11 Uses For The Penknife – Modern & Ancient Uses

A penknife

Throughout history, people have used sharp tools to complete various actions. Such tools provided high utility and transformed different efforts painless. One of these tools is the penknife. Today, many people own and use it for many purposes. 

Today, individuals use penknives mainly as utility tools. Such means assist the user with performing various actions, such as sharpening a pencil, opening a can, and starting a fire. Because of its benefits, lately, penknives’ popularity has increased. 

Even though the penknife became popular, some used it way back. Other than the obvious uses such a tool has, there are surprising uses for the penknife. In this post, we’ll go over the different usages of the penknife.

Defending yourself (Self-Defense)

2 children fighting
Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

In 2020, 74,403 aggravated assaults occurred in the US. Thus keeping yourself safe should be a top priority. Because of that, many people have decided to arm themselves. As you may know, owning a firearm requires you to go through a long process. That’s why many people have decided to buy a penknife. 

A penknife is lightweight, tactical, compact, easily accessible, and, most importantly, deadly. Therefore, many people have decided to buy one to ensure their safety. Lastly, it’s an intimidating weapon to have. Thus it’s capable of forcing the attacker to flee. 

Self-defense is the ability and right of every person to defend themselves if they must. It’s a right that we must use in threatening situations. Therefore, we must prepare ourselves in case we need to use it. Consequently, arming yourself is a fantastic idea anyone should do. 

While many people prefer to arm themselves using a pistol, some arm themselves with a penknife. Buying such a tool is effortless. In most regulated countries, it’s legal. Hence it reflects low effort to get one compared to other lethal weapons.

Cutting Rope

Although this isn’t a whole topic, I’ve decided to include it. Cutting rope can assist plenty. People who have various outdoor hobbies will encounter situations where they need a cut rope to complete particular actions. Hunters, for instance, may need to cut a string to tie a broken backpack. 

I’ve encountered plenty of situations where I needed to fix ripped equipment. Once, my backpack’s strap had torn apart. Therefore, I needed to tie it back, or it would’ve caused potential back injuries. 

For that, I’ve used the penknife that I always carry with me to cut a rope. Later, I used it to tie my straps back together. 

There are plenty of other threatening situations you may need to cut strings to solve. Therefore, it’s invariably wise to carry yarn and a penknife. That will lead to you not being caught with your pants down. 

Cutting Seatbelts

seat belt
Image by cfarnsworth from Pixabay

In many car accidents, people get stuck strapped with a seatbelt. They may panic, or the strap may not give in. Therefore, having a sharp blade on you can solve this situation. 

A penknife can effortlessly cut seatbelts. Therefore, consistently having one on you will solve such life-threatening situations. You’ll be able to thoroughly pull the blade out and assist yourself or others in freeing themselves.

An important note is that in some multifunction knives, there are seatbelt cutters. They’re blades whose whole purpose is to cut seatbelts. Therefore, companies designed them in a way to act quickly. Yet, a mere penknife will achieve the same action. 

Thinning and Pointing Quills

A man writing with a quill
Image by Prawny from Pixabay

I won’t go into how you thin and point a quill. However, there’s a thorough guide on janeauster.com that I encourage you to read. 

The penknife’s original purpose was to point and thin quills. It’s a craft that few people have mastered. In addition, Before the 18th century, the quill was the most popular tool for writing. Although it isn’t as much today, professional writers yet use quills.

As written, the penknife’s man cause was to thin and point quill. However, as time passed, people began using it for different purposes, such as self-defense. Consequently, if you need to sharpen your quill, ensure you buy a high-quality penknife.

Opening packages

If you’re anything like me, packages arrive at your front door all the time. Because of that, a sharp tool to make opening packages painless is essential. A penknife can serve to do just that. 

In 2020, 15 billion deliveries completed worldwide. Opening a package without a sharp tool is a struggle. Therefore, a penknife can assist anyone in achieving the simple action that is to open packages. To do it, all you need to do is make a cut and safely open the box.

Opening a package is a single example of a daily action that people struggle to do. However, having a sharp blade, such as a penknife, solves the struggle without any pain. Therefore, I encourage you to always carry a penknife on you.

Starting a Fire

Starting a fire is an essential skill. Many people have various outdoor hobbies. In such cases, they may need to ignite a fire. However, it’s not that simple to do. Throughout the years, few individuals have mastered the craft of fire. Therefore, knowing how to make one is crucial. 

With a penknife, you can start a fire in many different ways. First, with a flint and a knife, you can scrape off parts of the flint. That will cause ignition. Secondly, with many rocks, you can scrape off their edges with a penknife to cause sparks. Once again, that’ll cause sparks that you can use to start a fire.

Such skill is tough to practice. Therefore, you shouldn’t treat it as an uncomplicated task. Instead, practice with your penknife and try to cause a fire. If you succeed, congratulations. You’ve accomplished one of the hardest to learn skills in the survival field. 

Sharpening other knives

When it comes to sharpening knives, it’s a tricky craft to learn. Today, there are plenty of automatic knife sharpeners. If you’re a beginner or don’t want to invest plenty of time in learning to sharpen knives, you should buy an automated knife sharpener. 

As a general rule, using a penknife to sharpen a knife is possible. However, such a skill is challenging to execute. Thus sharpening your blades using automated and specifically designed devices will accomplish a more satisfactory result. 

With that said, it’s possible to accomplish. Yet, I recommend you buy a solid knife sharpener that’ll result in a better outcome. In addition, before you grab your penknife in an attempt to sharpen another knife, watch the video I included to learn how to do so. 

Cutting food

Meat being cut
Image by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay

A sharp penknife will be able to cut most objects. For that reason, you should consistently sharpen the blade. In some restaurants in Paris, the customer brings a knife to cut the food. 

Generally, a penknife will be able to cut food. Although you carry it one you at all times, if you get stuck without a cutting knife, you’ll have an alternative to cut the food. 

In some cases, some knives don’t suffice to cut food. Therefore a sharp penknife on you may save your meal. For these reasons, you can use a penknife to cut food. 

Assisting others (people and animals)

You can encounter many situations in life where you need to assist others. For instance, you noticed a deer that got stuck in a fence. It’s either you ignore him or decide to aid the deer. In these situations, you may need a sharp blade or tool that’ll help you complete the mission.

A penknife is a suitable tool for assisting others. Not only is it an intimidating weapon that you can use to help another person, but it’s also a utility tool that can aid in different situations. Without a penknife, you may not be able to achieve the intended result.

When you carry a penknife, you have a responsibility that some don’t want. That’s the type of person you are. You protect not only yourself but others. Therefore, when you notice a person or any living creature that requires urgent help, you must react. 

You can’t carry a weapon on you and not use it. We take a sharp blade on us because we want to be ready. It doesn’t matter if it’s for self-defense, starting a fire, opening a can, or assisting others. We have it on us. Thus we must use the pocket knife when we encounter such a situation. 

Assists in Increasing Confidence

In many self-defense scenarios, self-confidence is the key to success. Therefore, having high confidence may be the difference between failing and coming out victorious. 

Carrying a penknife will dramatically increase your self-confidence. Knowing that you can react to any self-defense situation and assisting others that require urgent help is a massive boost in self-confidence. 


A penknife is a simple tool. Yet, there are many actions one can accomplish with a sharp blade. Therefore, penknives’ popularity is on the rise.

Before the 18th century, writers used penknives to thin and point their quills. Even back then, people used blades to perform various actions.

Today, anyone who has an outdoor hobby can benefit from a penknife. I encourage you to read my article on the best penknives, so you’ll be able to enjoy the best products available on the market. 

Today, most people buy themselves a penknife to arm themselves. A knife is the most simple weapon you can get. Therefore, some prefer it over a firearm, which is a long process to have.

Lastly, think of the consequences of not being fully prepared has. You may encounter certain situations where a pocket knife can help you. Therefore, why will you want to miss out on getting such a full of utility tool?


I've served in the military as a special forces operator for 4-years. In that period, I've trained in many martial arts, including karate, MMA, BJJ, boxing, and even Krav Maga. I want to share my passion with you, so here it is!

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