife isn’t really that much safer than a traditional pointed knife.

Balparda June 29, 2009 4:08 PM

But the idea that this knife could stop knife-related crime is absolutely
laughable. The only way that would work is if the criminal didn’t have a
knife of his own and was relying on grabbing a knife from your drawer,
and you didn’t have any traditional knifes at all.
All the above, and the criminal would have to have no idea that slashing
wounds can hurt, maim or kill. Slashing is the reason a criminal with a knife
is harder to stop than with bare hands. For example, if you grab the arm with
the knife, it may be hard for the criminal to stab with it, but it is much easier
to slash. Of course, there are many levels of fighting and a pointless knife is
a poorer weapon. Even so, this may be so basic that there need to be no
training to discover. The trade-offs don’t convince me this will help a lot.

Mark June 29, 2009 4:09 PM

Jonathan Rockway: nobody says it’s the end of the world. It’s just clearly flawed, like throwing away all liquids on an airport. And if the right hysterical people shout loud enough, it could become law.

Vox June 29, 2009 4:09 PM

If the lip is wide it’s going to be rather awkward to work with – tips are usually thin to reduce resistance to cutting (think chopping vegetables, slicing foods, etc.)

If the lip is thin, it will offer less resistance when stabbing.

shadowfirebird June 29, 2009 4:11 PM

The point of a knife is indeed very useful for de-boning meat. Unless you are a trained butcher, this is a tricky process, and a good knife with a point helps a lot.

And you can kill someone with a knife by slashing. Although I am far from being an expert in knife fighting, I would have thought it was the better technique, even — a lunge puts you off balance.

Vox June 29, 2009 4:11 PM


Subsequently there will calls for a knife sharpener ban, dremel ban, file ban, etc.

John Wilson June 29, 2009 4:14 PM

Most of the deaths by stabbing in the UK are with knives carried in the street by people who think they are for “protection”. There must be several hundred million pointed knives in the UK today. How long would it take for the pointed knives to work their way out of the system (we have and use daily knives which are more than 50 years old).

Also it’s the work of an hour or less to grind a point onto these knives.

Granted these knives would prevent “spur of the moment” stabbings in domestic disputes but how common are these compared with street disputes?

Clive Robinson June 29, 2009 4:19 PM

@ peri

“Has anybody here ever had stabbing accident?”

Not sure what sort of cooking you do, but yup had a few opening oysters, tunnel boneing a leg of pork for “air curing” and a number when removing the skin of wild boar and rabbit.

Any time you are boneing out a joint or fowl you use a stabing motion down the length of the bone you are removing which is why it’s often best to ask your butcher to do it for you.

Also cuting / slicing certain vegtables (cherry toms chilli peppers etc) with a small knife you often stab first to make a small hole in the outer skin of the vegtable

Which brings me onto

@ Brett,

“But I need a stabbing knife how else will I cut throught he plastic packaging on everything I buy.”

The Times link Bruce posted is giving me a 404. However if this is the knife that appeared in the newspaper last week then it’s design gives you a small but usable point for piercing vegtable skins and plastic packaging and microwave meals covers. Oddly it is needed in the design so that it will “wad up” with clothing if somebody does try to stab you with it.

Which brings me onto the main point,

In the UK most knife crime currently is youths carrying (but not often using) cheap plastic handeled kitchen knives you would by in the high st supermarket.

Often they have a “show and scare” element about them (ie an 8″ or above carving knife), few if any of those that use them have even the remotest clue about how to fight with a knife.

There is a prevalent myth in youth culture that a leg or arm stab is not going to kill or permanently maim your oponent just disable them enough so you can get away.

Unfortunatly both the leg and arms have arteries close to the surface in several places, and a stab/slash to the inside thigh near the groin is as likley to prove fatal as one to the neck (anywhere you can feel a pulse can be cut to kill you).

If you realy are out to kill someboby a small electricians screwdriver or even a ball point pen driven with only moderate force into an ear or just below it behind the jaw upwards at around 60deg is likley to do the job with minimal noise or blood shed.

As normal if you want to know more go find a copy of “All in fighting” by AE Fairburn, published during WWII for training the more able of the home gaurd selected for “stay behind” activities.

Impossibly Stupid June 29, 2009 4:23 PM

“impossible to stab someone to death”

I love the word impossible. I wager that the inventor would not be willing to personally test his claim. I don’t care how rounded and dull the point of his knife is, getting poked hard repeatedly by a thin metal sliver with a sharp edge is going to cause life-threatening wounds.

Karl Lembke June 29, 2009 4:41 PM

This may not be a very new idea.
From Wired:

“1637: Perhaps weary of watching dinner guests picking their teeth with the points of their daggers, Cardinal Richelieu orders the blades of his dinnerware to be ground down and rounded off. Et voilà, the modern dinner knife is born.”

At least one source has asserted that rounding off the ends of daggers was intended to cut down on impromptu dueling at the dinner table, but this seems to be urban legend.

Roger June 29, 2009 4:44 PM

I’m surprised and saddened. This idea seems to violate everything that Bruce stands for.

Who are you, and what have you done with the real Bruce Schneier?

Anonymous June 29, 2009 4:53 PM

I hope we will soon see a ban on roof-top solar water heaters, since people falling off the roof whilst cleaning their water heater is a more prevalent cause of death than accidental kitchen stabbings (and of course this product has no useful effect on deliberate ones.)

PackagedBlue June 29, 2009 5:04 PM

Sure proves that SECURITY and FUNCTION can be either the same or not, depending upon the circumstances and needs.

A normal hacksaw blade, is an anti-stab knife, not sharp, somewhat helpful, secure for idiots, but not really functional for butchers.

Reminds me of a popular operating system.

Simon June 29, 2009 5:11 PM

As I’m sure people in Whitehall are currently busy investigating whether there is political mileage in banning knives, I can’t help drawing a parallel to the UK ban on hand guns, which – much to the politician’s surprise – has failed spectacularly in eliminating gun crime.

The problem with dictating behaviour is that people have a tendency of not doing as they’re told. Instead, coming up with dangerous ideas such as the renaissance, voting rights for women and the end to apartheid. Or, indeed, mass murder.

However, I would much rather risk getting caught in the crossfire of a local gang shootout than head down a route that in the interest of “safety” makes society punish me for things I could (rather than might or would, let alone have already) commit(ted).

Alexey June 29, 2009 5:17 PM

Good idea, but I (fairly untrained person) still can effectively kill people with screwdriver. They probably should regulate this too.

Also they need to do something with piano and bass-guitar strings – there’s a lot of movies where killers use strings as a weapon.

W. Smith June 29, 2009 5:28 PM

John Hardin at June 29, 2009 2:42 PM: “I weep for the place where Great Britain used to be.”

You mean Airstrip One?

N June 29, 2009 5:48 PM

Next invention:

Chain mail suits, gloves, and so on to prevent knives from causing injuries.

rdsc June 29, 2009 5:57 PM

Seems like a good enough example of “threat reduction” to me. Don’t think Bruce was suggesting that the bad guys will stop carrying pointy knives just because there’s an alternative.

Matt June 29, 2009 6:01 PM

My favorite “unpointy” knife to use in my kitchen is my handy, dandy Meat Cleaver. They slice, dice and julien quite nicely without a point. They can also make a very effective close quarters weapon in a pinch. They come in various sizes and weights, my most used has a 6 inch blade. I think my Santoku bladed knives are also “unpointy” and they slice and dice nicely as well. I wouldn’t hesitate to use one on an opponent either.

John Wiedemann June 29, 2009 6:28 PM

Well this may increase gun sales. If I am preparing a snack and suddenly decide I must kill the postman, I will need to make sure I have a revolver handy, as the (#$%(^ knife I am using will not serve my needs. Damn!

John Wiedemann June 29, 2009 6:28 PM

Well this may increase gun sales. If I am preparing a snack and suddenly decide I must kill the postman, I will need to make sure I have a revolver handy, as the (#$%(^ knife I am using will not serve my needs. Damn!

B. Real June 29, 2009 6:40 PM

“When they outlaw pointy knives, then only outlaws will have pointy knives”.
– so it should be easy to spot the bad guys by their pointy knives …

NE Patriot June 29, 2009 6:41 PM

Bruce, as someone in the Times comment section noted, this isn’t a solution at all. When the people are told they can’t use objects deemed as weapons, they turn to open-hand martial arts techniques.
It’s all what you say about security: tell someone they can’t do one thing, and they’ll circumvent the system by doing another.
Defend the airports; they turn to attack the shopping malls and hotels. Defend against explosives and guns, they turn to box cutters and pilot’s licenses.

Ben in AZ June 29, 2009 6:45 PM

Well gee, this is a good start, but I still think they need to add ‘anti-chop’ and ‘anti-cut’ features too, just to be completely sure… We don’t want any Brit’s using those notorious chopping or cutting loopholes. Oh, and how about some ‘anti-poke’ sticks – when might they be on the market?

Wow, so much can I say about the mentality of thinking this is needed, but for desire to keep my comments family friendly…

Filias Cupio June 29, 2009 7:18 PM

40 to 50 pounds? I’m not to familiar with normal costs in the UK, but when I translate that into my local currency, that is a pretty expensive knife.

@roger (and others)
“Who are you, and what have you done with the real Bruce Schneier?”

Huh? He simply reported the fact of the knife. He made no statement of approval. If you follow the “already written” link, you’ll see the real Bruce there.

pfogg June 29, 2009 7:50 PM

The article says the knife ‘went on sale’…I didn’t see anything about introducing government regulation of the pointy variety.

Furthermore, unlike products with cryptographic functionality, there are no hard-to-understand or hidden design features — the knife is exactly what it looks like. People generally have a good, intuitive grasp of how sharp objects work, and some people might find it useful somehow (although, at ‘around £40-50’ it probably won’t be useful enough to buy except at surplus/closeout prices).

I grant that from a security perspective this product belongs ‘in the doghouse’, but the only practical problems created by its manufacture and sale on the open market seem to be that an inventor is making absurd claims, and a government agency wasted money or resources testing it. I don’t see how we get from there to ‘I weep for Great Britain’…

Norris Lurker June 29, 2009 8:50 PM

Sailor’s knives traditionally have blunt points, and legend has it that this was supposed to cut down on fighting, or at least knife fighting. Supposedly when new men came aboard a ship, they were taken to the shop where a mate would clamp their knives in a vise and break off the tips.

Sean June 29, 2009 10:33 PM

Umm… Stabbing is only one use for a knife. This doesn’t remove it from the weapon category, only prevents one method of wounding. Slicing and cleaving will very efficiently kill as well, and can be less survivable than a misplaced stab wound.

Given the price, it’s for people who need a conversation piece, or else are really clutzy about knife usage and have dropped a regular knife point down into their foot, or are in the habit of cutting towards themselves in a manner such that they are prone to stabbing themselves. The only other reasoning is that you supposedly couldn’t grab it in a heat of the moment domestic, but then it probably isn’t the only one in the drawer.

As to preventing it from being a stabbing weapon, a little scraping away on a concrete step will take care of that problem. Which probably means that the intruder carrying his own kitchen knife will have the better weapon when you reach for the knife drawer.

Sebastian June 30, 2009 1:03 AM

I’m constantly amazed by the lack of risk management skills displayed by the comments of this blog. This is obviously not a solution to all of the worlds problems, it is just a way of reducing a risk.

Most people are not skilled knife fighters and quite a lot (most?) killings in homes are done by someone known to the victim that stabs the victim with a knife from the kitchen in a fit of rage. It’s that scenario that this knife is supposed to protect against. It is not about preventing someone from murdering someone else (which is a lower risk). It is not about stopping the skilled knife fighter (which is also a lower risk since there are a lot fewer of those).

See the point? 😉

f June 30, 2009 1:45 AM

What a great idea!

Now you just need to persuade people who are going to stab someone to use this knife and…

Charlie Mason June 30, 2009 2:11 AM

Kinda odd though.
The country where Jack the Ripper hails from fears stabbing more than slashing.

Mashiara June 30, 2009 2:39 AM

I’d guess the point here is that if you kitchen has no pointy knives then when someone not trained in knife fighting flips they will have slightly harder time killing anyone.

Stabbing is easy and it’s surprisingly hard to defend against someone who just keeps coming like a singer (the sewing machine), it’s like the old saying: the best swordsman in the world has nothing to fear from the second best, however the worst one can be dangerous (rationale being that the worst one has no idea of even the proper way to wield the sword and thus can do something completely unexpectable and by luck it might work).

See also the historical reasons for separate steak knives.

Also pointed elsewhere there are plenty special purpose knives with blunt tips; my diving knife has a blunt tip (If I’m tangled with something I don’t want to make it worse by accidentally poking myself when trying to get the cutting blade to some no-doubt difficult place).

to kill/incapasitate slashing you need to go for the major arteries and apart from the jugular they simply are hard to reach/cut unless you have trained knife-fighting and people tend to instinctively guard their necks (getting a hand in between if nothing else).

The martial arts style I train in includes some modern military style knife-fighting, and there are basically two ways to end the opponent:

  1. multiple stabs to vital areas
  2. strong cut (as opposed to quick slash) across the jugular and/or back of the neck (cutting the spinal cord)

To get into position to do these is the difficult part…

dot tilde dot June 30, 2009 3:03 AM

pointy knife – that sounds so monty python…

.~. (sitting on a comfy chair).

Clive Robinson June 30, 2009 4:33 AM

@ Charlie Mason,

“The country where Jack the Ripper hails from fears stabbing more than slashing.”

Although Jack the Ripper has not been formaly identified (since he fled the country and is now long dead and buried).

It would appear that despite all the conspiracy theories about the Royal Family, Jack was not a native of Britain (the various accounts and theories make very interesting reading and teach a lot about how fear, politics, limited resources etc effect society and how it’s policed).

The leading contender for the title Jack the Ripper is one Dr. Tumblety American citizen of Rochester NY.

For many reasons he fits the profile of a serial killer (including having a collection uteri) and as far as we can tell fits the description of the “Batty Street Lodger” who was at the time the prime suspect for the “Whitechapel murders” (and still remains so).

He was even arrested at the time of the killings on suspicion of having committed the murders.

However due to various reasons that are not entirly clear he was able to flee the country on 24th Nov.

Evans and Gainey outline fifteen reasons why they believe he is the most likley to be responsable for the five Whitechapel murders, (due to other supposadly related crimes showing copy cat style).

Somewhat fittingly the earthly remains of Dr. Tumblety are buried in section 13 of the Holy Sepulchra Cemetery Rochester on Lake Ave. (Monroe County, New York).

This old cemetary is quite large covering many hecters and is entered via an imposing Victorian gothic style gateway.

Troy June 30, 2009 4:35 AM


Objectively, it’s completely obvious that this knife is supposed to protect against someone in the spur of the moment grabbing a knife from the drawer and trying to attack someone else…

But nothing exists in a vacuum. Britain currently exists under the shadow of the threat of knife crime, at least as far as parts of the media portray it. And certainly amongst parts of youth culture it’s part of life. As Clive mentions above, these youths carry knives because they feel they need to, but don’t actually know how to use them.

But these kids won’t be carrying around a 40 pound knife, either… they’ll be carrying the 2 pound sharp knife picked up from the local “2 dollar shop” equivalent.

Neighborcat June 30, 2009 7:15 AM

I’ve already written about this, etc…

As a woodworker, engineer, and connoisseur of good knives and sharp things in general, I can identify some of the reasons for the continued existence of pointy ends on longer blades, in the order of what I believe to be greatest to least effect.

1. Consumer expectations: Same reason most vacuum cleaners are intentionally much louder than necessary. People subconsciously equate the effectiveness of the vacuum with its noise level, and if you give the buying public a pencil and ask them to draw a knife, they will give it a pointy end. Whether this is a bow to knives' potential use as a weapon, or a demonstration of the inertia of public perception is a matter for a different letter.

2. Mechanics of balance: Most users are comfortable with a blade that has a balance point (more accurately, the center of the moment of inertia, for fellow nerds) close to the transition from handle to blade. If a blade is longer than the handle it is attached to, the simplest means of maintaining the proper balance it to taper the blade. If a blade tapers in thickness, intuitive design dictates that it should also taper in width, maintaining a relatively constant aspect ratio in cross section. This results in a point.

3. Mechanics of curved cuts: The minimum radius of a concave curved cut that a knife can make is limited by the width of the blade. In order to maximize utility, some portion of a blade should be very narrow if curved cuts are intended. Mechanics of materials dictates that the narrow portion should be at the end of a tapering blade; in other words, it should come to a point.

4. Mechanics of cutting in swung blades: Blades that are intended to be used dynamically, or swung, such as a machete, can actually require a point for best effect. As you know, a slicing cut is most often more effective than simply forcing a blade into a material perpendicular to the edge. There are two reasons for this which I won't go into here; suffice to say that in order to achieve this slicing motion in a swung blade, the cutting edge is set at an angle to the direction of travel. This can result in a curved blade, as in the scimitar, or more commonly, a long blade that tapers to a point. This doesn't apply to kitchen knives, as most aren't swung, and cleavers are intended to cut by wedging, as slicing is ineffective on rigid materials such as bone.

I have always carried knives when I'm out and about. I also usually carry some form of pliers, a flashlight, a pen; in one word, tools. My primary knife is a tanto-blade 3.95" lockblade clipped into my pocket, and sometimes it is visible. From time to time I am questioned on why I'm carrying a weapon, and have to explain the following:

I have never, and hopefully never will use a knife in self-defense and certainly not in anger for the simple fact that a knife is only an effective weapon in a very few situations where you have an element of surprise and intend to permanently disable or more likely kill your opponent outright. I don't put myself in those type of situations.

The situation I am more likely to encounter is a belligerent attack borne out of anger or intent of robbery. In this situation, I don't want to kill, but only temporarily disable or merely slow down my opponent enough to get away, a very poor task for a knife. Deep puncture wounds from stabbing or lacerations from slicing do not disable unless very carefully placed, leaving you with an enraged attacker, a slippery sharp blade in your hand, and very likely legal charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

I do not think that availability of pointy knives should be placed in the same security category as handguns for two reasons. One, long pointy knives have more legitimate uses than defense or attack. And two, pointy knives, or any knife, derives its effectiveness from the skill and strength of the user. Handguns derive their effectiveness from stored chemical energy and require almost no skill to create deadly force.

At the end of the day, security risk lies not in the tools a person uses to attack others; it lies in the intent of the mind wielding the tools. Deprived of one tool, a person with intent will choose another. Mathematically, you can consider this unbounded, iteration without end; therefore, we would be better from an efficiency standpoint to attempt to limit the causes of intent and vulnerability to attack rather than the tools of attack.

John Cleese June 30, 2009 7:20 AM


dhasenan June 30, 2009 7:46 AM

“Has anybody here ever had stabbing accident?”

Yes. It involved a sword. It was self-inflicted. I still have the scar — it’s about 3mm across, on my thumb.

Note to self: katanas are not the best stabbing instrument around

Zaphod June 30, 2009 9:08 AM


Great post. I too always carry such tools. I have recently changed to a non locking blade (The Spyderco UK penknife) for my carry everywhere knife when in the UK.

Whilst locking or fixed blade knives are not illegal to carry in the UK, you won’t have much luck convincing the average PC Plod and there’s no way they are going to get me on their DNA db.


N V June 30, 2009 9:40 AM

A set of fine hand-crafted anti-stabbing knives — what a great wedding gift 🙂

But no kitchen will ever be truly safe until someone invents a springy handled frying pan.

mcb June 30, 2009 9:47 AM

And to think these regulators and their subjects are the great-grandchildren of the men who resolved to repel an imminent Nazi invasion using nothing more than bayonets welded to lengths of iron pipe if that was the only weapon the Home Guard could provide. Next stop, harmless cricket bats…and easy open bags of pre-chopped fruit and veg.

C June 30, 2009 10:28 AM

I like coming back to read more comments 🙂

I see the ‘no weapon for an intruder’ comments, but seriously. If a guy is breaking into your home WITHOUT the means to protect him (or rather hurt you)… But even that is negated by the ‘slashing’ argument.

This knife would be useful in the event that someone accidentally drops a knife. It wouldn’t stab their foot. Otherwise it seems to me more of a ‘feel good’ type of purchase with marginally increased safety.

Clive Robinson June 30, 2009 11:46 AM

@ N V,

“But no kitchen will ever be truly safe until someone invents a springy handled frying pan.”

Hmm I suspect that a springy handle on a frying pan would actually make it considerably more dangerous to use both for cooking and braining sombody cartoon style.

Mind you on a pan for making pancakes and the like it could actually be an improvment 😉

And if you realy must brain somebody how about a good old fashioned cast iron and enamal skillet?

ac June 30, 2009 12:09 PM

In our kitchen we have chef’s knives, Santoku style knives in a couple of sizes. several paring knives in a chef’s pattern, several conventional pattern “high-point” 10″ utility knives and conventional pattern “high-point” paring knives. The optimal knife to slice the meat on the table last night for serving was a 10″ conventional pattern utility knife. That alone put the curve of the edge in the correct location for SLICING. Using the “stab-free” knife, a Santoku style knife or a chef’s knife would have been very clumsy because the slicing edge would have been in the wrong place. Likewise we use the conventional pattern paring knives for removing the seeds from peppers because of both the point and the location of the curved slicing edge. As observed by others slicing of tomatoes and some other fruits is expedited by having a point available.

A. C.

Anonyous Coward June 30, 2009 12:21 PM

Dull comments.

Knife affects mindset.

Dull tools make for verbose mindsets, even in thought.

Perhaps a fundamental human security issue, try to make things safe, you get mindless dangers.

We all being shrink tested here?

Clive Robinson June 30, 2009 12:35 PM

@ Zaphod,

“you won’t have much luck convincing the average PC Plod and there’s no way they are going to get me on their DNA db.”

Well you might be in for a surprise.

There have been a number of cases in the UK where people have been arrested, charged and either been to court or copped to a caution for carrying sharp edged metal objects that they either did not consider to be knives (credit card sized flat multi-tool) or have an insufficient sized blade (less than the 10cm/4in you hear about).

It turns out there is a law that the police have dug up that enables them to decide if it is a weapon or not and if it represents a danger to the public…

One young person was taken to court and the “moraly outraged” brigade got hot under the collar over the fact that the magistrate dismised the case and took out his pocket knife in the court and basicaly told the police officer that as the weapon concerned was smaller than his pocket knife which was as far as the magistrate was concerned legal.

Oh and if you do get pulled and they offer you a caution do not under any circumstances take it.

Although the police will try to sell it to you as a quick and quite way of dealing with it it is not.

It is the same as pleading guilty to the charges and will follow you through the rest of your life, you will be barred from quite a few proffessions and it will be used against you in any other future court action under the “bad charecter” gateway protocol.

Worse your DNA will be kept in perpetuity without question.

It is on balance better to take your chances in court as on average your chance of being convicted currently in the UK is less than 42% (better if you have no other convictions).

Tom Stone June 30, 2009 12:44 PM

Anyone with any training knows that the easiest way to lose a knife in a fight is to stab. The point can get stuck in bone so that when the victim turns their body the knife is pulled from the attacker’s hands. A good knife fighter slashes for the arteries to bleed out the victim.

A stab proof knife only protects against the emotional attacker that doesn’t know how to use a knife.

Anonymous June 30, 2009 12:46 PM

Nobody that knows anything about knives and fighting arts thinks this is a “safe” knife simply because you can’t stab with it. Only a complete dullard and dilletante would design this knife thinking it would have no utility as a weapon. I can think of several well-regarded edged weapons on the market right now that lack a ready stab design, but are very formidable (any blade arts person knows these knives). A sad comment on security theatre and crime hysteria.

dhasenan June 30, 2009 12:58 PM

A few bladed weapons that have been widely used to hurt people without stabbing:

  • kukri
  • battleaxe
  • halberd
  • mattock
  • machete

Of these, machetes and kukris see a reasonable amount of use these days. I’m not aware of any stabbing weapon that sees as much use.

Gord June 30, 2009 1:57 PM

A little historical note: when the Europeans first started trading with the native North Americans on the west coast of what is now Canada, they were reluctant to trade knives, for fear of giving the natives weapons they could use against the Europeans. Their solution was to bend the point of the knives into a hook, so they couldn’t be used as a stabbing weapon. The local folks loved them. They were perfect for carving out dugout canoes! Or so I was told in history class…

So anyway, it’s not a completely new idea.

Steve June 30, 2009 2:44 PM

I suspect the main utility in having a pointless knife would be in the “crime of passion”, where someone grabs a knife and starts stabbing.

As far as chef’s knives go, I like a standard 10 inch knife for most everything. I used to use a santoku style knife, which has a bluntish point (but there’s still a bit of one) but I didn’t like the balance.

I can cut all day with my 10 inch chef’s knife (and sometimes have). I don’t know if the taper has anything to do that, as such.

But I rarely use it for poking or piercing things. If I need to do that, I generally grab a smaller paring knife, but that could be just me — there’s no particular reason for doing so that I can think of.

As someone else pointed out, the main use of the point of a chef’s knife is probably dispatching lobsters. Put the tip of the knife about an inch behind the eyes, push down, and bifurcate the head. As Alton Brown puts it “The bug will be dead instantaneously. No fuss.”

JardaP June 30, 2009 4:22 PM

Jaysus, Bruce, what would you do with this piece of garbage? Were you ever actually cooking? Have you ever cleaned a fish? If I was ever forced to cook with this nonsense, the first thing to do would be to take it to a bench grinder and make it into a normal, plain, stab knife. Centuries of development gave certain things a shape which can hardly be improved, despite our technological progress. Lets let them that way and lets don’t make them politically correct.

I’m waiting when someone invents an anti-smash or anti-hit hammer or an anti-strangle and anti-hang cord.

averros July 1, 2009 3:30 AM

Heh. Amateurs stab in a knife fight. Experts slash.

To stab effectively you need a dagger – and the real fighting daggers aren’t small. I have a lady’s rondel gathering dust in my place… and it’s blade is foot-long.

bob July 1, 2009 7:03 AM

@John Wiedemann: Be careful in going after the postman. Ever heard the term “going postal”?

@Davi Ottenheimer: If safety is REALLY a priority, we need to have an anti-drive car or better yet an anti-talk politician.

Clive Robinson July 1, 2009 7:09 AM

News items in the London (UK) free newspaper METRO today,

1, “Web Knife Sales ‘must be banned'”

2, “Shopper with just £20 stabbed in street”

3, “OAP Floors Burglar”

4, “Killer boyfriend cleared of murdering sex cheats”

All are about knife crime in the UK.

The second is about an horific attack against an 82 year old shopper as she walked home from a TESCO store in Harlesden NW London. Mrs Driscoll was left fighting for her life after being stabed the Police do not think her attacker took anything.

The third is about a knife wealding burglar Gregory McCalium who broke into 72 year old neighbour Frank Corti’s house. Apparently Mr Corti an ex boxer floored McCalium like a sack of potatoes. 23 year old McCalium was sentanced to four and a half years.

The fourth is about William Canston who was suffering from depression after the death of his baby son a few months earlier cam home to find the mother having sex with his beast friend. Canston was found guilty of “manslaughter by reason of provocation” not murder and will be sentenced later this month.

So knife crime is in London atleast a fairly newsworthy subject, which is probably what has prompted the promotion of this knife.

Roger July 1, 2009 7:54 AM

@Filias Cupio:

Huh? He simply reported the fact of the knife. He made no statement of approval.

Not true. He said: “This no-stabbing knife is the solution, and seems not to be a joke.”

In the previous article, he said:
“Of course it’s ridiculous….” but then followed up with “But the researchers actually have a point– so to speak –…”

b friend July 1, 2009 8:01 AM

beast friend 😉
Knives, and particularly the fighting knife and the kitchen knife are mature technology, having come from obsidian blades to modern stainless. the pointy part has been thought through in both the fighting and the cooking/skinning, types. These are optimised for the work they are dedicated to. theres just nothing really new and many attempts at making some new knife are going to be evolutionary dead ends. as is the knife mentioned above.

Brad July 1, 2009 8:50 AM

Lets take a quick look at the article and motivations –

1 – There are numerous stabbing deaths
2 – These stabbings most often used kitchen knives

The article fails to mention, but we know from other stats, that these deaths are most likely one member of the household attacking another, rather than involving an intruder. Additionally, as mentioned, intruders would likely bring their own weapon.

If you have enough reason to suspect that another member of your household might stab you that you are motivated to purchase a non-stabbing knife, you need to make some other significant changes to your life immediately.

(As an aside, a blunt-tipped knife does make sense for those who don’t need the point and are concerned about accidents.)

Zaphod July 1, 2009 11:48 AM

“1, “Web Knife Sales ‘must be banned'” ”

Anyone tried to purchase a knife on eBay recently? (for UK residents)…. not possible and not just from UK sellers either.


N V July 1, 2009 12:30 PM

That’s what I’m wondering — what’s the market for such a knife. Maybe the elderly? But just as dull knives are much more dangerous than sharp ones, you’d probably see more accidents with dull points.

Annie July 1, 2009 4:41 PM

Brad writes:
” If you have enough reason to suspect that another member of your household might stab you that you are motivated to purchase a non-stabbing knife, you need to make some other significant changes to your life immediately.”

My 80-year-old father has never been violent or abusive, and I can’t imagine him ever harming someone intentionally.

However, he has dementia, and he becomes frightened and upset easily. If he were sufficiently agitated, he might well perceive a need for self-defense.

There was a recent news story about an elderly man being Tasered in the hospital under similar circumstances.

I can see the usefulness of the blunt point if there’s a chance that the knife might be accessible to someone with a similar condition.

a lurker July 1, 2009 5:28 PM

@ Clive Robinson
“… having sex with his beast friend.”

Thank you, Clive, that was the funniest typo I’ve seen in weeks.

Clive Robinson July 1, 2009 6:12 PM

@ Zaphod,

“Anyone tried to purchase a knife on eBay recently? (for UK residents)….”

That was similar to my thoughts as well when reading the article, which is why I made no comment on it’s content.

@ a lurker,

“Thank you, Clive, that was the funniest typo I’ve seen in weeks.”

I’m glad to be of service.

You could say it just slipped in due to the size of my apendage and the size of the buttons it was trying to push…

It’s the trouble with mobile phone browsing, my left thumb (the apendage in question) easily covers the WEASDZX keys on it’s tiny keyboard.

Roger July 2, 2009 6:51 AM

My apologies to Bruce and to Filias. I guess the irony was too subtle, or my caffeine levels too low, or somesuch.

Anonymous July 2, 2009 12:32 PM

“So knife crime is in London atleast a fairly newsworthy subject, which is probably what has prompted the promotion of this knife.”

Well, yes Clive — because they have already banned guns. The UK is living, breathing proof that those who see bans as a solution tend to keep looking for problems.

MysticKnightoftheSea July 3, 2009 6:03 AM

@ alpha prime
“Knives are about the only implement of defense I’ll use (I consider guns a sign of cowardice), so if a burglar is in my house and I’m in the kitchen, I’ve got a good source of defense right at hand.”

Criminals (including burglars) are not known for their courage, and will arm themselves as they see fit. I will not handicap myself by choosing a lesser weapon when I have a greater one available. The burglar may say they are only after my possesions, but many families (google “home invasion connecticut family three die” for an example) may discover differently.

I’m not a coward if I defend by family with a gun.

Besides, if the house is dark, most likely my family and I are asleep. My kitchen knives are out of reach unless I take one with me to bed.

Now, to be back on topic, most baddies would bring their own tools. I doubt they’d bring a non-pointy knife, even if they had to sharpen this one on the sidewalk for a while.

And we are in agreement on the utility of pointy knives: the one in my pocket gets more use around the kitchen than anything in the cutlery drawer, at least for opening packages.

Just my opinion.


Jonadab the Unsightly One July 3, 2009 7:08 AM

But I need a stabbing knife how else will I cut
throught he plastic packaging on everything I buy.

With a good pair of scissors. HTH.HAND.

My mom would probably buy some of these, if they were at all cost-competitive with other knives, on the grounds that she could toss them into the dishwater and not worry about poking her fingers when she reaches her hands in. She’s afraid of that with regular knives.

Jonadab the Unsightly One July 3, 2009 7:16 AM

Knives are about the only implement of defense
I’ll use (I consider guns a sign of cowardice)

I consider using a knife as a weapon to be just as cowardly as using a gun as a weapon. Real courage means facing down machine-gun-wielding burglars with a stern glare, grabbing them by the ear, marching them into the den, and standing there, arms akimbo, while they write out a full confession.

err July 3, 2009 3:13 PM

I just hope it wasn’t patented or anything, I don’t think the rounded edge is much of a novel idea, mostly because I already have a couple of knives with rounded edges at home?

MysticKnightoftheSea July 8, 2009 4:05 AM

@ Jonadab

That is indeed brave. For myself, I fear I need the moral support of “Ol’ Betsy” to back up my assertion that the intruders cease and desist.

More power to you, though!


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