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USPS Rules for Mailing Knives

April 13th, 2018

Whether you need a good chef’s knife to carve up large cuts of beef, or a paring knife to core a tomato, knives come in handy for a variety of uses. They represent an important consumer product, but can you mail knives and other sharp instruments through the USPS? The short answer is that it depends on the type of knife.

Switchblade knives

Switchblade knives are severely restricted with the USPS. They are defined by the USPS as knives having “a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button or other device in the handle, or by operation of inertia, gravity, or both.” Only supply and procurement officers are allowed to purchase and mail switchblade knives. If you’re a dealer or manufacturer of switchblade knives, you would still only be able to mail switchblade knives to procurement officers representing civic, county, state and federal governments. Mailpieces with switchblade knives should not be identified as such on the outside of the parcel.

Pocket and kitchen knives 

What if you’re sending a pocket knife to a manufacturer for repair? Or mailing a sushi knife to a friend? These knives are mailable. However, keep in mind that mailable knives must be cushioned and secured within the packaging. This would prevent any sharp edges from poking through the packaging. Make sure that there is no content shifting. Inner packaging is recommended, and if possible, sheathing the blade in question. Use plenty of cushioning material. This also goes for sharp-edged implements like ice picks, hatchets, stilettos and saws.

The best rule to go by when mailing knives and sharp instruments is to avoid mailing hazardous items that could cause injury to postal workers: loose knives; badly packaged, sharp objects; and automatic, ballistic, and auto-open blades.

International mail 

When mailing internationally, keep in mind that some countries, such as Denmark, Uganda, Japan and the United Kingdom, explicitly prohibit certain types of knives.  Learn more about USPS international listings.

As always, stay sharp and keep informed! For more information on domestic USPS regulations regarding mailing knives, please see:

https://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c4_013.htm

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