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Knife Sharpening Kit for the Backpack

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by Brokor, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Have you thought about a bug out kit for knife sharpening?
    What about sharpening knives just for hiking and hunting?
    And a car kit for knife sharpening?

    Some folks just sharpen at home, and because they won't be far from home for long, there's no use planning for field sharpening. Still, other people may bring an item or two, but not an entire kit for sharpening knives. Typically, the task of sharpening knives for use is done at home, with little or no consideration for wilderness sharpening. I have added a new strop to my bug out bag so I can hone the edge of my knives if I need to. Thinking about it a bit, I always figured I could use my belt or another object, but if I were to consider a long term excursion, a small strop and some compound really are handy items to have.

    This image shows my latest piece of kit for sharpening, shown beside a Mora Clipper for scale. This kit is comprised of a Smith's whetstone with a cover for protection, a leather strop and some compound. I know it's a personal preference to strop, and even the compound type to use is debated.

    For example, one person may like the green compound because it leaves a finer edge, but a second person likes the red or black compound because it removes material faster. I use this red compound because it's easy to obtain locally and it works just fine. If I were really worried about having a perfect edge, I would go with a second strop and some white compound, too.

    DSC00005.JPG DSC00006.JPG DSC00008.JPG
    This setup will accommodate any knife I carry, and will permit me to hone my edge a bit more than I could if I only carried a stone. I have added the metal D-ring to the end of the strop so I can hold it easier and to allow me to hang it or place on a stick/branch when sharpening to hold it.

    For smaller hikes or three day trips, I think a smaller stone would work just fine also.
  2. whynot

    whynot Monkey++

    Check out DMT "mini sharp" They make a very nice and relatively cheap folding type sharpener. Multiple grits are available but the "fine" red color works good for edge touch up. I have seen them at Sears with the tools and at Wood Crafters. You can also get them online on amazon or direct fromDMT.

    Knife Sharpening Products | DMT® - Diamond Machining Technology

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  3. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yeah, lots of great sharpening devices out there, some smaller and lighter than a whetstone. However, I like staying with a whetstone because it's what I like and what I prefer to use to produce the best edge. Lots of folks are different, and I have used pretty much everything. Use what works best for you!

    dmtcreditcard. ezelaplfweb. 26sfsharpener. gerberpencil. DMT cards, Diamond hones and sharpening tools, to a pen version by Gerber could be used.
    Rocky Road Lerp and DomC like this.
  4. kg4jxt

    kg4jxt Monkey

    knife enthusiasts will wail in despair, but I carry a machete on my farm and the sheath has a piece of 1/2" PVC tied to it where I keep a triangular file - waiting until you get home to resharpen a machete is not an option here - it is used to chop, dig, pry and scrape all day and for low work next to gravelly soil it sometimes needs to be resharpened every hour or two. Still this machete has lasted me over two year so far and still has almost half the steel left! :D
  5. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    You might talk with @Bear , he makes some very nice machetes, that will handle everything you need. Several monkeys have them, including me.:)
    Hanzo and Witch Doctor 01 like this.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    For cases where your knife gets too dull and you forgot to carry something to sharpen it with, find a flat (more or less) rock. I've used sandstone in the past with a measure of success. One can make sharpening stones from native rocks, if you have enough time to do so. There is a technique --
    Tully Mars, Hanzo, Brokor and 2 others like this.
  7. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I keep a piece of Agate around, just for that purpose....
    Tully Mars likes this.
  8. DarkLight

    DarkLight I self identify as a Blackhawk Attack Helicopter! Site Supporter

    No, knife snobs will wail in despair. Knife enthusiasts typically understand that while a knife can be pretty, shiny and beautifully carved, a knife is ultimately a tool and it is far better to use, in this case a file, to put an edge back on the tool than it is to continue to use it "incorrectly" (dull knife, broken tool). Are there better means to sharpen a machete? Yeah, if they are available but I know a guy who, while in the military, used whatever rocks were available to sharpen his machete at every possible moment. They were plentiful, worked well and he didn't have to carry a dozen files (or whetstones or any other combination) in his ruck.

    Speaking of which, my Gerber Paraframe II is getting dull...time to break out the stones...
  9. vonslob

    vonslob Monkey++

    Learned how to sharpen a knife working at a meat market years ago. The head meatcutter gave me a 15 second lesson and then let me loose, after that brief lesson and hours of ridicule finally learned how. I always carry a knife maintenance kit in the pack, which includes a small fine grit stone, some oil for lubricant, and a small piece of cloth for cleaning. Over the years i have tried different handheld sharpeners and not one comes close to the edge that a good stone will produce.
    Hanzo and Brokor like this.
  10. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yes, it's all well and good to recognize the fact that one could grab a smooth rock and get right to sharpening a blade, but the bottom line is quality and certainty. First, you want to use a quality sharpening device to produce a quality edge -this will ensure less frequent sharpening and a better edge. There's only one place in the world you can acquire Arkansas whetstones, that's from the porous sandstone in this region. If sharpening stones of the same quality could be found anywhere, the market would be flooded with rocks from all over the place, but this is just not the case. As for certainty, you will need to be sure you can even find a stone in the area you will be with your backpack, and some areas, let's face it --don't have many rocks to choose from. You will not be certain you can always find a good rock, and even then, you will be left with an uncertain set of conditions. It's great to know how to use any old rock, but better to just bring a sharpening device with you.

    Now, I hope that is enough on stone gathering philosophy and macho sharpening theory. Does anybody have a sharpening kit they would like to share?
    Hanzo likes this.
  11. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    I agree with you and like files for machetes. Use that all the time to for a quick, good enough, expedient edge. Razor sharp is for when you have time and maybe only on the part of the machete you would use for fine work. The main business part of a machete does not require a razor edge, but a just a sharp working edge.
    vonslob and kg4jxt like this.
  12. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    I have been using Japanese water stones at home and a Fallkniven DC4 stone in the field for years. Got a great idea from watching Ray Mears of adding some small nails. I have used his little tip quite often. A video speaks 1000 words...

    Saw another video once (sorry, can't remember who) where the guy uses a nagura stone on his DC4 to great effect. Haven't tried it personally, so can't comment. Will try it at home. Not sure if I want to carry a nagura in my pack. Not really big and heavy, but a extra 2 ounces.
    Brokor likes this.
  13. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    You should watch virtuovice's YouTube channel. He's a military guy from Japan, and aside from being a doctor, his main hobby is hunting and collecting knives. He frequently uses a nagura and always uses Japanese water stones. link: virtuovice - YouTube
    Hanzo likes this.
  14. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    Mahalo Brokor, will check it out.
    Brokor likes this.
  15. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    Tried out a Nagura stone on a Fallkniven DC4. Works pretty well. Not sure if it is better enough to lug a Nagura. The DC4 works very well on its own.

    Made slurry on both sides sand sharpened a kitchen knife I let go dull.



    Got it shaving sharp. Touched up my other kitchen knives on water stones so wifee would have sharp knives while I am away. The edge from a water stone is smoother than the edge from the DC4, as expected.
    chimo, Bear and Brokor like this.
  16. vonslob

    vonslob Monkey++

    image. Here is my field sharpening kit
    Brokor likes this.
  17. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    This will annoy harry out of all you purists, but --. I have rather more than once used a more or less smooth flat rock to freshen an edge that was mistreated in field ops. Doing it that way will not give you a scalpel edge, but most cases sharp enough for general use. Best found in streams, well worn smooth, but sometimes in rocky areas. If you are going to be in a known rock field, leave the sharpening gear home, saves weight and bulk for an extra ration.
  18. vonslob

    vonslob Monkey++

    Learning how to sharpen steel with a rock sounds like a useful skill. I have a cheap folder I am going to practice on.
    ghrit and kellory like this.
  19. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey Site Supporter+

    Really? I never knew this. As kids we used to collect "aggies". A boy I grew up with was a rockhound so we were always looking for "stuff". I was more interested in petrified wood though. Please explain why agate works so well.
  20. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey Site Supporter+

    I learned how to sharpen a knife with an Arkansas stone as a boy and that's pretty much all I use. I've got them all over the place. The truck, house, shop, pack gear, ect. I've used the back side of my chaps to finish off the blades for years.
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