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Avid knife aficionados know the uses for a pocket knife are endless, and an exhaustive list would quickly prove the knife is among the most useful and versatile tools on the planet. So, as we find ourselves in the midst of summer, here are five of the best summertime uses for an affordable pocket knife.

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1. Whittling. Whittling is the craft of deliberately carving or shaving off pieces of wood in order to fashion an instrument, design, or shape. Start with simple projects, like whittling sticks into spears, arrows for makeshift bows and, of course, the ever-needed marshmallow roasters. Then, once you're ready for more of a challenge, try your hand at crafting more elaborate creations like animals and people.

2. Fixing. Knives can be used for a variety of things when it comes to repairing or improving objects. For instance, a knife can scrape away rust, paint, glue, labels -- you name it. A good blade can also remove burrs from metals. A knife can always shorten objects (but hardly ever lengthen them). And a pocket knife is a great substitute for any tools you might not have on hand like a screwdriver or scissors.

3. Building. One of my all-time favorite uses for a knife is building contraptions. A knife often offers everything you need to complete a project. Whether you're cutting rope, sharpening sticks, smoothing wood, or even carving words or designs, a blade will certainly play a role in helping you fashion just about anything.

4. Safety. Pocket knives also come in handy for a variety of first-aid uses like cutting bandages or dressing, fashioning slings or tourniquets, or even just digging out plain-old splinters. A stainless steel blade is also an excellent tool in case of emergency. For instance, a knife is an invaluable if you need to mark a path, leave a message etched in something, or cut someone free from a seat belt or rope. In the worst case scenarios, a knife may used for self-defense against animals or people.

5. Food. Many people often overlook the fact that, in addition to using a knife to eat with, you'll need one to prepare your food. And let's face it, if you're camping or hiking, you probably haven't packed along that block of knives in your kitchen. That's why carrying a high-quality blade is so important. From peeling fruits and vegetables, to cutting pieces of meat or fish, to slicing other foods like cheeses or breads, a reliable pocket knife will always improve the efficiency of your food preparation.

These are five general and simple uses for an affordable pocket knife this summer. If you're not prone to or keen on carrying around a folding knife all the time (yet), you'll be surprised at how often a trusty blade will come in handy when you do. The convenience of a pocket knife is in the name -- fitting comfortably into your pocket -- meaning you can take it just about anywhere without extra hassle, and it's still ready for anything.

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