Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sharpening Your Knife

What works to sharpen my knives?  This is what works for me.

My friend Leon recently wrote a fine post about what knife to carry in your pack.  He provided several recommendations.

This post supplements Leon's by discussing how to keep that knife sharp.   What kind of knife sharpener I would want in my pack.

There is no better way to spark a campfire discussion than to offer your suggestion on what is the best knife sharpener or sharpening system.   Opinions vary greatly.  There will be lots of experts.   My intent is to discuss what works for me.

Over many years I have experimented with an electric sharpener, wet stones, ceramic sticks and steels.  Most were satisfactory but I was looking for something that was portable, consistently provided a keen edge, worked well both in the field and kitchen and didn't require a box to keep all the implements together.  I sought a tool that would sharpen quickly.  I was not looking for a tool that would turn my knife into a razor.   I was looking for something simple.

At a Outdoor Show in 2005 I bought a sharpener made by Edge Maker (visit   I liked it so well that I purchased several as gifts.

The price was less than $20.00.

The model to the left has crossed metal sticks that you pull through.  One set sharpens your knife blade; it gets you started.  The other hones the blade and is the final step.  As I pull or draw my knife's blade I'll vary the pressure so that at the end I apply minimal pressure while honing.  I've used this system on my German kitchen blades, my hunting knives and most recently on a Case kitchen knife purchased at a local thrift store. 

It there a draw back?  The first worth discussing is that with an extremely dull and beat up knife you will pull some metal away from the blade.  If the knife is in really tough shape consider that you are restoring the bevel to the blade.  Second, the crossed metal sticks can develop flat spots.  The manufacturer's packaging discusses how to fix this by using a process actually twists the metal sticks.  That said, I have used my set on many, many knives and have yet needed to accomplish this repair.

Similar to the Edgemaker product is a tool called the Hunter Honer.   

The first noticeable difference is that it is compact and takes up far less space than the Edgemaker sharpener.  I have sharpened a few knives with fine results.  This model offers two methods of sharpening the blade.  The first is to dry hone the steel as you would with the other unit.  Pulling the knife through with modest pressure.  The other options is to use a small amount of honing oil (provided with the sharpener) to develop and even sharper edge.

The suggested retail price is $29.00.

Leon's article can be found here.

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