Survivalists such as fishermen and hunters need to carry a knife for performing simple tasks. These tasks can range from splitting wood, cutting, digging and defense among others. Dull knives are quite useless for such tasks. A knife can lose its sharpness over time due to repeated cutting. Here is a quick rundown of the best knife sharpening systems for your survival knife and for any situation!
Different types of sharpeners
There are various types of devices that can be used to hone or sharpen you knife consistently. Below is a description of four basic types of sharpeners.
Sharpening stones (whetstones)
They are rectangular in shape, about an inch thick and are made out of ceramic, diamond or Arkansas natural sharpening stones. They are suitable for extremely dull knives since they can remove various materials from the blade. Apart from knives, sharpening stones can also be used to sharpen razors, scissors and other tools including large blades.
They use stone and steel to do away with a small quantity of material from the blade. Hence, they cannot sharpen a knife that is completely dull. They are designed in different sizes and styles. Some designs have slots that polish and hone the blade. Others resemble a small sharpening stone that is slid up and down the blade.
They are used during the maintenance of a knife rather than full sharpening of a dull one. They are narrow and long rods designed out of ceramic or steel. Their overall design minimizes the contact they make with the blade, preventing them from shaving off a lot of material. Hence, sharpening steels deform and realign knife blades into their original shapes. Ideally, they should be used before and after a knife has been used.
Electric knife sharpeners
Electric Knife Sharpener
They resemble a rectangular box in shape and have about three slots to position the blade before sharpening. A spinning motorized wheel exists within the sharpener. They are more convenient than other methods of sharpening. Though, they are bulkier and give the user less control over the process. Furthermore, electric sharpeners are more suitable for kitchen knives rather than survival or tactical knives.
Actual sharpening process
If you have sharpened a knife before, you probably know how hard it is to describe the process. Furthermore, the actual process could differ depending on the type of sharpener in question. For instance, you would be required to use the procedure below if using a sharpening stone.
Apply some oil on the stone.
Angle the edge of the knife on the stone as you want.
Stroke the knife along the sharpening stone.
Keep pulling the knife as you stroke to sharpen the entire edge.
And that’s it! You have a sharp knife with you.
Want to see the sharpening process? Checkout this video including various ways to sharpen knives of different dimensions:
Alternative methods to sharpen your knife while in the wild
Sharpening a knife in the wilderness is quite tricky and requires constant practice in order to achieve a sharp blade. First, you can use your leather belt or the side of your leather boot to strop a sharper edge to your knife. Stones with consistent round sides can also be used. When using a stone, stroke the knife like butcher steel rather than grinding the blade like a flat stone surface.
You can enjoy the sharpness on your knife for a long time with proper care.