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Suppose you do not have a pocket knife. What are some methods you can carry a knife with you in your rucksack without the blade destroying it / hurting you.

Methods I already know:

  • Stick the knife in Styrofoam. Works, but the styrofoam degrades quickly.
  • Wrap the knife in textiles and secure it with strings. Works but is laborious.
  • Wrap the knife in ductape - Leads to complete mess with tape sticking to the blade - Only recommended as a last resort
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    On a smaller scale, I keep a scalpel in a sheath of reinforced PVC pipe I happened to have already. If the knife is single-edged you could use a length of pipe with one side cut along its length to house the sharp side of the blade. But if you have to buy anything, buy a proper sheath, or make one out of leather. Or see this video. Oct 7 at 20:58
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    If you meant polystyrene foam, it can work fine for years, at least for shorter-blade knives, if you use high density foam, the one without visible bubbles that crumble away. It's rarely used for packaging though, and so less likely to be around when needed.
    – Zeus
    Oct 7 at 23:55
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    How big a knife? Hobby knife (X-acto style), paring knife, steak knife, boning knife, (meat) carving knife, chef knife, cleaver? The answers will be different over that range.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Oct 8 at 11:14
  • Does this answer your question? Looking for a solution to store and carry my knife Oct 10 at 9:45
  • @Zeus I was thinking the same. In packaging for lab equipment you get a wider range of foams and some would work very well.
    – Chris H
    Nov 22 at 13:06
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I have carried paring knives in cardboard sheaths wrapped in duct tape and tightened with zip ties and it has worked ok. The key it to make it very tight. The sheath worked for the length of the picnic. I do not that think that would scale to blades larger than a chef's knife or down to an x-acto blade.

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Wrap the blade with any paper material several times and use some tape to secure it tight. For the tip, simply fold and tape to hold it in place.
The knife won't cut through the paper unless you try really hard to; you can try to do it to test if will hold in the rucksack, in my experience it surprisingly works really well.

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  • I use a tea towel in a similar way for transporting sharp knives when camping. Rubber bands instead of tape there, far quicker than string.
    – Chris H
    Nov 22 at 13:04
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Leather has been the sheath material of choice for thousands of years. That would be my first choice.

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You can make a temporary holder from a used food packaging (ie those foil backed or plastic packets that camping meals come in) or just about any durable material and some tape. Same idea as using duct tape but use something without the sticky side between the blade and the tape. You could of course double over the tape so you don't stick the tape to the knife with tape alone.

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Heat-shrinking tube works nicely on thin knifes. If you have some of the right size at hand, then this is very quick prepared (literally just shrink it over the blade, done), it holds on super secure, it's much neater than anything based on paper/tape/cableties, and it also seems to be quite long-lasting – I've used this for years for a small wood-carving knife that I keep in my tool box. Removed and put back dozens of times, and the blade still hasn't cut through it. TBF, a carving knife isn't nearly as sharp as cooking-oriented knifes; maybe it would be a good idea to use two layers to be safe, or shrink in some reinforcing/padding material for the blade to cut in.

Another alternatives I'd consider is to 3D-print a solid sheath. This may be a bit overkill, but it's not at all infeasible nowadays, and obviously this can be rather more reliable than anything you can feasibly improvise.

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  • I suggest you're better off without the glue-lined heatshrink in that case
    – Chris H
    Nov 22 at 13:05
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I'm picturing a sheath knife or a kitchen knife, so I suggest making a sheath. While you could rivet or sew together an offcut of heavy nylon and do it properly, what I propose is simpler:

Take two pieces of foam, from an old/cheap sleeping mat. This should be a few cm longer than the blade, and each a little wider than the blade width. Taper Lie the knife between the two pieces. Tape up the joins with duct tape. If you're feeling fancy, taper the sheath before finishing taping. It should be quite a snug fit at this point. Wrap in more duct tape.

The effect you're aiming for is to pinch the blade between the layers of foam, not to press against the edge. The friction of sleeping mat foam will work for you

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